The Heath: One Hopes for Better

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 Heath: One Hopes for Better

Scripture Reference:

Description: Two travelers through a heath stop to talk with each other. Behind them are a number of beehives. In the distance, several sheep are grazing. 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 scripture text is 2 Peter 3:13-14.

On the other side of the Heath,
There is a fat meadow.

Although the Heath cannot produce nutritious food,
It, however, still produces the broom to sweep.
Meanwhile the little Bee there also finds its profit,
And gathers sweet honey in its scouring wind.
O meager region of this present life,
That cannot give bread for the hunger of the Soul,
Barren earth, called wicked world,
A barren Heath, for the eye that looks for something better:
Thou still dost bear the Broom, to clean the Soul’s house,
Of its impurity to become a residence of the Lord.
And dost deliver still much sweetness, while attentiveness,
On the wings of Believe and Hope, dost gather honey.
So as to gain eternal provision for the heart’s barn.
Those are thy fruits for blessedly loving God;
While one walks this Temporal soil,
Until one leaves the life that is finished.
To live in the thriving valley of Salvation,
On fat earth, that will fully bear fruit.
Where the Lamb of Christ quietly and peacefully leads,
And grazes through the park of desired things.
O beautiful region, which does not cease to bear Salvation,
Thou art the object of our heart and pleasure,
Thy divine entrance smiles sweetly and friendly upon us,
As we, along the Heath, depart from this world.

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

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