Allegory from Ruland

This allegory is included in Martin Ruland's alchemical dictionary, Lexicon alchemić sive dictionarium alchemisticum... Franckfurt, 1612.
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I was buried in a most profound slumber when it seemed that I beheld a statue of about fifteen feet in height, representing a venerable and ancient man, very handsome, and beautifully proportioned in all the members of his body; he had long silver-coloured hair, falling in waves upon his shoulders; his eyes were like fine turquoises, set with carbuncles in the middle, and the radiation thereof was so brilliant that I could not support the light. His lips were of gold, his teeth of Oriental pearls, and the rest of his body was a most brilliant ruby. His left foot rested on a terrestrial globe which seemed to support him. With his right hand uplifted and outstretched, he seemed to be poising above his head a celestial globe at the end of his finger; his left hand held a key made of a rough diamond.

This man approached me, and said: I am the Genius of the Sages; fear not to follow where I lead. Then, taking me by the hair with the hand which held the key, he raised me up carried me away, and caused me to traverse the three regions of the air, the fire, and the heaven of all the planets. Beyond even these did he transport me; then, having enveloped me in a whirlwind, he disappeared, and I found myself on an island floating in a sea of blood. Surprised at finding myself in so remote a region, I walked along the bank or shore, and contemplating the said sea with profound attention, I remarked that the blood of which it was composed was all warm and living. I remarked also that a very gentle wind, which continually agitated it, maintained the heat thereof, and did excite in this sea a bubbling and movement which caused the whole sea to vibrate with a scarcely perceptible motion.

Ravished with admiration in that I was gazing on things so passing strange, I was reflecting on all these marvels, when I looked up, and lo! many persons standing by my side! I apprehended at first that they would seek to molest me, and I passed quickly into a bush of jasmine to conceal myself; but the odour of the said flowers did so speedily cast me into a sleep that they found and took possession of me. The tallest of the gang, who seemed to command the others, required of me in a haughty tone what had made me so rash as to enter from the Low Country into this most exalted empire. I described to him after what manner I had been transported thither. The personage did them immediately change his deportment, manners and accent, and he said unto me: Be thou welcome, O stranger, who hast been here led by our most high and powerful Genius! He thereupon saluted me, as also did all the others, after the fashion of their land, which is first of all to lie flat upon the back, then in like way upon the belly, and so rise. I returned their salutation after the custom of my own country. After this ceremony, the commander notified unto me that he would present me to Hagacestaur, who is their emperor. He solicited me that I would excuse him in that he had no carriage by which he might transport me to the town, from which we were distant one league. He entertained me by the way with an account of the power and grandeur of the said Hagacestaur, telling me that his dominion extended over seven kingdoms, and that he had chosen that which was in the middle of the other six to establish his ordinary residence.

As he remarked that I found it difficult to walk upon the lilies, roses, jasmines, carnations, tuberoses, and a prodigious variety of other flowers, most beautiful and curious to behold, which blossomed even upon the road, he inquired, with a smile, if I feared to harm those plants. I answered that I was well aware they were devoid of a sensitive soul, but seeing they were most rare in my own country, I shrank from trampling them underfoot. Then, noticing that the whole land seemed to be nothing but flowers and fruits, I asked him where grain was sown therein. He replied that they sowed nothing of the kind, but the sterile portion of the Kingdom abounded in grain, and that Hagacestaur caused the greater portion to be thrown down into the Low Country to give us pleasure. As for the rest, it was devoured by the beasts. For themselves, they made their bread of the most beautiful flowers, kneading it with dew, and baking it by the rays of the sun. As I beheld everywhere an abounding quantity of the finest fruits, I had the curiosity to gather some pears that I might taste their flavour, but they would have prevented me, saying that these also were only eaten by animals. I, nevertheless, found that they were of delicious quality. The commander presently offered me some peaches, melons, and figs, nor ever has Provence, nor yet all Italy, nor Greece itself, produced fruits of such surpassing excellence. He swore unto me by royal Hagacestaur that the said fruits grew wild, that they did nothing to cultivate them, and that they ate nothing else with their bread. I inquired of him after what manner they preserved their flowers and fruits during the winter season, but he answered me that they knew no winter, that their years had three seasons only, to wit, spring and summer, and that of these two there was formed a third, which was autumn. The latter contained in the bodies of the fruits both the spirit of spring and the soul of summer, at which time they harvested the grape and the pomegranate, these being the choicest of their fruits.

