The Cat: To Scare Off the Evil

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 Cat: To Scare Off the Evil

Scripture Reference:

Description: In front of a farmhouse, the farmer’s wife scrubs a milk bucket; two cats keep watch in the foreground. 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 adapted this image from one used in an earlier work, which may be found in the Digital Image Archive under the call number 1699Weig. The attendant scripture text is Luke 21:36.

Motto: The sacrilege, Must be put to the side.

Where the little cat lives, the house
Is cleansed of Rat and Mouse.
O House! O human house of the Souls!
How many are found there, where thou,
O Vigilant Cat of watchfulness, art not,
That are nests crawling with sins.
Outwardly, the abomination,
In the house is sufficiently avoided by the flesh;
One cares for precious and trifling things;
So that neither moth nor rot eat
The fine woolen or linen garment,
Or spoil food and other things.
But in the dwelling of the heart,
Nestles much of the harmful stuff,
That dares to appear during the day,
Playing over the house and furniture,
Since it does not trouble the house master,
To live contentedly with vermin.
But thou who mindest the smallest,
And not the very largest,
This, however, thou must also know:
See to it that the sinful Rot in the heart,
Does not become so large from thy food,
That thou dost choke on it.
O Vigilance that guards against such,
Mayst thou live in the house of everyone’s heart.

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

Click here for additional images available from this book.

Request a high-resolution file (fees apply)

Rights Statement: The online edition of this work in the public domain, i.e., not protected by copyright, has been produced by Pitts Theology Library, Emory University.
Rights Status: No Copyright - United States
Pitts Theology Library provides copyright information as a courtesy and makes no representation about copyright or other legal status of materials in the Digital Image Archive.