Basil Valentine's Triumphal Chariot of Antimony

This was first published as Triumph-Wagen Antimonii... An Tag geben durch Johann Thölden. Mit einer Vorrede, Doctoris Joachimi Tanckii., Leipsig, 1604. There were further editions in German issued in 1611, 1624, 1676 and 1757. A Latin edition was published in 1646. An English version was first issued in 1660, and there were further editions in 1667 and 1678. This work was much commented upon in 17th and 18th century alchemical works.
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The Triumphal Chariot of Antimony

Basil Valentine


IT is not arrogance, but reverence, saintly and blessed men, that emboldens me to address you, whom I do not know, but whom I admire, love, venerate, and all but worship. For, though you are strangers to me, I know what sort of men you are, and what you have attained ; so that even if you were known to me, I would address you rather as Alchemists, than by your own proper names. In return for this dedication I expect no reward but to bask in the rays of your favour, and to be promoted in the way you know, since you will see . from this book that I am in the straight road, and am mounting to the bright temple of knowledge by the right path. Do not refuse me the kindness which I here publicly confer on the lovers of Alchemy, which also, the inventor Apollo and lord Mercury do not forbid me to shew forth, since, in the words of Basilius, I have already gained a place in a higher class. To speak to vou in. your own phraseology, Mercury appeared to me in a dream, and brought me back from my devious courses to the one way. " Behold me clad not in the garb of the vulgar, but in the philosopher's mantle " -so he said, and straightway began to leap along the road in headlong bounds. Then, when he was tired, he sat down, and, turning to me, who had followed him in the spirit, bade me mark that he no longer possessed that youthful vigour with which he would at the first have overcome every obstacle, if he had not been allowed a free course. Encouraged by his friendly salutation, I addressed him in the following terms : " Mercury, eloquent Scion of Atlas, and father of all Alchemists, since thou hast guided me hitherto, shew me, I pray thee, the way to those Blessed Isles, which thou hast promised to reveal to all thine elect children." "Dost thou remember," he replied. " that when I quitted thy laboratory, I left behind me a garment so thorough saturated with my own blood. that neither the wind could efface it, nor all-devouring time destroy its indelible essence ? Fetch it hither to me, that I may not catch a chill from the state of perspiration in which I now am ; but let me clothe myself warmly in it, and be closely united thereto, so that I may safely reach my bride, who is sick with love. She has meekly borne many wrongs, being driven through water and fire, and compelled to ascend and descend times without number - yet has she been carried through it all by the hope of entering with me the bridal chamber, wherein we expect to beget a son adorned from his birth with the royal crown which he may not share with others. Yet may he bring his friends to the palace, where sits enthroned the King of Kings, who communicates his dignity .readily and liberally to all that approach him." I brought him the garment, and it fitted him so closely, that it looked like an iron skin securing him against all the assaults of Vulcan. " Let us proceed," he then said, and straightway sped across the open field, while I boldly strove to keep up with my guide. Thus we reached his bride, whose virtue and constancy were equal to his own. There I beheld their marvellous conjugal union and nuptial consummation, whence was born the son crowned with the royal diadem. When I was about to salute him as the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, my Genius stood by me, and warned me not to be deceived, since this was only the King's forerunner, but not the King himself whom I sought. When I heard the admonition, I did not know whether to be sad or joyful. " Depart," then said Mercury, " with this bridal gift, and' when you come to those disciples who have seen the Lord himself, shew them this sign "- and therewith he gave me a gold ring from his son's finger. "They know the golden branch which must be consecrated to Proserpina before you can enter the palace of Pluto. When he sees this ring, perhaps one will open to you with a word the door of that chamber, where sits enthroned in his magnificence the Desire of all Nations, who is known only to the Sages." When he had thus spoken, the vision vanished, but the bridal gift that I still held in my hand, shewed me that it had not been a mere dream. It was of gold, but to me more precious than the most prized of all metals. Unto you I will shew it when I am permitted to see your faces, and to converse with you freely. Till that earnestly wished-for time, I bid you farewell. When I behold you, the sight will be to me more pleasant by far than that of Mercury, or my Genius. I, your humble servant and worshipper, shall easily recognize you by your auroral necks and ambrosial locks, which do give forth a fragrant odour.


I wish to deal candidly with you, gentle reader, and I therefore present to you here the work of Basil Valentine in a Latin garb, in order that it may be widely understood, with a Commentary of my own. To me he spoke in German, and without a commentator; I studied his work carefully, because I believed his promises, practically carried out all his directions, yet incurred much useless expense, made many mistakes. and, though I went through each operation more than ten times, could not succeed, not through the Author's, but, as I will confess honestly, through my own fault. For Basil is the Prince of all chemists, and the most learned, upright. and lucid of all alchemistic writers. He tells the careful student everything that can be known in Alchemy : of this I can most positively assure you, not as though I had already attained, or knew everything ; that would be a bold assertion. But what I have already learned from this writer fills me with hope, the aliment of the Alchemist, that I shall attain the remainder also. The Author needs no further commendation; did I add more it would be insufficient to satisfy those who reject this. The Commentary which I subjoin, I do not commend. In these notes I only give information which in itself is humble enough, but the want of which has cost me many thousands. If you do not care to avoid this expense, you may do without my guidance. You will learn perhaps through your own mistakes, if neither money nor patience fail you. My guides have been constant attention and the most careful thought; nor do you need any other leaders. So therefore do without me, by all means, if you can afford it. But if you wish to avoid unnecessary delay, mistakes, and useless expense, I may be to you a not quite worthless counsellor, or at least a humble finger-post, when perchance you stand perplexed by the multiplicity of intersecting roads. Farewell ! If you will take my advice, reject not my services, and you will enjoy many advantages. Again farewell!


Whereas I, Basil Valentine, belonging to the religious order of S. Benedict, and such a life requires a higher spirit of holiness than that which satisfies the multitude in this profane age, I consider it my duty to declare at the outset that it is necessary for the disciple of the Spagyric Art to know how he should lay stable foundations, so that his structure may not be at the mercy of the winds, or be shaken into ruins by every stormy gust. In dealing thus thoroughly with my subject, I am thinking not only of the present age, but of future generations, when we shall be in our graves, and when of our contemporaries neither king nor peasant will be surviving. This object I pursue not only for the honour and glory of the Divine Majesty, but also in order that men may render to God implicit obedience in all things.
I have found that in this Meditation there are five principal heads, which must be diligently considered, as much by all who are in possession of the wisdom of philosophy as by all who aspire after that wisdom which is attained in our art. The first is the invocation of God ; the second, the contemplation of Nature; the third, true preparation; the fourth, the way of using; the fifth, the use and profit. He who does not carefully attend to these points will never be included among real Alchemists, or be numbered among the perfect professors of the Spagyric science. Therefore we will treat of them in their proper order as lucidly and succinctly as we can, in order that the careful and studious operator may be enabled to perform our Magistery in the right way.
