The Ox: Without Reflecting

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 Ox: Without Reflecting

Scripture Reference:

Description: Under a willow tree, one ox is grazing and another lies in the grass; two men are talking in the background. 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 scriptures are Psalm 78:42 and Isaiah 1:3.

Motto: One sees something more, Than down in front of one.

The Ox, relieved from service,
So that we walk forward and forward,
Grazes in the grassy field,
It has leisure and good days,
And becomes thriving, fat and flourishing.
Its Food is not taken away,
And in its food it lies down,
It does not know of fear or dread,
But rests in wellbeing, flesh, and fat:
So the carefree life grazes,
In luxury’s large meadow,
Surrounded with a surplus of goods,
And skims off the fat of this time.
But look to the unconsidered End;
The Lord Master who gives them that Salvation,
Lies in wait for their Misery, so as to be served,
To satisfy his hunger.
Man, created with a higher Spirit,
Than the unwise dumb Cattle,
Should then not gape that way,
And act as the little Animal did.
Consider the very affluent days,
Of the imagined Wealthy man,
What fruit had those borne?
O Man! Do reflect on that.

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

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