Hermetic Triumph

Ancient War of the Knights - Revised version

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To the Reader

It has been thought proper (as mentioned in the Preface) to join with this Treatise a Translation of THE ANCIENT WAR OF THE KNIGHTS, done from the Original German; that so the Lovers of this Science might be able to compare it with that done from the French; which, by Reason of its passing first into Latin, and from thence into French, has lost of its pristine Sense, as will be found upon the perusal of the Same. And, to make the Work still more compleat, some Annotations have been added (from a German Edition) upon the most material Points, where the said FrenchTranslation differs from the German Original.

The Antient

War of the Knights

Being a short Alchymistical

D I A L O G U E

Betwixt our

STONE, GOLD and MERCURY,

Of the true Matter, of which those who

have traced Nature, do prepare the Philosopher's Stone,

be Means of a due Management, with Help of Lunar Vulcan.

Describ'd by an Experienc'd Philosopher.

Translated from the German Original.

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Disputation of Gold and Mercury, with the Stone of the Philosophers.

A true Philosopher writes thus: By God Almighty, and upon my Salvation, do I tell you (you Lovers of this excellent Art) form a sincere Heart, and out of Compassion for those which have sought a long time in vain, that our {1} whole Work comes forth out of one Thing, which is compleated in it self, and needs no more but to be {2} dissolved and recoagulated; and this it must do of it self, without all foreign things.

As Ice, which is put over the Fire in a dry Vessel, and by Heat turn into Water: {3} In the same manner it is with our Stone, which wants nothing but the help of the Operation of the Artist, and of the naturel {4} Fire. For of it self it cannot do it, although it should lie [or remain] for ever in the Earth, therefore it must be assisted; yet not so, as to join foreign and contrary Things with it. But thus, as God gives us the Corn in the Field, and we must grind and bake it for to make Bread thereof: In like manner in this; {5} God has created for us this Mineral, [or Oar] which we take by it self, destroy the gross Body, extract the interiour Goodness, put away the Superfluity, and make out of the Poison, a Medicine.

That you may understand this the better, I'll recite you a fine Dialogue and Disputation which happen'd betwixt the Stone of the Philosophers, Gold, and Mercury, by which those who know a little [or in some Measure] how to {6} deal with Metals and Minerals, (having sought a long time in vain,) may easily arrive to the true Foundation. An it will be necessary, that one learn to know {7} the exteriour and interiour Quality of each Thing in the Earth, and what it is radically capable of, [or what it is capable of by (the Foundation of) Nature.]

Gold and Mercury came at a certain time to a Stone with and armed Hand, int eh Intention to subdue it.

And Gold began thus in a rude manner, saying.

GOLD

You poisonous Worm and Dragon, {8} why do you pretend to be above me and my Brother Mercury? Being, I am the most high, most noble, and most constant Metal; and all Princes and Lords, and likewise all ordinary Men, seek to obtain Riches from [or to grow Rich by working with] me and my Brother Mercury, whereas you are an Enemy of all Men and Metals, and you know, that the Physicians praise me exceedingly to be {9} for the Health of Men?

To which the Stone answereth.

Dear Gold, why are you not angry with God, and enquire, why he hath not created in you, what is found in me?

GOLD

God has given me the Honour, the Beauty, and the Praise, wherefore, I am desired by the whole World, and because I am the most constant Metal, in the Fire and out of the Fire, for that Reason I am loved by every Body. But as for you, you are {10} Volatile, you turn Unfaithful and deceive the People; for one sees, that you fly away [or escape] out of the Hands of those that work with you.

The Stone

Dear Gold, 'tis true, God has given you Honour, Beauty and Constancy, for which you ought to be thankful unto God, and not despise others; but as for your disparaging me thus, you do it with Untruth; and I say, you are not the Gold, of which the Philosophers write, {11} but the same is concealed within me: For although it is true that I am Volatile in the Fire, nevertheless you know, that God and Nature {12} have ordered me thus, and I must be so for my Volatility is to the Advantage of the Artist; and if he (the said Artist) can dully the same, yet remains within me the constant Soul, which is much more constant than you Gold, and all your Brothers and Companions; no Fire or Water can consume or destroy her, as long as the World lasts. Nor is it to be imputed to me, that I am sought for by those, who cannot duly work with me, or prepare me, and join often foreign and contrary Things with me, such as Waters and Powders, whereby they destroy my innate Nature and Quality [or Property.] Besides this, there is {13] not one in an Hundred, that works with me, bul all of them seek to compleat the Art with you Gold and your Brother Mercury: Wherein however they err, and work falsely, it being apparent, that all of them bring nothing to effect, but employ their Gold in vain, destroy [or ruin] themselves by it, and are reduced to Poverty; which is most to be imputed to you Sol, who know particularly well, that no true Gold or Silver can be made without me, for I alone have that Power. Why then do you allow that almost the whole World work chiefly with you and your Brother Mercury? If then you were indeed sincere, and did desire to deal honestly, you would appraise the People, and warn them to avoid Damages; wherefore I may well say with Truth, that you are the Cheat.

