This text has been modernised by Adam McLean from the 1591 edition of The Compound of Alchymy.
The First Gate
Calcination is the purgation of our stone,
And restoration also of its natural heat.
Of radical humidity it looseth none,
Inducing solution into our stone most mete.
Seek after philosophy I you advise
But not after the common guise,
With sulphur and salts prepared in diverse ways.
Neither with corrosives, nor with fire alone,
Nor with vinegar, nor with ardent water,
Neither with the vapour of lead,
Our stone is calcined according to our intent.
All those who to calcining so be bent,
From this hard science withdraw their hand,
Till they our calcining better understand.
For by such calcining, their bodies will be spoiled,
For it diminishes the moisture of our stone.
Therefore when bodies to powder be burnt,
Dry as ashes of tree or bone,
Of such calxes then will we will have none,
For moisture we multiply radical,
In our calcining, diminishing none at all.
And for a sure ground of our true calcination,
Work wisely only kind with kind.
For kind to kind has appetite and inclination.
He who does not know this, in knowledge is blind,
And may wander forth as mist in the wind,
Knowing never with profit where to alight,
Because he conceives not our words aright.
Join kind to kind therefore as reason is,
For as every young shoot answers its own seed,
Man begets man, a beast a beast, likewise,
Further to treat of this there is no need.
But understand this point if you will succeed,
Each thing is first calcined in its own kind,
This well concealed fruit therein shall you find.
And we make calx unctuous both white and red,
Of three degrees or our base be perfect,
Fluxible as wax, else stand they in little stead.
By right long process as philosophers do write,
A year we take or more for our respite.
For in less space our calxes will not be made,
Able to tinge with colour that will not fade.
And for thy proportions you must beware,
For therein may you be beguiled.
Therefore so that your work will not be marred,
Let your body be subtly filled with Mercury,
As much then so subtiled,
One of the Sun, two of the Moon,
Till altogether like pap be done.
Then make the Mercury four to the Sun,
Two to the Moon as it should be,
And thus your work must be begun,
In figure of the Trinity,
Three of the body and of the spirit three,
And for the unity of the substance spiritual,
One more than of the substance corporeal.
By Raymond's repertory this is true Proportion,
There who choose to look.
The same my Doctor did show to me,
But three of the spirit Bacon took,
To one of the body,
For which I lay awake many a night before I knew it.
And both be true, take which you choose.
If the water also be equal in proportion to the earth,
With heat in due measure,
From them shall spring a new young shoot,
Both white and red in pure tincture,
Which in the fire shall ever endure.
Kill you the quick, the dead revive;
Make trinity unity without any strife.
This is the surest and best proportion,
For where is least of the part spiritual,
The better therefore shall be solution,
Than if you did it swell with water,
Your earth overglutting which loses all,
Take heed therefore to the potter's loam,
And make you never too wet your womb.
That loam behold how it is tempered,
The mean also how it is calcinated,
And ever look you bear this in mind,
That never your earth with water be suffocated.
Dry up your moisture with heat most temperate,
Help Dissolution with moisture of the Moon,
And Congelation with the Sun, then you have done.
Four natures into the fifth so shall you turn,
Which is a nature most perfect and temperate,
But hard it is with your bare foot to spurn,
Against a bar of iron, or steel newly sharpened,
For many do so which be infatuated,
When they such high things take in hand,
Which they in no way do understand.
In eggs, in vitriol, or in blood,
What riches they go there to find.
If they Philosophy understood,
They would not in working be so blind,
To seek Gold and Silver out of their kind.
For like as fire is of the burning principle,
So is the principle of gilding likewise.
If you intend therefore to make,
Gold and Silver by craft of our philosophy,
Take neither eggs nor blood,
But Gold and Silver which naturally Calcined,
Wisely and not manually,
A new generation will be brought forth,
Increasing their kind as does everything.
And if it were true that profit might be,
In things which are not metalline,
In which be colours pleasant to see,
As in blood, eggs, hair, urine or wine,
Or in mean minerals dug out of the mine,
Yet must that element be putrefied and separated,
And with elements of perfect bodies be disposed.
But first make rotation of these elements,
And into water your earth turn first of all,
Then of your water make air by levitation,
And air make fire, then I will call you a Master,
Of all our secrets great and small.
The wheel of Elements then you can turn about,
Truly understanding our writings without doubt.
This done, go backwards, turning the wheel again,
And presently turn your fire into water,
Air into earth, else you will labour in vain.
For so to temperament is brought our stone,
And Nature's contractions, four are made one,
After they have three times been circulated,
And also your base is perfectly consummated.
This under the moisture of the Moon,
And under the temperate heat of the Sun,
Your Elements shall be incinerated soon,
And then you have the mastery won.
Thank God your work was then so begun,
For there you have one true token,
Which first in blackness will be shown to you.
That token we call the Head of the Crow,
And some men call it the Crow's bill,
Some call it the ashes of Hermes tree,
And thus they name it after their will,
Our Toad which eats his fill of the earth,
Some name it by that which it is mortified,
The spirit with venom intoxicated.
But it has an infinity of names, I say,
For it is named after each thing that is seen to be black,
Till the time it waxes white,
Then it has names of more delight,
Called after all things that be full white,
And the red likewise after the same,
Of all red things does take the name,
You are now within the first gate,
Of the Castle where the Philosophers dwell.
Proceed wisely that you may win,
And go though more gates of that Castle.
This Castle is round as any bell,
And gates it has yet eleven more,
One is conquered, now to the second go.
The end of the First Gate.
The Second Gate
Now I will speak a word or two of Solution,
Which reveals what ere was hid from sight,
And makes thin, things that were thick,
By virtue of our first menstruum clear and bright,
In which our bodies have been eclipsed from light,
And of their hard and dry compaction subtilated,
Into their own first matter kindly retrogradated.
One in gender they be, and in number two,
Whose father is the Sun, the Moon the mother,
Mercury moves between,
These and no more be our Magnesia, our Adrop,
And no other things be here, but only sister and brother,
That is to mean, agent and patient,
Sulphur and Mercury, co-essential to our intent.
Betwixt these two, equally contrary,
Engendered is our mean most marvellous,
Which is our Mercury and unctuous menstrum,
Our secret Sulphur working invisibly,
More fiercely than fire burning the body,
Dissolving the body into mineral water,
Which we do call night or darkness in the North.
But yet I trust, you understand not utterly,
The very secret of the Philosopher's Dissolution.
Therefore understand me, I counsel you wisely,
For the truth I will tell you without delusion,
Our Solution is cause of our Congelation,
For Dissolution on the one side corporeal,
Causes Congelation on the other side spiritual.
And we dissolve into water which wets no hand,
For when the earth is integrally incinerated,
Then is the water congealed; this understand,
For the elements be so together concatenated,
That when the body is from his first form altered,
A new form is induced immediately,
For nothing is without form utterly.
