The Mirror of Alchimy - Roger Bacon - ebook

The Mirror of Alchimy written by Roger Bacon who was an English philosopher and Franciscan friar.  And now this book republish in ebook format. We believe this work is culturally important in its original archival form. While we strive to adequately clean and digitally enhance the original work, there are occasionally instances where imperfections such as missing pages, poor pictures or errant marks may have been introduced due to either the quality of the original work. Despite these occasional imperfections, we have brought it back into print as part of our ongoing global book preservation commitment, providing customers with access to the best possible historical reprints. We appreciate your understanding of these occasional imperfections, and sincerely hope you enjoy reading this book.

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The Mirror of Alchimy


Roger Bacon

Table of Contents

The Preface.

The Mirrour of Alchimy, composed by the famous Fryer, Roger Bachon, sometime fellow of Martin Colledge, and Brasen-nose Colledge in Oxenforde.

CHAP. I. Of the Definitions of Alchimy.

CHAP. II. Of the naturall principles, and procreation of Minerals.

CHAP. III. Out of what things the matter of Elixir must be more nearly extracted.

CHAP. IV. That the Stone hath Father and Mother, to wit, the Sunne and Moone.

CHAP. V. Of the qualitie of the Vessell and Furnace.

CHAP. VI. Of the accidentall and essentiall colours appearing in the worke.

CHAP. VII. How to make proiection of the medicine vpon any imperfect bodie.

The Smaragdine Table of Hermes, Trismegistus of Alchimy.

A briefe Commentarie of Hortulanus the Philosopher, vpon the Smaragdine Table of Hermes of Alchimy.

CHAP. I. That the Art of Alchimy is true and certaine.

CHAP. II. That the Stone must be diuided into two parts.

CHAP. III. That the Stone hath in it the foure Elements.

CHAP. IV. That the Stone hath Father and Mother, to wit, the Sunne and Moone.

CHAP. V. That the coniunction of the parts of the stone is called Conception.

CHAP. VI. That the Stone is perfect, if the Soule be fixt in the bodie.

CHAP. VII. Of the mundification and cleansing of the stone.

CHAP. VIII. That the vnfixed part of the Stone should exceed the fixed, and lift it vp.

CHAP. IX. How the volatile Stone may againe be fixed.

CHAP. X. Of the fruit of the Art, and efficacie of the Stone.

CHAP. XI. That this worke imitateth the Creation of the worlde.

CHAP. XII. An enigmaticall insinuation what the matter of the Stone shoulde be.

CHAP. XIII. Why the Stone is said to be perfect.

The Booke of the Secrets of Alchimie, composed by Galid the sonne of Iazich, translated out of Hebrew into Arabick, and out of Arabick into Latine, and out of Latin into English.

CHAP. I. Of the foure Masteries, or principall works of the Art, to wit, solution, congelation, albification, and rubification.

CHAP. II. Of the things and instruments necessarie and fit for this worke.

CHAP. III. Of the nature of things appertaining to this worke.

CHAP. IV. Of Decoction, and the effect thereof.

CHAP. V. Of Subtiliation, Solution, Coagulation, and commistion of the Stone, and of their cause and end.

CHAP. VI. The manner how to fixe the Spirit.

CHAP. VII. Of the Decoction, Contrition, and washing of the stone.

CHAP. VIII. Of the quantitie of the Fire, and of the commoditie and discommoditie of it.

CHAP. IX. Of the Separation of the Elements of the Stone.

CHAP. X. Of the nature of the Stone, and his birth.

CHAP. XI. Of the commistion of the Elements that were seperated.

CHAP. XII. Of the solution of the Stone compounded.

CHAP. XIII. Of the coagulation of the Stone dissolued.

CHAP. XIV. That there is but one Stone, and of his nature.

CHAP. XV. The maner how to make the Stone white.

CHAP. XVI. The conuersion of the foresaid stone into red.

An excellent discourse of the admirable force and efficacie of Art and Nature, written by the famous Frier Roger Bacon, Sometime fellow of Merton Colledge, and afterward of Brasen-nose in Oxford.

The Preface.

In times past the Philosophers spake afters diuers and sundrie manners throughout their writings, sith that as it were in a riddle and cloudie voyce, they haue left vnto vs a certaine most excellent and noble science, but altogither obscure, and without all hope vtterly denied, and that not without good cause. Wherefore I would aduise thee, that aboue all other bookes, thou shouldest firmly fixe thy mind vpon these seuen Chapters, conteining in them the transmutation of mettalls, and often call to minde the beginning, middle, and end of the same, wherein thou shalt finde such subtilitie, that thy minde shalbe fully contented therewith.