First, there should be the invocation of God, flowing from the depth of a pure and sincere heart, and a conscience which should be free from all ambition, hypocrisy, and vice, as also from all cognate faults, such as arrogance, boldness, pride, luxury, worldly vanity, oppression of the poor, and similar iniquities, which should all be rooted up out of the heart - that when a man appears before the Throne of Grace, to regain the health of his body, he may come with a conscience weeded of all tares, and be changed into a pure temple of God, cleansed of all that defiles. For " God is not mocked," as worldly men fondly suppose; He is not mocked, I say, but will be called upon with reverence and fear, and acknowledged as the Creator of all, with proper proofs of obedience. For what has man that he does not owe to God? - whether you look at his body, or at the soul which works in his body. Does he not nourish the latter with the word of His mercy ? and has not he promised to it eternal life ? Does he not give to our bodies food and clothing, without which we could not even live ? All this man must obtain from the Blessed Father, who has created the earth, things visible and invisible, the firmament, elements, vegetables, animals, and all things. Hence a wicked man can never obtain the true Medicine, much less become partaker of the heavenly eternal bread.
Therefore, let all your hope be stayed on God, and let constant prayer, to impart to you this Blessing, be the beginning of your work, in order that you may safely reach the end, for the "fear of God is the beginning of wisdom."
He who would seek the greatest of all earthly benedictions, the knowledge of all created good, and of the effectual virtue which God has liberally implanted in stones, herbs, roots, seeds, animals, plants, minerals, metals, and all things, must fling away every earthly thought, hope only for freedom of heart, and pray to God with the greatest humility. Thus, the aspiration after freedom will soon be realized. This truth no one will call in question who knows that it is God who redeems Israel from all foes, and not only Israel but all that call upon Him with a contrite and broken spirit. The first head of our teaching", then, must be prayer, which we call the INVOCATION OF GOD, and see that it comes not forth out of feigned lips, but is the fruit of faith and confidence, like that of the Centurion of Capernaum; in humility and contrition, like that of the Canaanitish woman; in charity, like that of the Samaritan who took up the wounded man on the way to Jericho, pouring into his wounds wine and oil, and paying his expenses at the inn, with an injunction that proper care should be taken of him; in brief, let the prayer be offered up in that spirit of Christian charity which desires to share what it obtains with its neighbour; then you will doubtless attain the object of your undertaking, viz. riches and health.
Next in order after prayer follows CONTEMPLATION, by which we apprehend the essential properties of a thing, the circumstances by which it is conditioned, its matter, its form, its operations and their source, whence it is infused and implanted, how it is generated by the Stars, formed by the elements, produced an d perfected by the three principles.
Again, it enables us to understand how the body of anything- can be dissolved, i.e., resolved into its first matter or essence; to this change I have referred in mv other writings as the transmutation of the last substance into the first, and of the. first substance into the last.
This Contemplation, which forms the second part of our work, is heavenly, and spiritually apprehended, for only the spiritual mind can grasp the circumstances and foundation of all things. Now, this Contemplation is two-fold: one is called impossible, the other possible. The former consists in endless meditations, which can have no result because their object is intangible. Such problems are the Eternity of God, the Sin against the Holy Ghost, the infinite nature of the Godhead. They are incomprehensible, and necessarily baffle the finite enquirer.
The other part of Contemplation, which is possible, is called Theoria. It deals with the tangible and visible which has a temporal form-shewing how it can be dissolved and thereby perfected into any given body; how every body can impart the good or evil, medicine or poison, which is latent in it; how the wholesome is separated from the unwholesome; how to set about destruction and demolition for the purpose of really and truly severing the pure from the impure without any sophistic guile.
This separation is brought about by different manual operations, and in various other wavs, some of which are already familiar to the multitude, while others are by no means well known. They are as follows: CALCINATION, SUBLIMATION, REVERBERATION, CIRCULATION, PUTREFACTION, DIGESTION, DISTILLATION, COHOBATION, FIXATION, and the like. The meaning of these terms graduallv comes to be understood bv the practical experimentalist. In the same way you come to see the meaning- of the terms: movable, fixed, white, red, black, blue, green, viz., by sound practical experience. For the operator may err, and deflect from the rectilineal way, but that Nature, when rightly treated, should ever err, is impossible.
If, therefore, the substance be not perfectly dissolved, and set free from all corporeal poison, know that you have made a mistake. Retrace your steps, learn the theory more perfectly, and enquire more accurately into the method of operation, so as to find the true foundation, and certainty in the separation of all things - which is a matter of the greatest importance.
This, then, is the second foundation of philosophy, and follows upon Invocation. It is the most important aspect of our Art, and is expressed in the following words: Seek first the Kingdom of God, and His justice - by Invocation - and all other thing's that men need, for the support and health of the body, will be added unto you.
On theory, which lays bare the most intimate relations of things, follows PREPARATION, which is perfected by manual operation, and yields a tangible result. Out of preparation arises knowledge, which lays bare the foundations of Medicine.
Manual Operation requires diligent application, and knowledge is founded on experience, while the difference between the two is set forth by Anatomy. Operation shews how all things spring into existence, and become visible. Knowledge points out practical methods, and is nothing but Confirmation; manual operation shewing the good, eliciting the latent and hidden nature, and bringing it forth into the light for good; for as in spiritual things the way of the Lord must be prepared, so in this Art also the way must be opened and made straight, in order that the goal may be reached without any false step or aberration.
After preparation, and especially after separation of good and bad (brought about by dissolution), we must proceed to the Proportions of Weight, or dosis. For you must avoid taking either too little or too much: this is a point to which the physician should pay the closest attention, if he would not "make a fat churchyard".When the Medicine is diffused through the whole body, to counteract its defects we become acquainted with its USES. For it may happen that a Medicine properly prepared, and given in proper quantity, is, nevertheless, rather harmful than curative, in certain diseases ; and therefore we must discover the conditions under which alone it is likely to be beneficial.
In answering this question, you must observe whether the wound is internal or external-for the treatment is widely different in the two cases. Hence you must go to the root of every disease, and determine whether it can be cured by external remedies only, or whether it must be driven out by internal applications. For if its centre lie hid within, you want a medicine which will penetrate to the centre and restore it; else all your healing efforts will be fruitless.
An external disease, admitting of external treatment, cannot be driven inward without fatal results. If, while a tree is putting forth leaves and blossoms, you were to drive the sap inward or\par downward, you would not only obtain no fruit, but probably blast, wither, and destroy the entire growth.
