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This is our edition of Goddelycke wenschen of 1629 by Justus de Harduwijn. In this introduction, we have limited ourselves to the essentials.

About Justus de Harduwijn

Justus de Harduwijn was born in Gent on April 11, 1582.1 Many inhabitants of Gent (for instance Daniel Heinsius's family) moved to the Northern Netherlands during the Reformation, trying to escape the Inquisition. But De Harduwijn was born in a Catholic family, so he stayed in the south. In fact, De Harduwijn's father was a passionate opponent of the Calvinist, and this strengthened De Harduwijn's own feelings against the reformers of the Catholic Church. His ideas were fed at the Jesuit College, where De Harduwijn studied humanity and law. Afterwards he was educated as a priest, and became a priest in Oudegem and Mespelaere.

De Harduwijn's father François was a poet too. He wrote verses in Latin and French, and in doing so developed his son's sense for language and literature. De Harduwijn was also influenced by his uncle Maximiliaan de Vriendt, who was also a poet of Latin poetry. Growing up in this environment, De Harduwijn was clearly stimulated to read and write himself.

In 1613 he then published a collection of love poems titled De weerliicke liefden tot Roose-mond (The Profane Stages of Love towards Rosemont). These poems he had composed during the years he studied at the university of Leuven, at about 20 years of age. Guillam Caudron sr. - just like De Harduwijn a member of the rhetoric chamber St. Catharina - published the book anonymously, in an attempt to spare its author (who by the time the book was published had become a priest) from disgrace. De Harduwijn would never again publish any profane poetry. He died in 1636 in Oudegem.

About the Goddelycke wenschen

De Harduwijn's Goddelycke wenschen was in fact the first Dutch translation/adaptation of Herman Hugo's Pia desideria (1624)2. The engravings of the Pia desideria were made by the illustrator Boëtius à Bolswert, who was engaged in this project by publisher Hendrick Aertssens. Bolswert had produced 45 copperplates that were used again for the Goddelycke wenschen. Hugo's Pia desideria had become very popular from the moment it was published. In all it was reprinted 20 times in between 1624 and 1800. Aertssens, who quickly noticed what success Hugo could have, ordered De Harduwijn to work on a translation making good use of the copperplates he already owned. By using the same picturae the Goddelycke wenschen stayed close to its original. The mottoes, and references to texts by Church fathers in the prose part of the subscriptio's also stayed the same.

De Harduwijn made quite a few changes in the poetry parts of the Pia desideria. Hugo's continuous disticha are replaced by a number of different rhyme schemes and stanza's. The joyful and painful sides of the human's love towards God are equally addressed by De Harduwijn. The human soul is suffering at times:

NV ick in twijffel ben / wat liefd' ick soud' aenveerden
Het zy de liefde Godts / off die van deser aerden /
Ick stae met als bekeurt / en ben in anghst en noot
Wat streke noch op't lest sal houden mijnen boot.

[Now that I am in doubt which love to accept/Either the love God or worldly love/I am standing and waiting in fear and anxiety/What direction my boat will go]

The printing history of the Goddelycke wenschen is rather curiously. The poetic part of the subscriptio's can only be found in the first edition of the book. The three edition that would follow (dating from 1632, 1645 en 1648) are reduced and in the very rare edition of 1632 the engravings by Boëtius à Bolswert are replaced by much smaller copies made by Christoffel van Sichem. This edition has an extraordinary format: vicesimoquarto (24°), and is probably meant to be affordable for a larger public. After De Harduwijn's death the Amsterdam publisher Paets obtained the privileges to print the Goddelycke wenschen. Paets published an edition in duodecimo format in 1645. The copperplates by Van Sichem were replaced by woodcuts to provide an even cheaper edition. In the end, in the edition of 1648, only a small part of De Harduwijn's original intentions survived when Paets combined the emblems of the Goddelycke wenschen with another devotional work, the t'Schat der zielen. De Harduwijn's and Hugo's name are not mentioned anywhere in this 1648-edition.

The Goddelycke wenschen was intended for a Dutch audience that did not master Latin, as can be seen in a Aen [...] Hermannus Hugo by De Harduwijn in the preface of the Goddelycke wenschen. De Harduwijn wanted to familiarize this audience with the newly popular mystical work by Hugo. He meant to stimulate the individual practice of faith, and hoped his book would help the pious souls to meditate, pray and rethink. The Goddelycke wenschen is just as Hugo's Pia desideria divided into three parts: sightings of the suffering soul, wishes of the pious soul and sightings of the God-loving soul. This path of working, contemplating and meditating should purify the soul of every reader.

Copy Used for This Edition

In making this edition of Goddelycke wenschen we have used the copy of the Tresoar of the Fries Historisch en Letterkundig Centrum, shelf number A 563.


We have transcribed the full text from the Leeuwarden copy and encoded this text using TEI mark-up, to allow for flexibility in presentation and non-destructive editorial enhancement of the text. The full Project Guidelines for transcription, editorial intervention and indexing of the text are available elsewhere on this site. In this specific copy, the pages 138-139 are numbered as 140 and 141. The printer has corrected this mistake by not using the page numbers 142 and 143. Also, since one pictura was missing in the copy we used, we have replaced Quis mihi hoc tribuat [12] with an image from another edition, available in the Leiden University Library, shelf number 1177 G 10.


The full Emblem Project Utrecht bibliography may be accessed using the menu option at the top of this window. A selection of literature relevant to Goddelycke wenschen follows here.

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This brief sketch of Harduyn's life is based on , De Harduyn, Roose-mond [web] and Dambre, Justus de Harduyn.
This brief sketch of the printing history of the Goddelycke wenschen is based on Daly, Jesuit Series, p. 160-163 and Dambre, Justus de Harduyn, p. 148-156.