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Upon the most
Where the French Translation of
THE ANCIENT WAR OF THE KNIGHTS,
differs from the German Original.
From a GERMAN Edition.
The German Original says by Number 4. Of it self it cannot do it, altho' it should lie for ever IN
the Earth; but the French Translation says: Though it should for ever remain ON THE
EARTH.'Tis probable the Translator into Latin did say in terra, which indeed sometimes may be
understood on the Earth, and is taken thus in the Lord's Prayer: Sicut in Coelo et in Terra, thy
will be done on Earth, but in this place it should be otherways, viz. in the Earth.
By Number 9. the German Original says: To which OUR Stone answereth; but in the French the
word Our is omitted; for it says, the Stone answered. 'Tis supposed the Translator into Latin has
omitted first the word Our, not knowing perhaps that there is a difference between the Stone and
the Philosophers, and between the Stone thus simply. But the French Commentator, as an
ingenious Philosopher, would not have omitted the word Our, but perhaps rather have given a
learned Explanation about it, if so be he had found it in the Latin Translation; For when the
Philosophers say, Our Stone, they speak of it, as in that Condition, when it is work'd upon to be
brought to Perfection, and plusquam Perfection. viz. to the Quality commonly called, The
Philosophick Stone. But when it is barely called The Stone, without any other Epithet, in that
Case it may be applied to the Stone, either generally, viz. in all and every one of its States and
Conditions, or else it is taken in particular (to distinguish the Stone of the Philosophers, or its
Matter) when it is still under the Operations of Nature, and not yet brought so far as that the
Artist may assist Nature by a prudent Imitation of her. But as soon as the Philosophers work
upon it, it is then properly and in particular called Their Stone. 'Tis true, the
Philosopherssometimes confound on purpose theses two Denominations, because of the
unworthy; but since the German Philosopher makes such a Distinction, the Translator into Latin
ought not to have deprived the Hermetick Disciples of the same; for they might take Occasion
thereby, to meditate, why 'tis called one time The Stone, and at another time Our Stone, and what
he says when he distinguishes it with the word Our. 'Twas wrong therefore to be guilty of such
an Omission, as not to give it the Denomination of Our Stone, as often as it was found in the
German Original; but in Lieu thereof, to call it always merely The Stone.
By Number 10. the German Original says: Dear Gold, 'tis true, God has given you Honour,
Beauty, and Constancy; which is rendered by the French in this manner: 'Tis true, my dear Gold,
'tis God who has given you THE Honour, THE Durability, and THE Beauty. This is said by the
Stone as an Answer to what Gold advanced in its Reproach just before by Number 9, in which
Reproach Gold uses the Article the, viz. the Honour, &c. thereby to assume to it self all the
Honour, Beauty, and Praise which is to be found in the Operation and Art of the Philosophers;
for the German tongue has this Property, that the Addition of the Article The takes in all, or the
whole. Therefore the Stone in its Answer (according to the German Original) limits very much
those Vertues (which Gold boasts of) by the Omission of the Article, saying: God has given it
some Honour, intending as it were, thereby intimate, that Gold possesses but a part of such
Vertues; and it also gives to understand in the following Discourses, that the Stone is self has
communicated in the Earth to Gold, that Honour, Beauty, &c. which it possesses, and who is
beholden for the same to the Stone; so that it ought not to pretend from that, to have the Chief,
or so much as any part at all in the Philosophical Work, especially with the Exclusion of the
Stone, whom Gold wrongly vilifies.
'Tis, however, not the fault of our eminent French Philosopher, that the said Article [The] has
been made use of in the reply of the Stone, it having happened by Accident; for as he did not
translate the said Treaties, called, The War of the Knights, from the German Tongue, but from
the Latin, into which it had been translated first, and the Latin Tongue having no Articles, its
was not possible for him to know, whether or no, or at what place the Article was made use of in
the Original; so that it seems to have crept in, as the place aforesaid, by mere Chance.
'Tis nevertheless, true, that the Latin Translator is to blame; for in Case he had been careful to
render the Author's Intention exact, he might have done it, although it was not possible to do it
by an Article; and it might have been given in these or the like words: Verum est, Deum tibi
honoris, pulchritudinis & in igne constantie ALIQUID [or NECESSARIUM TIBI DIMENSUM]
By the last mentioned Number there follows soon after: But as for your disparaging me thus, you
do it with Untruth, which Words have been left out in the French. Whose Fault soever it be, it is
certain, the Words, (as almost the rest of the said Treaties,) and give to understand, that the
Addition of Vulgar Gold to the philosophical Work, tends to the said Work's destruction.