The Mirrour of Alchimy, composed by the famous Fryer,Roger Bachon, sometime fellow ofMartin Colledge, and Brasen-noseColledge in Oxenforde.

CHAP. I.Of the Definitions of Alchimy.

IN many ancient Bookes there are found many definitions of this Art, the intentions wherof we must consider in this Chapter. For Hermes saith of this Science: Alchimy is a Corporal Science simply composed of one and by one, naturally conioyning things more precious, knowledge and effect, and conuerting them by a naturall commixtion into a better kind. A certain other saith: Alchimy is a Science, teaching how to transforme any kind of mettall into another: and that by a proper medicine, as it appeareth by many Philosophers Bookes. Alchimy therfore is a science teaching how to make and compound a certaine medicine, which is called Elixir, the which when it is cast vpon mettals or imperfect bodies, doth fully perfect them in the verie proiection.

CHAP. II.Of the naturall principles, and procreation of Minerals.

SEcondly, I will perfectly declare the naturall principles & procreations of Minerals: where first it is to be noted, that the naturall principles in the mynes, are Argent-uiue, and Sulphur. All mettals and minerals, whereof there be sundrie and diuers kinds, are begotten of these two: but I must tel you, that nature alwaies intendeth and striueth to the perfection of Gold: but many accidents comming between, change the mettalls, as it is euidently to be seene in diuers of the Philosophers bookes. For according to the puritie and impuritie of the two aforesaide principles, Argent-uiue, and Sulphur, pure, and impure mettals are ingẽdred: to wit, Gold, Siluer, Steele, Leade, Copper, and Iron: of whose nature, that is to say, puritie, and impuritie, or vncleane superfluitie and defect, giue eare to that which followeth.

Of the nature of Golde.

Gold is a perfect body, engendred of Argent-uiue pure, fixed, cleare, red, and of Sulphur cleane, fixed, red, not burning, and it wanteth nothing.

Of the nature of Siluer.

Siluer is a body, cleane, pure, and almost perfect, begotten of Argent-uiue, pure, almost fixed, cleare, and white, & of such a like Sulphur: It wanteth nothing, saue a little fixation, colour, and weight.

Of the nature of Steele.

Steele is a body cleane, imperfect, engendred of Argent-uine pure, fixed & not fixed cleare, white outwardly, but red inwardly, and of the like Sulphur. It wanteth onely decoction or digestion.

Of the nature of Leade.

Leade is an vncleane and imperfect bodie, engendred of Argent-uiue impure, not fixed, earthy, drossie, somewhat white outwardly, and red inwardly, and of such a Sulphur in part burning. It wanteth puritie, fixation, colour, and fiering.

Of the nature of Copper.

Copper is an vncleane and imperfect bodie, engendred of Argent-uiue, impure, not fixed, earthy, burning, red not cleare, and of the like Sulphur. It wanteth purity, fixation, and weight: and hath too much of an impure colour, and earthinesse not burning.

Of the nature of Iron.

Iron is an vnclean and imperfect body, engendred of Argent-uiue impure, too much fixed, earthy, burning, white and red not cleare, and of the like Sulphur: It wanteth fusion, puritie, and weight: It hath too much fixed vncleane Sulphur, and burning earthinesse. That which hath bene spoken, euerie Alchimist must diligently obserue.

CHAP. III.Out of what things the matter of Elixir must be more nearly extracted.