And here a secret I will disclose to you,
Which is the ground unto our secrets all,
Which if you do not know you shall but lose,
Thy labour and costs both great and small.
Take heed therefore that in error you not fall,
The more your earth, and the less your water be,
The rather and better solution shall you see.
Behold how ice to water does relent,
And so it must, for water it was before,
Right so again to water our earth is gone,
And water thereby congealed for evermore.
For after all Philosophers that ever were born,
Each metal was once mineral water,
Therefore with water they turn to water all.
In which water of kind occassionate,
Of qualities been repugnant and diversity.
Things into things must therefore be rotated,
Until diversity be brought to perfect unity.
For Scripture records when the earth shall be troubled,
And into the deep sea shall be cast,
Mountains and bodies likewise at the last.
Our bodies be likened conveniently to mountains,
Which after high Planets we name,
Into the deepness therefore of Mercury,
Turn them, and keep you out of blame,
For then you shall see a noble game,
How all shall become powder as soft as silk,
So does our rennet kindly curd our milk.
Then have the bodies lost their first form,
And others been induced immediately,
Then you have well bestowed your cost,
Whereas others uncunningly must go by,
Not knowing the secrets of our Philosophy.
Yet one point more I must tell thee,
How each body has dimensions three.
Altitude, Latitude and also Profundity,
By which always we must turn our wheel,
Knowing that your entrance in the West shall be,
Your passage forth to the North if you do well,
And there your lights lose their light each deal,
For there you must abide by ninety nights,
In darkness of purgatory without lights.
Then take your course up to the East anon,
By colours variable, passing in manifold ways,
And then be winter and spring nigh overgone,
To the East therefore devise your ascending,
For there the Sun with daylight does uprise in summer,
And there disport you with delight,
For there your work shall become perfect white.
Forth from the East into the South ascend,
And sit you down there in the chair of fire,
For there is harvest, that is to say an end
Of all this work after your own desire,
There shines the Sun up in his Hemisphere,
And after the eclipse is in redness with glory,
To reign as King upon all metals and Mercury.
All in one glass must all this thing be done,
Like to an egg in shape and closed well,
Then you must know the measure of firing,
Which if unknown your work is lost each deal.
Never let your glass be hotter than you may feel,
And suffer still in your bare hand to hold,
For fear of losing, as Philosophers have told.
Yet to my doctrine futhermore attend,
Beware your glass you never open nor move,
From the beginning until you have made an end,
If you do otherwise, your work may never achieve,
Thus in this Chapter, which is but brief,
I have taught you your true Solution,
Now to the third gate go, for this is won.
The end of the second gate
The Third Gate
Separation does each part from the other divide,
The subtle from the gross, the thick from the thin,
But look you set aside manual Separation,
For that pertains to fools that little good do win,
But in our Separation Nature does not cease,
Making division of qualities elemental,
Into a fifth degree till they be turned all.
Earth is turned into water black and blue,
And water after into air under very white,
Then air into fire, elements there be no more,
Of these is made our stone of great delight,
But of this Separation much more must we write,
And Separation is called by Philosophers definition,
Tetraptative dispersion of the said four elements.
Of this Separation I find a like figure,
Spoken by the prophet in the psalmody,
God brought out of a stone a flood of water pure,
And out of the hardest rock oil abundantly,
So out of our precious stone if you be wise,
Oil incombustible and water you shall draw,
And thereabouts you need not at the coals to blow.
Do this with heat easy and nourishing,
First with moist fire and after that with dry,
Drawing out the phlegm with patience,
And after that the other Natures wisely,
Dry up thine earth till it be thirsty,
By Calcination, else you labour in vain,
And then make it drink up the moisture again.
Thus you must oftentimes make Separation,
Dividing your waters into two parts,
So that the subtle from the gross you take,
Till the earth remain below in colour blue,
That earth is fixed to abide all woe,
The other part is spiritual and flying,
But you must turn them all into one thing.
Then oil and water with water shall distil,
And through its help receive moving,
Keep well these two that you not spoil,
Your work for lack of due closing,
And make your stopple of glass,
Melting the top of your vessel together with it,
Then Philosopher-like it is shut up.
The water wherewith you may revive the stone,
Look you distil before you work with it,
Oftentimes by itself alone,
And by this sight you shall well know,
When it is quit from feculent faeces,
For some men can it with Saturn multiply,
And other substances which we defy.
Distil it therefore till it be clean,
And thin like water as it should be,
As heaven in colour bright and shine,
Keeping both figure and ponderosity,
Therewith did Hermes moisten his tree,
Within his glass he made it grow upright,
With flowers coloured beautiful to sight.
This water is like to the venomous Tyre,
Wherewith the mighty miracle is wrought,
For it is a poison most strong of ire,
A stronger poison cannot be thought,
At apothecaries therefore it is often sought,
But no man shall be intoxicated by it,
From the time it is elixerated into medicine.
For then it is the miracle true,
It is of poison most expulsive,
And in its workings does marvels show,
Preserving many from death to life,
But look you meddle it with no corrosive,
But choose it pure and quick running,
If thou thereby will have winning.
It is a marvellous thing in kind,
And without it nothing can be done,
Therefore did Hermes call it his wind,
For it flies up from Sun and Moon,
And makes our stone to fly with it soon,
Reviving the dead and giving life,
To Sun and Moon, husband and wife.
Which if they were not by craft made quick,
And their fatness with water drawn out,
So the thin was severed from the thick,
You should never bring this work about,
If you will speed therefore without doubt,
Raise up the birds out of their nest,
And after again bring them to rest.
Water with water will accord and ascend,
And spirit with spirit, for they be of one kind,
Which after they be exalted make to descend,
So shall you divide that which Nature formerly did bind,
Mercury essential turning into wind,
Without which natural and subtle Separation,
May never complete profitable generation.
Now to help you in at this gate,
The last secret I will tell to you,
Your water must be sublimated seven times,
Else no kindly Dissolution shall be,
And you shall not see putrefying,
Like liquid pitch, nor colours appearing,
For lack of fire working within your glass.
There are four fires which you must understand,
Natural, unnatural, against Nature also,
And elemental which does burn the brand.
These four fires we use and no more,
Fire against nature must do your bodily woe,
This is our Dragon as I you tell,
Fiercely burning as the fire of hell.
Fire of nature is the third menstrual,
That fire is natural in each thing,
But fire occasional, we call unnatural,
As heat of ashes, and baths for putrefying,
Without these fires you may nought bring to Putrefaction,
For to be separate,
Your matters together proportionate.
Therefore make fire within your glass,
Which burns the body more than fire Elemental,
If you will win our secrets,
According to your desire.
Then shall your seeds both rot and spire,
By help of fire occasional,
That kindly after they may be separated.
Of Separation the Gate must thus be won,
That furthermore yet you may proceed,
Towards the Gate of secret Conjunction,
Into the inner Castle which will you lead,
Do after my counsel if you will speed,
With two strong locks this Gate is shut,
As consequently you shall well know.
