The Forest: It Is Unsafe

Book Title: Beschouwing der wereld : bestaande in hondert konstige figuuren, met godlyke spreuken en stichtelyke verzen / door Jan Luiken.

Author: Luiken, Jan, 1649-1712

Image Title: The Forest: It Is Unsafe

Scripture Reference:

Description: In a dark forest a hiker, with a walking stick and rucksack, looks behind him for hidden dangers. The Dutch artist and poet Jan Luiken (1649-1712) was responsible for drawing this emblem and composed the poem that accompanies it. The etching was executed by Jan Luiken or his son Casper Luiken (1672-1708), who had used this image in an earlier work, which may be found in the Digital Image Archive under the call number 1699Weig. The attendant scriptures are Proverbs 11:5 and Proverbs 16:17.

Motto: Before and behind, Is danger.

In the wild forest hides evil,
That concealed under the dense leaves,
Is after the life of the walker,
Who solitary wanders along the path.
O World! very dangerous Forest!
Overgrown with all kinds of leaves,
Behind which ruin resides,
To surprise the careless life.
O World’s huge Wilderness!
Of Killers and wild beasts!
Through which nonetheless the lane runs,
A path, for the lowest and the highest;
As everyone (who appeared in this Time)
Must unavoidably pass by thee,
To the far Region of Eternity;
Here is no Retreat, nor turning back.
So whoever is then of wise deliberation,
And would love to keep his life,
See that he does not go alone,
Or he might regret it too late.
A Faithful Guide offers himself,
One should put oneself under his protection,
So one can avoid the great danger;
From the evil Hand and Tooth of rage:
O Man! do not trust thyself alone;
God is the company that I mean.

(Translation by Josephine V. Brown, with editorial assistance from William G. Stryker)

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