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The Magistry

Back to English alchemical verse.

The Magistry

Through want of Skill and Reasons light
   Men stumble at Noone day;
Whilst buisily our Stone they seeke,
   That lyeth in the way.

Who thus do seeke they know not what
   Is't likely they should finde?
Or hitt the Marke whereat they ayme
   Better then can the Blinde?

No, Hermes Sonns for Wisdome aske
   Your footesteps shee'le direct:
Shee'le Natures way and secret Cave
   And Tree of lyfe detect.

Sun and Moone in Hermes Vessell
   Learne how the Collours shew,
The nature of the Elements,
   And how the Daisies grow.

Greate Python how Appollo flew,
   Cadmus his hollow-Oake:
His new rais'd army, and Iason how
   The Fiery Steeres did yoke.

The Eagle which aloft doth fly
   See that thou bring to ground;
And give unto the Snake some wings,
   Which in the Earth is found.

Then in one Roome sure binde them both,
   To fight till they be dead;
And that a Prince of Kingdomes three
   Of both them shalbe bred,

Which from the Cradle to his Crowne,
   Is fed with his owne blood;
And though to some it seemeth strange,
   He hath no other Foode.

Into his Virgin-Mothers wombe,
   Againe he enter must;
Soe shall the King by his new-byrth,
   Be ten times stronger just.

And able is his foes to foile,
   The dead he will revive:
Oh happy man that understands
   This Medicen to atchive!

Hoc opus exigium nobis fert ire per altum.
December, 1633.

If you have problems understanding these alchemical texts, Adam McLean now provides a study course entitled How to read alchemical texts : a guide for the perplexed.