The end of the Third Gate.
The Fourth Gate
After the chapter of natural Separation,
By which the elements of our Stone be dissevered,
Here follows the chapter of secret Conjunction,
Which Natures repugnant joins to perfect unity.
And so them knitteth that none from the other may flee,
When they by fire shall be examined,
They be together so surely conjugated.
And therefore Philosophers give this definition,
Saying this Conjunction is nothing else,
But a copulation of dissevered qualities,
Or a co-equation of principles, as others tell,
But some men with Mercury that the Apothecary sells,
Meld bodies which cannot divide their matter,
And therefore they slip aside.
For until the time the soul be separated,
And cleansed from its original sin with the water,
And thoroughly spiritualised,
The true Conjunction you may never begin.
Therefore the soul first from the body twin,
Then of the corporeal part and of the spiritual.
The soul shall cause perpetual conjunction.
Of two conjunctions the philosophers do mention make,
Gross when the body with Mercury is reincrudate,
But let this pass, and to the second take heed,
Which is as I have said, after separation celebrated,
In which the parties be left with least to colligate,
And so promoted unto a most perfect temperance,
That never after amongst them may be repugnance.
Thus Separation causes true Conjunction to be had,
Of water and air, with earth and fire,
But that each element into other may be laid,
And so abide for ever to your desire,
Do as do daubers with clay or mire,
Temper them thick and make them not too thin,
So do updrying, you shall the rather win.
But manners there be of our Conjunction three,
The first is called Diptative by Philosophers,
Which between the agent and patient must be,
Male and female, Mercury and Sulphur vive,
Matter and form, thin and thick to thrive,
This lesson will help thee without any doubt,
And our Conjunction truly to bring about.
The second manner is called Triptative,
Which is Conjunction, made of things three,
Of body, soul and spirit, that they not strive,
Which trinity you must bring to unity,
For as the soul to the spirit must bonded be,
So the body must the soul to him knit,
Out of thy mind let not this lesson flit.
The third manner and also the last of all,
Four Elements together which join to abide,
Tetraptative certainly the Philosophers do call it,
And especially Guido de Montano whose fame goes wide,
And therefore in most laudable manner this tide,
In our Conjunction four elements must aggregate in due proportion,
Which first were separated asunder.
Therefore like as the woman has veins fifteen,
And the man has but five to the act of their fecundity,
Required in our Conjunction first I mean,
So must the man our Sun have of his water three,
And nine his wife, which three to him must be.
Then like with like will joy have for to dwell,
More of Conjunction I needeth not to tell.
This chapter I will conclude right soon,
Therefore gross Conjunction charging thee to make but one,
For seldom have strumpets children of them bore,
And so you shall never come by our stone,
Without you let the woman lie alone,
That after she has once conceived of the man,
Her matrix be shut up from all others then.
For such as add ever more crude to crude,
Opening their vessel letting their matters cool,
The sperm conceived they nourish not but delude themselves,
And spoil their work each time.
If you therefore wish to do well,
Close up your matrix and nourish the seed,
With continual and temperate heat if you will speed.
And when your vessel has stood by five months,
And clouds and eclipses be passed each one,
The light appearing, increase your heat, then believe,
Until bright and shining in whiteness be your Stone.
Then may you open your glass anon,
And feed your child which is born,
With milk and meat, aye more and more.
For now both moist and dry is so contemperated,
That of the water earth has received impression,
Which never after that asunder may be separate,
So water to earth has given ingression,
That both together to dwell have made profession,
And water of earth has purchased a retinue,
They four made one never more to strive.
Thus in two things all our intent does hang,
In dry and moist, which are two contraries.
In dry, that it bring the moist to fixing,
In moist, that it give liquefaction to the earth also,
That of them a temperament may thus go forth,
A temperament not so thick as the body is,
Neither so thin as water without miss.
Loosing and knitting thereof be two principles,
Of this hard science, and poles most principal,
How be it that other principles be many more,
As shining fanes which I shall show,
Proceed therefore unto another wall,
Of this strong Castle of our Wisdom,
That in at the fifth Gate you may come.
The end of the Fourth Gate.
The Fifth Gate
Now we begin the chapter of Putrefaction,
Without which pole no seed may multiply,
Which must be done only by continual action,
Of heat in the body, moist not manually.
For bodies else may not be altered naturally,
Since Christ doth witness, unless the grain of wheat die in the ground,
Increase may thou not get.
And likewise unless the matter putrefy,
It may in no way truly be altered,
Neither may thy elements be divided kindly,
Nor the conjunction of them perfectly celebrated,
That thy labour therefore be not frustrated,
The privitie of our putrefying well understand,
Before ever you take this work in hand.
And Putrefaction may thus be defined, after philosophers sayings,
To be the slaying of bodies,
And in our compound a division of things three,
Leading forth into the corruption of killed bodies,
And after enabling them unto regeneration,
For things being in the earth, without doubt,
Be engendered of rotation in the heavens about.
And therefore as I have said before,
Thine elements commixed and wisely coequate,
Thou keep in temperate heat,
Eschewing evermore that they be not incinerate by violent heat,
To dry powder, unprofitably rubificated,
But into powder black as a crow's bill,
With heat of the Bath or else of our dunghill.
Until the time that ninety nights be passed,
In moist heat keep them for any thing,
Soon after by blackness you shall espy,
That they draw close to putrefying,
Which after many colours you shall bring,
With patience easily to perfect whiteness,
And so thy seed in his nature will multiply.
Make each the other then to hug and kiss,
And like as children to play them up and down,
And when their shirts are filled with piss,
Then let the woman to wash be bound,
Which often for faintness will fall in a swoon,
And die at last with her children all,
And go to purgatory to purge their filth original.
When they be there, by little and little increase,
Their pains with heat, aye, more and more,
Never let the fire from them cease,
And see that thy furnace be apt therefore,
Which wise men call an Athanor,
Conserving heat required most temperately,
By which thy matter doth kindly putrefy.
Of this principle speaks wise Guido,
And sayeth "by rotting dieth the compound corporeal",
And then after Morien and others more,
Upriseth again regenerated, simple and spiritual,
And were not heat and moisture continual,
Sperm in the womb might have no abiding,
And so there should be no fruit thereof upspring.
Therefore at the beginning our stone thou take,
And bury each one in other within their grave,
Then equally between them a marriage make,
To lie together six weeks let them have their seed conceived,
Kindly to nourish and save,
From the ground of their grave not rising that while,
Which secret point doth many a one beguile.
This time of conception with easy heat abide,
The blackness showing shall tell you when they die,
For they together like liquid pitch that tide,
Shall swell and bubble, settle and putrefy,
Shining colours therein you shall espy,
Like to the rainbow marvellous to sight,
The Water then beginneth to dry upright.
