The Monkey: The Resemblance

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 Monkey: The Resemblance

Scripture Reference:

Description: Two men regard a monkey that sits chained to the outside of a building. The monkey is in the process of eating one piece of fruit and holds another piece with his forefinger and thumb of the other hand. 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 2 Peter 2:12.

Motto: Resemblance differs from being.

It has human smartness,
But is nevertheless an Animal,
However quick and crafty in his actions,
However clever through the astral spirit,
That lives in every beast,
It will remain one of the Animals:
Many humans go in human semblance,
Who are really only animals,
Since they during their entire lives
Provide for the existence of this time,
Thoughtless like the Animal,
And are not elevated by their creation.
Yet, they are not wholly animal,
Because of the immortal part,
That was created for something higher,
But they act like monkeys,
In their transitory being,
And play the fruitless game of Monkeys.
But when the end fast approaches,
That little spark of the soul awakens,
Of which true animals know not,
Then the Spirit has wretchedly lost,
The golden time for being human,
And is bitten by remorse.
O Man, although thou art cunning and shrewd,
Thou drinkest only from an empty straw,
With all thy worldly activities,
For everything that does not go higher,
Than in the animal body,
Does not benefit the soul.
It is a pity that such noble substance,
From such a worthy origin,
As there is in the human life,
Is misused and made similar,
To the dumb animals in the field,
Where it should be elevated to its God.
O Man! if thou dost wish to be a human,
Do not leave it at human resemblance,
But be a true human within,
May thine aim always be elevated,
To that which concerns thine eternal salvation,
Then wilt thou gain being, instead of resemblance.

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

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