The Nightingale: Through the Hearing One Tastes the Inside

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 Nightingale: Through the Hearing One Tastes the Inside

Scripture Reference:

Description: In the woods, three men listen to a nightingale singing on the branch 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 Luke 6:45.

Motto: Small in size, Great in Deed.

The Nightingale so little and grey,
So paltry for the eyes,
In contrast to the Peacock,
Carries its power in the breast
Its beauty goes from inside out,
That raises its worth and praise,
That loud and pleasant sound,
That makes tongues praise it:
So is the pious for the eye
In appearance of little worth,
Very small and humble, beside the world’s high,
And paltry on the earth:
Inside it carries its worth,
That reveals itself to the ears,
Of those who are not deaf,
And like to hear beautiful voices:
Because it sings constantly of the highest good,
Of the Kingdom of Heaven and the blessed life,
And how the convinced heart,
Shall proceed to that inheritance.
Does this jewel not nobly stand out,
Compared with the show of beautiful feathers,
And all that does not mean much,
Of the things without praise or honor?
Although it passes for simple,
So small and unimpressive for the eye,
Its voice is lovely in God’s ear,
That raises it above all the high ones.

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

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