For in moist bodies, heat working temperate,
Engenders blackness first of all,
Which is the assigned token of kindly Conjunction,
And of true Putrefaction: remember this,
For then perfectly to alter thou can not miss,
And thus by the gate of blackness thou must come in,
To light of Paradise in whiteness if you wilt win.
For first the Sun in his uprising shall be obscured,
And pass the waters of Noah's flood on earth,
Which was continued a hundred and fifty days,
Ere this water went away,
Right so our waters shall pass (as wise men understood),
That you with David shall say,
"Abierunt in sicco flumina" : bear this away.
Soon after that Noah planted his vineyard,
Which royally flourished and brought forth grapes,
After which space you shall not be afraid,
For it likewise shall follow the nourishing of our stone,
And soon after that 30 days be gone,
You shall have grapes right as ruby red,
Which is our Adrop, our Ucifer, and our red lead.
For like as souls after pains transitory,
Be brought to Paradise, which ever is joyful life,
So shall our stone after his darkness in Purgatory be purged,
And joined in Elements without strife,
Rejoice the whiteness and beauty of his wife,
And pass from darkness of purgatory to light of Paradise,
In whiteness Elixir of great might.
And that you may the rather to putrefaction win,
This example take you for a true conclusion,
For all the secret of Putrefaction rests therein,
The heart of oak that hath of water continual infusion,
Will not soon putrefy, I tell you without delusion,
For though it lay in water a hundred years and more,
Yet should you find it sound as ere it was before.
But if you keep it sometimes wet and sometimes dry,
As thou may see in timber by usual experiment,
By process of time that oak shall utterly putrefy,
And so likewise according to our intent,
Sometimes our tree must with the Sun be burnt,
And then with water we must make it cool,
That by this means to rotting we may bring it well.
For now in wet, and now again in dry,
And now in heat, and now again to be in cold,
Shall cause it soon to putrefy,
And so shall thou bring to rotting your gold,
Treat thy bodies as I have thee told,
And in thy putrefying with heat be not too swift,
Lest in the ashes thou seek after your thrift.
Therefore your water you draw out of the earth,
And make the soul therewith to ascend,
Then down again into the earth it throw,
That they oftentimes so ascend and descend,
From violent heat and sudden cold descend your glass,
And make your fire so temperate,
That by the sides the matter be not vitrified.
And be you wise in choosing of the matter,
Meddle with no salts, sulphurs nor mean minerals,
For whatsoever any worker to thee does clatter,
Our Sulphur and Mercury be only in metals,
Which some men call oils and waters,
Fowls and bird, with many other names,
So that fools should never know our stone.
For of this world our stone is called the ferment,
Which moved by craft as nature does require,
In his increase shall be full opulent,
And multiply his kind after thine own desire,
Therefore is God vouchsafe you to inspire,
To know the truth, and fancies to eschew,
Like unto you in riches shall be but few.
But many men be moved to work after their fantasy,
In many subjects in which be tinctures gay,
Both white and red divided manually to sight,
But in the fire they fly away,
Such break pots and glasses day by day,
Poisoning themselves and losing their sight,
With odours, smokes, and watching up by nights.
Their clothes be bawdy and worn threadbare,
Men may them smell for multipliers where they go,
To file their fingers with corrosives they do not spare,
Their eyes be bleary, their cheeks lean and blue,
And thus I know they suffer loss and woe,
And such when they have lost that was in their purse,
Then do they chide, and Philosophers sore do curse.
To see their houses is a noble sport,
What furnaces, what glasses there be of diverse shapes,
What salts, what powders, what oils, or acids,
How eloquently of Materia Prima their tongues do clap,
And yet to find the truth they have no hope,
Of our Mercury they meddle and of our sulphur vive,
Whereon they dote, and more and more unthrive.
For all the while they have Philosophers been,
Yet could they never know what was our Stone,
Some sought it in dung, in urine, some in wine,
Some in star slime (some thing it is but one),
In blood and eggs : some till their thrift was gone,
Dividing elements, and breaking many a pot,
Shards multiplying, but yet they hit it not.
They talk of the red man and of his white wife,
That is a special thing, and of the Elixirs two,
Of the Quintessence, and of the Elixir of life,
Of honey, Celidonie, and of Secondines also,
These they divide into Elements, with others more,
No multipliers, but will they be called Philosophers,
Which natural Philosophy did never read or see.
This fellowship knows our Stone right well,
They think them richer than is the King,
They will him help, he shall not fail,
To win for France a wondrous thing,
The holy Cross home will they bring,
And if the King were taken prisoner,
Right soon his ransom would they make.
A marvel it is that Westminster Kirk,
Which these Philosophers do much haunt,
Since they can so much riches work,
As they make boast of and avaunt,
Drinking daily at the wine due taunt,
Is not made up perfectly at once,
For truly it lacketh yet many stones.
Fools do follow them at their tail,
Promoted to riches wishing to be,
But will you hear what worship and avail,
They win in London that noble city ?
With silver maces (as you may see),
Sargents awaiteth on them each hour,
So be they men of great honour.
Sargents seek them from street to street,
Merchants and Goldsmiths lay after them to watch,
That well is him that with them may meet,
For the great advantage that they do catch,
They hunt about as does a dog,
Expecting to win so great treasure,
That ever in riches they shall endure.
Some would catch their goods again,
And some more good would adventure,
Some for to have would be full fain,
Of ten pounds one, I you ensure,
Some which have lent their goods without measure,
And are with poverty clad,
To catch a noble, would be full glad.
But when the Sargents do them arrest,
Their pockets be stuffed with Paris balls,
Or with signets of St Martin's at the least,
But as for money it is pissed against the walls,
Then they be led (as well for them befalls),
To Newgate or Ludgate as I you tell,
Because they shall in safeguard dwell.
Where is my money become, saith one ?
And where is mine, saith he and he ?
But will you hear how subtle they be anon,
In answering that they excused be,
Saying of our Elixirs we were robbed,
Else might we have paid you all your gold,
Though it had been more by ten-fold.
And then their creditors they flatter so,
Promising to work for them again,
In right short space the two Elixirs,
Doting the Merchants that they be fain,
To let them go, but ever in vain,
They work so long, till at the last,
They be again in prison cast.
If any them ask why they be not rich ?
They say that they can make fine gold of tin,
But he (say they) may surely swim the ditch,
Which is upholded by the chin,
We have no stock, therefore may we not win,
Which if we had, we would soon work enough,
To finish up Westminster Kirk.
And some of them be so devout,
They will not dwell out of that place,
For they may without doubt,
Do what them list to their solace,
The Archdeacon is so full of grace,
That if they bless him with their cross,
He forceth little of other mens loss.
And when they there sit at the wine,
These monks they say have many a pound,
Would God (saith one) have some were mine,
Yet care away, let the cup go round,
Drink on saith another, the mean is found,
I am a master of that Art,
I warrant us we shall have part
Such causes Monks evil to do,
To waste their wages through their dotage,
Some bringeth a mazer, and some a spoon,
Their Philosophers gives them such comage,
Behighting them winning with domage,
A pound for a penny at the least again,
And so fair promises make fools fain.