GOLD

I'll prove it by the Philosopher's Sayings, that the Art may be compleated by me and my Brother Mercury. For read Hermes, who says thus: {14} The Sun is its Father, and the Moon is its Mother, now 'tis I who am compared to the Sun.

Likewise Aristotle, Avicenn, Pliny, Serapion, Hippocrates, Dioscorides, Mesne, Rafis, Averrhoës, Geber, Raymund Lully, Albertus Magnus, Arnold de Villa-Nova, Thomas Aquinas, and many others, which I omit for Brevity's sake; all these say plain and distinctly, that the Tincture, as well as the Metals, must be composed of Suphurand Mercury, and the {15} Sulphur must be red, incombustible, and constant [or fix'd] in the Fire, and the Mercury must be bright [or clean] and clearly purified, and they write without any winding Expressions [or Circumlocution,] naming me openly by my Name, and say, that in me Gold, is well digested, constant, [or fix'd] incombustible, red Sulphur, which is also true; and it is obvious to every body, that I am the most constant Metal, and have the best Sulphur of all, which cannot be consumed by Fire, but is quite fixed.

Then Mercury assented with his Discourses to what the Gold had advanced, and added: It were true, what his Brother, the Gold had told, and might be prov'd by the aforesaid Masters. And that likewise it were known commonly and by every Body {16} what great Love and Unity there were betwixt them two, above all other Metals; which might easily be prov'd, by only this ocular Demonstration, that when Goldsmiths, or such like Workmen will guild Things, they cannot do without Gold and Mercury, but take them and put them together, and unite them with very little Pains. What then might not be done, with more Pains and Diligence, with more Work and longer Labour?

Our STONE

Then our Stone replyed in a merry Humour: Truly, you both deserve to be laugh'd at with your Proofs; and I admire more especially of you Gold, who boast so very much of your self to be good for a great many Things, [or Uses,] that you have no more Sense than that comes to; do you think that the old Philosophers have fitted their Writings barely to the common literal Sense or Interpretation, and will be understood in that manner?

GOLD

The aforecited Masters have Writ no Untruth, and they all agree concerning my Virtue, but there have been some, who have sought for my Virtues in other improper Things, viz. in various Herbs, Animals, Blood, Urine, Hair, Sperm, and the like, who therefore have err'd, and perhaps have Writ erroneously too; but the aforesaid Masters have good Testimony, that they have possess'd the Art indeed; for which Reason their Writings may very well be credited.

The STONE

I do no ways doubt, and it is very true that they have possess'd the Art indeed; some however excepted of those whom you have quoted. But when they name barely the Name of Gold and Mercury, they do it to hide the Art from the senseless [Dunces] and the unworthy, knowing very well, that such only dwell upon Names and written Processes, without meditating further upon the Foundation of this Matter. But the Prudent and Diligent read with Prudence, and ponder how one Squares with the other; out of which they get a Foundation; findings thus by Speculation, and from the Philosopher's Sentences, the true Matter, which no Philosopher ever named and describ'd openly by its true Name.

This they prove themselves, when they say, where we write plainest, [or open] according to the common Sense [or Interpretation] there we have most concealed the Art. {17} but where we speak by Parables and Sentences, there we have truly disclosed the Art. And where they write of Gold and Mercury, they however soon after that, tell and explain themselves, saying, that their Gold is no common Gold, nor their Mercurycommon Mercury; by Reason, that Gold, because of its Perfection, cannot be alter'd or chang'd, because it is grown already to a quite perfect Metal; and although one should extract its Colour a hundred Times, and Work never never so artful with it, nevertheless it cannot tinge any more, than just so much as it has Colour and Tincture in it self. Therefore the Philosophers say, {18} I you search in imperfect Things, you there will find the Perfection, as you may read in the Rosary. Likewise Raymund Lully, whom your self have quoted as a Testimony, says thus: What shall be meliorated, must not be prefect; nothing is changed [or altered] in perfect Things, it rather is quite destroy'd and spoil'd.

