Verse after Belin
Probably from a work of the 17th century alchemist Jean Albert Belin, who is best known for his Les avantures du philosophe inconnu, en la recherche et en l'invention de la pierre philosophale. Divisées en quatre livres... Paris, 1646. of which there is a partial translation on my website page.
The proper maxims of philosophy,
That guide the race of human life, and then
Those theorems that do the best explain
All the phenomena which the heavens can show
And the ever changed and changing earth below,
There yet remains what I have long concealed,
And never yet to living man revealed.
That I deliver up to thee the keys
Of natures hidden treasures and of these
The chief is this, that shines like purest gold,
Admired by heaven and earth. This does unfold
What all those other several keys do hold
Locked in their choicest cabinets. Lo here the inestimable fountain does appear
Of the great Universal work, which we
Do most undoubtedly confess to be the highest gift of the divinity
How vile to this all earthly riches are, there is no treasure can with this compere
For what is wealth if Asthmas stop my breath,
And what are treasures in the hour of death?
At his approach I must my treasures leave,
But if this the ie in possession have deaths overcome and sinks into the grave.
Having this key, i have the secret here,
And with this secret I can conquer fear.
Treasures and wealth into my bosom flow,
Beyond what all proud earthly monarchs know.
Pale deaths arrested and he flies away
Nor can his sickly troops behind him stay,
While in my hand I grasp the golden key.
This now my son I give to thee alone,
But I conjure thee by the living one
Who sits upon the everlasting throne
That thou this secret unto none impart,
But lock it in the Cabinet of thy heart
If thou dost use it, it will bring to thee
A tide of wealth, and cure each malady
That age bring on, but Chronos strives in vain
To make thee old, for this revives again
The seeds of youthful fire, and health all
Human distempers though original.
It enlightens all the metals, and does bless
Its owners with perpetual happiness.
This is the mystery which heretofore
Our philosophic father's new, but swore, in sacred oaths to heaven deep secrecy.
And thus their sons must also act, and we
So recommend it to posterity.
Then learn it well, and let not then the poor
Be driven unassisted from thy door.
All things which are beneath the heavens have now
Their different specific forms, although
Unto one only principle they owe
Their first existence, and this lower sphere
Sprung from the emanations of the air.
All nutriments do their first fountain show,
All live on that from which they first did flow.
The fish enjoys and thrives in water best,
The tender infant sucks the mother's breast.
If moisture is detained from it, the tree shall not produce delicious fruit for thee.
By life the principle of things is known air is their life, and we must therefore own
That principle to be in air alone.
All bodies likewise do corrupt in air.
What gives life, does also life impair.
So all things have of life and death their share.
Wood, stones, and iron are dissolved in fire,.
And on to their original retire.
But that which causes generation is
Although they seem such contrarities
The cause of all corruption, and on these
Like wheels the whole creation turns, and shall
While there are entities corporal.
When the sick creatures in a passive state
Opprest by time, or the defects of fate,
The air relieves them, they are cured by air.
What did imperfect and infirm appear
Thereby is rendered vivid, fresh and fair.
The trees and herbs, and earth with heat decay,
And languish with an over horrid ray:
But soon as are reinstated and amend
With balmy dews which from the air descend.
Since then no creature can amend but in
That nature which is thereunto akin,
And since the air, the fountain of them all,
Tis universal and original.
In this The life and seed of all things lies
Their death, their sickness, and their remedies.
Her treasures nature has included here
And stored them up as in their proper sphere.
It is the truly golden key to know,
How to unfold these airy doors,
and how colours to unfold these doors
and how, to draw an air out from this air below.
But if you know not how to fish for air,
Hope not to find the thing that can repair.
All human frailties, and shall chase away
Invading regiments of diseases, nay
It calls them back to life again who have
Been almost swallowed by the opening grave.
That common fountain then you must be sure
To find, if you would all dispensers cure.
Nature its like does from its like produce,
What is not natural Nature does refuse.
If thou my son, canst catch this air divine,
The golden key of Nature shall be thine.
All creatures know this air, but only they
Who can produce it shall have natures key.
Tis a great secret, and he's more than man
Who from the airs extended bosom can
The blessed Arcanum draw for to him now
The powers of all this order terrene shalt bow.
A secret is to know the inbred force
All things have drawn from their original source,
And see the baits that are for Nature laid
By her own species, she is captive made.
As fish by fish and birds by birds are caught
So too sweet air the air is also brought.
The snow and ice but air congealed are
Which Nature made a bait to catch the air.
But one of these into a vessel sealed
And round it thou shalt take an air congealed.
This thou shalt in another vessel keep
Which shall be strong, thick, clear well closed and deep.
Then gently still to get the solar ray.
Or else the paler sister of the day.
Thy vessel, when half full, close up for fear
The heavenly spark should turn again to air.
Fill then as many vessels as you please
But of your operations upon these
Learn thou the silence of Harpocrates.
Erect thy furnace, fit thy vessel there, close it with mighty diligence and care
Being half filled with thy attracted air.
Let such a fire be kindled that full oft
The pure thin part of smoke may fly aloft
As Nature in the earth maintains a fire,
To make the air in circulation stir.
That fire let it be gentle moist and sweet,
Like that of birds when on their eggs the sit.
So being enkindled look thou daily to it,
That it burn not but boil the golden fruit.
Till length of time and motion fix it so,
That it lie quiet in the nest below.
Add to this air fresh air, but let it be
According to the rules of decency
Let this dissolve, rot and be blackened,
Hardened, congealed, and fixed in fiery red.
Then from the impure divide the purer part
By fires assistance and the heavenly art.
To that hard part with purity ended
Join thou more air that is both pure and crude.
Dissolve, conjoin, make black, then white again,
At last forever in the red remain.
This crowns the work, the grand elixir is thine
Which works those wonders that thy eyes have seen,
And hast the key, the golden draft of Health,
A panacea and perpetual wealth