There is a great difference, then, between fresh wounds, inflicted with a sword or dagger, or in some other way, and old wounds which have an internal origin. Fresh wounds can be perfectly cured only by external remedies ; but in the case of internal diseases the external application of oils, plasters, ointments, and balms will be of little avail. The inward fountain of the disease, whence the morbid humours flow to the outward parts, must be dried up. Then the flux will cease, and the evil can be cured by means of diet alone.
It does not require much skill to heal a common fresh wound; any boor can do so with a little crude lard. But to stop all the symptoms, by drying up the fountain of an internal wound, tests to the utmost the physician's cunning.
Come hither, then, ye that claim to be doctors of both branches of Medicine, healers of internal as well as of external diseases: see whether you can make your claim good ; ask yourselves, in the sight of God, whether you really possess this knowledge, or whether it belongs to you as a mere formal title of honour. For as great as is the distance between heaven and earth, so great is the difference between the art of healing internal and external diseases. If your honourable title be the gift of God, the same God will also follow it up with blessing, success, and happiness ; but if your title be a vain imagination of your own ambitious heart, all your attempts will fail; your honour will be grievously sullied, and you will prepare for yourself the fire of hell, which can no more be put out than it can be explained in words. For Christ says to His disciples: "Ye call me Lord and Master, and ye do well." Whoever, therefore, takes to himself a title of honour, should be careful to see whether he does well, whether he does not arrogate to himself too much, more than he knows or has learned, which would be an abuse of the title. Who ever calls himself a Doctor of both branches of Medicine must be skilled alike in internal and external pathology; he should also know anatomy, which teaches the constitution of the human body, and the part in which every disease originates and is localized. He must know the remedies which are applicable to the several varieties of disease, and the peculiar conditions of external wounds. Good God! If an examination were held on these points, how many doctors of both branches of Medicine would be compelled publicly to declare their ignorance !
Once upon a time Doctors of Medicine were content to cure external wounds, and looked upon this task as part of their duty; but now they leave it to ignorant and inexperienced beginners, who hardly know "how to drive a donkey out of a field." These persons style themselves masters in the art of healing wounds, and great Doctors; and I am ready to admit that they have a better claim to such title than you, illustrious surgeon, who do most impudently arrogate to yourself a false title, calling yourself a Doctor of both branches of Medicine.
What more would you have, my lord Doctor? What say you, O expert Surgeon? If I were to put to you some searching questions respecting the nature and cure of external wounds, I should find that there is in you about as much knowledge as there is in the brain of a cock on the title page of a child's spelling-book.
Hence I would thus advise men of all ranks, who are anxious to obtain knowledge: Demand first of your masters true teaching, which consists in preparation and the proportion of ingredients; then you will hold your title with honour, and give real help to your fellow-men; you will also have good reason to return thanks to the Creator out of an unfeigned heart.
Let every one seriously consider in his own mind what he should do, what he should leave undone, and whether his title belongs to him of right, or not. Whoever assumes a title should know its meaning, and whether he is justified in claiming it. A rational man must be able to assign a reason for everything, and when he smells a dung-heap of a very penetrating odour, he should be able to say why he calls it good dung, and also why a certain person who has partaken of fragrant and sweet-smelling food, gives it out in the shape of highly malodorous excrement. The answer is to be found in the conditions of natural putrefaction and corruption. The same thing is observable in the transmutations of all fragrant substances. Hence the Sage should enquire what an odour is, whence it derives its properties, and how those properties can be turned to good account. For the earth is nourished with stinking dung, and precious fruits are produced thereby. To account for this phenomenon there is a multiplicity of causes which it would take a whole book to explain, if we attempted to describe, even briefly, all natural mutations and generations. But digestion and putrefaction are the Master Keys of the process. Fire and air produce a kind of maturity, by which a change can take place out of water and earth. This is the kind of transmutation by which fragrant balsam becomes stinking dung, and stinking dung fragrant balsam. But you will ask me why I quote such simple and absurd examples. The example, I confess, smacks of the stables rather than of the drawing-room; but the careful student of Nature will understand me all the better for that reason. He will see that the highest things become the lowest, and the lowest are changed into the highest - i.e., a medicine into a poison, and a poison into a medicine; a sweet thing into a bitter, acid, and corrosive substance; and a common thing, on the other hand, into something useful
But, good God! - how difficult it is for us short-lived men to explore the whole compass of Nature. Thou hast reserved to Thyself many things in Creation which are objects of marvel rather than of knowledge. Therefore permit me to the end of my life to keep Thee in my heart, that in addition to the temporal health and wealth, which Thou givest freely, I may also obtain the salvation of my soul, and spiritual riches. Of this I dare not doubt, for Thou has shed the balm and sulphur of my soul on the bitter cross - a balm which to the Devil is deadly poison, but to sinners the most potent medicine. I strive to heal the souls of my brethren with prayer, and their bodies with suitable remedies. May God grant that we may all dwell together in His mansions on high!
But to return to the science of Antimony. You should know that all things contain operative and vital spirits, which derive their substance and nourishment from their bodies; nor are the elements themselves without these spirits whether good or evil. Men and animals have within them an operative and vitalizing spirit, and if it forsakes them, nothing but a dead body is left. Herbs and trees have spirits of health, else no Art could turn them to medicinal uses. In the same way, minerals and metals possess vitalizing spirits, which constitute their whole strength and goodness: for what has no spirit has no life, or vitalizing power. Know that in Antimony also there is a spirit which is its strength, which also pervades it invisibly, and the magnetic property pervades the magnet.
Now, there are different kinds of spirits, which are partly visible, and yet cannot be touched as the natural body of a man can be touched. Such are especially those spirits which have fixed their domicile in the elements, spirits of fire, light, and other light-dispensing objects. Such are the aerial spirits which dwell in the air; watery spirits in the water; terrestrial spirits, or "earth men" in the earth, especially where there are rich veins of ore. These spirits have reason and sensation, are skilled in the different Arts, and can assume a variety of shapes, until the time of the judgment, which perhaps even now God has pronounced against them.
Other spirits which cannot speak, nor exhibit themselves by their own power, are those which dwell in men and animals, in plants and minerals. They have an occult, operative life, and manifest themselves by the efficacy of their working; when separated from bodies by our Art they have a most marvelous sanative virtue.
In this way the operative spirit and virtue of Antimony bestows its gifts, and imparts them to men, when it has been separated from its body so as to penetrate other bodies with its sanative virtue. In this process the Artist and Vulcan (fire) must be of one mind. The fire causes the separation, the Artist forms the substance. So the smith uses one fire and one material, viz., iron; and yet produces out of them a great variety of different instruments, a spit, spurs, an axe, or some other tool. In the same way Antimony can be put to a great many different uses, wherein the smith is the skilled Artist, while the fire is, as it were, the key which opens, and practical experiment results in experience and a useful conclusion.
