The Key which opens the mystery of this Grand Elixir
From William Salmon, Medicina practica, or, Practical physick shewing the method of curing the most usual diseases happening to humane bodies ... : to which is added, the philosophick works of Hermes Trismegistus, Kalid Persicus, Geber Arabs, Artesius Longævus, Nicholas Flammel, Roger Bachon and George Ripley : all translated out of the best Latin editions into English ... : together with a singular comment upon the first book of Hermes, the most ancient of philosophers : the whole compleated in three books. London 1692.
I. This is the true copy of a writing found in a coffin upon the breast of a religious man, by a soldier making a grave at Ostend, to bury some slain soldiers, anno 1450.
II. My Dear Brother, if you intend to follow or study the art of alchymie, and work in it, let me give you warning, that you follow not the literal prescripts of Arnoldus nor Raymundus, nor indeed of most other philosophers, for in all their books they have delivered nothing but figuratively; so that men not only loose their time, but their money also.
III. I myself have studied in these books for more than 30 years, and never could find out the secret or mystery by them: but at length, through the goodness of God, I have found out one tincture, which is good, true, and absolutely certain, and has restored to me my credit and reputation.
IV. Now knowing (as I do) how much time you have lost, and what wealth you have consumed being touched with it, as a friend; and in regard of our faithful promise to each other in our beginning, to participate each of others fortunes, I have thought it fit, here to persuade you, not to loose yourself any longer in the books of the philosophers, but to put you in the right way, which after long wanderings I have found out, and now at this present, I on my death bed bequeath you.
V. I advise you to take nothing from it, nor add any thing to it; but to do just as I have set it down, and observe these following directions; so will you succeed and prosper in the work.
VI. First, never work with a great man, lest your life come into danger.
2. Let your earthen vessels be well made and strong lest you lost your medicine.
3. Learn to know all your materials, that you be not cheated with that which is sophisticate and nothing worth.
4. Let your fire be neither stronger nor softer, but what is fit, and just as I have here directed.
5. Let the bellows and all the other materials be your own.
6. Let no man come where you work, and seem ignorant to all such as shall enquire any thing of you touching the secret.
7. Learn to know metals well, especially gold andsilver; and put them not into the work till they be first purified by your own hands, as fine as may be.
8. Reveal not this secret to any one, but let this writing be buried with you, giving a confirmed charge concerning the same to him you trust.
9. Get a servant that may be trusty and secret, and of a good spirit, to attend you, but never leave him alone.
10. Lastly, when you have ended the work, be kind and generous, charitable to the poor, public spirited, and return your tribute of thanks to the Great and most Merciful God, the giver of all good Things.
VII. Take mineral quicksilver three pounds (made neither of lead nor tin) and cause an earthen pot to be made, well burned the first time: glaze it all over except the bottom, the which anoint with hogs grease, and it will not glaze. This is done, that the earth of the quicksilver may sink to the bottom of the pot, which it would not do, being glazed, nor become earth again.
VIII. The pot must be made a good foot long, of the fashion of an urinal, with a pipe in the midst of it: The furnace must be made on purpose, that the pot may go in close to the sides of the mouth of the furnace: Set on the pot a good great cap or head, with its receiver, without luting of it, give it a good fire of coals, till the pot be all on fire and very red; then take the fire out quickly, and put in the quicksilver at the pipe, and then with as much haste as you can, stop it close with lute.
IX. Then will the quicksilver by the heat and force it finds, both break and work; a part thereof you shall see in the water, as it were a few drops; and a part will stick to the bottom of the pot in black earth: Now let the pot cool within the furnace, as it is, then open it, and you shall find the quicksilver in it all black, which you must take out, and wash very clean, and the pot also.
X. As for the water which does distil out, put it a side, or cast it away, for it is nothing worth, because it is all flegm. Set the pot into the furnace again, and make it red hot; put in the quicksilver lute well the pipe, and do as you did the first time, and do this so often, until the mercury becomes no more black, which will be in ten or eleven times.
XI. Then take it out, and you shall find the mercury to be without flegm, but joined with earth, of which two qualities it must be freed, being enemies to Nature; thus the quicksilver will remain pure, in color celestial like to azure, which you may know by this sign, viz. Take a piece of iron, heat it red hot, and quench it in this mercury, and it will become soft and white, like Luna.
XII. Then put the mercury into a retort of glass, between two cups, so that it touches neither bottom nor sides of the cups, and make a good fire under it, and lay embers on the top, the better to keep the heat of the fire; and in forty hours the mercury will distil into a slimy water (hanging together) which will neither wet your hands, nor any other thing, but metals only.
XIII. This is the true aqua vitae of the philosophers; the true spirit so many have sought for, and which has been desired of all wise men, which is called the essence, quintessence, powers, spirit, substance, water and mixture of mercury, and by many other the like names, without strange things, and without offence to any man.
XIV. Save well this precious liquor or water, obscured by all philosophers, for without it you can do no good or perfect work: Let all other things go, and keep this only; for any one that sees this water, if he has any practice or knowledge, will hold to it, for it is precious and worth a treasure.
XV. Now resteth to make the soul, which is the perfection of the red, without which you can neither make Sol nor Luna, which shall be pure and perfect: With this spirit you may make things apparent and fair, yea, most true and perfect; all philosophers affirm that the soul is the substance, which sustains and preserves the body, making it perfect as long as it is in it.
