The Waterfall: Deafening

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 Waterfall: Deafening

Scripture Reference:

Description: Two travelers are in front of a huge waterfall. One points to the waterfall, the other tries to protect his hears from the noise. 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 Psalm 42:7 and Psalm 62:1, 5.

Motto: What sounds lovely, Does not stand out here.

How the massive waterfall roars,
From the tumbling and swarming life,
From heaven’s high driven down into the low valley,
Of earthly persuasion.
Here the Soul lives in the abode of flesh,
With crushed and scattered wits,
Through the ceaseless noise,
That doesn’t allow it to deliberate.
All the good, that is heard elsewhere,
As food for the calm life,
Is here swallowed up and suffocated,
Disturbed and constantly driven away.
A new life, thou makest far from here,
From here, where thou thus lived a long time,
Near the large and terrible noise,
That never refreshed thee in rest.
Seek a quiet dwelling for the soul,
So that thine unoccupied ears would hear,
Salvation’s voice, of eternal good,
As food for thy Soul.
Sit down near the quiet water,
That flowing out of God’s fountain of love,
Makes a stream of the wished-for teaching,
That is projected along thy dwelling.
O Blessed stillness, where one hears,
The pleasant and friendly requests,
Of the Souls, through God’s Holy word,
That is so generously offered to everyone.
Right then Life do become calm,
That now for so long and so many days,
Was an inhabitant of the Vale of noise,
A place that must displease life.
O Vale of noise, of all vanity,
Of the tumbling and swarming life,
Of the world-spirit in the realm of this time,
One must flee and abandon thee.
O Quiet region of the Valley of virtue,
Chosen by so many wise men,
So as to hear of the Salvation of eternal joy,
Instead of the earthly noise,
Thy pleasure draws us all,
From the World’s massive Waterfall.

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

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