A Royal medicine one upon twelve,
They promise them thereof to have,
Which they could never for themselves,
Yet bring about, so God me save,
Beware such Philosophers no man deprave,
Which help these Monks to riches so,
In threadbare coats that they must go.
The Abbot ought well to cherish this company,
For they can teach his Monks to live in poverty,
And to go clothed and monied religiously,
As did Saint Bennet, eschewing superfluity,
Easing them also of the ponderosity of their purses,
With pounds so aggravated,
Which by Philosophy be now alleviated.
Lo who meddles with this rich company,
Great boast of their winning they may make,
For they shall reap as much by their Philosophy,
As they of the tail of an ape can take,
Beware therefore for Jesus' sake,
And meddle with nothing of great cost,
For if thou do, it is but lost.
These Philosophers (of which I spoke before),
Meddle and blunder with many a thing,
Running in errors ever more and more,
For lack of true understanding,
But like must always bring forth like,
So hath God ordained in every kind,
Would Jesus they would bear this is mind.
They expect of a Nettle to have a Rose,
Or of an Elder to have an apple sweet,
Alas, that wisemen their goods should lose,
Trusting such doctrines when they them meet,
Which say our Stone is trodden under foot,
And makes them vile things to distil,
Till all their houses with stench they fill.
Some of them never learned a word in Schools,
Should such by reason understand Philosophy ?
Be they Philosophers ? Nay, they be fools.
For their works prove them without wit,
Meddle not with them, if you would be happy,
Lest with their flattery they so thee till,
That you agree unto their will.
Spend not thy money away in waste,
Give not to every spirit credence,
But first examine, grope and taste,
And as thou provest, so put your confidence,
But ever beware of great expense,
And if the Philosopher do live virtuously,
The better you may trust his Philosophy.
Prove him first, and him appose,
Of all the secrets of our Stone,
Which if he know not, you need not to lose,
Meddle you no further, but let him be gone,
Though he make ever so piteous a moan,
For then the Fox can fagg and faine,
When he would to his prey attain.
If he can answer as a Clerk,
How he has not proved it indeed,
And you then help him to his work,
If he be virtuous I hold it merited,
For he will thee quite if ever he speeds,
And thou shalt know by a little anon,
If he have knowledge of our Stone.
One thing, one glass, one furnace, and no more,
Behold if he does hold this principle,
And if he do not, then let him go,
For he shall never make thee a rich man,
Timely it is better you forsake him,
Than after with loss and variance,
And other manner of unpleasance.
But if God fortune you to have,
This Science by doctrine which I have told,
Reveal it not to whosoever it craves,
For favour, fear, silver or gold.
Be no oppressor, lecher not boaster bold,
Serve thy God and help among the poor,
If you wish this life to continue long.
Unto thyself your secrets ever keep,
From sinners, who have not God in dread,
But will cast you in prison deep,
Till you teach them to do it indeed,
Then slander on you shall spring and spread,
That you do coin then will they say,
And so undo you for ever and aye.
And if you teach them this cunning,
Their sinful living for to maintain,
In hell therefore shall be your winning,
For God will take disdain of you and them,
As thou nought could therefore you faine,
That body and soul you may both save,
And here in peace to have your living.
Now in this Chapter I have taught you,
How you must putrefy your body,
And so to guide you that you be not caught,
And put to durance loss and villany
My doctrine therefore remember wisely,
And pass forth towards the sixth gate,
For thus the fifth is triumphate.
The end of the Fifth Gate
The Sixth Gate
Of Congelation I need not much to write,
But what it is, I will to you declare.
It is the induration of soft things of colour white,
And the fixation together of spirits which are flying,
How to congeal, you need not much to care,
For Elements will knit together soon,
So that Putrefaction be kindly done.
But Congelations be made in divers ways,
Of spirits and bodies dissolved to water clear,
Of salts also dissolved twice or thrice,
And then congealed into a fluxible matter;
Of such congealing, fools fast do clatter,
And some dissolve, dividing the Elements manually,
And congealing them after to a dry powder.
But such congealing is not to our desire,
For unto ours it is contrary,
Our congelation dreads not the fire :
For it must ever stand in it unctuous,
And so it is also a tincture so bounteous,
Which in the air congealed will not relent to water,
For then our work were spoiled.
Moreover congeal not into so hard a stone,
As glass or crystal, which melteth by fusion,
But so that it like wax will melt anon
Without blast: and beware of delusion,
For such congealing accords not to our conclusion,
As will not flow, but run to water again,
Like salt congealed, then labour you in vain.
Which congelation avails us not a deal,
It longeth to multipliers, congealing vulgarly,
If you therefore wish to do well,
(So that the medicine shall never flow kindly,
Neither congeal, without you putrefy it first)
First purge, and then fix the elements of our stone,
Till they together congeal and flow anon.
For when your matter is made perfectly white,
Then will the spirit with the body be congealed,
But of that time you may have long respite,
Or it congeal, like pearls in your sight,
Such congelation be you glad to see,
And after like grains red as blood,
Richer than any worldly good.
The earthly grossness therefore first mortified,
In moisture blackness is engendered;
This principle may not be denied,
For natural philosophers so say, I declare,
Which had, of whiteness you may not miss;
And into whiteness if thou congeal it once,
Then have you a stone most precious of all stones.
And like as the moist did putrefy the dry,
Which caused in colour blackness to appear,
So the moist is congealed by the dry,
Engendering whiteness shining with might full clear,
And dryness proceeding as the matter whitens,
Like as in blackness moisture does him show,
By colours variant always new and new.
The cause of this is heat most temperate,
Working and moving the matter continually,
And thereby also the matter is altered,
Both inward and outward substantially,
Not as do fools to their sophistical sight;
But in every part all fire to endure,
Fluxible, fixed and stable in tincture.
As Physic determines of each digestion,
First done in the stomach in which is dryness,
Causing whiteness without question,
Like as the second digestion causes redness,
Completed in the liver by temperate heat,
Right so our Stone by dryness and by heat,
Is digested to white and red complete.
But here you must another secret know,
How the Philosophers child in the air is born,
Busy you not to blow at the coal too fast,
And take this neither for mockery or scorn,
But trust me truly, else is all your work forlorn,
Without your earth with water be revived,
Our true congealing you shall never see.
A soul it is, being betwixt heaven and earth,
Arising from the earth as air with water pure,
And causing life in every lively thing,
Incessant running upon our four fold nature,
Enforcing to better them with all its cure,
Which air is the fire of our Philosophy,
Named now oil, now water mystically.
And by this means air which we call oil or water,
Our fire, our ointment, our spirit, and our Stone,
In which one thing we ground our wisdoms all,
Goes neither in nor out alone,
Nor the fire but the water anon.
First it leads out, and after it brings in,
As water with water, which will not lightly twin.