THe generation of mettals, as well perfect, as imperfect, is sufficiently declared by that which hath bene already spoken. Now let vs returne to the imperfect matter that must be chosen and made perfect. Seeing that by the former Chapters we haue bene taught, that all mettalls are engendred of Argent-uiue and Sulphur, and how that their impuritie and vncleannesse doth corrupt, and that nothing may be mingled with mettalls which hath not beene made or sprung from them, it remaineth cleane inough, that no strange thing which hath not his originall from these two, is able to perfect them, or to make a chaunge and new transmutation of them: so that it is to be wondred at, that any wise man should set his mind vpon liuing creatures, or vegetables which are far off, when there be minerals to bee found nigh enough: neither may we in any wise thinke, that any of the Philosophers placed the Art in the said remote things, except it were by way of comparison: but of the aforesaid two, all mettals are made, neither doth any thing cleaue vnto them, or is ioyned with them, nor yet chaungeth them, but that which is of them, and so of right wee must take Argent-uiue and Sulphur for the matter of our stone: Neither doth Argent-uiue by it selfe alone, nor Sulphur by it selfe alone, beget any mettall, but of the commixtion of them both, diuers mettals and minerals are diuersly brought foorth. Our matter therefore must bee chosen of the commixtion of them both: but our finall secrete is most excellent, and most hidden, to wit, of what minerall thing that is more neere then others, it shuld be made: and in making choise hereof, we must be very warie. I put the case then, yt our matter were first of all drawne out of vegetables, (of which sort are hearbs, trees, and whatsoeuer springeth out of the earth) here wee must first make Argent-uiue & Sulphur, by a long decoction, from which things, and their operation we are excused: for nature herselfe offereth vnto vs Argent-uiue and Sulphur. And if wee should draw it from liuing creatures (of which sort is mans bloud, haire, vrine, excrements, hens egs, and what else proceede from liuing creatures) wee must likewise out of them extract Argent-uiue and Sulphur by decoction, frõ which we are freed, as we were before. Or if we should choose it out of middle minerals (of which sort are all kindes of Magnesia, Marchasites, of Tutia, Coppres, Allums, Baurach, Salts, and many other) we should likewise, as afore, extract Argent-uiue and Sulphur by decoction: frõ which as from the former, wee are also excused. And if we should take one of the seuen spirits by it selfe, as Argent-uiue, or Sulphur alone, or Argent-uiue and one of the two Sulphurs, or Sulphur-uiue, or Auripigment, or Citrine Arsenicum, or red alone, or the like: we should neuer effect it, because sith nature doth neuer perfect anything without equall commixtion of both, neither can wee: from these therefore, as from the foresaide Argent-uiue and Sulphur in their nature we are excused. Finally, if wee should choose them, wee should mixe euerie thing as it is, according to a due proportion, which no man knoweth, and afterward decoct it to coagulatiõ, into a solide lumpe: and therefore we are excused from receiuing both of them in their proper nature: to wit, Argent-uiue and Sulphur, seeing wee know not their proportion, and that wee may meete with bodies, wherein we shall find the saide things proportioned, coagulated & gathered together, after a due manner. Keepe this secret more secretly. Golde is a perfect masculine bodie, without any superfluitie or diminution: and if it should perfect imperfect bodyes mingled with it by melting onely, it should be Elixir to red. Siluer is also a body almost perfect, and feminine, which if it should almost perfect imperfect bodyes by his common melting onely, it should be Elixir to white, which it is not, nor cannot be, because they onely are perfect. And if this perfection might be mixed with the imperfect, the imperfect shuld not be perfected with the perfect, but rather their perfections shuld be diminished by the imperfect, & become imperfect. But if they were more then perfect, either in a two-fold, foure-fold, hundred-fold, or larger proportion, they might then wel perfect the imperfect. And forasmuch as nature doth alwaies work simply, the perfection which is in them is simple, inseparable, & incommiscible, neither may they by art be put in the stone, for ferment to shorten the worke, and so brought to their former state, because the most volatile doth ouercome the most fixt. And for that gold is a perfect body, consisting of Argent-uiue, red and cleare, & of such a Sulphur, therfore we choose it not for the matter of our stone to the red Elixir, because it is so simply perfect, without artificiall mundification, & so strongly digested and sod with a natural heate, that with our artificiall fire, we are scarcely able to worke on gold or siluer. And though nature dooth perfect any thing, yet she cannot throughly mundifie, or perfect and purifie it, because she simply worketh on that which shee hath. If therfore we should choose gold or siluer for the matter of the stone, we should hard and scantly find fire working in them. And although we are not ignorant of the fire, yet could we not come to the through mundification & perfection of it, by reasõ of his most firme knitting together, and naturall composition: we are therefore excused for taking the first too red, or the second too white, seeing we may find out a thing or som body of as cleane, or rather more cleane Sulphur & Argent-uiue, on which nature hath wrought little or nothing at all, which with our artificiall fire, & experience of our art, we are able to bring vnto his due concoction, mundification, colour and fixation, continuing our ingenious labour vpon it. There must therefore bee such a matter chosen, wherein there is Argent-uiue, cleane, pure, cleare, white & red, not fully compleat, but equally and proportionably commixt after a due maner with ye