By Number 13. the German original says: It begin Apparent, that all of them bring nothing to
Effects, but employ their Gold in vain, [and] DESTROY THEMSELVES BY IT. But the
Frenchsays: For 'tis improfitably that they employ their Gold, and that they ENDEAVOUR TO
The Latin translator has in this Passage taken the German (for the word destroy) quite wrong,
having probably said thus: Aurum inutiliter impendunt & corrumpunt -- which is altogether
against the Sense and Meaning of the Original.
The French Philosopher has very well perceived, that this Passage could not be right, and
therefore did not render it into French in the same Sense, viz. That they destroy the Gold, but
says, That they endeavour to destroy the Gold, knowing very well, that it is not possible for them
do destroy the Gold.
The Translator into Latin finding the word destroy in the German, would have kept the true
Meaning of the same Author, if he had said: Animadvertimus, quod hisce nihil effician, sed
potius autrum eorum inutiliter impendant, eoque ipso deficientes misere pessum eant, & in
summum egesatem incidur.
By that last quoted Number, the German Original says in the reply of Gold: I'll prove it by the
Philosopher's Sayings, that the Art may be compleated by me and my Brother
Mercury;concerning which it is to be noted, that in the French, the Words: And my Brother
Mercury, have been omitted.
By Number 15. the German Original says: And they write without any winding Expressions. But
the French says, without any Reserve.
By Number 19. the German Original says: Thy Brother Mercury is indeed imperfect, yet
therefore is not he Mercury of the Philosophers. -- But the French says: Thy Brother Mercury is
indeed imperfect, and by consequence he is not the Mercury of the Wise. -- In this manner it
would be true indeed, that the Author of The Ancient War of the Knights had contradicted
himself; which the French Commentator is obliged to own, and therefore makes Pyrophilus to
state a Question, how to solve this Doubt? In answer to which, Eudoxus has done what he could
to maintain the Honour and Credit of the Author. but there would have been no Occasion to
form such Doubt, nor to clear it, if the Translation had been true, and conform to the Intention of
However, as nothing is so bad, but some good arises from it, as the Proverb says; it has been the
same with this Passage; it having given Occasion to the Commenting Philosopher to give several
important and useful Considerations upon this Passage, although he found it himself very hard.
Perhaps the Translator into Latin has been a German, and rendered it thus: Frater tuus
Mercurius est quidem imperfectum, sed propterea non Mercurius sapientum---. If it were thus, it
were a Germanism, whose Sense will be taken right by a German who understands Latin; but not
easily by a Frenchman, who is not acquainted with the Germanism's, which often happen
amongst the German in the Latin Tongue; For one sees that the French Philosopher has taken
the Sense of the Latin Words thus: He is imperfect, but for that very Reason (BECAUSE HE IS
IMPERFECT) is not the Mercury of the Wise. A German, however, understands it thus: He is
imperfect, but therefore (ALTHOUGH HE IS IMPERFECT) he is not the Mercury of the Sages;
or, it is therefore no Consequence, that he should be the Mercury of the Philosophers; it being
no Argument at all, that an imperfect Mercury (of which there are many Kinds) should by
Reason of its Imperfection be the Philosophick Mercury. and thus it's very probable to have been
the fault of the Translator, who, if he had been resolved to make use of the word propterea,
(which nevertheless might better have been omitted,) he ought at least to have put the word
nonbefore it, viz. Non tamen propterea est Mercurium sapientam; or, Non tamen inde conficitur,
eum propterea esse Mercurium sapientum. So that this eminent Philosopher (viz. the
Commentaror) may have been led into an Error, by the Aequivocation of this Germanism; and
one sees how he is forced to turn and wind himself in the Answer of Eudoxus, to te skreen the
German Philosopher from the blame of the supposed Contradiction; which it he has succeeded
in it, and whether the Doubt, formed by Phyrophilus, has been suficiently cleared and taken
away by Eudoxus's Answer, (how learned and useful soever it be,) it left to the Judgment of
those that are well skilled in this Art. May bu this Passage has appeared to the said Comentator
as one of those which the Philosophers make use of, when, because of the unworthy, and also for
other Reasones, they contradict themselves, which ought to be no Obstacle to the true Disciples
of Hermes, to meditate so much more upon the Reason and Cause of such Contradiction; by
which means they may unexpectedly discover some Truths. For Cosmopolite says in the
Epilogue of his Treatise: Noli moveri, quod aliquando contradictoria in meis Tractatibus. more
Philosophorum usitato, tibi occurrunt. N.B. Opus habes illis, si intelligis. Non reperitur rosa
sine spinis. And further in his Treatises of Sulphus, Cap. de 3 princip. He says: Nec te moveat,
quod scripta contraria sibi videantur in aliquibus locis; ita enim opus est, ne ars proderetur: Tu
autem elige ea, quae cum Natura conveniunt; accipe rosas, relinque spinas. --- And in the same
manner our eminent French Commentator has (probably) taken this reply of the Stone for such
an assumed Contradiction, which he designed to reconcile by the Answer to Eudoxus.