XVI. Our body must have a soul, otherwise it would neither move nor work; for which reason you must consider and understand, that all metals are compounded of mercury and sulphur, matter and form; mercury is the matter, and sulphur is the form. According to the pureness of mercury and sulphur, such is the influence they assume.
XVII. Thus Sol is engendred of most pure fine mercury, and a pure red sulphur, by the influence of the Sun; and Luna is made of a pure fine mercury, and a pure white sulphur by the influence of the Moon.
XVIII. Thence it is that Luna is more pure than the other five metals, which have need of cleansing; being cleansed, they need but onely the pure sulphur, with the help of Sol and Luna, sulphur is the form of Sol and Luna, and the other metals; their other parts are gross matters of sulphur and mercury.
XIX. Husbandmen know many times more than we do: They when they reap their corn growing on the earth, gather it with the straw and ears. The straw and ears are the matter, but the corn or grain is the form or soul.
XX. Now when they sow their corn, when they sow not the matter, which is the straw and the chaff, but the corn or grain, which is the form or soul: So if we will reap Sol or Luna, we must use their form or soul, and not the matter.
XXI. The form or soul is made by God's help, after this manner. You must make a good sublimate, that is seven times sublimed, the last time of the seven you must sublime it with cinnabar without vitriol, and it will be a certain quintessence of the sulphur of that antimony.
XXII. When this is done, take of the finest Sol one ounce, or of the finest Luna as much, file it very fine, or else take leaf gold or silver; then take of the aforesaid sublimate four ounces; sublime them together for the space of sixteen hours; then let it cool again, and mix them all together, and sublime again: Do this four times, and the fourth time, it will have a certain rundle [circular form], like unto the matter of the white rose, transparent and most clear as any orient pearl, weighing about five ounces.
XXIII. The sublimate will stick to the brims and sides of the vessel, and in the bottom it will be like good black pitch, which is the corruption of Sol and Luna.
XXIV. Take the rundle aforesaid, and dissolve it in most strong spirit of vinegar, two or three times, by puting it into an urinal, and setting it in Balneum Mariae for the space of three dayes, every time pouring it into new spirit of vinegar, as at the first, till it be quite dissolved: Then distil it by a filter, and save that which remains in the pot, for it is good to whiten brass.
XXV. That which passed the filter with the vinegar, set upon hot ashes, and evaporate the moisture and spirit of vinegar with a soft fire, and set it in the sun, and it will become most white, like unto white starch; or red if you work with Sol; which are the form, or soul or sulphur of Luna and Sol, and will weigh a quarter of an ounce, rather more than less, save that well.
XXVI. Take an urinal half a foot high, and take of the firm body five ounces; of the soul or sulphur of Sol or Luna, a quarter of an ounce; and of the spirit four ounces: Put all of them into the urinal, and put on its head or cover, with its receiver well closed or luted. Distil the water from it, with a most soft fire, and there will come off the first time, almost three ounces.
XXVII. Put the water on again, without moving the urinal, and distil it again, until no more liquor will distil, which do 6 or 7 times, and then every thing will be firm. Then set the same urinal in horse-dung seven days, and by the virtue and subtilty of the heat, it will be converted into water.
XXVIII. Distil or filter this water, with stripes or shreds of woolen cloth: a gross part will remain in the bottom, which is nothing worth: All that which is passed the filter congeal, which will be about 4 or 5 ounces, and save it. When you have congealed it three times, melt ten ounces of the most fine Sol or Luna, and when it is red hot, put upon it 4 ounces (one copy said 13 ounces) of this medicine, and it will be all true and good medicine.
XXIX. Likewise melt borax and wax, ana, one ounce, to which put of the former medicine 1 ounce: Put all these upon mercury, or any other metal 3 pound, and it will be most fine Sol or Luna, to all judgments and assays. Thus have I ended this process, in which, if you have any practice or judgment, and know how to follow the work, you may finish it, or complete in in 40 days.
XXX. An appendix teaching how to make Aurum Potable. Take sal ammoniack, sal nitre, ana 1 pound: beat them together, and make thereof an aqua regia: Then take of the most fine Sol q.v. in thin leaves, and cut into very small pieces, which roll into very thin rolls, and put them into an urinal, or like glass, to which put the aqua regia, so much as to overtop it the depth of an inch.
XXXI. Then nip up the glass, and put it to putrefy in sand, with a gentle heat, like that of the sun for 3 or 4 days, in which time it will come to dissolution; then break the glass off at the neck, and pouring off the aqua regia easily and leisurely, leave the dissolved Sol in the bottom, and repeat this work with fresh aqua regia, 3 or 4 times, and keep the first water, then put on a helm with lute, and distil off in sand: Being cold, break the glass, and take the Sol, and wash it 3 or 4 times in pure warm water.
XXXII. When the Sol is clean from the aqua regia, take of it, and put it into the like glasses, with rectified spiritus vini 2 or 3 inches above it; put it into putrefaction as before in sand, stoping the mouth thereof very close for 3 or 4 days; then put the spiritus vini out, which will be all blood red. If any thing remains in the glass undissolved, put in more spiritus vini and let it stand as before. Do this as long as you find any tincture therein. This is Aurum Potabile.
XXXIII. But if you would have the Tincture alone, distil off the spiritus vini with a very gentle fire, and you shall find the Tincture at the bottom of the glass, which you may project upon Luna.