The Rosary of the Philosophers
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Pages (PDF): 112
Publication Date: Originally published in 1550, this is an 18th Century translation
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This is a transcription of the 18th century English translation of the Rosarium in MS Ferguson 210. The text was originally printed as part II of De Alchemia Opuscula complura veterum philosophorum..., Frankfurt, 1550. With 20 colour woodcuts.
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They who desire to have the most true knowledge of the greater science of the philosophical Art, let them diligently peruse this little book and often times read it over and they shall obtain their prosperous and wished desire. Listen to these things, you children of the Ancient Philosophers, I will speak in the loudest and highest voice I can, for I come unto you to open and declare the principal state of human things and the most secret treasure of all the secrets of the whole world. I will not do it feignedly and erroneously but altogether plainly and truly, wherefore use you towards me such devotion of hearing as I shall bring unto you magistery of doctrine and wisdom, for I will show you a true testimony of those things which I have seen with my own eyes and felt with my hands. There are many men too forward as deceitful boasters which after great expenses and labours, find out no effect but misery. I will therefore speak plainly and manifestly so that the unskillful, as those that are expert and skilful, shall be able to understand the secret of this mystery. Neither shall any man justly use slanderous and blasphemous words against me, for seeing that the Ancient Philosophers have written so obscurely and confusedly that they are not understood, nor seem not to agree together, because diverse men searching after this most precious Art have either been deceived or terrified from their purpose, therefore without all deceit or obscurity, I will plainly set down the true experiment before your eyes, together with the opinions of the Philosophers, serving well for our purpose that the matter whereof we entreat may be manifest and plainly understood.
First we must note that all men which work beyond nature are deceivers and work in an unlawful manner. Furthermore, of man nothing is born but man, and of a brute beast nothing but a brute beast, and every like bringeth forth nothing but his like, wherefore he which have not of his own, cannot at his pleasure have another man's. We speak this that no man should let his money go from him. For some men being deceived by letting their money pass from them, and so living in penury, do also endeavour to seduce other men and to bring them to like misery. But my counsel is that no man be too forward in this art, in hope to attain some great matter, unless he knows the beginning of true nature and the regimen thereof, which being known there is not then any need of more things than one, neither doth it require great expenses, because it is one stone, one medicine, one vessel, one regimen, and one disposition, and know this: that it is a most true Art. Furthermore the Philosophers would never have laboured and studied to express such diversities of colours and the order of them unless they had seen and felt them.
Wherefore again we say this, that all men labouring beyond nature are deceivers and deceived. Therefore let your exercise and labour be used in Nature because Our Stone is of an Animal, of a Vegetable, and of a Mineral substance. Be thou therefore of one mind and opinion in the work of nature and presume not to try this thing here and that thing another time, for our Art is not effected with the multitude of things and though the names thereof be diverse and manifold, yet it is always one only thing and of one thing. For that is not brought into nature which being in it is not of its own nature, therefore it is necessary that the Agent and Patient be One thing, and the same thing in kind or in general, but in species another and diverse, according to Mercury by which the woman is diversified from the man, because, although they agree in one kind, yet they have a distinct difference between themselves, as Matter and Form differ, for Matter suffers action but Form works and makes the Matter like itself. Therefore, Matter naturally desires Form, as the woman does the man, and the foul does the fair, so the body embraceth the spirit more freely that it may come to its perfection. Therefore, by knowing the natural roots you shall the better make your work of them. Because I cannot any other way express or explain our stone, nor form it by any other name, it is manifest by that which went before, that our stone is compounded of four elements, both rich and poor have it, and it is found in every place, it is likened to all things and is also compounded of body, soul and spirit and it is altered from nature into nature even to the last degree of his perfection.
They have also said that our stone is made of one thing and it is true for the whole magistery is done with our water, for that water is the sperm of all metals, and all metals are resolved into it, as has been declared.
Likewise, the salt of metals is the stone of the Philosophers, for our stone is a water congealed into Gold and Silver and resists the fire and is resolved again into its water of which it is compounded in its kind. Therefore, the reduction of bodies into their first matter as into Argent vive is nothing else but a resolution of the congealed matter by which a lock is opened by the ingression of one nature into another.
Whereupon, the Philosophers have said that Sol is nothing else but ripened Argent vive, for in Mercury there are but two elements in act, that is to say earth and water which are passives, but the active elements as air and fire are in that might and power only because those things are brought from power into act in pure Mercury according to due digestion and proportionable decoction, then Gold is made. Wherefore there are four elements in Gold made fit in equal proportion and therefore ripe and active Sulphur is there, and our Art helpeth nature by her ministering ripe Gold to Mercury, in which is ripe and well digested Sulphur, but from nature by the work of nature.
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