And so may water only our water move,
Which moving causes both death and life
And water to water doth kindly cleave,
Without repugnance or any strife,
Which water to fools is nothing rife,
Being without doubt of the kind of the Spirit,
Called water and that which leads out.
And water is the secret and life of every thing
Of substance found in this world,
For of water each thing has its beginning,
As is shown in women, when they are unbound,
Of water called Albumen, which passes before if all be sound,
First from them running,
With grievous throes before their childing.
And truly that is the most principal cause,
Why Philosophers charge us to be patient,
Till in time the water be dried all to powder,
With nourishing heat, continual, not violent;
For qualities be contrary of every element,
Till after black in white be made a union,
Of them for ever, congealed without division.
And furthermore, the preparation of this conversion,
From thing to thing, from one state to another,
Is done only by kindly and discrete operation of Nature,
As is of sperm within the mother;
For sperm and heat, are as sister and brother,
Which be converted in themselves as nature can,
By action and passion at last to perfect man.
For as the bodily part by nature was combined,
Into man, is such as the beginner was,
Which though it thus from thing to thing was altered,
Not out of kind, to mix with other kind did pass,
And so our matter spermatical within our glass,
Within itself must turn from thing to thing,
By most temperate heat only nourishing it.
Another natural example I may tell you,
How the substance of an egg by nature is wrought
Into a chicken without passing out of the shell,
A plainer example I could not have thought,
And their conversions be made till forth be brought,
From state to state, the like by like in kind,
With nourishing heat : only bear this in mind.
Another example here also you may read,
Of vegetable things, taking consideration,
How every thing grows of its own seed,
Through heat and moisture, by natural operation,
And therefore minerals be nourished by the administration
Of radical moisture, which was their beginning,
Not passing their kind within one glass.
There we turn them from thing to thing again,
Into their mother the water when they go,
Which principle unknown, you labourest in vain.
Then all is sperm ; and things there be no more,
But kind with kind in number two,
Male and female, agent and patient,
Within the matrix of the earth most orient.
And these be turned by heat from thing to thing
Within one glass, and so from state to state,
Until the time that nature does bring them,
Into one substance of the water regenerate:
And so the sperm with his kind is altered,
Able in likeness his kind to multiply,
As does in kind all other things naturally.
In the time of this said natural process,
While that the conceived sperm is growing
The substance is nourished with his own menstrual,
Which water only out of the earth did spring,
Whose colour is green in the first showing;
And from that time the Sun hides his light,
Taking his course throughout the North by night.
The said menstrual (I say to you in counsel)
The blood of our green Lion and not of vitriol,
Dame Venus can the truth of this tell to you,
At the beginning, to counsel if you call her,
The secret is hid by Philosophers great and small,
Which blood drawn out of our green Lion,
For lack of heat had not perfect digestion.
But this blood called our secret menstrual,
Wherewith our sperm is nourished temperately,
When it is turned into the corporeal faeces,
And so become perfectly white and very dry,
Congealed and fixed into his own body,
Then decocted blood to sight it may well seem,
Of this work named the milk white diadem.
Understand now that our fiery water thus sharp,
Is called our menstrual water,
Wherein our earth is loosed and naturally calcined,
By congelation that they may never twine,
But yet to congeal more water you may not hesitate,
Into three parts of the acuate water said before,
With the fourth part of the earth congealed and no more.
Unto that substance therefore so congelate,
The fourth part put of crystalline water,
And make them then together to be disposed,
By congelation into a miner metalline,
Which like a new slipped sword will shine,
After the blackness which first will show,
The fourth part then give it of water new.
Many imbibitions it must have yet,
Give it the second, and after the third also,
The said proportion keeping in your wit,
Then to another the fourth time look you go,
Therefore pass not the fifth time and the sixth,
But put two parts at each time of them three,
And at the seventh time five parts must there be.
When you have made imbibition seven times,
Again you must turn your wheel,
And putrefy all that matter without addition,
First abiding blackness if you will do well,
Then into whiteness congeal it up each deal,
And after by redness into the south ascend,
Then have you brought your base to an end.
Thus is your water then divided into two parts,
With the first part the bodies be putrefied,
And to your imbibitions the second part must go,
With which your matter is afterward denigrated,
And soon upon easy decoction albificated,
Then is it named by Philosophers our starry stone,
Bring that to redness, then is the sixth gate won.
The end of the Sixth Gate
The Seventh Gate
Now I turn my pen to write of Cibation,
Since it must here the seventh place occupy:
But in few words it will be expedited,
Take heed therefore, and understand me wisely;
Cibation is called a feeding of our dry matter,
With milk and meat, which moderately you do,
Until it be brought unto the third order.
But give it never so much, that you it glut,
Beware of dropsy, and also of Noah's flood:
By little and little therefore you to it put
Of meat and drink, as seems to do it good,
That watery humours not overgrow the blood,
To drink therefore let it be measured so,
That you never quench it from that kindly appetite.
For if it drink too much, then it must have
A vomit or else it will be sick too long from the dropsy
Therefore thy womb thou save,
And from the flux, or else it will be wrong,
But rather let it thirst for drink along
Than you should give it overmuch at once.
Which must in youth be dieted for the nonce.
And if you diet it (as nature does require) moderately,
Till time that it be grown to age,
Keeping it from cold, and nourishing it with moist fire,
Then it shall grow, and wax full of courage,
And do to you both pleasure and advantage;
For it shall make dark bodies whole and bright,
Cleansing their leprosies through its might.
Three time must you also turn about your wheel,
Still keeping the rule of the said Cibation,
And then as soon as it does feel the fire,
Like wax it will be ready unto liquation:
This chapter needs no longer protestation,
For I have told you the diet most convenient,
After thine elements be made equipolent.
And also how you shall bring thy gold to whiteness,
Most like in figure to leaves of the hawthorn tree,
Called Magnesia, as I have told before,
And our White Sulphur without combustibility,
Which from the fire will never fly away.
And thus the seventh gate (as you desired)
In the uprising of the Sun is conquered.
The end of the seventh gate
The Eighth Gate
Here of our Sublimation a word or two
I have to speak, which is the eighth gate.
Fools do sublime, but you do not sublime so,
For we sublime not in the way they do,
To sublime truly therefore you shall not miss,
If you can make they bodies first spiritual,
And then your spirits (as I have taught you) corporeal.
Some do sublime Mercury from vitriol and salt,
And other spirits from scales of iron and steel,
Calcined from egg shells, and from quicklime,
And in their manner yet sublime they right well,
But such subliming accords never a deal,
To our intents, for we sublime not so,
To true subliming therefore, now I will go.
In Sublimation first beware of one thing,
That thou sublime to the top of the vessel;
For without violence you shall not bring it down again,
But there it will abide and dwell.
So I tell you it rejoices with refrigeration,
Keep it down therefore with temperate heat,
Full forty days, till it wax black and brown.
