The Wild Animals: Not to Be Trusted

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 Wild Animals: Not to Be Trusted

Scripture Reference:

Description: A lion lies chained in the foreground in a park. In addition, two panthers are chained to their cages and are guarded by a man. 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 Psalm 10:9.

The Power of Sins,
Must be chained.

The wild Animal from foreign lands,
Requires a strong iron chain,
If it shall live around man,
To keep oneself from great danger,
Through sound thinking,
And save oneself from claw and tooth.
Likewise does the Soul with flesh and blood,
That Animal next to which it must live,
Born from the land of sins.
And makes sure from time to time,
Whether its chain also wears out
By which the Soul has fastened it.
So that its power does not break loose.
And take revenge on its Master.
Do not trust its gentleness,
The wild nature is part of it,
And its excited sense breaks out,
Otherwise thou might regret it greatly.
How long then does it need the restraint?
No less than its entire life;
Thou mayst not let it feed its desire,
If thou, precious Soul,
Wouldst not like to fall into misery
In woe, and alas! and sorrowful suffering.
May then the noble mind
Keep the wild flesh chained.

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

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