The Honeybee: According to Its Nature

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 Honeybee: According to Its Nature

Scripture Reference:

Description: Two men look at rows of bee hives. 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 Proverbs 24:13-14.

Motto: He who loves goodness, Finds goodness.

Although the Bee flies to many flowers,
Still it will not carry,
Any poison, or other nasty things,
But wax and honey is its load.
So should the human senses also
In their flight from the heart,
Leave the venom to the spiders,
And carry nothing but heaven’s sweetness
Gathering a heart full of honey,
So fortune did not deal it amiss,
So it would find at the highest dwelling
A land, where Summer is eternal.
There it would enjoy itself so wonderfully,
And fly safely in and out,
And feed on the flower of Paradise,
Where its abundance would never cease.
O Man, created to a higher purpose,
If thou wouldst collect that deadly venom,
Of worldly vanity
From flowers with a beautiful appearance,
Abandon the evil nature of spiders,
And become a noble Honeybee,
To win the heart’s hive full of sweetness,
May that be thine eternal food.

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

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Rights Status: No Copyright - United States
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