Alas, if men only had eyes to see, and ears to hear not merely what I say, but to understand the secret meaning, they would no longer drink those turbid and unwholesome potions, but would hasten hither, and receive the limpid water of the well of life!
It is my design to shew that those great doctors, who think themselves wise, are very fools, while my book may make many foolish and unlearned persons the depositories of true wisdom.
All men who are real lovers of knowledge, and humbly seek after it by day and by night, are herewith cordially invited to listen to my teaching, to pore over my book with the greatest care, and thereby to obtain the desire of their hearts. Their gratitude will, after my death, raise me from the grave, and render my name immortal. If any one be opposed to my opinions, he will find a crushing reply in this work. Nor am I fearful that my disciples who, through my teaching, obtain the empire over Nature, will ever suffer my name to sink into oblivion, or to be bespattered with vile calumnies.
Know then, benevolent and sincere observer of art, that there are two kinds of Antimony, which differ widely from each other. One is beautiful, pure, and of a golden quality, containing a considerable amount of Mercury. The other has much Sulphur, is not so friendly to goad as the first, and is known by its beautiful, long, brilliantly white streaks. Now, one Antimony is more useful than the other, both for Alchemistic and Medicinal purposes. There are many different kinds of flesh, the flesh of fishes and the flesh of animals; and as both are flesh, so two widely different substances may be called Antimony.
Many have written about the inward virtue of Antimony, but few know either the true foundation of its power, of the origin thereof. Their knowledge is verbal erudition only; it is devoid of a solid grounding, and bears no fruit.
To write on Antimony, there is needed profound meditation, a large mind, a wide knowledge of its preparation, and of its true soul, in which consists all its usefulness. If you are familiar with these, you can truly tell what is good and medicinal, what is bad and poisonous, in it. It is surely worth while to enquire into the essential and fundamental nature of Antimony, and to discover how its venomous quality against which so loud an outcry is raised, may be removed, and itself prepared, changed, and transmuted into a pure Medicine, containing not a single trace of poison.
Many Anatomists have subjected Antimony to all manner of singular torments and excruciating processes, which it is difficult either to believe or to describe. Their studies have led to no result, because they did not seek the true soul of Antimony, and, therefore, did not soon find that fictitious soul of which they were in search their path being obscured with black colours which rendered invisible what they desired to see. Antimony, like Mercury, is comparable to a circle, without beginning or end, composed of all colours; and the more is always found in it, the more diligent and prudent the search which is made. One man's life is too short to discover all these mysteries. It is a most potent poison; then, again, it is free from poison, and a most excellent Medicine, both for external and internal application. This is hidden from many through their blindness, and they judge it to be a foolish, incredible, and vain thing. We must excuse them on account of their ignorance, and permit them to plead their stupidity in extenuation of their folly. The worst of it is that they will not be taught.
Antimony has the four first qualities; it is frigid and humid, and yet hot and dry; it accommodates itself to the four seasons of the year, and is both volatile and fixed. Its volatility is poisonous, its fixed state free from all poison. Hence Antimony is one of the seven wonders of the world, and many have written about it without knowing the meaning of their own words; no one before me, and even at the present time no one besides myself, has any real acquaintance with its potency, virtues, powers, operation, and efficacy. If any such person could be found, he would be worthy to be drawn about in a triumphal car, like great kings and warriors after mighty and heroic achievements in the battlefield. But I am afraid that not many of our Doctors are in danger of being forcibly placed in such a car.
Men of this world, who are at the same time students of our art, are so given up to the desire of gain that they can think only of the riches which Antimony is to bestow upon them; they do not realize that the medicinal virtues of Antimony should be the first object of our search, in order that the name of God shall be glorified, and that our fellowmen may be truly benefited.
We admit that greater riches are to be found in Antimony than it is possible to imagine, even for me, though I know much more about this matter than you who are so exceedingly wise in your own conceits. But let none be afraid for this reason, or despair of ultimately attaining to this highest felicity of human life; for the loving kindness of God is great in the dispensation of His gifts. But because of the ingratitude of men, He has covered their eyes, as it were, with cobwebs, so that they cannot perceive the mysteries hidden in this mineral form.
All clamour aloud: We want to be rich, rich! Yes, you desire wealth, and say with Epicurus: Let us provide for our bodies, and leave our souls to take care of themselves. Even as Midas in the fable, you desire to change all things into gold. So are there numerous persons who seek this coveted wealth in Antimony, but since they do not care for God, and have cast far away from them the love of their neighbour, they will look at the horses teeth of Antimony forever without knowing anything about its age or qualities. Like the wedding-guests of Cana, they may behold the miracle by which water is turned into wine; they may know that it was water, and they may taste that now it is wine; yet they can never learn the way in which the change was brought about.
Nevertheless, it is every one's duty to investigate the mysteries and wonderful secrets which the Creator has infused into all things. We may not be able to understand and explain everything. Yet many things are possible to industry and perseverance; and though many an one may be severely handicapped in the struggle for wealth and health, yet, through the grace of God, he may still attain thereto. Therefore he should not think any labour too great which is likely to advance his knowledge of Antimony. Whoever, then, would perfectly understand the Anatomy of Antimony, should, in the first place, become acquainted with the manner of its solution, so that he may be able to seize it in the right place, and proceed in the right way, without entering into devious paths. In the second place, he should learn how to regulate the fire, so that it shall be neither too fierce nor too feeble. Fire is the root of the whole matter. By means of fire the vitalizing spirits are extracted and dissolved for the purposes of our operation. But care must be taken not to mortify and destroy the spirit by means of too much heat.
The third point for consideration is the proportion of the substance, the discovery of the proper measure, as I have already noted, when enumerating the five points which are requisite in Alchemy. It is necessary to enlarge further upon this matter.
The substance is prepared by means of dissolution; it is perfected by means of coction in fire. This is the axe that kills the ox, and divides it into parts. But men cannot partake of the flesh till it has been cooked over the fire, by which means the red colour of the meat is removed, and a white nitritious substance is substituted in its place. If a man, driven by hunger, were to eat the raw, red flesh, it would be a poison to him rather than a medicine, because the stomach has not sufficient natural heat to digest the raw material. In the same way, it will be so much the more dangerous for you to use Antimony before separation, preparation, and coction, as the mineral substance is more gross and poisonous in its raw state than that obtained from the animal body.
