Liber Patris Sapientiae

Back to English alchemical verse .


Thow that thys Boke beginneth to rede,
Keepe well thys Councell the better schalt thow spede:
Be thow in a place secret by thyself alone,
That noe man see or here what thow schalt say or done.

2. Yet ere thow begyn to rede much, take thow good hede,
Wyth whom thow kepest company I councell thee indede;
Trust not thy freind too much, wherefore thow goe,
For he that thow trustest best sometyme may be thye Foe.

3. And take hede to the words of the Fader of Wysdom,
How he techeth hys Sonne how he schould done;
To kepe hys precepts of bodely governance
And wyth hys Conyng he will gretly advance.

4. And yf thow wylt not to hys wordys take hede,
Thow schalt stand here oft in gret feare and dread.
For he that hath a fore wytt he nedes not do amysse,
And he that doth Folly the Folly schalbe hys.

5. Now my dere Sonne be thow not a know
To Lerned nor to Leud, to Hygh nor to Low:
Neyther to Young nor Old, Rych nor Poore,
Unto them thow tech nothyng my Lore.

6. Also to scuche men that hold themselves wise,
And so forth to the foolys that glyde on the Ice:
They weene in grete Bokes schould be the Art
Of the Science of Alchemy, but they be not worth a fart.

7. Therefor my Sonn to thee thys Science I may well teach,
And yf thow wylt upon thy enemy be wreach;
Or to purchase or build any good thyng,
It schalbe to thy gret furtheryng.

8. Thys worthy Science of Alchemy if thow wylt it leare,
A lyttle mony out of thy purse thow must forbeare;
To buy therewyth Flos Florum it is most worthiest,
And to build well her Cabyn and her Nest.

9.And if thow put out mony for any other thing.
It is to thy losse; and to thy great hindring:
Except yt be for thy workes naturall Foode.
Which is had out of Stone, Ayre and Wood.

10. And if thow have all thyngs wythin the growing,
Then thow needest not to to buy any manner of thing,
That schould be to thys Science belonging,
But beware of thy selfe for feare of hanging.

11. For then thow and thys Scyence were for ever lost,
If thow make thereof any manner of boast,
To any Man or Woman, Old or Young,
Beware of thy selfe for feare of discovering.

12. For if thow make any man privie
Of thy Councell, Rich or Needy,
Thow must so beware Sleeping or Waking,
For once ymagining of Money making.

13. For yf God sends thee grace and understanding
Wyth thys Scyence thow mayst have good lyving:
But beware of speach of Women liberall,
And of the voice and fight of Children generall.

14. Sonn in thyne owne howse thow maist well gett
A good Morsell of meat they mouth to sweet,
Both Pheasant, Partridge, Plover and Leveret,
Though thow cry yt not owte in the common Market.

15. Therefore kepe close of thy Tongue and of thy Hand,
From the Officers and Governours of the Land;
And from other men that they of thy Craft nothing know,
For in wytnes thereof they wyll thee hang and draw.

16. And thereof the People will the at Sessions indight,
And great Treason against the they wyll write;
Wythowt that the Kings grace be to thee more,
Thow schalt for ever in thys world be forlore.

17. Alsoe wythowt thow be sure of another thyng,
To purchase the Lycence of thy King:
For all manner of doubts thee schall betide,
The better thow maiste Work, and both goe and ride.

18. Alsoe another thing I schall thee lere,
The poore People take thow nothing deare,
But ever serve thy God alway at the begynnyng,
And among the poore People the better schalbe thy living.

19. Now my Chylde to my precepts looke thow take hede,
Whatsoever fall after the better schall thow spede.
Better it ys to have a thyng, then for it to wish,
For when thow feelst a Sore tis hard for thee to get a Leech.

20. Now my deare Son to the I wyll declare,
More of thys Warke which schalbe thy welfaire;
If thow canst consider all my sayings,
For therewyth thow mayest finde a full precious thing.

