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ThebookofQuintessence ortheFifthBeing: ThatistoSay MortalHeaven (SloaneMS.73,fol.10.Brit.Mus.

Translatedfromaneditionpublished1866bytheEarlyEnglishText Society,FrederickJ.Furnivall,Editor.

Translationcopyright1995BryanJ.Maloney. (bjm10@cornell.edu)

Preface TheBookofQuintessenceisaworkthatpresentsmagicasitactually claimstohavebeenpracticedinthelatterpartofEurope'smedieval period.Itisn'tacomprehensivesurveyofmedievalmagic,butitdoes openawindowontothemindsetofamedievalmage.Themanuscriptprobably datestothemiddle1400's,andthetoneandconstantinvocationsofGod foundintheworkaretypicalofEuropeanmagicalwritingsofthisperiod. SomemayobjecttothefactthatIhavemademytranslationofthiswork prosaicand"unspiritual",especiallygiventhespiritualandmetaphorical bentofmoderninterpretationsofalchemy.Iamsimplytranslatingthis workasitwaswritten.Ifithidspectralmetaphorsinitspractical language,theyarenotmyprovenancetoferretout. Ihavetriedtopreservetheauthor'svoice,butitissometimes impossibletodosoandmakethetextcomprehensibletoamodernreader. ThisisonlypartiallyexplainedbythechangesthatoccurredinEnglish usagesincetheauthor'stimeandourown.Theplainfactisthatthe authorof_TheBookofQuinteEssence_wasaterriblewriter.Hisproseis oftenstilted.Headoresbreathlesslystringingalongsentenceafter sentencewith"and".Wheretheseandotherproblemsbecomecompletely intolerable,Ihavesteppedin. Theoriginalmanuscriptusestheword"man"inmanycontexts,Ihave triedtorendertheindividualmeaningsbysubstituting"humanity", "people",or"mortal"whereappropriate.Thisisnotfromamisguided liberalrevisionismbutforamoreaccuraterenderingoftheapparent intentionsoftheauthoreachtime"man"wasused. Thosesectionheadingsthatareenclosedinsquarebracketsaremyown addition.Sectionheadingsnotsoenclosedareapartoftheoriginal.

ThosetimeswhenIhadtodeviatemorethanIwouldlikefromtheoriginal, Ihaveenclosedinsquarebrackets.Ihavealsoappendedafewfootnotes.

BookI [Introduction] Withthemight,wisdom,andgraceoftheHolyTrinity,Iwritetoyoua treatiseinEnglish,abridgedfromthebookof_quintisessenciis_(in Latin),whichwasrevealedbyanangelofgodsenttoHermes [Trismesgistus],fatherofphilosophers,theprophetandkingofEgypt, afterthefloodofNoah.Idothissothewisdomandscienceofthisbook shouldnotperishbutbepreservedtotheendoftheworldandbekept [safe]byallholymenfromallwickedpeopleandtyrants,becauseofthe greatperilsthatmightoccur[shouldthewickedgetthisknowledge].For withinthisbrieftreatise,withthegraceofGod,Iwillspeakmoreof practicethanoftheory(1),althoughbotharenecessary. Thefirst,andgreatestsecretthatGod,theCreator,ordainedforMan's need:Howold,virtuous(2)menwithfeeblebodiesmightberestoredand regainthestrengthoftheiryouthinthesamemannerasinallbodiesand bemadeperfectlywhole,except[frominjuryhad]bylightningstrokeor violentinjuriesorthehardshipsoftoomuchfasting.Alsoexcepting dangerousfalls,toomuchabstinence(3),orotherunfortunateaccidentsto thebody.Furthermore,thetermsetbyGodmaynotbeescaped.AsJob saidinLatin:"Brevesdieshominissuntetc."(4). Thephilosopherscallthepurestsubstanceofmanycorruptible(5)things madefromtheelementsthe"quintessence".Thatistosay,mortalheaven, extractedbyhumancraft.Thequintessenceissuperior.Thatis,ourLord God'sheaven,inregardstothefourelements,isincorruptibleand unchangeable,sothequintessenceoccupiesasimilarplaceregardingthe lowerworld.Thatistosay,mortalheavenisincorruptibleinregardsto thefourqualitiesofthehumanbody(6),andsoitisnaturallyproventhat ourquintessence,thatis,mortalheaven,isincorruptibleinitself.So itisnothotanddryinfire,norcoldandwetinwater,norhotandmoist inair,norcoldanddryinearth.Onthecontrary,ourquintessenceisas incorruptibleasheaven. Butunderstandthatourquintessenceisnotasincorruptibleasisthe heavenofourLordGod,butitisincorruptibleinregardstocompounds madeofthefourelements.Also,ithasthreenamesfromthe philosophers(7).Thatistosay:Burningwater,thesoulinthespiritof