Therefore Antimony must be so thoroughly deprived of its poisonous nature that it can never again return to it, just as wine which has once been changed into vinegar by putrefaction and corruption, can never again produce the spirit of wine, but must always remain vinegar. But when, by means of distillation, the spirit alone is removed from the wine, so that the watery part is separated from the spirit, and the spirit is afterwards sublimed, the wine can never thenceforth become vinegar, even though it were kept a hundred years, but would always remain spirit of wine, just as the vinegar always remains vinegar.
This change of wine into vinegar is a wonderful thing, for thereby something is actually produced out of the wine which did not before exist in its vegetable essence. In the distillation of wine the first product is spirit; in the distillation of vinegar the first product is a watery substance, and thus a spirit, as I explained above. Hence the spirit of wine, being itself volatile, renders other things volatile, but the spirit of vinegar fixed and renders solid all medicaments, both mineral and vegetable, so that they attract fixed matter and expel fixed diseases.
Pay diligent attention to this fact, and observe it well, for here lies the master key of our whole Art.
Antimony, which contains within itself its own vinegar, should be so prepared as to entirely remove its poisonous nature, in order that he who drinks it may not swallow with it any venom, but rather drive away and cast out all poison from his body.
The preparation of Antimony, or the Key of Antimony, is that by which it is dissolved, opened, divided, and separated. Such processes are calcination, reverberation, sublimation, as we have previously declared. In extracting its essence, in vitalizing its Mercury, the process is continued, and this Mercury must afterwards be precipitated in the form of a fixed powder. By our Art it can also become an oil, which is a specific against the new disease imported into this country by French soldiers.
The same process may be observed, for instance, in the brewing of beer; barley, wheat, or other grain, must undergo all these processes before it becomes a palatable beverage. It must first be mashed and dissolved in water, as I have observed them do in Belgium and England, when I was a young man. This is Putrefaction, or Corruption. Then the water is poured off, and the moist grain is left in a warm place, till it germinates and sticks together. This is Digestion.
Thereupon the grains are once more separated from each other, and dried, either in the sun or before the fire. This is Reverberation and Coagulation.
The prepared germ is then ground in the mill. This is vegetable Calcination. It is afterwards cooked over the fire, and its nobler spirit is mingled with the water in a way which would not have been possible before it was so prepared. Thus water becomes beer, and this we may call Distillation. If hops are added to the beer they are its vegetable salt, which preserves it from all adverse corrupting influences. This method of converting water into a fermented beverage by the extraction of the spirit of grain is unknown to the Spaniards and Italians, and in my native country of Germany I have only found a few, in the Rhenish districts, who understand such Art.
Afterwards a new separation takes place by means of Clarification. A little yeast is added to the beer, which stirs up its internal heat and motion, and thus, in time, the gross is separated from the subtle, and the pure from the impure. The beer thereby becomes a perfect beverage of great efficacy; before this clarification this would not be, because such operative spirit was clogged and hindered by its own uncleanness from fulfilling its objects. Does not experience teach the same lesson in the case of wine? It is not perfect, nor can it properly fulfill its object, till it has been freed from all impurity. Unclarified beer or wine is not half so intoxicating as beer or wine when it is purified.
After this, we may bring about another separation by means of Vegetable Sublimation. The spirit of wine, or beer, by this process, and by Distillation, is separated, and prepared in the form of another beverage, or ardent spirits. Here the operative virtue is separated from its body; the spirit is extracted by means of fire, and has deserted its inert and lifeless habitation, in which before it was domiciled.
If such ardent wine, or spirit of wine, be rectified, you have Exaltation. When this is done, the spirit of wine is several times distilled, and so condensed by being purified from all phlegm and wateriness that one measure is more effectual than twenty measures were before; it intoxicates more rapidly, and it volatile, and subtle in penetrating and acting upon substances.
Here I exhort you, who desire through my teaching to secure health and riches as the reward of your study of Antimony, not to suppose that there is so much as a superfluous word or letter in what I have hitherto said. I tell you there are many words sprinkled up and down in my writings which may make it well worth your while to turn over the pages again and again, and to ponder very frequently the meaning of sentences in which every word is worth its weight in gold. Know that though the illustrations which I have given have a rustic and simple appearance, they set forth a grand truth of the highest moment. But it is neither desirable nor necessary to praise my own works; they will praise themselves, as soon as the suggestions contained in them are practically tried. I purposely use rude and common illustrations. For it is my business to set forth the hidden virtues of Antimony; and as this is a very profound and abstruse speculation, it is useful to prepare the way by throwing upon my subject all the light which can be gained from common and familiar things; otherwise, you might be in danger of losing your road at the very outset of your journey. Antimony is also likened to a bird which is borne through the air on the wings of the wind, and turns whither it will. The wind, or air, here represents the Artist, who can move and impel Antimony whither it pleases him, and place it wherever he likes. He can colour it red or yellow, white or black, according to the way in which he regulates the fire, since Antimony, like Mercury, contains within itself all colours.
If a book be placed before an illiterate person, he does not know what the letters mean; he stands staring stupidly at the characters, like a cow at a new gate. But if that person were taught to read, were shown the signification of the letters, and instructed in the meaning of the work, he would no longer be a prey to stupid wonder, but the why and the wherefore of the whole thing would be plain and familiar to him. Such a book is Antimony to those who have not yet learned to read it: hence all such persons should pay the most careful attention to my preliminary instruction, and should not be offended if I offer to teach them the alphabet of Antimony. Let them study this alphabet diligently, in order that they may learn to read the book, and thus advance from class to class in this our school of Alchemy, until they have reached the highest grade of all.
But at this point I remember that there is, from time to time, a great clamour, and cry of "Away with them!" raised against those who prepare medicines out of poisons such as Mercury, Arsenic, and Antimony. It is averred that by means of such medicines many have met with a sudden death, or are dragging on a miserable existence. This clamour is most persistently raised by those Doctors of Medicine (save the mark!) who do not know the difference between a poison and a theriac, nor yet how a poison shall be prepared in order that it may become a salutary medicine, and exchange its malignancy for health-giving qualities. I protest against being numbered amongst the persons who administer to their patients orpiment, arsenic, and mercury, which, in their unprepared state, are, of course, deadly poisons. But after legitimate preparation all venom is removed and expelled, and there remains only a Medicine which resists all internal poisons, and radically removes them. It is also the surest antidote against every unprepared poison, and changes all such into its own wholesome nature.
This assertion will excite a fierce controversy among Doctors, and many will be ready to maintain to the last breath that it is utterly impossible to remove the deadly nature of mineral poisons. I do not wonder at their incredulity, since they are hopelessly ignorant of all similar preparations, and have no conception of the deeper mysteries of science. Yet those who are more reasonable will be ready to admit that it is possible considerably to improve a vile and worthless substance.