21. And Son though thys Writing be made in Ryme,
Yet take thow thereat noe greate disdaine.
Till thow hast proved my words in deede and in thought,
Iwatt it well it schalbe set at nought.

22. Therefor of all Bodyes and Spyrits more or lesse,
Mercury is called Flos Florum and worthiest Pryncesse:
For her Birth and marvelous dealing,
Sche ys most worthiest to have byne King.

23. For sche ys Erth and Water most heviest,
And sche will conjoyne wyth Fire and Aire most lyghtest;
And so forth wyth her love sche will run and flee,
For sche delighteth noe other game or glee.

24. Some say that of Sulphur and Mercury all Bodyes minerall are made,
Ingendered in the Erth with divers Colours cladd:
By the vertue of Decoccion before Preperacion,
To the lykenes of every body Mynerall in ther fashion.

25. I will first begin wyth Saturne after other mens sayings,
How he ys ingendered in the Erth wyth unclene Mercury flying:
And of Mercury he ys most heviest wyth black Sulphury Erth mixed,
Save he ys soft of fusion, and hys Sulphur nothing fixed.

26. Jupiter is a whyte Body made pure Mercury outward,
And of clere Sulphur somewhat Erthly and white inward;
He ys kynde softest and well in his fixation,
For he is almost fixt, but he lacketh Decoction.

27. Mars ys a white Body most of unclean Mercury in the Erth y'made,
And he ys hardest of fusion with Sulphur Erthly cladd;
To blackness and rednes he will soonest consume,
By heate or by corrosive when the Spirit beginneth to fume.

28. Sol is the purest from what red & is made of clene Mercury & Sulphur fixed,
Ingendered with clere red Sulphur, in the Erth well mixed,
And therefore he ys without defalt and lacketh no degree;
For he ys almost hardest of Fusion and heviest in ponderossity.

29. Venus ys a Body more red of pure Mercury made in hys substance,
Most of red Sulphur and greene and therein is great variance:
In the Erth ingendered with Corrosive and bitter substance,
Well fixed and hard of fusion, rude in governance.

30. Mercury ys a Body if he be with a Substance moved,
Mixing one kinde with his kinde, so schall he be loved;
On Spirit received wyth another, the which of them be maine,
Is casue of ingeneration of every body Mettalyne.

31. Luna ys a pure white Body of clene Mercury & Sulphur white ingendered
And sche is a litle hard of fusion & almost well fixed
And sche is next cleanest in Tincture of whitenes,
Of Ponderosity light, of Jupiter bearing his whitenes.

32. And soe after the Colour of that Erth ys Sulphuri and receptuall,
Some men do say ys engendered every Metall;
But my Son the perfect worke of thys alteration,
I schall informe the true way of another fashion.

33. Now have I declared the working of the Bodies Mynerall,
Whereof they be ingendered after other mens sayings over all;
And as in place of the Erth one Body was fully wrought,
Soe must the artificiall Medicine, be or else it ys nought.

34. Now will I declare the worthiness of Mercury in speciall,
How sche ys the notalest Spirit that ys mynerall,
Most marvelous in working and in degree,
Sche is called the Matter principallest of the three.

35. Also sche ys very subtile in many things artificiall,
Sche will both give and take Tincture most speciall,
To hym or of hym that sche loveth most best,
In speciall when sche ys warmed in her Nest.

36. My Son Mercury ys called the mightiest Flos florum,
And most royall, and richest of all the Singulorum;
Sche ys very Patron and Princes most royall,
And sche ys very Mother of every Mettall.

37. Sche ys Vegitable, Animalle and Minerall,
Sche ys Foure in kinde, and One in generall:
Sche is Erth, Aire, Water and Fyre,
Among all other sche hath no Peere.

38. Sche kylleth and slayeth, and also doth calcine,
Sche dyeth, and also doth sche live againe;
Sche giveth lyfe and also ingression,
For joyntly sche ys three in one.