By Number 32. the German Original says: But as for me, I have an imperfect Body; a pure
penetrating, tinging, and constant Spirit. --- The French gives theses Words with some
Variation, viz. I have an imperfect Body, a steadfast Soul, a penetrating Tincture. --- Which,
nevertheless, is much to the same purpose. only this ought to be added; that there are two
Edition extant in the German Tongue, which differ from the rest, and ascribe the Stone a perfect
Body. But according to the first Edition printed 1604, and others more, the Stone has an
Here ought to be said, that both, perfect and imperfect is true, considering that the Stone is at
different Times in a different Station, which is sufficiently limited by the Answer which
Eudoxus give upon the Objection made by Pyrophilus upon the said Number.
If however one would keep to the two afore-mentioned Editions, in that Case there would have
been no Occasion for the Objection of Pyrophilius, nor for the Answer of Eudoxus.
The Passage by Number 34, is that of which the French Commentator makes mention in his
Preface, where the Old Philosophers are quoted, and made to say thus: Our Mercury cannot be
had but out of the soft unadulterated Bodies.
The Cause why this Passage has been corrupted in the translating it into Latin, seems to proceed
from the German word AECHT, which signifies so much as true, proper, legitimate,
uncorrupted, standard, and fine, and serves generally to distinguish a true Matter from a
Counterfeit; but the same Word having some Similitude with the Word ACHT, which signifies
Eight, the Translator has been led into Mistake, which the Commentator finds fault with.
Whether the French Commentator got this gross Error rectified from the Original, or whether he
thought proper to expunge those dark and improper Words, and insert others in their room, is not
known; but it is certain, that if this last be the Case, a Philosopher, like himself, has Authority to
do it; especially when he intimates such his Intention, as the Commentator has done; who
likewise, as a Matter, has the Prerogative to teach the Disciples of Hermes, by what Words he
thinks proper, from whence the Mercury of the Wise is to be taken.
'Tis observable also, that this said Commentator saying: It is not possible to attain to the
Possession of our Mercury any other way, than by the means of two Bodies, whereof one cannot
receive its requisite Perfection without the other, has ordered this Passage in such a manner, that
it agrees with the Intention of the Original, altho' the Words are varied.
By Number 35. the French Translation says: The (Universal) Medicine is therefore made out of
a Thing, which is the Water, and the Spirit of the Body, But the German Original says: Therefore
a Medicine is made out of a Thing, which is the Water of the Body and Spirit, --- which last,
however, contradicts no ways the Sense and Meaning of our Commentator, who says himself in
his third Key: That in the Wine of the Philosophers (which appears in form of Water) there are
three divers Substances, and three natural Principles of all Bodies, viz. Salt, Sulphur, and
Mercury, which are the Spirit, the Soul, and the Body. --- And thus it may be said, according to
the Sense of the Original: That Thing, out of which the Medicine is made, is the Water (viz the
Wine of the Wise) of the Body, (viz. the Body in the Water, which is the Male) and of the Spirit.
(viz. of the Body and Spirit; for the Author himself takes them altogether in the aforesaid place,
as the Feminine.) And with this, compare what is said by Number 37.
By Number 38. the German Original says: When the Fight began, our Stone ISSUED
STRENGTH. But the French says: The Stone displayed ITS Force, and its Valour. --- Which
intimates, as if the Stone had employed all its Strength for to conquer the two Companions;
whereas the German gives to understand, that the Stone employed only so much of its Strength
as requisite to conquer them.