wine,andwateroflife,butifyouwishtoconcealitthencallit "quintessence",forthisname,andtheaccompanyingnature,wouldbetold byveryfewphilosophers.Instead,thetruthwouldsurelybeburiedwith them. Knowwellthatitiscalledburningwater,butitisnotburningwater, foritisnotmoistnorcoldlikecommonwater.Furthermore,itburnsand commonwaterdoesnot.No,itisnothotandmoistlikeair,forair corruptsathingatnoon,whichiswellshownbygenerationoffliesand spidersandothersuch.Surelyitisalwaysincorruptibleifitiskept closedfromevaporation. Also,itimpartsincorruptibilityandkeepsathingfromcorruptibility androtting.Theproofisthus:Ifapieceofmeat,fish,ordeadbirdis putinto[quintessence]itwillnotcorruptnorrotwhileitistherein. Furthermore,itwillkeepthelivingtissueofthehumanbodyfromall mannerofcorruptibilityandrotting.Thisisourquintessence,thatisto say,mortalheaven,thatGodmadeforthepreservationofthefour qualitiesofthehumanbody,justasHemadeHisheavenforthe preservationofthewholeworld.Knowforcertainthatmanyphilosophers andphysiciansthatnowliveknownothingofthisquintessence,northe truththereofsinceGoddidnotwantthemtoknowit,becauseoftheir greatburninggreedandwickedliving. AstheSuperiorQuintessence,thatistosay,theheavenofourLordGod doesnotgivepreservationandwonderfulinfluencesbyitself,alone,to theworld,butbymeansofthesun,planets,andotherstars,soour quintessence,thatis,mortalheavendoesitsworkwiththesunmineral, fine,shining,incorruptible,andofsuchqualitythatfirewillnot impair,corrupt,nordestroy.Thisisthegoldgatheredfromthemine, fromtheearth,orfromthestream.Forgoldofalchemy,madewith corrosives,destroysthebodyasAristotleandmanyotherphilosophers haveproven(8). Therefore,goodnaturalgoldofthemineoftheearthiscalled"sol"in Latinbyphilosophers,foritisthesunofourheavenlikeSoltheplanet isinheavenabove.Forthisplanetgivestogolditsinfluence,nature, color,andanincorruptiblesubstance.Andourquintessence,mortal heaven,isofthenatureandthecolorofheaven.AndourSol,thatis, finegoldofthemine,willmakeitbeautifulandfunctional(9).Andso thesetwojoinedtogethershallinfluenceinustheconditionsofheaven andofheavenlysun,inasmuchasitispossibleinourdeadlyworld, preservationandrestorationoflostnatureandrenewalofyouth.Andit shallgiveabundanthealth. Asitisprovenbyastrology(10),thestarsthathaveinfluenceuponthe humanheadandneck,specificallythestarsofAries,Taurus,andGemini, havesingularinfluenceupon_Gerapigragalieni_(11),and,therefore,it

hasparticularstrengthbytheordinanceofGodtodrawawaysuperfluous humors(12)fromthehead,theneck,andthechest,butnotfromthebody regionsbeneaththis.SoIsaythatspicesthatdrawhumorsfromthe knees,thelegsandthefeetreceiveparticularinfluenceofthestarsof Capricorn,Aquarius,andPisces.Thisappliestootherareas,etc. Donotrevealthisbookofdivinesecretstowickedandgreedymenbut keepitsecret.