39. Sche ys a very frendly mixar,
The progeneration of a greate Elixar:
Sche ys both Body Soule and Spirite,
In Colour very red, black and white.

40. Many be the wooers that hang on her tayle,
But sche will not with them I'deale;
They would her wedd against her will,
With foemen that liken her full ill.

41. Sche will deale with no manner of wight,
But with her Husbande as it ys greate right:
With him sche will bear much fruit,
For he ys by her nature of her selfe same sute.

42. My Son of hem Fooles have much dispight,
And therein such Fooles loose their light:
For sometymes he ys darke, and sometymes bright,
For he ys lyke no other wight.

43. For if they have their kynde ingendering,
Their naturall foode and goode keeping,
They schall increase fruit by dede,
Very red and white, King and Queene.

44. My Son in thys Scyence I doe deny,
All things that be discording truly,
All manner of Salts I doe defie,
And all manner of Sulphurs in waters of Corrosie.

45. Also Alloome, Vitrial, Auripigmentum and Haire,
Gold, Silver, Alkaly and Sandiver;
Honey, Wax, and Oyles or Calx else,
Gumms, Galls, and also Egg shells.

46. Also I defie Antimony, Berrall, and Christall,
Rosinm Pitch, also Amber, Jett and Corrall;
Hearbs, Dated Stones, Marble, or Tinglas,
If there come any of all these it ys the worse.

47. Also Berrills, Gotts Hornes, and Alome plome,
Good with them will none be done;
All things that discordeth from Mettall,
It ys contrary to thy worke in generall.

48. My Son many fooles to me have sought,
Good with them and I accord right nought;
I leave them there as I them finde,
And as Fooles I make them blinde.

49. For whych Mercury they have errd full sore
And then when they had they could doe no more,
Therefore in Phylosophers sche bear'th the floower,
For sche ys King, Prince, and Emperour.

50. Yet my deare Son be thow not a knowne
To Learned, nor to Lewde, to High, nor to Low;
That thys worke standeth by Mercury and in her fire,
Her owne speciall Love both life and deare.

51. For he yse her Son, sche ys hys Fright,
In whome sche worketh all her myght:
He ys her Son, sche ys hys Mother,
Sche loveth him peramore and no other.

52. In Sol, and Lune, in her meeting ys all love,
For our Mercury only ys all her behove,
And with them sche worketh all her might,
But they may never increase on fright.

53. Therefor it ys possible to cast a Projection pure,
Upon a Million to make a perfect Body of tincture:
Wyth Medicine of Spirits well joyned and fixed,
It schall not be perceived where it ys well mixed.

54. And therefor if there com Silver or Gold in at thy Gate,
The which men use in coyne or in common Plate;
I sweare by God that all thys world hath wrought,
All thy labour and warke schall turne to nought.

55. For with what Mettall soever that Mercury be joyned,
Because of her Coldness and Moistnes sche ys acloyd:
Put them never so close togeder sche will fume anon,
And when they come into the fire sche wil sone be gone.

56. Therefore Mercury hath a Lover that passeth them
A thousandfold, who so will him ken
And he ys her Lover and her Leman sweete,
And so hys Councell sche will keepe.

57. Both in hys Chamber and also in hys Bedd,
Also alive and when they byne dead;
Seeke yee forth fooles as ye have sought,
For in all other things finde yee right nought.

58. As I said in the 32. Chapter unto my Conclusion,
How I schould informe the truth after another fashion,
And to perform thys Scyence both in word and deede,
In making of our Medicine God must us speede.

60. The which ys called the greate Elixer,
And ys verily made with a stronge mixar;
The which is a Stone very Minerall,
And thow maist him well gett ever all.

61. My Son thow schalt take to Mercury no other thing,
But Erth that's heavy and hard and stiff standing:
The which in himselfe ys derke bright dry and cold,
To joyne them togeder thow maist be full bold.

62. One of them to 10 parts of that Water running most heaviest
And they schalbe both one, and to thy warke most mightiest:
Then hast thow Man and Woman togeder brought,
The which ys done by greate love in a thought.