This Passage may be compared with the Annotation, which has been made about that by Number
Lastly, It is worth observing (and it ought rather to have been mentioned first of all, being it is on
the Title Page, as likewise afterwards mentioned by Eudoxus in the Commentary by Number 4.)
that the German Original says: That the Stone of the Philosophers is prepared by those who
trace nature, with the Assistance of LUNAR VULCAN; by which Lunar Vulcan (according to
what is said by the afore-mentioned Number 4.) is meant the secret and natural Fire of the
'Tis true, this Fire is, as to it self, one only Fire; but as to the place, it is called both Ineriour and
Exteriour; for Instance. the said Eudoxus call it, The natural and interiour Fire, because, say
he,it if brought to Action by the exteriour Fire.
Philosophia Aegyptiaca on the other Hand says: Osiris & Isis +?mi +?conjuges sunt, +?sie &
frater & soror, Plutarch +?reste, sub mystica +?quadam ratione habentes, qubus additur
+?terrus quidam, Typhon (forte ignis interniis materie) niger & ardens Spiritus, qui Osiridem
fratrem +?uterinum in minutissima membra dissecat. +?Hisee +?adnumerant VULCANUM
SEU IGNEM EXTERNUM. --- Therefore if taken according to this letter Sense, viz. of its being
Exteriour, it is not part of the Matter, as Artephius says; but if taken in the first Sense, it is part
of the Matter, according to the meaning of Empedocles.
As to the Vulcan being called Lunar, the Author of the War of the Knights agrees in this which
the great Hermes, who says: Pater ejus Sol, mater +?vero Luna; and hereby is intimated the
Quality of the philosophical Vulcan, viz, that its Heat must be tempered by the Humidity
proceeding from Luna; for, +Algabel in +Consil. Conj. de massa Solis & Lunae says: Sol (which
by our Author is called Vulcan) ++est fons totius caloris: Luna +++ +++ +?Humiditatis. And
Hermes says: Humiditas est ex domino Lunae, +++ autem ex dominio Solis. For that Reason
says Cosmopolitae: Calor intrisencus multo +?efficator est hoc igne elementali, sed temperatur
terrena aqua, que de die in diem poro terre penetrat +?illunque refrigerat: Sic +?solem
coelestem & ejus calorem temperat aer, qui de die in die circumvolat orbem. And at another
place; Sicuti Sol centralis habet suum mare & aquam crudam perceptibilem; sic Sol coelestis
havet etiam suum mate & aquam subtilem & imperceptibilem. -- And thus the aforesaid Reasons,
the Vulcan of the Philosophers must be Lunar.
As to the French translation of these Words, they are quite otherways; for the same Translation
call it Lunatick Vulcan. It is not to be supposed that these Words are given with any other
meaning than what afore-mentioned; for, Lunatick is in another Sense mad, and it cannot by
supposed that the Title of The War of the Knights would intimate, that the Stone of the
Philosophers it to be prepared with the Assistance of such a mad Vulcan. On the contrary, the
Turba says: Ne incendatis balneum Citrini & ejus uxoris plurimum, ne sensu & meta
primevar.Item, Veneramini Regem & suam uxorem & nolite eos comburere +++ +++ . And
therefore the Fountain (which Bernard Trevisan speaks of) in which the King bathes himself is
secured by a threefold +++ . -- In the exposition of the Epistle, Solis and Lunam, are these
Words: +++ +++ ++ in lumine Solari frigida & humida, quia sum mater +++ +++ +++
i.e.+++. N.B. In +++ +++, i.e. in proportione & +++. Now such a Copulation as that cannot
be brought about by a mad Vulcan, and therefore the War of the Knights could not suppose that
the Traces of Nature had mad use of the Assistance of such Violence, for to make the Stone of
The Reason why in the French Translation is said Lunatick Vulcan, proceeds probably from the
Translators into Latin having made another Error in this Passage and said: Auxilio Vulcani
Lunatici; when he should have said Auxilio Vulcani Lunaris; which Error, however, is not to be
imputed to our eminent Commentator, who was obliged to receive the Words as they were given
him; and it is only in order to clear our Learned Commentator from the Suspicion of such an
Error, that this Annotation has been made thereupon.
F I N I S