The Labyrinth of the World and the Paradise of the Heart (1901)/Dedication


To the Illustrious and truly noble Lord, LORD CHARLES, BARON OF ZEROTIN, the elder, Captain of the Land of Moravia.[1]

My Most Gracious Lord,

I should not venture in this but too turbulent time, full of disquietude, to molest your Illustriousness, oh, most Illustrious Lord! by this short letter, far less by the dedication of a book, were it not that the book is of those that aim at strengthening our minds and tranquillising them in God. I will explain how the matter stands. As in this my retreat and my painful inactivity, separated as I am from the cares of my vocation, I yet neither may be nor wish to be idle, I began within the last months to reflect on the vanity of the world (which I had various opportunities of beholding in divers places). Thus then was this work,[2] which I offer to your Illustriousness, born under my hands. The first part depicts the follies and inanity of the world, showing how mainly and with great labour it busies itself with worthless things, and how all these things at last end wretchedly, either in laughter or in tears. The second part describes, partly as through a veil, partly and openly the true and firm felicity of the sons of God; for they are indeed happy who, turning their backs on the world and all worldly things, adhere, and indeed inhere, to God. I admit that what I offer here is but begun, not completed. I see, indeed, that the subject is very abundant, and so fit for sharpening the mind and refining the style that it might, by the means of repeated new conceptions, be enlarged almost to infinitude. Yet such as the book is, I wish to collect its contents from my stray papers and to offer it to your Illustriousness, for what purpose I dare not now clearly to say. But the sagacity of the mind of your Illustriousness will perceive it while reading the book, or will be able otherwise to explain it. This only will I intimate, that I did not consider it inappropriate to offer this work to one who, after having a thousand times experienced the storms and sorrows of the sea of the world, has found repose in the most tranquil harbour of his conscience. Now it only remains to me to wish that your Illustriousness, safe from the world and Satan, should live gladly for Christ, and should joyfully and rightfully look forward to the future life that follows this one (alas, but a wretched one!). Meanwhile, may the blessed spirit of God our eternal Redeemer rule us, cheer us, console us, strengthen us. Amen.

Written under the hill of Klopota, on the Ides of December, 1623.
Of your Illustriousness,
The most Devoted Client,
  1. In Latin "Pro-Marchio." The representative of the sovereign, called in German "Landeshauptmann," in Bohemian "Zemsky hejtman," presided at the meetings of the Moravian Diet. Zerotin held this office for some years.
  2. Komensky writes "drama."