[TheScienceofMakingBurningWaterandtheQuintessencefromBurning Water] Takethebestwinethatyoumayfind,ifyouhavesomemoney.Ifyou arepoor,thentakecorruptwine,thatis,rotten,ofawaterynature,but avoidanythatissour(13),forthequintessenceisnaturallyincorruptible andwillbedrawnoutbysublimation(14).Thefourelements,asitwere, therottenfecesofwine,willbeleftinthebottomofthevessel.But firstyoumustdistillthiswineseventimes,andthenyou'llhavegood burningwater(15).Intruth,thisisthewaterymatterfromwhichisdrawn ourquintessence. Youmustthenmake,inan"ashfurnace"(16),aonepieceglassstill withaholeatthetopwherethewaterwillbeputinandtakenout.This isanexcellentinstrumentinwhichvolatiles,byvirtueofheat,ascend anddistillwithinthevessel_percanalesbrachiales_,thatisbypipes linkedtoarms,tobeborneagainandascendanddescendcontinuallyday andnighttilltheburningwaterhasbeenturnedintoquintessence.And so,bycontinualascentanddescent,thequintessenceisremovedfromthe corruptiblecompositionofthefourelements.Evenbeforeitistwice sublimed,thequintessenceismoreglorious,andmoresubtle,andfarfrom thecorruptionsofthefourelementswhenithasascendedonlyonce.So repeat1,000timessothatbycontinualascentanddescent,bywhichitis sublimedtoaheightofglory,itwillbeanincorruptiblemedicine,almost asheavenaboveandbeofthenatureofheaven.Therefore,our quintessenceisworthyofthetitle"mortalheaven". Afterithasdistilledinthesubtleglassvessel,youshouldopenthe holeinthevessel'sheadthatwassealedwiththesealofluteofwisdom, madeofthefinestflour,eggwhites,andmoistpaper,madesothatnothing couldevaporateout.Andwhenyouopenthehole,ifaheavenlysweetaroma sufficienttoattractanynaturalpersonemerges,removethedistillate. Youhaveourquintessence.Otherwise,sealthevesselandputitonthe fireagainuntilyouhaveit. Anothermethodofobtainingquintessenceisthis:Takethenoblestand thestrongestburningwaterthatyoumayhavedistilledfrompure,mighty

wineandputitintoaglassamphorawithalongneck.Closethemouth securelywithwax.Makesurethatitisnomorethan1/3to1/2fulland buryitinhorsedung.Makesurethattheneckoftheamphoraisturned downwardandthebottombeturnedupward.Byvirtueofthehorsedungthe quintessenceascendsuptothebottom,andthegrossmatterofthewater descendsdownwardtotheneck.Aftermanydays,whenyoutakeitout, gentlyliftuptheamphoraasitsits[withoutchangingitsposition],and youwillseeadifferencebetweenthesublimedquintessenceandthegross matterthatisintheneck. Thetrickofseparatingonefromtheotheristhis:Takeasharp pointerorironpickandpiercethewaxthathangsinthemouthofthe amphora,againsttheearth.Whenyouhavepiercedtothebottomofthe water,takeoutthepointerorpick.Theearthlywaterthatisintheneck willfirstcomeoutuntilitreachestheinterfacebetweenthewaterand thequintessence,thatis,mortalheavensublimed.Whenyouseethatthe quintessencewouldrunoutaftertheearthlywaterwaspouredoff,quickly putyourfingerovertheholeandturntheamphorarightsideup.Youthen haveourquintessenceandtheearthlywaterhasbeenremoved.Thisisan extremelyimportantsecret. Thethirdmanneristhatyoutakealargeglassamphoraandsealit well.Buryitinthewombofahorseandthepurityofthequintessence willbesublimedaboveandthegrossmatterwillsitinthebottom.Take outgentlyasaboveandwhateverisleftbehindshouldbeputtothefire. Thefourthmanneristhis:Takeaglassorthickglazedearthenware vesselandattachafootlongtubeofglasswithaleg[intothevessel]. Sealthevesselwithitscoversothatthefootlongrodofglasswithin thevesselhangsinairsothatthequintessenceascendstothecoverin themannerofaboilingpotanddescendsbytheglass.Youmaymakethis instrumentwithoutgreatcost. Thefifthmanneristodistilltheburningwatertentimesbycontinual digestioninhorsedung.

Thescienceofmakingheatwithoutfire,bywhichyoucanmakeour quintessencewithoutcostourtroubleandwithoutcostorlossoftime: Takethebesthorsedungthatiswelldigestedthatyoucanfindandput itwithinavesselorelseapitmadeinthegroundandcoatedwithapaste madeofashes.Mixthedungwellinthisvesselorpit.Setthe distillationvesselinthemiddleofthisdung,uptothevessel'scenter. Itisnecessarythatthetopofthevesselbeincoldairsothatthe quintessencethatascendsbyvirtueoftheheatofthedungwilltherebybe turnedintowaterbyvirtueofthecoldnessoftheairandfalldownagain

andascend.Thusyouhaveheatingwithoutfire,withlittletrouble. Anothermethodofheating:Setyourvesselinthestrongraysofthe suninsummertimeandletitstandtherenightandday.