63. The which two be both Spirits, & one Body most heaviest,
When they be in your Chamber and bed joyned in the Element lightest,
The which ys more bigger, and bigger hott and dry,
And therein they will both kiss togeder & neither weepe nor cry.

64. For when Erth and Water ys well mixed,
By the vertue of the lightest Element well hardend and fixed:
For before that time they be Water running both,
And then schall turne to fix body be they never so loath.

65. For theyr bed they schall make a perpetuall Conjunction,
After the feeding of the light Element and of their proportion;
Soe schould they be decoct, having the parfeit fixascion,
In the likenes of a body on fusion having hys fashion.

66. But as the first in their Bed they may indure no greate heate,
Soe as they may well labour in their Bed for sweate:
Att the first if there be in their Chamber overmuch red Colour,
Hastily going thereto will cause greate Dolour.

67. For in their first Nest they schould be both water running,
And because of heate they schould be ever drying.
And so therein become a subtill dry Substance,
The which warke schall thee greately avaunce.

68. Therefor their Nest must be made of a strong kinde,
Of the most hardest and cleerest Body, that they not out winde;
For if it so be that their Chamber or Nest begin to break,
Anon out thereof they will begin to Creake.

69. And then ys all thy warke and thy greate labour lost,
Then thou maist begin againe upon a new cost,
And so thow mayest not be negligent and hasty, but out of the bed be sure,
Without it be hard stuff and clere it will not indure.

70. And if thow wil at the first hand give suddaine heate,
It will unto thy Warke be nothing meete;
And if thow let him have any suddaine greate Cold,
All thys schall breke thy warke, then art thow to bold.

71. Let their Nest be somewhat large with a broade roufe,
And therein they schall abide if it be strong and close above;
And in proportion put thereto nothing more nor lesse,
But as ys sayd before if thow doe yt ys the worse.

72. Also from the beds head there must rise a highe Spoute,
And another almost downe to the bottome that the Spirit go not out;
For thou must save the flyers that swim into the upper place,
For they may hereafter ingender a body as well as the other in space.

73. Also be sure that thow put in their Bed no other thing,
Then thereof thow schalt have no greate winnyng,
If thow do thys it schall be to thee for the best
To keepe them close from flying and warme in their Nest.

74. First with soft fyre her Nest must be warmed,
With a litle bigger Fyre with overmuch they schalbe harmed,
Under thy Chamber flowre measure thy Fyre with tyme,
Then commeth the reward, Gold and Silver fine.

75. After the quantity space and tyme must be had,
For to deale todether they be in their dealing glad.
And how long space and tyme I cannot well say,
That they in their Chamber and Nest wilbe in sport and play.

76. Behold the uppermost of their Nest what there commeth out,
The sweting of their Bodys labouring round aboute,
And when they have played and sweate and laboured so sore,
They wilbe still, and neither labour nor sweate any more.

77. Then let them coole easily, and draw their breath,
And then there schalbe some above and some beneath:
There thou schalt see a Stone as it were grey pouther,
Which schalbe to the[e] a ryght greate wonder.

78. Then take them out of their Chamber and Bed anon,
And lay them upon a Marble stone and breake them thereon:
And looke what thow hast in of Colour and Ponderostiy,
Put to him as much Flos florum greatest in dignity.

79. That ys the same Spirit that thow hadst before,
And so medle them togeder and leare them the same lore;
Altogeder in another Bed and in their Chamber they must be,
For a marvelous warke thereof thow schalt understand and see.

80. And thus so oft thow must Multiplie thy Warke,
To ascend and descend into the Aire as doth the Larke;
For when the Larke ys weary above in hys stound,
Anon he falleth right downe to the ground.

81. Behold well their Body, and to their head lay thine Eare,
And harken thow well what wark they make there:
If they begin to sing any manner of voyce,
Give them more heate till thow heare no noyce.

