The Pig: Always Downwards

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 Pig: Always Downwards

Scripture Reference:

Description: In the foreground, two pigs root in the dirt; a number of other pigs either root or burrow in the dirt, while being herded by two men. 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 Colossians 3:1-2.

Motto: Do not wish to be, Like the Pig.

O Pig, if thou wert the only one,
That stiff of neck and quick of foot,
For other Creatures (rare),
Art accustomed to root in the Dirt,
And roll in the mud,
(However cleanly washed with water)
But others are also like thee,
Whom a more reasonable behavior would befit!
Those root steadily there and back,
With Neck and Head bent to the ground,
And snuffle always in front of them,
With nose and mouth, understanding and eyes.
They roll with thee around and around,
In all kinds of filth
(So irrational, so stupid and dumb),
Of the earthly things down here.
They have, with thee, too stiff a neck,
To raise their head and eyes,
From the filth, mud, mire and dirt,
And to grasp pure things.
Those things, that because of their virtue
Would provide the hungry and desirous life,
(Grazing in eternal joy,)
With the proper food.
Be gone world’s Pig, desire of the dirt,
With thy rooting, grunting and screaming,
May thy unpleasantness depart from us,
With its nature of dumb animals,
So that we walk forward and forward,
As befits the human life.

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

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