The Herbs: Not Everything That Grows

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 Herbs: Not Everything That Grows

Scripture Reference:

Description: An elderly man and a young woman fill their baskets with herbs that they picked from an area under a large tree. 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 27:25 and Mark 4:28.

Motto: Do take care, What or how.

The healing little herb is sought,
And brought home as a cure,
For the injured life;
But what is useless or poisonous,
Is passed over or by,
Since it cannot bestow healing.
How then does such a strange situation exist,
In the World’s wide herb-field,
Where so many wise heads forage,
And still pick evil poison,
Instead of noble Medicine,
That they prepare to their ruin?
The herb that heals the spirit,
That is trodden upon with the foot,
While the evil ruin of Souls,
Picked by the outstretched hand,
Is gathered until the basket is full,
As the eyes fell on what is splendid.
Although the great Medicine,
In its Wisdom rich and pure,
The herb that each one should select
From those in the field of life,
To distinguish between Good and Evil,
Has been indicated with the finger.

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

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