GOLD

I know indeed that they say thus; but that may be understood of my Brother Mercury, who as yet is imperfect; and when we two mix our selves with each other, he then is made perfect by me; for he is of the Feminine, and I of the Masculine Sex. Therefore the Philosophers say, that the Art is entirely and Homogeneum. You see the same in Men, that no Child is produced, but by the conjunction of Male and Female. And the same is to be seen in all Animals which have life.

Our Stone

Thy Brother Mercury is indeed imperfect {19} yet therefore is not he the Mercury of the Philosophers: And if you two should mix your selves together and were kept in the Fire [or in digestion] for many Years, it were nevertheless impossible that you two could really be united together; for as soon as Mercury feels the Fire, he flips from you going on high, and sublimes it self on the top, leaving you in the bottom. Or if you are join'd together with corrosive Waters, and are dissolved, distilled, and coagulated, you yield nothing else but a red Powder and Præcipitate, which it if is thrown [by Projection] upon imperfect Metals, it tinges not; but only so much of you Gold is found again, as was taken at the beginning, and your Brother Mercury escapes entirely from you; which the Searchers in Alchimy have experienc'd for many Years, and are convinc'd of it by their own no small damage. But as for your referring to the Sentences of the Ancients, who say, that the Art is wholly an Homogeneum, and that no Child can be produced but by Male and Female, which you fancy, the Philosophers did to hint at you and your Brother Mercury by it; that is not thus neither, but misunderstood by you, altho' they (writing thus) speak very right and proper; for I tell you in Truth, that even this is {19} the Cornerstone laid by the Ancients, at which many Thousands have stumbled. Do you imagine it is with Metals {21} just as with other Things, which have Life? You fare in this, as all those who work wrongly in this Art; when you read these Things in the Philsophers's Writings, you do not meditate on the Scope, and whether it agrees with what has been said before, or what is said after that; for what the Philosophers have describ'd of this Art with such parabolical Words, is solely to be applied to me, and to no other Thing in the World; for 'tis I alone that do perform it, and {22} without me no true Gold or Silver can be made.

GOLD

Good God! Are you not afraid to commit a Sin, and have no shame to tell such a Lie? And are you so audacious, as to apply [or attribute] solely unto you, what so many Philosophers and Learned Men have written of this Art in several Ages? You, who are an only, gross, poisonous, and unclean Thing, and yet confess, that the Art is an Homogeneum; and you affirm besides this, that without you, who are {23} the Universal, no true Gold or Silver can be made; whereas it is known, that may have sought so assiduously and diligently, that they have found some other ways, which are called particulars, from which they may have a good profit.

Our Stone

My dear Gold, do not wonder at what I have told you, and do not thus impudently and imprudently give me the Lie, because I am older than your self. {24} And although I had been mistaken in this, you ought to spare my Age; for you are not ignorant, that Age should be honour'd.

But to same my Honour, that I spoke Truth, whose Testimonies [being quoted by your own self,] you have no Reason to object against. And firstly, Hermes says thus: In Truth, without Lie, certain, and most true, is this, that that which is under, is like to that which is above, and that which is above, is like unto that below, {25} by this you may attain to Miracles and Wonders of one Thing.

Item, Aristotle writes thus; Oh! What a strange Thing is this, for it has in it self, all what we stand in need of; it kills it self, and gets Life again of it self; {26} it espouses it self, it begets it self, and brings forth [or generates] of it self, it dissolves it self in its own Blood, and recoagulates it self with the same; it grows White and Red of it self, and we add nothing more to it, nor do we change any Thing, only we separate the Terrestreity and the Grossness from it.

Item, Plato the Philosopher says thus of me: 'Tis even by one and the same [or only] Thing in it slef; {27} it has a Body, a Soul, a Spirit, and the four Elements, over with it has Dominion; and it does not want to borrow any Thing of other Bodies, for it brings forth [or generates it self] only of it self, and all Things are in it.

Many Testimonies more of these Masters could I proffer, but it being unnecessary, I omit them for Brevity's Sake.

However, as for Particulars, of which you make mention, it is thus with them: Some are come thus far, that they have been able to {28} extract my tinging Spirit, which they have joined to other Metals, and brought it about by many Operations, that I have participated to such Metals as had any Affinity with me, a small Matter of my Virtue and Power; which, however, but very few succeeded in: Likewise did they partly find it by Chance. {29} And by Reason that they did not penetrate into the Foundation, whence Tinctures come, therefore they could not proceed further, and thus they could not reap very great Advantages therefrom. But if the Artist {30} had looked further about for my own [proper] Wife, and joined [or united] me with her, I then could have tinged a thousand Times more: But they thus spoiled my Nature [or Property] with foreign Things. However, whatever they found, (although but a small Matter in Comparison of my true Power and Efficacy,) it proceeded from me, and of no other Thing whatsoever.