For then the soul begins to come out
From his own veins, for all that is subtle,
Will with the spirit ascend without doubt,
Bear in your mind therefore, and think on this,
How here eclipsed be your bodies,
As they do putrefy subliming more and more into water
Until they be all borne upwards.
And thus when they have spued out their venom,
Into the water then it does appear black,
Becoming spiritual each deal without doubt,
Subliming easily in our manner,
Into the water, which does bear it:
For in the air our child must thus be born
Of the water again, as I have said before.
But when these two by continual Sublimation,
Be laboured so with heat both moist and temperate,
That is all white and purely made spiritual,
Then heaven upon earth must be reiterated,
Until the soul with the body be incorporated,
That earth become all that before was heaven,
Which will be done in seven Sublimations.
And Sublimations we make for three causes,
The first cause is, to make the body spiritual,
The second is, that the spirit may be corporeal ,
And become fixed with it and consubstantial,
The third cause is, that from its filthy original
It may be cleansed, and its saltiness sulphurious,
May be diminished in it, which is infectious.
Then when they thus together be freed from impurities,
They will sublime up whiter than the snow;
That sight will greatly comfort you :
For then anon perfectly you shalt know,
The spirits shall so be thrown down,
That this eighth gate shall to thee be unlocked,
Out of which many are shut and mocked.
The end of the eighth gate
The Ninth Gate
True Fermentation few workers understand,
That secret therefore I will expound to you.
I travelled truly through many a land,
Ere ever I might find any that would tell it me :
Yet as God would, evermore blessed be he,
At at last I came to the perfected knowledge thereof,
Take heed therefore what I thereof do write.
Fermentations in divers manners be done,
By which our medicine must be perpetuated,
Into clear water - some looseth Sun and Moon,
And with their medicines make them to be congealed;
Which in the fire when they be examined,
May not abide, nor alter with complement:
For such fermenting is not to our intent.
But yet more kindly some other men do,
Fermenting their medicines in this way -
In Mercury dissolving both Sun and Moon,
Till time with the spirit they will arise,
Subliming them together twice or thrice;
Then Fermentation therewith they make;
That is a way, but yet we it forsake.
Some others there be which have more sense,
To touch the truth in part of fermenting -
They amalgam their bodies with Mercury like pap,
Then thereupon their medicines relenting;
These of our secrets have some hint,
But not the truth with perfect complement
Because they neither putrefy, nor alter their Ferment.
That point therefore I will disclose to you,
Look how you did with your imperfect body -
Do so with thy perfect bodies in each degree,
That is to say, first you putrefy them,
Destroying their former qualities utterly,
For this is wholly to our intent,
That first you alter before you ferment.
To your compound make ferment the fourth part,
Which ferments be only of Sun and Moon,
If you therefore be master of this art,
Your fermentation let thus be done,
Fix water and earth together soon,
And when your medicine as wax do flow,
Then upon amalgams look you it throw.
And when all that together is mixed,
Above the glass well closed make your fire,
And so continue it till all be fixed,
And well fermented to your desire,
Then make Projection after thy pleasure
For that is medicine each deal perfected,
Thus must you ferment both red and white.
For like as flour of wheat made into a paste,
Requires ferment, which we call leaven of bread,
That it may have the kindly taste,
And become cordial food to man and woman,
So you shall ferment your medicine,
That it may taste of the Ferment pure,
At all assays for ever to endure.
And understand that there be Ferments three,
Two be of bodies in nature clean,
Which must be altered as I have told you;
The third most secret of which I mean,
Is the first earth of his water green:
And therefore when the Lion does thirst,
Make him to drink till his belly burst.
Of this a question if I should move,
And ask of workers, what is this thing ?
Anon thereby I should them prove,
If they had knowledge of our fermenting:
For many a man speaks with wondering,
Of Robin Hood and of his bow,
Which never shot therein I trow.
For true Fermentation as I tell you,
Is the incorporation of the soul with the bodies,
Restoring to it the kindly smell,
With taste and colour by natural compacting together,
Of things dissevered, a due re-integration,
Whereby the body of the spirit takes impression.
That either the other may help to have ingression.
For like as bodies in their compaction corporeal,
May not show out their qualities effectually,
Until the time that they become spiritual,
No more may spirits abide with bodies steadfastly,
Till they be fixed together with them proportionally,
For then the body teaches the spirit to suffer fire,
And the spirit the body to enter to your desire.
Therefore you must ferment your gold with gold,
Your earth cleansed with his own water, I mean,
Nought else to say but element with element,
The spirit of life only going between,
For like as an adamant as you have seen
Draws iron to him, so does our earth by kind,
Draw down to him his soul borne up with wind.
With wind therefore the soul lead out and in,
Mingle gold with gold, that is to say,
Make Element with Element together run,
Till time all fire they may suffer,
For earth is Ferment without nay to water,
And water the earth unto,
Our Fermentation in this way must be done.
Earth is gold, and so is the soul also,
Not common, but ours thus elementary,
And yet thereto the Sun must go,
That by our wheel it may be altered:
For so to ferment it must be prepared,
That it profoundly may be joined,
With other natures as I said to you.
And whatsoever I have here said of gold,
The same of silver I will you understand,
That you putrefy them and alter (as I have told)
Ere you take in hand to ferment your medicine.
Forsooth I could never find anyone in England
Who could teach me to ferment in this way ,
Without error, by practice or by speech.
Now of this chapter needs to treat no more,
Such I intend prolixity to eschew;
Remember well my words therefore,
Which you shall prove by practice true,
And Sun and Moon look you renew,
That they may hold of the fifth nature,
Then shall their tincture evermore endure.
And yet a way there is most excellent,
Belonging unto another working,
A water we make most redolent,
All bodies to oil wherewith we bring,
With which our medicine we make flowing,
A quintessence this water we call,
Which heals all diseases in man.
But with my base, after my doctrine prepared,
Which is our calx this must be done,
For when our bodies be so calcined,
That water will to oil dissolve them soon
Make you therefore oil both of the Sun and Moon,
Which is ferment most fragrant for to smell,
And so the ninth gate of this Castle is conquered.
The end of the Ninth Gate.
The Tenth Gate
We proceed now to the chapter of Exaltation,
Of which truly you must have pure knowledge,
But little is different from Sublimation,
If you conceive it right I you ensure,
Hereto accords the holy scripture,
Christ saying thus - "if I exalted be,
Then shall I draw all things unto me".
Our medicine if we exalt so,
It shall be thereby ennobled,
That must be done in two manners,
From time the parties be disposed,
Which must be crucified and examined,
And then bury together both man and wife,
To be after revived by the spirit of life.
Then up to heaven they must be exalted,
There to be in body and soul glorified,
For you must bring them to such subtlety,
That they ascend together to enter,
In clouds of clearness uniting together with Angels,
Then shall they draw as you shall see,
All other bodies to their own dignity.