[InstillingtheVirtuesofGoldintoBurningWater] HereIwillteachyouhavepoor,virtuousmenmayhave,withoutcostand almostfornothing,thegraciousinfluenceofgoldandthemanneroffixing itintoourheaven,thatis,ourquintessence.Ifyouarepoor,askarich manwhoisyourfriendtolendyouagoodFlorentineFlorin(17).Annealit ontoanironplateasironisannealed.Haveanearthenwarevesselfilled withthebestburningwaterthatyoucanfindandputthestillhot annealedflorinintothewater.Becarefultoquicklyquenchthefireso thatthewaterisn'twastedandbecarefulthattheirondoesnottouchthe waterexceptafterthatflorinhasalreadybeenputin.Dothisoneor moretimes,forthemoreoftendone,thebetteritis.Ifyouseethattoo muchofthewaterisgone,exchangeitfornewanddososeveraltimes. Whenyouhavequenchedthemetal,combineallthewaters.Youshould understandthatthevirtueofburningwaterissuchthatitnaturallydraws outallthevirtuesandpropertiesoutofgoldandholdsincorruptiblyand anevenheat.Thenmixthisburningwaterthusgildedwithour quintessenceanduseit. Becarefulnottoquenchtheflorininourquintessenceforthenit wouldbelost.Ifyoudonothaveburningwaterready,thenquenchthe florininthebestwhitewinethatmaybehad.Thephilosopherssurelysay thatwinealsohasthepropertiestoretaintheinfluenceinvirtuesof gold.Whenyouhavefinishedyourworknotethattheflorinisstillgood andalmostofthesameweightasitwasbefore.Therefore,usegildedwine orburningwatersothatyoumaybewholeandgrowhappyandbeyoung(18). Thusyouhaveourheavenandthesunisfixedinittothepreservationof humanbodiesandthefixationofourheaven.Thatisourquintessence.

HowtogildburningwaterorwinemoreeffectivelythanIpreviously taught,wherebythewaterorwineshallstronglytaketheinfluenceandthe virtuesoffinegold. Takethecalxoffinegold(asIwillhereafterinthisbookshowhowto make)andputitinasilverspoon.Annealitatthefireandthenputthe goldcalxintheburningwaterorinwineonetimeasItaughtyoubefore withtheflorin.Yourliquorshouldbe100timesbettergildedthanwith theflorinbecausefireworksmorestronglyandbetteronsmallparticles

thanitdoesonawholeplate.Also,burningwaterorwinedrawsoutthe propertiesofgold1,000timesbetterfromsmallannealedparticlesthanit doesfromathickplate.Understandthatwinedoesn'tholdonlythe propertiesofgoldbutallmeltablesubstancesiftheyarequenched therein.ThisisanimportantsecretbecauseifyouquenchSaturn(lead) liquifiedinwineorincommonwaterseventimesandafterwardsquenchMars (iron)manytimesinthatwineorwaterthenMarsshalltakeonthe softnessofSaturnandthesamewillhappentoVenus(copper)andallother meltablesubstances.IfyouquenchMarsinwhitewineorincommonwater manytimesandafterwardaddliquifiedSaturn,thenwithoutdoubtyouwill findthattheSaturnismadequitehard(19).Therefore,thepropertiesof allmeltablesubstancesmaybetransferredtowineorwaterbutmuchmore effectivelyintogood,preciousburningwater.