But before I attempt to declare the virtue of Antimony, you should know that, although Antimony in its raw state is a deadly poison, yet poison can attract to itself poison more effectually by far than any other heterogeneous substance.
This assertion is proved by the fact that the body of an unicorn, which is entirely free from poison, repels every poisonous thing. Place a live spider inside a circle formed by a strip of the skin of an unicorn, and you will observe that the spider will not be able to pass. But if the circle be composed of some envenomed substance, the spider will have no difficulty in crossing the line, which is homogenous to its own nature.
Any similar experiment would yield the same result. Hollow out a silver coin, and let it Boat on the water like a boat. Then hold close to it, yet without making actual contact, a particle of a true unicorn. The coin will be as surely repelled and moved backward as the duck which sees the sportsman taking aim at it with his gun.
That homogeneous substances always attract each other you may learn from the fact, that if you place a piece of pure, unadulterated bread in a bowl of water, so that it floats on the surface, and hold, not very far from it, a piece of true unicorn, the bread will float in any direction in which the piece of unicorn is moved. So great is the attraction of like to like in Nature that poison always draws towards it irresistibly all that is poisonous, and substances which are free from venom exert the same influence over substances which enjoy a similar immunity.
Hence poison can be removed in two ways: firstly, by its contrary which repels it, as the unicorn repels the spider; secondly, by its like, which attracts it by magnetic power. The poison which is to cure a homogeneous poison must have been so prepared that it shall have become a medicine instead of a poison, in order that it may attract the other, may take it up into its own nature and expel it.
A proof of this action of natural affinities may be observed in the effect of soap upon linen. Soap is composed of oil, fat and other greasy substances, which seem much more likely to sully than to cleanse linen. But by means of digestion, and through the action of salt, a certain rectification and separation has taken place, so that the soap now, instead of smirching the linen, attracts to itself all the impurities with which it is defiled, and renders it clean and white. In the same way poison may be so prepared as to become instead a purifying medicine, which attracts to itself all the corruption of the human system, and restores it to perfect soundness and health.
As we have begun to point out to the true student of medicine what is good and what is evil in Nature-a question in regard to which our so-called doctors maintain a supine carelessness - it will be well to set forth the truth, and to make it plain by a few more experiments and illustrations.
Let an egg, which is congealed by the winter's frost, be placed in icy-cold water. The shell will soon be covered with ice, but the frost will be extracted from the egg, and it will be fresh and vital as before.
If any man's hand or foot be frozen, he should at once apply snow or ice-water to it. The cold will thus be extracted and the limb saved.
On the contrary, inflammation is best cured by means of some hot or burning substance. If you have an inflammation in your hand, apply to it spirit of wine (which is pure fire), or quintessence of sulphur; the outward heat will attract to itself the inward fire, and not only will you experience immediate relief, but the limb will become strong as before.
In order still further to confirm this truth, I add yet another illustration. Take the spawn of frogs, which is found in March; dry it on a plate in the sun, place it on a wound inflicted by a viper or other venomous serpent, and the wound will be so prepared as to be healed subsequently by other medicines. Or you may spread the spawn on a linen rag, and then apply it to the wound with the same result.
Similarly, you may take a venomous toad, dry it in the sun, reduce it to ashes in a carefully closed pot, pulverize, and apply the powder to any poisoned wound, whereupon it will attract to itself all the poison of the wound. Why? By the combustion or calcination of the toad, its inward efficacy is called out, and becomes operative. The principle which we have so largely illustrated holds good in all cases. If you are seized with the plague, treat it with astrum solis, or spirit of Mercury, for the spirit of Mercury attracts every poisonous matter, and purifies the system of all its morbific particles.
The efficacy of astrum solis (Star of the Sun) is infinitely greater. For it concentrates within itself all the quickening power of the Sun, which is the life of Nature. It is the Soul of Gold, and the generative principle of all minerals and metals. I will say more about this wonderful astrum solis in its own proper place.
In the same way, we must treat Antimony, which has the like operative qualities as the body of gold. I do not now speak of the Star of the Sun. "For, says Antimony, "I know that I must quake and tremble exceedingly before it, and though I greatly excel it in many principal respects, yet, on the whole, I can effect none of those things, which the Star of the Sun, strengthened by heavenly testimony, is able to accomplish. I do not speak either of the star of Mercury, whose parentage is the same as mine. But as to intense penetrative virtue, I must yield the palm to the Star of the Sun.
My books and sayings are related to each other by experience, like the metals, one of which must be tested and known in its relation to the rest. In like manner, my writings and prescriptions have one common scope or aim. The guide who alone can lead you to the place where Plutus sits enthroned, is Vulcan (the god of fire). If you strike steel with a flint, the violent collision elicits a spark, and calls forth the hidden sulphur, or hidden fire, which is kindled by the air so that it burns truly and effectually. Salt remains in the ashes, and mercury is struck out together with the burning sulphur.
In Antimony, too, the mercury must, by a natural method, be separated from its sulphur and salt. Unless the fire which is latent in the steel becomes visible and tangible, it can be of no use; and so our Medicine will produce no effect, unless it be first separated from its gross elements, rectified, manifested, clarified, and prepared, that all may see how a separation of the pure from the impure has taken place, and that the pure metal is purged of all earthy elements, after which the harvest may be expected. But this cannot take place, until the metal has been opened and dissolved by a carefully regulated fire.
In order that I may comprehend much matter of importance within a small compass, this, shortly, is the sum of the science of Antimony.
Whatever is hidden from common observation is the province of Art; but as soon as the hidden has become manifest and visible, the task of our Art is accomplished, and all that remains to be done is purely mechanical, as I have more than once set forth in my other books.
The bee extracts honey from the flower by the art which God has given to her; but when once the honey is visibly perfect, that sweet and fragrant liquid can be prepared in such a way as to become a most potent and deadly poison. This is a fact which no one will believe who has not seen experimental proof of it. Nevertheless, though a corrosive poison is prepared from honey, no one has any right to say that honey itself is poisonous or harmful. Here is something which may deliver our doctors from Divine vengeance. Honey is indirectly prepared from the excrements of brute beasts, with which the meadows are manured, and whence hundreds and thousands of sweet and fragrant flowers spring up. From these the quintessence is sucked by the bees whereby there takes place an alteration and generation of one thing into another, i.e., into an aliment of different form and taste, resembling its former condition in no particular, and designated honey. This honey may be either a pleasant form of food for man, or there may be prepared from it a poison of the most deadly effect, both on man and beast.
Therefore, gentle reader, whoever and whatever you are, follow me and Nature. I will teach you the whole truth without any admixture of falsehood. I will instruct you how to distinguish truth from error, good from evil, the highest from the lowest. For though Antimony be a deadly poison, there can be prepared from it a medicine which radically destroys all diseases, and penetrates and consumes them, by coction, like fire.
