The Water-Flood: Move Out of the World’s Valley

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 Water-Flood: Move Out of the World’s Valley

Scripture Reference:

Description: A man pulls people to safety who wade in the water which has flooded the land. In the distance, people and animals try to swim to safety. 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 scriptures are Psalm 69:15 and Psalm 144:7.

Motto: If thou dost love the dry land, Keep thyself high.

The country side of the low Netherlands,
Is hemmed in by firmly-diked beaches,
To avoid the attack,
Urged by wild waves,
Knowing well, from olden years,
What Flooding would mean.
It must be horrible and dangerous,
When the flood, now risen high,
Having in the middle of the empty night
Run roaring through the breach,
Destroys the peace and rest,
With its overwhelming might.
For with its approaching noises,
The flood comes too swiftly to be escaped,
There it costs the miserable man and beast;
What is found in the low land,
Is swallowed up in its hollow mouth
With the sad lament of alas and woe.
Here now appears the good fortune,
Of those who live on high land,
Since they avoid this hand,
Of the thousands who drown,
And sink with their goods and blood,
Because they stand on the high and dry.
Dwellers in the low lands,
Whose weak and worrisome beaches,
Are threatened by great danger and distress
Whether now or then, they will be breached,
When the waters become sorely provoked,
By the storm and tempest of death;
Keep thy dwelling on the high,
So thou dost sit safely in the dry,
When the terrible flood,
Will from the careless people of the valleys,
Collect their wealth and prosperity,
And swallow them with their burdens.
O Blessed height, highly praised,
That is called the fear of the Lord,
Thou art the sanctuary before the danger;
They who build their wealth on thee,
Are gratified and preserved,
Fortune and blessing lives with them.
But those located in the low,
Of carelessly forgetting God,
Their situation is dangerous,
As their weak dikes,
Must give way before disaster’s attack,
To the ruin of life’s field.
O Savior! May thy mountain protect us,
From sins’ deadly flood,
Keep us on the blessed high,
Of vigilance for thy pleasure,
So that we eternally do not fear,
But stand firmly on the blessed dry.

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

Click here for additional images available from this book.

Request a high-resolution file (fees apply)

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
Pitts Theology Library provides copyright information as a courtesy and makes no representation about copyright or other legal status of materials in the Digital Image Archive.