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were as before, so that every one hastened to the fire."

This tale was extensively believed, but no one ever suspected that it was by means of diabolical aid that Albertus Magnus performed such wonderful works. He lived, as we shall see, in great and universal esteem, was patronised and promoted by the pope, and looked upon as a sound theologian. He was considered, however, to have prosecuted his researches into the arcana of Nature with so much

success, as to have discovered the true theory of vegetable and animal life, and that he had also attained so great a mastery over the elements that he could hasten or retard their operations at his pleasure. Accordingly we are told of the trees, in a few hours, budding forth into leaf, producing fruit, and ripening that fruit so that it was fit to be eaten; the birds, too, advanced to maturity in the same rapid way, and then, as though by this violent effort their vital force was exhausted, all returned into a wintry state again.




The various recipes given for the transmutation of metals, and indeed all recipes for alchemical secrets are written in a manner so purposely obscure, that if there ever were any meaning in them, it is quite impossible at the present time to say what it was. The students of the art were always told, that under the enigmatical language which caused them so much difficulty, was concealed the direction for a very simple and easy process; that though a veil was thrown over the face of their great goddess, that veil might by her persevering worshippers be removed; and, if ever so long a life were spent in fruitless attempts to fathom the mysteries of alchemy, yet their discovery at the eleventh hour would amply compensate for the previous labor and anxiety. Raymond Lully,' whose works are as voluminous as his fame is great, remarks, “In the art of our magistery nothing is hid by the philosophers except the secret of the art, which is not lawful for any man to reveal, and which, if it were done, he should be cursed, and should incur the indignation of the Lord, and should die of an apoplexy.” The con


See Rev. Sec. Sp. p. 41.

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clusion of Chaucer's “Chanon Yeoman's Tale,"i which, oddly enough, Ashmole has admitted into the “ Theatrum Chemicum Britannicum,” is very much to the same purpose, except that the poet advises, since there is so great a secret, which is so by the especial Providence of God, man shall not attempt to discover it. The Alchemists, on the contrary, say that it is only intended to be concealed from the profane; and that if any man, by long study, do attain to its knowledge, then to him is it revealed by the Divine favor. The mixture of religion and Alchemy will be found pervading every treatise on the subject; and towards the close of the series of “ Hermetic Philosophers,” gave rise to a peculiar school, which will be mentioned in its proper place. Hermes Trismegistus, in one of the treatises ascribed to him, directs the adept to catch the flying

16 . Tell me the rocke,' good sir, quoth he, 'tho'

Of that water, if it be your will.'
Nay, nay,' quoth Plato, 'certain that I nyl
The philosopheris were y-sworne ech-one
That they shuld discover it unto none;
Ne in no book it write in no manere,
For unto Christ it is so lief and dear,
That he wol not that it discovered be,
But where it liketh to his deity
Man to enspyre and eke for to defend
When that hym liketh, lo! this is his end.
Then conclude I thus, sens the God of Heaven
Ne wyl not that the philosopheris nemen,
How that a man shall come unto this stone
I rede as for the best, let it alone.
For whoso maketh God his adversary,
As for to werke any thing in contrary
Unto His will, certes never shall he thrive,
Tho' that he multiply terme of his live.
And there a point, for ended is my tale,

God send every true man bote of his bale." "
CHAUCER's Cant. Tales ; Chanon Yeoman's Tale, conclusion.
? See Hume on Chemical Attraction, p. 14.

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bird, and to drown it, so that it fly no more; by which is meant, the fixation of quicksilver by combination with gold. It is after this to be subjected to the action of “aqua regia,” by which its soul will be dissipated, and it will be united to the red eagle (muriate of gold). This is enigmatical enough ; but it promises something. There is, however, a fragment preserved in Ashmole, which certainly does not tend to mislead the student by rash encouragement. It is this :

“ I asked Philosophy, how I should
Have of her the thing I would.
She answered me, when I was able
To make the water malleable ;
Or else the way if I could find
To measure out a yard of wind,
Then shalt thou have thine own desire
When thou canst weigh an ounce of fire ;
Unless that thou canst do these three,

Content thyself, thou get’st not me.” 1 We must now turn to fuller recipes, rather as matters of curiosity than as casting any light upon the science. The effects of Alchemy are to be sought in the lives and not the works of the adepts, in their influence upon Moral and Natural Philosophy,-on Medicine, and even on Theology; but not in those collections which, under the name of Hermetic treatises, are now doomed to everlasting oblivion.

, One of the shortest, and, as it professes, the clearest of these recipes, is that given in a manuscript in the Cambridge University Library, illustrated by many colored drawings of dragons, eagles, crucibles, and alembics, all of which have an especial reference to the subject. It is of no very great antiquity, and probably may be referred to the beginning of the seventeenth century; but, on account of its great pretension to clearness and comprehensibility, it may be more useful here than older and more recondite documents.

1 Theat. Chem. Brit. p. 435. 2 G. G. viii. 1.

After much religious matter, and exhortations to holiness of life, the writer proceeds, — “I do therefore faithfully testify that the true subject of this art is quicksilver, and this in a double manner, namely, either quicksilver natural, or quicksilver of bodies; that is, the bodies of Sol and Luna into Mercury, — for many and strange things may be performed with either, singly by themselves, or joined together, for it is true that the conjunction of Mercury, of Sol, or Luna, with the compound Mercury, or the bodies or oil of Sol or Luna, dissolved in aquâ mercuriali, doth much hasten the operation of this medicine for metals; but there needs not, as absolutely necessary, any more than the common mercury or quicksilver, either for elixirs or precious stones; only small natural precious stones are to be dissolved in the aquâ mercuriali, so shall you have such stones again as you dissolve, and of what bigness you desire, far exceeding the natural ones. I have now given into thy hands a great secret, in letting thee know, with so much ease, such true matter of the philosopher's stone. I shall, in the next place, give thee a small, and indeed but a small light, to the preparation of common mercury or quicksilver, for the production of such rare secrets of Nature. For common mercury, as Nature produceth it, is not fit for such operations, nor can

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