First, Antimony must be prepared so as to become a true Stone, which is its quintessence. And forasmuch as in this operation it is in all things like fire, I call it, after its coagulation, the Fire Stone. When this Fire Stone has been properly prepared, according to the directions given at the end of this treatise, its medicinal virtue is such as to consume all noxious humours, purify the blood to the highest degree, and be in all things equal to the efficacy of potable gold.
Here let me advertise the lover of art that the virtue of Antimony is not one among many precious stones, but it combines the virtues of al other precious stones, as is sufficiently evidenced by its colours. Its red represents carbuncle, pyropus, and coral; its white, diamond and crystal; its blue, sapphire; its green, emerald; its yellow, jacynth; its black, granite. As to the metals, its black corresponds to Saturn, its red to iron, its yellow to gold, its green to copper, its blue to silver, its white to mercury, its mixed colours to tin. And not only does Antimony contain the colours, it also contains the virtues and qualities of all other stones and metals, only human life is too short for any one to learn how to educe all the potencies that lie concealed in the heart of Antimony. You may get from it, by distillation, an acid humour, like pure vinegar. By another way, you may prepare a red pellucid substance, as sweet as refined sugar or honey-or you may obtain a bitter substance, like absinthe -or an acid substance, like salt oil. At one time it is red, yellow, or white, and is borne upward like a flying eagle. Then, again, it exhibits various colours, and is driven downwards, and, by reverberation, becomes a metal, like lead. Sometimes it looks like transparent glass of a red, yellow, black, white or variegated colour. All of these it is inadvisable to use in medicines unless they have been subjected to some other test. It may also become a variety of subtle oils, whose medicinal virtue transcends their outward appearance; their use is chiefly for applications to wounds and ulcers. The manifold variations which it undergoes might puzzle the oracle of Delphi.
Out of it we may evolve living mercury, and sulphur which burns like common sulphur; moreover, a grey powder can be prepared from it, with real natural salt and many other things.
We will therefore now speak of its preparations, its magistery, arcanum, and tincture, its elixir, and its special essence, which you will be able to extract when I have told you about the Fire-Stone and its preparation, and many other arcana and secrets, of which the wise man of this world know nothing, and to which too little attention has been paid since the decay of the Egyptians, Arabs, and Chaldeans. These truths are of the greatest importance in the study of the true medicine.
Take care that the different operations shall follow each other in the exact order in which I declare and describe; for if the result is to be perfection, every part of the work must be properly attended to. Now, fixed medicines expel and eradicate fixed diseases; but Antimony, in its crude state, is only a purgative, which does not touch the real root of the disease.
I will therefore declare the preparation of all things which belong to Antimony; I will deliver up the keys thereof, and earnestly ask the student to bear in mind that fire is the sure key by which access is obtained to most of the secrets of our Art. This mineral preparation of Antimony is prepared in various manners by the regimen of fire and by a multiple manual operation, whence its medicinal activity, virtue, potency, and colour flow and emanate.
As Antimony is distinguished by a crude, black colour, variegated with white, I will now speak of the first operation to which the substance is subjected, viz., calcination, or incineration, which is carried out in the following manner:
Take best Hungarian Antimony, or any kind you can get; pulverize it as finely as possible, spread thinly on an earthenware dish (round or square) provided with a low margin; place the dish on a calcinatory furnace over a coal fire, which should at first be moderate. As soon as you see smoke rise from the Antimony, stir it about with an iron spoon, and continue doing so till there is no more smoke, and the Antimony sticks together in the shape of small globules. Remove it from the fire, pulverize again into a fine powder, place it on fire, and calcine, as before, till there is no more smoke. This calcination must be repeated not only till the Antimony gives out no more smoke, but does not conglomerate into globules, and has the appearance of pure white ashes. Then has the calcination of Antimony been successfully completed.
Place this calcined Antimony in a crucible, such as goldsmiths use for melting gold and silver, and set it over a violent fire, either lighted in a wind furnace or increased by means of the bellows, till the Antimony becomes liquid like pure water. To test whether Antimony has acquired its proper glassy transparency, dip in it an oblong piece of cold iron, and examine the Antimony which clings to it carefully. If it be clear, pure, and transparent, it is all right, and has attained its due maturity. The tyro, or beginner, should know (these remarks are addressed to beginners who are students of the Spagyric Art) that glass, whether prepared from metals, minerals, or any other substance, must be subjected to heat, till it has attained to maturity, and exhibits a clear and pellucid transparency. Let all and several remember that that maturity and this transparency are performed solely by Vulcan operating on the secret and concealed nature. Otherwise, it is unprofitable for any further medicinal development.
When Antimony has become vitrified in the way described, heat a flat, broad copper dish over the fire, pour into it the Antimony in as clear and thin a state as possible, and you will have pure, yellow, pellucid glass of Antimony. This preparation of what I call the glass of Antimony is the simplest, best, and most efficacious with which I am acquainted.
Glass of Antimony may also be prepared with an admixture of borax, as follows:
Take one part of crude Antimony and two of Venetian borax; pound finely, place in crucible, melt them together in a reverberatory furnace, or by a fire kept up with the bellows, pour into hot copper dish, and prepare as before; you will then have a beautiful, pellucid Antimony like pyropus.
The redness of this Antimony may be extracted by means of spirit of wine.
Transparent white glass of Antimony, after its commixture, is further prepared as follows: Pound, together, one part of Antimony till it becomes a fine powder, and four parts of Venetian borax; melt in crucible till the substances are in flux, when they will become first yellow and then white as glass, for, under the continuous regimen of the fire, the yellow here gives place to the white, and a beautiful glass results. The white colour is matured as before, and is tested, in like manner, by the insertion of a piece of cold iron.
There are many other ways in which Antimony can be vitrified. I only describe the results of my own practical experience, and the first way of preparing Antimony, or glass of Antimony, is the very best that can be conceived for all practical purposes. We thus purge out the black colour, which has evaporated in a volatile form through the chimney. Nevertheless, the Antimony still retains a considerable amount of its poisonous nature, and I will now proceed to declare to you how the poison is separated from the medicine, the pur from the impure, in return for which instruction I expect the everlasting gratitude of all my readers, and the approbation of all discerning men in every part of the world.
The first separation of sulphur from its body and the extraction of the Tincture from its salt, are performed as follows:
Take pure glass of Antimony prepared in the first way, and uncombined with any foreign matter; pound it as fine as the finest flour, and place in a broad-bottomed glass vessel, called Cucurbit.