Makingafirewithoutcoal[orcoals],withoutlime,withoutlight,that worksagainstallmatterwiththesharpnessoractionofvisiblefire,just asthefireofHell. (Thissecretissoimportantthatthevirtuesthereofmaynotallbe declared.)Thusitismade: Takemercurythatissublimedwithvitriol[hydratedferroussulfate, cuproussulfate,orzincsulfate],commonsalt[sodiumchloride],andsal armoniac[ammoniumchloride]thathasbeensublimedsevenortentimes. Mixthemtogetherinequalproportionandgrinditfine.Leaveitoutupon amarblestone.Atnightsetitinstill,cleanairorelseinacold cellar.Itwillthenturnintowater.Thengatherittogetherintoa strongglassvesselandkeepit(20). Thiswater,intruth,issostrongthatifalittledropofitwould falluponyourhand,itwouldpierceitthrough.Itwoulddothesameif itweretofallonaplateofVenus[copper]orJupiter[tin].Italso makesthesemetalslikepearl.Ifthisfirecouldeverbepreparedina gentlemanner,withoutdoubtitwouldquicklyquenchtheburningsickness calledthefireofHell(21).Alsoitwouldhealeverycorrosivesickness. Manyphilosopherscallthisthing_salamarus_(22)intheirbooks,although theydonotteachthemasterythereof.Ifithappensthatthisfierywater breakstheglassandrunsoutintotheashes,thengathertogetherwhatever hasmadeapastintheashesandlayituponamarblestoneasbefore,and itwillturnintowater.Thisisagreatsecret.

TheScienceofMakingCalxofGold

Takefinegoldandmakeitintofineshavings.Takeacruciblewitha goodquantityofmercuryandsetitonasmallfire(donotpermitvapors torisefromit).Putthegoldshavingsintothisandstiritwell. Afterwards,withinashorttime,youwillseeallthegoldwithinthe mercuryturnintoearthasfineasflour.Thenincreasetheflamesothat themercuryevaporatesoff,oryoumaydistillitandgatherthemercury, usingalembic(23).Inthecrucibleyouwillfindthegoldcalcinedand reducedintoearth.Iftodonotwanttomakegoldshavings,thenmakeas fineandthinagoldplateasyoucanandputhotmercurywithinit,then youwillhaveyourdesire.Youcanalsoworksilverinthissamemanner. Takethecalxofthesetwobodiesandcarrythemopenly,andnobodywill knowwhattheyare.Ifyouwishtocarrythemmoresecretly,without anyoneknowing,thenmixthemwithmeltedpitchorwaxorelsegum.Then noonewillknowwhatitis.Whenyouwanttodissolveanyofthesecalces outofitsmatrix,puteitherbyitselfonheatorelsethepitchorthe waxitisin.Itwillsooncomeoutasmuchgoldorsilverasitwas before.

NowIwouldteachyouthemysteryofremovinggoldfromsilverwhenthey arecommingled. Knowwellthattherearemanyitemsinwhichgoldandsilveraremingled, asinthegildingofutensilsandjewelry.Therefore,whenyouwould removeonefromtheother,putthemixtureintoastrongwatermadeof vitriolandsaltpeter[ammoniumnitrite]andthesilverwillbedissolved andnotthegold.Thenyouhaveremovedonefromtheother.Ifyouwant todissolvethegold,thenputitandcorrosivesalammoniacintocorrosive waterandthatwaterwillwithoutadoubtdissolvegold(24).

TheSciencetoDrawQuintessencefromGold First,reducegoldintocalxasIhaverelatedbefore.Thentakedistilled vinegaroroldurine(thathasnofecesinit)andputitintoaglass vessel.Theliquidshouldbeataheightoffourinches.Putthecalxof goldintothisandsetitunderstrongsunlightinsummertime.Youwill soonseealiquidlikeoilascendtothetopasafilm.Gatherthatfilm withasmallspoonorafeatherandputitintoaglassvesselthatalready haswaterinit.Gatheritthusmanytimesinthedayuntilitnolonger ascends.Afterpoolingthesamples,evaporatethewaterviaheating.The quintessenceofthegoldwillstaybehind.Manyphilosopherscallthis quintessenceanincombustibleoil.Thatisagreatsecret.

Ifyoufixthisquintessenceinourheaven[the1000timedistilled "mortalheaven"outlinedpreviously]itwillwithoutdoubtrestoreaman againtohislostfacultiesandrestorethevirtuesofthestrengthof youthandalsolengthenhislifeintothelasttermoflifesetbyGod. Now,Ihavetoldyouthegreatestsecretandrestorationofmankind. Thisgreatthingmustnotbedisplayed.Forthisoil,thatistosay quintessenceofgold,hasextremepowerstosootheandremovetheacheof woundsandtohealwounds,oldsores,andmanyhorribleevils. Youmayalsodrawquintessenceoutofsilverinthesamemanner.