GOLD

What you have said is no sufficient Proof: For although they [the Philosophers] write of one only Thing, in which are contained the four Elements, and a Body, a Soul, and a Spirit; they thereby insinuate [or give to understand] the Tincture, after the same has been compleatly finished: It must nevertheless be composed in the beginning of me Gold, and my Brother Mercury, we being the Male and the Female Seed, as has been mentioned; and when we are brought to Maturity [or compleated by Digestion] we then are both [that] one Thing, of which they write.

Our Stone

It is no ways thus, and I have told you before, {31} that it is not possible for you two, [to perform it,] for you two are not one Body, but two Bodies, and you are in the Foundation of Nature [or Radically] contrary to each other. {32} But as for me, I have an imperfect Body; a pure, penetrating, tinging, and constant [or fixed] Spirit; and besides this, a clear, bright, volatile, and moveable Mercury; and am alone capable of what both of you together do indeed boast of, but are not able to perform it, for in me is the Philosopher's Gold, and the Mercury of the Wise. For this Reason the Ancients say: {33} our Stone is not Visible, nor our Mercury to be had, but out of the soft {34} uncorrupted [or proper] Bodies, and neither of the two can be attained without the other; wherefore I alone do yield the Male and Female Seed; also I am called an Hermaphrodite.

Richardus Anglus too, witnesses the same of me, saying: The first Matter of our Stone is called Rebis, that is to say, a Thing which by Nature has a double quality [or property] concealed in it self; and it is likewise call'd an Hermaphrodite, that is, a Matter, which is not easily to be distinguish'd, whether it be a Male of Female; by Reason, that it inclines to both Parts. Therefor a Medicine is made, {35} out of a Thing, [or one Thing] which is the Water of the Body and Spirit.

This has occasioned the saying, that this Medicine has by its Enigma's deceived many Fools. The Art, however, requires but one only Thing; [or Matter;] {36} nothing is to be compared to it, and yet it is mean and cheap: But for this it ought not to be despised, for it makes and brings forth [or compleats] admirable things.

Alanus the Philosopher says: You Operators in this Art, you ought to be of fixed Mind in your Work, not beginning and trying sometimes with one Thing, and sometimes with another; for the Art consists not in Multitude of Species's, but in Body and Soul. And for a (certain) Truth, the Medicine of our Stone is one Thing, one Vessel, one Composition. For the whole [Masterpiece of] Art is begun with one Thing, and is ended with one Thing; although the Philosophers, in order to hide the Art, have pretended to point out many other ways, as for Instance: continual Cooking [or Digestion,] Mixtion, Sublimation, Trituration, and Siccation, and as many other Names [or Allegories] as the same may be named withal. {37} However, the Solution of the body is not brought about, but in its own Blood.

Geber says thus: In the Foundation (or in the Root) of the Nature of Mercury, is Sulphur, which perfects it, [viz. the Mercury] by cooking and digesting it during a long time in the Veins of the Mines.

Thus, my dear Gold, with what has been said, you are sufficiently convinced, that it is only in me, and I alone can perform all, without the Assistance of you and all your Brothers; not do I want you any ways, although all of you want me: [Or have Occasion for me:] For I can perfect you all, and bring you to a higher Degree, than what you are by Nature.

Then the Gold grew angry, and not knowing any more what to answer, consulted with its Brother Mercury, and agreed upon this, that they would assist one another, who being two in Number, and our Stone but single, they (because they could get no Advantage upon it by disputing) would by their double Power destroy it [or kill it] by the Sword.

But when the Fight began, our Stone issued Strength, [or Power,] {38} and destroyed and conquered them both: And swallowed them [in such a manner] that nothing at all was to se seen of them; nor what was become of them.

Thus, you my dearly beloved who fear God, you have here a true and sufficient Narrative [or Instruction] to understand the Foundation [or Root] of the highest and most precious Treasure. For no Philosopher did ever declare himself so plain and openly.

You therefore want nothing else, but that you pray to God that he may grant you, to attain to such a dear and precious Jewel: Next to this quicken your Thoughts, and read with Prudence, work with Diligence, and haste not in [the Preparation of] this precious Work; for {39} it must have its natural Time, [or its Time ordained by Nature,] like Fruit on a Tree, or Grapes on a Vine. Be likewise of a good Will and Intention, or else Lord will grant you nothing; for God gives it to those, who desire to do good with it, {40} and takes it, or detains it from such as would employ it to ill Uses.

The Lord give you his Blessing. Amen


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