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Romantic English

Old Age Drives the Stag out of a Lake and the Hounds Heat, Grief, Cold, Anxiety, Age, and Heaviness Pursue Him: (from The Hunt of the Frail Stag) RE628368

Old Age Drives the Stag out of a Lake and the Hounds Heat, Grief, Cold, Anxiety, Age, and Heaviness Pursue Him: (from The Hunt of the Frail Stag) RE628368

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In this poignant tapestry from "The Hunt of the Frail Stag" series, crafted in the South Netherlandish style around 1500–1525, we witness a symbolic representation of the inexorable march of time and the burdens of human existence.

At the center of the composition, Old Age, depicted as a figure with wrinkled flesh, orchestrates the relentless pursuit of the stag, symbolizing humanity. With her are her faithful hounds: Heat, Grief, Heaviness, Cold, and Anxiety, each embodying the afflictions and tribulations that accompany the passage of time.

The stag, representing mankind, is driven from the tranquility of the lake by the relentless advance of Old Age and her companions. The scene is imbued with a sense of inevitability and poignancy as the stag flees towards the looming presence of Sickness, the dreaded harbinger of mortality.

Above, a French inscription poetically encapsulates the unfolding narrative:

"Then Old Age mounts an all-out assault That drives him from the lake And unleashes upon him Pain and Doubt, Cold and Heat, and thus brings on Care and Trouble to seize him. And Age with wrinkled flesh And Heaviness make him flee Toward Sickness, the dreaded one."

Through this profound allegory, the tapestry serves as a sobering reminder of the transience of human life and the inevitability of facing trials and tribulations as one journeys through the passage of time.

Old Age Drives the Stag out of a Lake and the Hounds Heat, Grief, Cold, Anxiety, Age, and Heaviness Pursue Him: (from The Hunt of the Frail Stag) RE628368

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