TheSciencetoDrawQuintessencefromAntimony,thatis,MercasiteofLead. Thisquintessenceisagreatmysteryandasecretofallsecrets. Takeantimonymineralandmakeafinepowderasyoucanfromit.Then takethebestdistilledvinegarandputthepowderofantimonyintoitand letitstandinaglassuponasmallfireuntilthevinegarturnsred. Thenremovethatvinegarandkeepitandputmoredistilledvinegaronto theantimonyandheatuntilthisvinegarisred.Dothisseveraltimes. Whenallyourvinegariscoloredputitinastillandfirstthevinegar willascend.Thenyouwillseeamarvel,foryouwillsee,asitwere,a thousanddropsofblessedwinedescendinginthemannerofreddrops,asif itwereblood,atthepipeofthelembic.Gatherthisliquidina routemen(25)andthenyouhaveathingthatallthetreasureoftheworld isworthlessincomparisonto.Aristotlecallsitleadinthebookof secretsanddoesnotrevealittobeantimony.Thisdoesawaywiththe painofallwoundsandhealswonderfully.Itsvirtuesareincorruptible andmarvelouslyprofitable.Itneedstobeputrefied[fermented]ina routemenandsealedindung,thenitworksgreatsecrets.Thequintessence ofthisantimony,whichisred,inwhichisthesecretofallsecrets,is sweeterthananyhoneyorsugar(26).

TheScienceofExtractingQuintessencefromBloodandFleshandEggs Isaythat,ineverycompositething,thequintessenceremainsincorrupted. ItwillthenbeawonderfulthingifIteachyouhowtodrawitoutfrom humanblood(obtainedfromsurgeonswhentheydrawblood),alsofromthe fleshofallbrutebeastsandfromalleggsandothersuchthings.Asmuch ashumanbloodisthemostperfectthingwithinusfortherestorationof thatwhichhasbeenlost,itiscertainthatthequintessenceofbloodis soperfectthatwithoutanyothergreatpreparationsitconvertsbloodinto fleshoutsidetheveins.Thisquintessenceissofinethatitisthebest

tohave. Marvelousvirtuesofourheavenarestoredwithinitanditworksdivine miraclesforthecuresofthehumanbodyasIshalltellyou.Therefore, obtainbloodviasurgeonsfromgoodnaturedorangryyoungmenwhodrink goodwines.Letthebloodrestanddiscardtheserum.Mixitina10:1 ratiowithcommonsaltthatisofmedicinalqualityandputitintoaglass vesselcalledanamphora.Finelysealitandputitwithinthewombofa horse,preparedasbeforeandrenewthedungonceaweek,ormore.Letit putrefyuntilallthebloodturnsintowater.Itshallbedoneatthemost in3040days,moreorless.Thenputitinalembicanddistillitona goodflame.Collectwhateverascendsandputonpoundedfeces.Mixona marblestone.Distillandmixwithpoundedfecesseveraltimes.Whenyou havethisnobilizedblood,whereinthequintessencehasbeendrawnout,put itintoacirculatingstilluntilitproducesasheavenlyasavorasdid theburningwater.Thisisthedivinefifthbeing[quintessence]ofblood, andmiraclesmorethanonemaybelieveifheseesit[canbedonewith this]. NowwillIteachyouhowtodrawthefifthbeingfromcapons,hens,and allmannerofthefleshofbrutebeastsandfromallmannerofeggsfrom fowlsthatarewholesomeandappropriateforhumanconsumption.Grindsome oftheseaforementionedthings,whateveryouwish,asstronglyasyoucan inamortarwith1/10thpartofmedicinalqualitycommonsalt.Putitinto thewombofahorse,asIhavedescribedbefore,untilitturnstowater. Distillaspreviouslydescribedandrecirculatethewaterinthe circulatingstilluntilitisbroughttotheaforementionedsweetheavenly savorandsmell.