Pour over the Antimony some highly rectified vinegar, subject to digestive fire, or, in summer, expose to the rays of the sun, shaking it once and again every day. Let this slow digestion be continued till the vinegar assumes a yellow, or rather a reddish, colour, like that of well purified gold. Then pour off this clear and pure extracted substance, add more vinegar, and repeat the same process till no more gold-coloured Tincture can be extracted. Mix all the extract, filter, place in Cucurbit, put on lid, distill the vinegar in S. Mary's Bath, till there remains at the bottom a gold-coloured powder approaching red; pour on this powder the distilled rain water; let it evaporate by distillation, add more rain water, and repeat this till all the acidity is washed out, and there remains a sweet and pleasant powder.
This sweet powder you should pound in a hot marble or glass mortar, place in Cucurbit, pour on it best highly rectified spirit of wine till it covers the powder to the height of three inches; expose to gently digestive heat, as above, and there will be extracted a beautiful red Tincture with an earthy sediment at the bottom.
The extract is sweet and pleasant to the taste; the sediment still retains its poisonous character, but the Tincture is a wonderfully potent external Remedy, both for man and beast, passing almost the possibility of belief in any one who is inexperienced in this matter.
Three of four grains of this medicine will cure leprosy, and the new French disease. It purifies the blood, dispels melancholy, resists every poison, removes asthma and all chest complaints, including difficulty of breathing, and relieves the stitch in the side. Moreover, this Remedy cures many other diseases, if it be properly applied.
Our Fire Stone should be prepared and matured, like our food and all other medicines, by the corporal fire which reigns in the little world. Where the solar fire of the great world leaves off, there our corporal fire begins a new generation. Corn grows and ripens by the heat of the great Fire; but a new process of cooking and maturing is brought about by the action of the little fire, in order that men may be able to use it for their bodily sustenance.
The oil of Antimony, from which our Fire Stone is prepared, is exceedingly sweet. It is rendered so brilliant by the removal of its earth, and of all impurities, that it may be compared to a bit of crystal on which the meridian rays of the sunshine fall. The method of its preparation is as follows:
Take, in the name of God, equal parts of the ore of Antimony, obtained after sunrise, and of saltpetre; pulverize finely, mix well, place over a gentle fire, bake dexterously (and the method of this baking is the key of the whole work). (Take care at this point not to scorch the pinions of your bird, which is already winging its flight above the hills.) There will remain a blackish substance. Out of this prepare glass, which pound, extract its red Tincture with strong distilled vinegar (made of the same ore), and remove the vinegar by distillation in the bath. There remains a powder from which you should make a second extract with highly rectified spirit of wine. Let the faeces settle. You have then a beautiful, sweet, red extract of great medicinal value. This is the pure Sulphur of Antimony. If you have two pounds of this extract, take four ounces of salt of Antimony (of which I have given the receipt). Pour over these the extract, circulate for at least a month in a well-closed vessel, when the salt will unite with the extract of sulphur; remove sediment, if any, extract spirit of wine in S. Mary's Bath, sublime the powder which remains, and it will be distilled in the form of a many-coloured, sweet, pellucid, reddish oil. Rectify this oil in S. Mary's Bath, so that the fourth part remains, and it is then prepared.
Then take living Mercury of Antimony, which I have taught you how to compose. That is, the Mercury of the Sages so often alluded to. Whoever tells you the secret of this Mercury will be your Pylades, and you will be his Orestes. I, for my part, shall be glad to make a third in such a company. Pour to it red oil of vitriol, made over iron, and highly rectified: remove by distillation in sand the viscidity of the Mercury, and you will have a precious precipitate of a glorious colour, which is of the greatest medicinal value in chronic diseases and open wounds. For it quickly dries up their symptomatic humours, which represent the radical moisture of the disease.
Take equal parts of this precipitate and of our sweet oil of Antimony; put into a well-closed phial; if exposed to gentle heat, the precipitate will gradually be dissolved and fixed in the oil: for the fire consumes its viscidity, and it becomes a red, dry, fixed, and fluid powder, which does not give out the slightest smoke.
Keep reverent silence: for now the King enters his bridal chamber, where he will delight himself many months with his spouse; and they will only leave the chamber when they have grown together, and produced a son who, if not the King of Kings, is at least a King, and delivers his subjects from disease and want.
When you have reached this point, my friend, you have the Medicine of men and of metals; it is pleasant, sweet, and penetrating, and may be used without any risk. Without being a purgative, it expels all impure and morbid matter from the body. It will restore to you health, and relieve you of want in this life; nor can you ever discharge to God your obligation of gratitude for it. I fear that as a monk and religious man I have transcended the proper bounds of reticence and secrecy, and spoken out too freely. At any rate, I have told you enough; and if after all that has been said you do not discover the secret, it will not be my fault.
I have spoken lucidly and openly, nay, I fear, more openly, than the rules of our brotherhood permit. For it is not lawful for every one to eat of the Tree of Knowledge which stands in the midst of Paradise. I will now proceed to describe the uses of this Elixir.
With reference to its medicinal application to the human body, the dose ought to be regulated and determined by careful observation of individual peculiarities of constitution. Nevertheless, an excessive quantity is not really dangerous, as there is no poison in our Elixir. Three or four grains at a time, given in spirit of wine, are sufficient for the cure of every disease; for this Medicine penetrates every part of the body, and contains within itself the potency of many arcana. It removes dizziness and all pulmonary complaints, as well as cough and all difficulty of breathing. It is a wonderful remedy for leprosy and the French (venereal) disease. It cures the plague, dropsy, and all kinds of fevers, and constitutes a powerful antidote to poison. It invigorates the brain and the whole nervous system, the stomach, the liver, and the kidneys, breaks up the calculus and expels it, restores the vital spirits, promotes the menstrual discharge, removes barrenness both in men and women. Taken internally, and aided by suitable external plasters, it cures cancer, fistula, caries of the bones, and all corroding ulcers. In short, it relieves and finally removes all symptoms which indicate disease in the human body, as you will soon discover, if God has called you to be a physician.
I have now told you all that I know about Antimony; it is my prayer that you may discover the rest, so that the fullness of God's wonderful gifts to men may be made known before the end of the world. I return to my Monastery, where I mean to devote myself to further study, and, if possible, to elucidate the secrets of vitriol, common sulphur and the magnet, their origin, preparation, and virtues.
May the God and Lord of Heaven and Earth vouchsafe unto us health in time here, and hereafter salvation, with eternal rest to our souls, on thrones of joy and gladness, world without end! Amen.
Thus I conclude this Treatise on Antimony. Pay particular attention to what has been said of the red oil of Antimony, which is prepared from highly purified sulphur, and of the spirit which is prepared from its salt; compare these operations with what I have written concerning the Fire Stone, and then put the two together. For in this way you will run down the deer which you have been pursuing for so long.