82. And thus give them more heate in their Chamber and Bed also,
Till thou hearest no manner of noyse rumbling to nor fro:
And thus continue in their Bed in their sporting playes,
After the quantity thereof continue so may dayes.

83. When their play and wrestling ys all well done,
In their voyce singing and crying and sweating up and downe;
Give their Chamber bigger heate till their Nest be red,
And so bring the downe low and have no feare nor dread.

84. For thus with heate they schalbe brought full low,
That they schall in their Bed ne cry nor crow,
But as a Body lye still downe in their Bed,
In their owne liknes as they were bodyes dead.

85. Of Grey and White ys all hys cheife Colour,
For then he ys past all hys greate Dolour:
I sweare by Almighty God that all hath wrought,
Thow hast found out that many other Men hath sought.

86. Then take thow hym out of hys Chamber and Bed,
And thow schalt then find a fixt Body as he were dead;
Keepe thow hym close and secretly within thy place,
And thank Almightly God of hys grace.

87. Now my Son before thys, after thys Science I have right well sought
And thus to thee I have the White Elixer parfetly wrought;
And if thow wilt of the Red Elixer parfetly understand,
Thow must take such another warke in hand.

88. My Son whan thow hast wrought more upon more,
Dubling each time as I said before;
Make thow what thow wilt of Red substance,
As I did the White warke in manner of Governance.

89. Then thow must take the Red Stone that ys all ponder,
And lay on a Mable Stone and breake him asunder;
And to medle him with the white Spirit and Water cleere,
And so put him in hys Bed and Chamber in the Fire.

90. And so in hys Chamb. & hys Bed, he must all thys while be
Till thow hast turn'd and brought him to another manner of glee:
Thys Red Elixer if thow wilt open worke heare,
Thys manner of Schoole thow must right well leare.

91. Thow must hang him in his Chamber with red Colour,
Till he be fixed and brought from hys great Dolour:
Then of thys worthy warke be not thow agast,
For in the warke all the worst ys past.

92. And so in hys fiery Nest and Chamber let him be sure,
For the longer he be in, the better schalbe hys tincture;
Soe that he runn not like blood overcoming hys fusion,
Then hast thow parfectly thys worke in conclusion.

93. Thus he must continue in thys greate heate of Firing,
Till he be full fixed that he be not running nor flying:
Then he will give tincture without Number running like wax,
Unto hys like of fusion he will both joyne and mix.

94. And yf thy Warke be thus well guided and so forth led
Then hast thow in thy Warke right well and wittily sped:
For if thow do otherwise then I have thee tould,
In the adventure of thy warke thow maist be to bold.

95. For if thow warke by good measure and parfect tyme,
Thow schalt have very good Gold and Silver fine;
Than schalt thow be richer in thy self than any King,
Wythowt he labour the Science and have the same thing.

96. Now my deare Son I schall teach thee how to cast a Projection,
Therein lyeth all the greate prafetnes with the Conclusion:
To leade an imparfect Body to hys greate parfectnesse,
In joyning that like to hys like thow standest in no distres.

97. For when thow hast joyned the milke to the Bodyes dry,
Than hast thow the White and Red Elixer truly:
The which ys a Marvilous and very precious Stone,
For therein lieth in thys Science all the worke upon.

98. In thys Science these Stones be in themselves so precious,
That in their working and nature they be marvelous:
To schew thee the greate vertue furthermore I will declare,
That if thow canst with thys manner of working well fare.

99. First thow must take of that Body which ys next Sol in perfection,
And of his colour toward in ponderosity & proportion:
Being soluble as it were cleere blood running,
In the hot Element yt ys alwayes lightest and fleeting.

100. Then take part of the Red Elixer that ys the precious Stone,
And cast him upon that body that ys blood running anon:
And whan thow hast thus parfectly thys warke wrought,
It schalbe turned into parfect Sol with litle labour or nought.

