The River: With Effort, Different

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 River: With Effort, Different

Scripture Reference:

Description: Two men stand under a tree at the bank of a wide, meandering river that flows under a bridge supported by massive piers. People are seen along the bank, in a boat, and on the bridge. Beyond the bridge, several villages lie at the river’s edge; further down the river is edged by a rock formation. 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 Psalm 93:3-4.

The common flow,
Demands a wise refusal.

Not down and up, but one course,
Year in year out to eternity;
So run the fresh rivers of the earth:
So runs the river of the worldly spirit,
Wide and renowned of old,
And quick to come downward.
So it flows with the huge power,
Of the great human race,
Through the land of the fleshly life,
Spreading its edges,
As everywhere from place to place,
The brooks converge.
Whoever does not want to go with its flow,
Must stand like the piers of the bridge,
In order not to yield to its flow;
Though it gurgles and seethes exceedingly,
In front of and around them,
They let it sweep steadily past them.
O Worldly flood of life,
Thou art a stream of human blood,
Each empties his Pail into thy stream,
So thou dost become so high,
That thy ground never dries out,
And keeps thee always present.
Yet there remain nevertheless a few,
Who do not like thy flow,
And do not wish to mingle with thee,
Seeing thy final fall,
In the fire that will dry thee up,
And bring thy renown to shame.

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

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