TheSciencetoDrawouttheFifthBeingofEveryoftheFourElementsand toSeparateeachbyitself,andThatisRightMarvelous Iwillnotrefusetoshowagreatsecret,howyoumaydrawthefifthbeing fromeachofthefourelementsofthethingspreviouslymentionedand profitablyshowthem.Themanneristhus:Takeathingthathasbeen putrefiedandbroughtintowater,whateveryouwish,asIpreviouslytaught you,forexample,humanbloodbroughtintowater.Putthatwater,orthat putrefiedblood,intoaglassstillandsetitwithinapotofwaterand heatuntilthewaterofblood[forexample]isdistilledviathelembic's pipeintoacleanglassamphora.Whennothingmoreascendsfromheating, youcanbecertainthatyouhavedrawnoutalloftheelementofwater. Thisisbecauseaheatedbathhasn'tthestrengthtosublimeair,or fire,orearth.Takethethreeremainingelementsandsetintheheated bathsevendayssothattheyarewellmixedandnothingislefttodistill.

Afterthesevendays,takethestillandputitonanashfurnacethatis strongerthanthemarienbath[heatedwaterbath],andthewaterwillascend asanoilasshinyasgold.Afternothingmorewillascend,youthenhave twoelementsinyourcollectionchamber,thatistosay,waterandair. Youcanremoveonefromtheotherbyheatinginthebath,whereinonly clearwaterwillascend,andairwillremaininthebottomofthevesselin thelikenessofgoldoil.Thisgoldoilistheair.Putitaside. Thefireandearthremain.Toremovefirefromearth,putfourpounds ofwaterontoonepoundof[the]earth[youhavemade]andputitontoa marienbathforsevendays.Afterwards,putontoastrongflameandred waterwillascend.Gatherthissolongasanythingascends.Theearth willbeblackandwillremaininthebottom.Gatherthisearth. Distilltheredwatersincethisisamixtureoftwoelements,waterand fire.Distillthisandclearwaterwillascendandredwater,thatis,the elementoffire,willremaininthebottom.Younowhaveoneoil,thatis, air,andwater,andfire,andearth.Notewellthattheelementofwater isaddedtodrawoutfireandairfromearth,fortheywillnotascend withouttheaidofwater. Bringeachintoitsfifthbeingwiththeredistilleraspreviously outlined,orelserectifyit,makingitascendseventimesbyanother(27), butyoumustfirstputtheblackearthinaglassfurnaceorelsecalcine itfor21days. Ispeaktoyounomoreofthissciencebutrejoicewithyouandthank ourgloriousLordGodforthesethingsthatyouhave.

TheSciencetoFixallEarthlyThingsintoOurQuintessence,Thatisto Say,OurHeaven,ThatbytheirInfluence,TheymayGivetheirProperties andtheirHiddenVirtuesthereto. OurgloriousGodhasgiventhisvirtuetoourquintessence:Thatitmay drawthevirtues,properties,andnaturesthatGodmadeoutofeveryfruit, tree,root,flower,herb,flesh,seed,spice,andeverymedicalthingand allwithinthreehours. Now,Ihaveshownyouanextremesecret,howyoumaydrawout,withour heaven,everyquintessencefromallthingsaforementioned.Therefore,put anynecessaryingredientsforeverysyrupintoourquintessence,andwithin threehoursthiswaterwillbesuchasyrup,understandthiswell,better byahundredtimesthanitwouldbewithoutourquintessence.SoIsayof comfortatives,digestives,laxatives,restrictives,andallother medicines.Because,ifyouputseeds,flowers,fruits,leaves,spices, cold,hot,sweet,sour,moist,whethertheybegoodorevil,intoour quintessence,sinceourquintessenceistheinstrumentoftransmutingthe

virtuesofallthingsiftheybeputintoit,thevirtuesofthethingare increasedahundredfold(28). _Explicitparsprimatractatusquinteessencie:_(29) Notes: (1)ThismakestheBookofQuintessenceasomewhatunusualanddangerous workforthetime.Alchemeticalpracticewasoftencouchedinhighly symbolicandtheoreticallanguage.Inotherwords,thisbookwasthe alchemeticalequivalentofaninstructionmanualinpracticaldemolitions. (2)ThroughouttheMS.Ihavetranslated"evangelik"with"virtuous". Whiletheterm"evangelical"existsinmodernEnglish,itsmeaningisa gooddealalteredfromthe15thcentury. (3)Modernreaderswithheadsfullofnonsenseregardingthephilosophyof theMedievalperiod(andEngland,1450wasstillmedieval),shouldnote thattheauthorofthisworkbelievedthatonecouldtakefastingand abstinencetoofar.Therewasapointafterwhichitwasnotagoodthing. (4)Thisroughlytranslatesas"Man'sdaysarebrief,etc.". (5)Itshouldbeunderstoodthat"corruption"inthisworkisabroader termthaninthemodernday.Itdoesnotonlymeanmoralfailingbut physical"corruption"inthesenseofdiseaseandrotting.Unfortunately, thereisnomodernEnglishwordwithbothmeaningsincommonuse. (6)The"fourqualities"werealchemeticextensionsofthefourhumorsof Galenicmedicine.Thefollowingtablesummarizes: QualityBodilyFluid HappinessBlood AngerBile LethargyPhlegm Depression"BlackBile"(Choler) (7)Theauthoruses"philosopher"tobothrefertowhatwecall "philosophers"andtowhatwewouldcalla"mage"oran"alchemist".To hismind,theywereidentical. (8)Ourauthorhadaverygoodworkingknowledgeofthechemistryofhis daytorealizethat"alchemeticalgold"wasnottobemistakenforthereal

