'The third part of the work of Dionysius Zacharias, concerning the Practise of the divine Work', [Printed, in Latin, in the Theatrum Chemicum, Vol I, p.815.] Transcribed by Dr Muhammed Suleiman from the translation in British Library MS. Sloane 3641. Back to transcriptions page.
The Third Part of the Work of Dionisius Zacharias,
concerning the Practise of the divine work.
The whole earth has been by Philosophers and Cosmographers divided into three principal parts: into Asia, Africa and Europe, situated under four Quarters or Coasts, The East, the West, the South, the North, and under the dominion of diverse Emperours, Kings, Princes and potent Lords. Each one of which delights in diverse and sundrey things, both for their scarcity, and for their particular value: the latter cause was not so acceptable to them. as the former, which I learnt by experience, as I travelled over different and contrary nations. For where there was plenty of learned men, there (to my great detriment) I saw wise men very miserable and dejected; on the contrary the Ignorant the richest, and the most esteemd. But where there was a scarcity of learnd and skillfull men, and the greater part allso, quite ignorant and foolish, in this place chiefly to be most favourd and respected by the greater ones.
In like manner the want of Riches and of mines (whence Gold and other metalls are afforded us) makes in these places where they are not found, the greatest esteem of them: as an abounding brings with it a disesteem of that, whereof there is a great plenty among the rich: and baser things, and which were of no value, and had nothing of perfection beside appearance did allways blind their Eys, that they knew not the perfect and the precious things, Wherefore the Wise disdaining, when they see the ignorant preferrd, betake themselves to other places, determining elsewhere to show the force and power of their wisdome. Which a certain magnanimous Governour did heretofore, proposing never to desist until he had subjected to him the remaining part of the world, besides that which he possesst, by the help of his forces, and chiefly by the councell of his faithfull Steward.
In the mean time while he thought on these things, he ioyned unto himself diverse and sundry foreiners, who because they were not at all faithfull, thought they should be the more liberally receivd by Emperours, Kings and other Princes. Wherefore (as spys use to doe) they deserted from him, and divulgd his councells to them Who slighted them, thinking no power on Earth could resist theirs, much less the determinations of the said Governour Therefore while they in their Halls and great Palaces did nothing but laugh, sing, spend time unprofitably in woing, masks, training Horses, dances, and divers plays, and hearkend willingly to flatterers and whisperers, wise men are treated in derision by a Philosophicall name which heretofore great Monarchs and Potentates did not disdain, nor would they still, if, as before, they would willingly have good Councell).
In the mean time that good principall Gouernour, armd with his Guards and auxiliary forces, had now besiegd one of the famousest cittys of the Empire. The Emperour having levyd a multitude of Souldiers, accompanyd with many Kings and Princes, was now ready to give battle, when the good Prince the Gouvernour by the persuasion of his faithfull Steward and his other friends, having left the Siege sarely retird all alone into a most fortifyd Castle, his forces possessing the fields about, and every day stoutly resisting the Enemy. The Emperour had brought fifty thousand Foot and six thousand Horse, and innumerable warlike Engines. Therefore this Prince forsaking the Citty strenthned with an Iron Tower, he with his in battle array moved his Camp, the forces in the rear, fighting valiantly behind him against their Foe, and unless they had immediately past the River, and taken care of themselves and their Prince by breaking down the Bridges, they had been in great danger, but they all unhurt escaped the hands of the Enemys.
The next day the Enemys manfully pursuing them, the prince consenting to his Councill, was forced to retire into an impregnable place, and all the Souldiery togeather with him. It was fortifyd with trenches and Banks in the very middle of which ther was situated (in a rock fenct about with walls), a most round impregnable Castle, nigh which stood another very high Tower, by which, [underneath the Earth,] [N.B. underneath the earth is crossed out in the original] by burrows cut out under ground, The Steward could, without the Knowledge of the Enemys, carting in all things which were necessary for food and Warr, as was heretofore done at Napoli di Romania, while Soliman the King of Turky besiegd at twenty years, and perceivd not how a relief of victualls and other things came came into the Town. But the Prince having received his men within the walls, betook himself into the Castle, and into a little round Chamber, very much adorned allso with all things worthy of so great a Prince, in which he remaind the whole time which the Siege lasted, because he was extremely delighted with that retirement: it was built as is to be seen in the dukedom of Lorraine. From there he could see by four windows whatever inventions the Enemys had to intercept him. But they could not enter, because the chief door of his House was so shut up that no body could open it, except his faithfull Steward, who had so orderd and provided all things, that during the whole year of the Siege, nothing was working.
By reason of the manifold and most sharp Assaults made every day by the Emperours souldiers, The Prince was forced to divide his Army into five companys, that each of them might watch in their turns. The Captains of the Army thus persuading the Emperour not to remove his Camp. If we (say they) shall have the Prince, he will deservedly laugh at us, especially because he was of our order, and says that he for that reason retird from us, because he was un worthily used: wherefore if he es- cape our hands, he will seek all occasion of revenge. These and the like words moved the Emperour, that he obstinately determind to take the Prince captive either by famines, or which other way he could. But winter coming on the Emperour for a while withdrawing with himself a part of his Camp, left the rest at the Siege, under the command of a potent Lord, who doyly made very many Assaults upon the Souldiery of the good Prince. The Emperours purpose was not to move his Camp before the expiration of the year. Which the Prince understanding by his Steward, commanded his troups that each one of them should bring one Ensign taken by force of Arms out of the Emperours Army, imposing the penalty of his greatest indignation, if they performed not his commands. But that if they did perform them, he giving to each a large reward, promised over and above in his own person, accompanyd with his faithfull Steward to sally forth and give the Enemy battle so stoutly, that he would either lose his life, or carry of the Emperour's first Ensign, and would enrich with the spoils all who had followd him, above all his Enemys who besieged him. Therefore having taken courage, before that set time was elapst there were brought to him by his Troops as many of the Emperours Ensigns as he had required, by the means of the duplication of the Circle, which a certain Prince of France had taught his Steward.
The first Ensign was of the black German Horsemen, which they call black Reuthi [I believe Curassiers], The second was diversifyd with many Colours. The third was not much unlike the Ensign of the King of France: -The fourth was adorned with the Moon in her increase: But the fifth was like the greatest Standard of the Emperour: which indeed so augmented the Prince's courage that the next day he with his Steward came out to the walls, and there stoutly fought above measure, untill he obtained the greatest Imperiall Standard. Returning at last from Battle, and being weary, he by the Steward is refresht with the former food left in the beginning of the Siege; and his strength being recruited he another day with his friends, and with his Steward, manfully assaulting the Enemy, partly overthrew, partly put to flight the Emperours whole Army, by the assistance of his Captains, who were all illustrated with the Colours of their Prince. Whereby it came to pass afterwards that every Potentate, whether he be Pope, or Emperour, or King, Prince, or Soliman whatever they be, doe yield the Prize and grant the victory with the greatest applause to this one onely Prince Gold: God so commanding and willing it, to whom be everlasting Prais, Honeur and Glory.