This personage manifested an extreme astonishment when I informed him that we ate beef and mutton, game, fish, and other animals. He told me that we must possess but a gross or clouded understanding, since we made use of such coarse nourishments. I experienced not fatigue or distraction while listening to his curious and wonderful information, which I heard with great attention. But being counselled to take note of the appearance of the two, from which we were now distant only two hundred paces, I had no sooner raised my eyes to look at it than I beheld nothing, for I had become suddenly blind. At this my conductor fell a laughing, and all his company with him. The vexation of finding all these gentlemen making merry over my ill-chance, caused me more chagrin than the misfortune itself. Seeing that their behaviour displeased me, he who had taken such pains to entertain me consoled me by commending me to a little patience, for I should see clearly in a moment. He then went in search of an herb which he rubbed over my eyes, and I straightaway beheld the light and glittering of this superb town, whereof the houses were built of purest crystal, while the sun illuminated it continually, for in this island no night or darkness did ever fall. On no account would they permit me to enter any of these houses, but I was allowed to look upon what was passing therein through the transparent medium of the walls. I examined the first of these mansions, which were all built on the same model. I remarked that they consisted of one storey only, divided into three apartments, having several chambers and cabinets on the same floor.

The first apartment was dining-room, ornamented with hangings of gold lace, bordered by a fringe of the same precious material. The ground colour of this stuff was variable between red and green, enriched with finest silver, the whole being covered with white gauze. There were also some cabinets garnished with gems of different colours. Next I discovered a chamber entirely furnished with the richest black velvet, laced with very black and very glossy bands of satin, the whole being relieved by embroidery of jet, which had also a most brilliant and iridescent blackness. In the second apartment there was a chamber hung with white watered silk, enriched and relieved by a broidery of very fine Oriental pearls. There were also several cabinets furnished in various colourings, such as blue satin, violet damask, citrine mohair, and carnation glazed silk. In the third apartment was a chamber draped with an eminently resplendent material, purple on a gold ground, beyond all comparison more beautiful and more rich than all the other fabrics I had seen. I inquired where were the master and mistress of this dwelling-place, and learned that they were concealed at the further end of this chamber, and that they must pass to one which was remoter still, and was separated from this one by certain communicating cabinets. The furniture of these cabinets was all of different colours, some yellow, some citrine, some purest and finest gold-brocade. I could not see the fourth apartment, but was told that it consists of a single chamber, the furniture being covered with a tissue of solar rays, the purest and the most concentrated, on a ground of the purple fabric which I had previously remarked.

After having beheld all these curious things, I was informed after what manner marriages took place among the inhabitants of this island. The royal Hagacestaur, having a most perfect knowledge of men and of his subjects' dispositions, from the smallest even to the greatest, assembled the nearest relatives, and placed a young, unspotted maiden with a strong, healthy, and excellent old man. Then he purged and purified the girl, washed and cleansed the old man, who presented his hand to the maiden, and the maiden took the hand of the old man. Thereupon they were conducted to one of these lodgings, the door being sealed with the same substance of which the house itself was built. Thus shut up, they were destined to remain together for a period of nine months, during which time they made all the beautiful furniture and appointments which I had so much admired. At the end of the prescribed time they came forth joined in one and the same body, possessing but one soul, the power whereof is of singular greatness on the earth. Of this Hagacestaur makes use to convert all wicked persons in his kingdoms.

They promised me that I should enter into the palace of Hagacestaur, and should behold the apartments therein, among others a saloon in which there are four statues as old as the world, that in the centre being the most powerful Seganisseged, who had transported me into this island. The three others, which form a triangle about him, are three women - to wit, Ellugat, Linemalor, and Tripsarecopsen. It was also promised me that I should behold the temple wherein is the image of their divinity, whom they call Elesel Vassergusin; but by this time the cocks had begun to crow, the shepherds were already leading their flocks to pasture, and the husbandmen, yoking their oxen to ploughs, made such a clatter that I awoke, and my dream was altogether dissipated. All that I had seen was but nothing in comparison with what they had promised to reveal me. Nevertheless, I have found abundant consolation when I have reflected on that other and heavenly empire where the Most High is seen seated upon His throne, surrounded with glory, and accompanied by angels, archangels, cherubim, seraphim, thrones, and dominations. There shall we behold what eye hath never seen, shall hear what ear hath never heard, since it is in that place we shall partake of eternal felicity, which God hath promised to all those who seek to make themselves worthy of it, all having been created to participate in this glory. Let us then do our best to merit it. God be praised!


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