If you therefore will exalt the bodies,
First you augment them with the spirit of life,
Till in time the earth be well subtilized,
By natural rectifying of every Element,
Exalting them up into the firmament,
Then much more precious shall they be than gold,
Because of the quintessence which they do hold.
For when the cold has overcome the heat,
Then into water the air shall be turned,
And so two contraries together shall meet,
Till either with the other right well agree,
So into air the water as I tell thee,
When heat of cold has got domination,
Shall be converted by craft of our circulation.
And of the air then fire you shall have,
By loosening, putrefying and subliming,
And fire you have of the earth material,
Thus by craft dissevering your elements,
Most especially well calcining your earth,
And when they be each one made pure,
Then do they hold all of the first nature.
In this way therefore make them be circulated,
Each into other exalting by and by,
And all in this one glass surely sigillate,
Not with thine hands, but as I teach you naturally,
Fire into water, then turn first hardly,
For fire is in Air, which is in water existent,
And this conversion accords to our intent.
Then furthermore turn on your wheel,
That into earth the air converted be,
Which will be done also right well,
For Air is in water being earth, trust me,
The water into fire, contrary in her quality,
Soon turn you may, for water is in earth,
Which is in fire, convertion true is this.
The wheel is now near turned about,
Into air turn earth which is the proper nest,
Of other Elements there is no doubt,
For earth is in fire, which in air takes rest,
This circulation begin you in the west,
Then into the south, till they exalted be,
Proceed duly, as I have taught you in the figure *.
In which process clearly you may see,
From one extreme how to another you may not go,
But by a mean, since they in qualities contrary be,
And reason will show that it be so,
As heat into cold, with other contraries more,
Without their means, as moist to heat and and cold,
Examples sufficient before this I have told.
Thus I have taught you how to make,
Of all your Elements a perfect circulation,
And at the figure example to take,
How you shall make this foresaid Exaltation,
And of your medicine in the Elements true graduation,
Till it be brought to a generative temperate,
And then you have conquered the tenth gate.
The end of the tenth gate.
The Eleventh Gate
Now I proceed to declare Multiplication,
Which is by Philosophers in this way defined,
Augmentation it is of the Elixir indeed,
In goodness and quantity both for white and red,
Multiplication is therefore as they do write,
That thing that does augment medicines in each degree,
In colour, in odour, in virtue, and also in quantity.
And why may you multiply this medicine infinitely,
Forsooth the cause is this,
For it is fire, which kindled will never die,
Dwelling with you, as fire does in houses,
Of which one spark may make more fire this way,
As musk in pigments and other spices more,
In virtue multiplied, and our medicine right so.
So he, who fire has less or more, is rich,
Because he may multiply it so hugely,
And so is he rich, who has in store any part,
Of our Elixir which can be augmented infinitely -
One way if you dissolve our powders dry,
And make often times of them Congelation,
Thereof in goodness then you make Augmentation.
The second way both in goodness and quantity,
It multiplies by iterated Fermentation,
As in that chapter I showed plainly to thee,
By diverse manners of natural operation,
And also in the chapter of our Cibation,
Where you may know how you shall multiply,
Your medicine with Mercury infinitely.
But if you will both loose and eke ferment,
Both more in quantity and better will it be -
And in such ways you may augment it soon,
That in your glass it will grow like a tree,
The tree of Hermes named seemly to see,
Of which one pip in a thousand will multiply,
If you can make your projection wisely.
And just as with Saffron when it is pulverised,
By little and little if it be tempered with liquor,
When with much more liquor dilated,
Tinges much more of liquor in quantity,
That being whole in his gross nature :
So shall you see, that our Elixir, the more it is made thin,
The further in tincture it fastly will run.
Keep in your fire therefore both morning and evening,
So that you do not need to run from house to house,
Among thy neighbours to seek or borrow your fire ,
The more you keep, the more good shall you win,
Multiplying it always more and more within your glass,
By feeding with Mercury unto your lives end,
So shall you have more than you need to spend.
This matter is plain, thereof I will write no more,
Let reason guide you,
Be never the bolder to sin therefore,
But serve thy God the better in each tide,
And while that you shall in this life abide,
Bear this in mind, forget not I thee pray,
As thou shalt appear before God at domesday.
His own great gifts therefore and his treasure,
Dispose you virtuously, helping the poor at need,
That in this world you may procure to yourself,
Mercy and grace with heavenly bliss to merit,
And pray to God devoutly that he lead you,
In at the twelfth gate, as he can best,
Soon after then you shall end your conquest.
The end of the eleventh gate.
The Twelfth Gate
In Projection it shall be proved if our practice be profitable,
Of which it behoves me the secrets here to move,
Therefore if your tincture be sure and not variable,
By a little of your medicine thus you may prove,
With Metal, or with Mercury as pitch it will cleave,
And tinge in Projection all fires to abide,
And soon it will enter and spread full wide.
But many by ignorance do mar what they made,
When they make Projection on uncleansed metals,
For because of corruption their tinctures must fade,
Which they would not first take away from the body,
Which after Projection be brittle, blue and black.
That your tincture therefore may evermore last,
First see you cast your medicine upon ferment.
Then brittle as glass will your ferment be,
Upon bodies cleansed and made very pure,
Cast that brittle substance and soon you shall see,
That they shall be curiously coloured with tincture,
With all assays for ever shall endure,
But profitable Projection perfectly to make,
At the Psalms of the Psalter example thou take.
On 'Fundamenta' cast this psalm 'Nunc dimittis',
Upon 'verba mea', then cast 'Fundamenta' believe,
Then 'Verba' upon 'diligam', conceive me with your wits,
And 'diligam' upon 'attendite', if you wish to thrive,
Thus make you Projections, three, four, or five,
Till the tincture of the medicine begin to decrease,
And then it is time for Projection to cease.
By this misty talking I mean nothing else,
But that you must cast first the less on the more,
Increasing ever the number as wise men tell you,
And keep you this secret unto yourself in store,
Be covetous of cunning it is no sore burden,
For he that does not join the Elixir with bodies made clean,
Surely does not know what projection does mean.
Ten if thy multiply first into ten,
One hundred that number will assuredly make,
If one hundred into an hundred be multiplied,
Then ten thousand is that number if you count it wisely,
Then into as much more ten thousand to multiply,
Is a thousand thousand, I say,
Which multiplied into as much more, is a hundred millions.
That hundred millions being multiplied likewise,
Into ten thousand millions, as I do say to you,
Making so great a number I know not what it is,
Your number in Projection thus multiply always.
Now child through your courtesy for me that you pray,
Since I have told you our secrets all and some,
To which I beseech GOD by grace you may come.
Now you have conquered these twelve gates,
And all the Castle you hold at your will,
Keep your secrets in store to yourself,
And the commandments of God look you fulfil,
See you continue your glasses still in fire,
And multiply your medicines always more and more,
For wise men do say, that store is no sore.
The end of the twelve gates.