We Must Be Hatched Or Go Bad

“It may be hard for an egg to turn into a bird: it would be a jolly sight harder for it to learn to fly while remaining an egg. We are like eggs at present. And you cannot go on indefinitely being just an ordinary, decent egg. We must be hatched or go bad.” CS Lewis, Mere Christianity

The Concert in the Egg - Hieronymus Bosch

‘The Concert In the Egg’: copy of a painting attributed to Hieronymous Bosch or based on a drawing by him.

Article here.

Mr Terry Nelson has painted a contemporary version.

Below is Pieter Aertsen’s The Egg Dance. No idea. None. But, lo – Wikipedia supplies the answer.  Here is a film of Monkseaton Morris Men performing a blindfold egg dance.

The Egg Dance - Pieter Aertsen

Jan Steen also painted a rowdy egg-dance:

Egg Dance - Jan Steen

John Bunyan wrote the following Meditations upon an Egg. Food for thought.

1. The egg’s no chick by falling from the hen; 
Nor man a Christian, till he’s born again. 
The egg’s at first contained in the shell; 
Men, afore grace, in sins and darkness dwell. 
The egg, when laid, by warmth is made a chicken, 
And Christ, by grace, those dead in sin doth quicken. 
The egg, when first a chick, the shell’s its prison; 
So’s flesh to the soul, who yet with Christ is risen. 
The shell doth crack, the chick doth chirp and peep, 
The flesh decays, as men do pray and weep. 
The shell doth break, the chick’s at liberty, 
The flesh falls off, the soul mounts up on high 
But both do not enjoy the self-same plight; 
The soul is safe, the chick now fears the kite. 

2. But chicks from rotten eggs do not proceed, 
Nor is a hypocrite a saint indeed. 
The rotten egg, though underneath the hen, 
If crack’d, stinks, and is loathsome unto men. 
Nor doth her warmth make what is rotten sound; 
What’s rotten, rotten will at last be found. 
The hypocrite, sin has him in possession, 
He is a rotten egg under profession. 

3. Some eggs bring cockatrices; and some men 
Seem hatch’d and brooded in the viper’s den. 
Some eggs bring wild-fowls; and some men there be 
As wild as are the wildest fowls that flee. 
Some eggs bring spiders, and some men appear 
More venom’d than the worst of spiders are.
Some eggs bring piss-ants, and some seem to me 
As much for trifles as the piss-ants be. 
Thus divers eggs do produce divers shapes, 
As like some men as monkeys are like apes. 
But this is but an egg, were it a chick, 
Here had been legs, and wings, and bones to pick.

This entry was posted in Allegory, Art and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to We Must Be Hatched Or Go Bad

  1. Frere Rabit says:

    Brilliant post. Have not seen the references to egg dancing in Bosch before, and I did postgraduate research many years ago exploring the Feast of Fools – with Bosch as a main ingredient – but alas we had no internet in those days and the connecting was harder!


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