thing.Agooddealofthe"gold"produced"withcorrosives"byalchemists weretoxicmetalsaltsthathappenedtohaveayellowsheen.Forexample, someleadandmercurysaltsareyellowish. (9)Theoriginalwordhereis"fair"whichbasicallymeantbothbeautiful andfunctional. (10)Theoriginaltermis"astronomy",buttheauthorclearlyrefersto whatwenowcall"astrology". (11)Iamnotsurewhatthismeans,since"Gerapigragalieni"isactually atransliterationofaGreekphrase,andmyGreekisalmostnil.Iwould guessthatitisareferencetothewritingsofGalen. (12)TheGalenic"humors",tobeprecise."Fluid"mightbeamore accurateliteraltranslation,but"humor"stillholdsabitofthebroader meaning. (13)Theinstructionsthatfollowleadmetobelievethatthisformofthe "quinteessencia"isethanol.Therefore,theproscriptionagainstsour wineisquitesensible,sincesouredwinewouldprobablyhavehadmuchof itsalcoholreplacedbyaceticacid(vinegar)orlacticacid(sour milk/cheeseflavor). (14)Whentheauthorrefersto"sublimation"heisactuallyreferringto repeateddistillation,NOTthemodernprocessof"sublimation",whichis theheatingofsomethingdirectlyfromsolidtovaporwithoutmelting. (16)Ethanol.WARNING:Ethanolandethanolvaporsareflammableand explosive.Idonotsuggest,state,norintimatethatanyonereadingthis shoulddistillwine.Infact,Iwarnagainstit.Ispeakfrompersonal experienceastothevolatilityofpureethanol. (16)Theoriginalisa"furnaceofashes"probablyahearth. (17)TheFlorinwasagoldcoinofthetime.ThosefromFlorencewere generallyofhighpurity. (18)IwouldbeprettydarnjollyifIregularlydosedmyselfwithhigh concentrationethanol,regardlessofgoldcontent. (19)Eithertheauthorpartookofagreatdealofburningwaterwhendoing theseexperimentsorheneglectedtomentionthatoneleftthefirstmetal

inthebathsotopermitsomesortofalloying. (20)Theauthordescribespurifyingsulfuricacidfromoneofthehydrated metalsulfursaltsknownas"vitriol".Anyacidsoproducedwouldbe highlycontaminatedwithmercurythusitwouldbebothcorrosiveAND toxic. (21)Ihavenoideawhatthisillnessissomekindoffever? (22)Literally:"BitterSalt" (23)Mercuryvaporscauseirreversiblebraindamageandcanprovelethal. (24)AquaRegia,whichcandissolvegold,isamixtureofnitricand hydrochloricacids.Theauthor's"corrosivewater"maybethe"fireof Hell"thathedescribedmakingearlierinthemanuscript.Thisplus ammoniumchloridemaygiveacrudeaquaregia. (25)Idonotknowwhatthispieceofequipmentis. (26)Antimonyisverytoxic.Idon'tknowifithasneurologicalor hallucinatoryeffects,butitwillkillhumansifingested.Leadisalso quitetoxic,andsomeleadcompoundshaveanotoriouslysweetflavorwhich iswhatattractschildrentoeatoldleadbasedpaintflecks. (27)Iamnotfamiliarwiththispieceofequipment. (28)Thisissimplyafloriddescriptionoftincturing,orextractionby soakinginethanol. (29)"EndofpartoneofthemonographonQuintessence"

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