The Birds: Until Its Time

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 Birds: Until Its Time

Scripture Reference:

Description: A young man reaches toward a multitude of birds flying and gliding through the air. 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 55:6-7.

The coarse flesh and blood,
Restrains the nimble spirit.

Little feathered Animals, fast in flight,
Who on thine outstretched wings,
Go gliding through the thin air,
And can skillfully govern the body;
Thou dost beat us in quickness;
We, who like worms, in unworthiness,
So powerless, so slow and coarse,
Must constantly lean on the earth:
But wait; a time will yet come,
When they, who raise the heart from the earth
Shall surpass thy weightless flight in swiftness,
However quick thou art.
When the freed spirit,
Liberated from the house of flesh and blood,
Where it has been imprisoned,
Goes gliding in blissful freedom.
O Eternity! O spacious sky!
How richly, and how immeasurably,
Dost thou promise us the free flight,
Although we are now placed so low.
Though one must now travel on earth,
If we love the heavenly-air,
Then our wings will grow,
To beat the flight of birds.

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

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Rights Statement: The online edition of this work in the public domain, i.e., not protected by copyright, has been produced by Pitts Theology Library, Emory University.
Rights Status: No Copyright - United States
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