Content: Titlepage →


This is our edition of Cupido’s lusthof of 1613. In this introduction, we have limited ourselves to the essentials.

About the Author

Cupido’s lusthof is published anonymously, but was, according to the information we find on its title-page, a product of the chamber of rhetoric ’Het Wit Lavendel’ also known as ’Uit levender Jonste’. The book was most likely made by Gerrit Hendrik van Brueghel, who signed the preface of Cupido’s lusthof with his initials (’G.H. van B.’). In this preface the poet describes how he, one day in May, met with a beautiful and gracious goddess. Having written all kinds of ’light’ literature (farces) before, he promises this goddess to commit himself to the more serious genres produced in chambers of rhetorics. He now presents the result of this promises, Cupido’s lusthof, to the virgins and young lovers of Batavia (a name used for the Low Countries, to indicate their mythical background). They will find comfort, wisdom and virtues in this book.

Gerrit Hendrik van Breughel was bookseller in Amsterdam, and indeed member of the Brabant chamber of rhetoric 'Het Wit Lavendel' in Amsterdam.1 In 1612 en 1613 he published Boertighe cluchten, also fitting into the literary tradition of the chambers of rhetoric. And in 1605 he translated the 50 Lustighe Historien van Boccaccio (the ones not translated by Coornhert earlier on the sixteenth century). Not much more is known about Van Bruegel. With Cupido’s lusthof he seems to have kept his interest for amusement, and combined it with more serious lessons about love. While doing so, he probably intended Cupido’s lusthof to fit in the love emblem tradition that had proven to be very succesful in the first decade of the sixteenth century.

About Cupido’s lusthof

The title-page of Cupido’s lusthof contains more valuable information. It reads:

CUPIDO’S LUSTHOF Ende Der Amoureuse Boogaert Beplant ende Verciert Meet 22. Schoone Copere figuiren ende vele nieuwe Amoureuse Liedekes Baladen ende Sonnetten desgelickx te voren noyt inden druck geweest ofte gesien zyn gecomponeert door een wt levender Ionst Tot Amsterdam By Jan Evertssz Cloppenburch boeckvercooper opt water inden vergulden Bybel.

A number of crucial aspects of Cupido’s lusthof can be detracted from this declaration. First of all, its Amsterdam origin, and second its varied content. The book not only contains pictures, but songs, ballads and sonnets as well. The poems in the book are claimed to be new - a statement that should be looked at with some suspicion, considering the fact that all songs in the book are written on existing melodies -, and the book is printed by Cloppenburgh, a Amsterdam bookprinter.2

Cupido’s lusthof consists of 21 ’afdelingen’ (sections), each opening with a pictura and motto, followed by a number of texts of different nature: sonnets, ballads, dialogues, songs, refrains and rondels. Most of these poetic forms derive from the chamber of rhetoric tradition. Looking at the content of the texts, the same can be said. Many poem ends with an apostrophe to the ’Prince’, the head of the chamber. See for instance the fifteenth ’afdeling’, O Heijl'ghe echt o soeten bant als lief geeft liefs rechte bant [15], which ends with the following concluding stanza:

Onthout dees les
Reyne Princes
En nemet doch int goede
Ghy Lieff matres
Zijt mijn Voochdes
Sterckt mijnen crancken moede
Want nu voortaen
Sal ick eel graen
V niet affgaen
Maer eeren tot den bloede

The poet in doing so urges the reader to listen to his advice: while courting a lover, marriage should be kept in mind, as the ultimate goal and destination of all profane love.

Through the use of these specific poetic genres, and the apostrophe at the final stanza of some poems, Cupido’s lusthof is firmly embedded in the tradition of chambers of rhetoric. In the Netherlands, they still played an important cultural role in the beginning of the seventeenth century. The chambers produced literature that was valued for its social function, very often composed at the occasion of a special event. The name of the chamber was used to present this literature to the world. The authors were hiding behind short 'sententiae'. G.H. van B. for instance signed with: 'Bedenckt u tis tijdt'.

Around 1615, things started to change in the Netherlands. Literature is more and more seen as the product of one singular author. When in 1616 Daniel Heinsius published his Nederduytse poemata - in which we find the Emblemata amatoria 1601 (see: [Titlepage]) and Het ambacht van Cupido (1613) (see: [Titlepage]) -, the chambers of rhetoric were set aside in the preface to this book (see: [Dedication]) by Petrus Scriverius. He claims that a true poet can only thrive on talent and knowledge: two qualities most poets within the chambers of rhetoric did not have. Although Cupido’s lusthof is published almost three years prior to this event, the book should maybe be looked upon as the (final) attempt of a chamber of rhetoric to prove the Dutch cultural elite wrong. Should it be shared among the song books for young, well-to-do citizens that were published in the first decades of the seventeenth century?3 The title Cupido’s lusthof at least seems to locate the book somewhere between Het ambacht van Cupido (1613) and one of those popular song books, Den nieuwen lusthof (1602). The picturae in Cupido's lusthof do not have much in common with the Dutch love emblem books of the first decade of the seventeenth century (by Heinsius, Vaenius and Hooft). They are more closely related to what seems to be another, parallel tradition which origin can be traced to an emblem/songbook titled Jeucht spieghel, written by an author hiding behind the initials Z.G.H.P.H.S. (Zacharias Heyns?), and published in 1610.

Copy Used for This Edition

In making this edition of Cupido’s lusthof we have used the copy of the edition of 1613 conserved in the Royal Library (The Hague), shelf number 843 B 24.


We have transcribed the full text from the The Hague 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.


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 Cupido’s lusthof follows here.