The Spider: The Snare Seems Hidden

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 Spider: The Snare Seems Hidden

Scripture Reference:

Description: Two men look at a large spider web that a spider has spun between the branches of a tree. 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 Job 8:13-14.

Motto: Although it does not seem so: Sorrow hides there.

The Spider, that ugly beast,
So cunning through the Astral spirit,
Is very orderly in its spinning,
And tireless on its watch,
The entire time, day and night,
So as to diligently earn its food:
Its crafty trap is not built of wood,
Or other coarse materials,
That would be exposed to attentive eyes,
But is a fabric, clear and fine,
That even seems like air,
So is the fast fly deceived:
The entire world is a web,
Displayed so fine and skillfully,
With its comfort and luxuries,
So noble, so thin, so neat and clear,
As if it were no web at all,
How gaily life would play.
But nonetheless, one is surprised,
And before he thinks it, he is caught;
The enemy comes with rough legs,
Like a hungry fellow,
Who always attends to his booty,
To rush after his prisoner.
Then one defends oneself with hand and foot,
And is alarmed in the heart.
One would like to wrest loose from the web.
One has despised the good advice,
And only laughed at the wisdom,
So as to make merry.
But he who keeps this clearly before his eyes,
Sees how it goes with the little fly,
If he would only fear the free journey,
And keep himself within bounds,
So that his heart does not wander,
So as to come into the cunning web,
Because though thou dost not see any danger,
The sorrow of the heart comes afterwards.

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

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