101. On the same wise do for Luna that is in the Colour so white,
In joyning with that body that is schining and somewhat light;
In the same proportion cast him the very white Stone,
And then ys all thy greatest warke both made and done.

102. Than hast thow both the Red warke and the White,
Therefore blessed be that tyme both day and night:
For thys warke that standeth by greate vertue and love,
Thow must thanke Almighty God in heaven above.

103. Sonn in the 21 Chapter there write I a full true Rime,
That ys to say unto thys warke thow have no greate disdaine;
Till thow have proved my words in deed and thought,
I know it well thys Science schalbe set at nought.

104. My Son to these last precepts looke thow take good hede,
For better ‘tys to have then to wish for in time of neede:
For who so ys bold in tyme to a Freind to breake,
He that ys thy Freind may be thy Fo and hys emnity wreake.

105. And therefor my Son I schall give thee a greate charge,
In uttering of speech be thow not to large;
To tell every man what thow hast in Silver or Gold,
For to have it from thee many men wilbe right bold.

106. Also use not to revill or ryott that schould exceede
To thy bodily health, the better schalt thow speede;
Use temperate dyet and temperate travell,
Forr when Physitian thee fayleth thys schall thee availe.

107. And leave all blind warkes that thow has seene or heard of Conclusions
Or proved by Sublimations, Preperations, Distillations, or Dissolutions;
Of such manner of things greate Bokes do greatly specifie
And all those contrary sayings in this Craft I do plainly deny.

108. Also my Son remember how thou art mortall,
Abiding but a while in thys World which ys terrestriall:
Thow wottest not how long nor hence how soone,
That death schall thee visitt and unto thee Come.

109. And remember thee well at thy departing,
Whome thow lovedst and trustedst best old and young:
Make him thine Heire and most of thy Councell,
And give him thy Cunning or thy Boke every deale.

110. But beware of flattering and glosing People,
Of Boasters and Crackers for they will thee beguile:
Of thy precious Cunning behinde or beforne,
And when they have their intent they will give thee a scorne.

111. Therefor make no Man of thy Councell rude nor rustie,
But him that thow knowest both true and trustie;
In ryding and going sleeping and waking,
Both in word and deede and hys disposing.

112. Also in thy owne Chamber looke thow be secret,
That thy dores and windowes be close shet;
For some wyll come and looke in every Corner,
And anon they will aske what thow makest there.

113. And therefore a good excuse must soone be had,
Or else thow schalt verily wine for to run madd;
Say thow labourest fore both sleeping and waking,
To the perfect way of strange Colours making.

114. As yt be sure Bice, Vermillion, Aurum Musicum, & others moe
Or else with some people thow schalt never have a doe;
Also thereof thow must have many samples to schew,
Or else they that harmes thinke will say so.

115. Also furthermore I give thee right good warning,
Beware of thy warking and also of thy uttering,
For the examination of the People better or wose,
Ere thow have for thy warke thy mony in thy purse.

116. Therefor take heede my Son unto these Chapters fixscore
And all manner of things said what schould be don before:
For Astronomy thow must have right good feeling,
Ore else in thys Boke thow schalt have simple believing.

117. For thow must know well of seaven principle Characters,
To what Bodyes in heaven moving that they be likened in those figures
And to understand their properties and their Conditions,
In Colours, qualities, softnes, hardnes, & in their proper fashions.

118. Now Son to thee that understandest perfection & Sciences
Whether it be Spectulative or Practick to my sentences:
In thys Science and labour I thinke it greate ruthe,
Therefore I write to thee very truth.

119. And to thee that understand no parfection nor practike
In no conclusion proved that schould be to hys warke like,
By Almightly God that all thys world hath wrought,
I have said and performed to the right nought.

120. Therefore my Son before that thow thys Boke begin,
Understand wisely in thys what ys written therein:
For if thow canst not finde by thys Boke neither Sol nor Moyne,
Then go forth an seeke thow further as other fooles have done.

Explicit Liber dictus Pater Sapientiae.

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