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Emblem XXI.
Make of the man and woman a Circle, of that a Quadrangle, of this a Triangle, of the same a Circle and you will have the Stone of the Philosophers.


 

The Discourse:
Plato that most Excellent Philosopher was of the Opinion that those notions or Ideas which are the Foundations of Arts and Sciences are as it were actually engraved and imprinted upon the mind of Man, and that by the Repetition and remembrance of them he can apprehend and know all manner of learning. To prove this he introduced a young Lad, rude and uninstructed, and asked him such Geometricall Questions that the Youth might be perceived to answer right whether he will or no, and although before he understood nothing of the matter, yet by these answers seemed to have penetrated into the Depths of so abstruse a Science. From whence he concluded that in children all Discipline and Doctrine is not at first taken in and learnt, but called to mind and brought by the memory, alluding by this to his Annus Magnus or Great Year, of which he says that forty eight thousand solar Years agoe, before the Revolution of the Heaven, the same persons, thinges and actions were then in being which are at the present time, whensoever that is. But every person may perceive that these thinges have no more foundations of truth in them than mere dreams. We do not deny that there are some sparks of notions and mere powers imprinted in us, which must be reduced into act by institution, but we utterly deny that they are such or so great as to be the Summaries of Arts and Sciences without any precedent instruction.
It will then be asked from whence Arts and Sciences have proceeded if men have not invented them, or whether they were not at first delivered from Heaven by the God of the Nations. I answer by saying that burning Coals may lye hid under Ashes in so great a quantity that if the Ashes were but removed they would be sufficient for the dressing of meat or warming oneself; but this is a different thinge from affirming that only some small spark lyes there, which before it can be of use and administer a sufficient heat must be cherished and nourished with fresh fewell by human Act, Care and Industry, or otherwise it would be easily extinguished. The Aristotelicks assert the latter as the Platonicks do the former. Reason and Experience seem to agree with this latter, whereas the first depends only upon Imagination and Phansy. Here it may be asked why Plato wrote over the Door of his school that no one ignorant of Geometry was there to be admitted, seeing he affirmed that little boys did actually know it. Are men more unlearned than boys? Or when they grow up, do they forget what they knew when children? That cannot be supposed, for we see that Brutes do by the instinct of Nature as soon as they are brought forth abhor and avoid the danger of Fire, Water, Precipices and the like. Yet an infant neither knows nor shuns such thinges. Why do not the Bee, Fly and Gnatt precipitate themselves into the Fire, seeing that they cannot know by experience that danger will arise from it? Because nature has taught them, but she has not done so by man when he is newly born. If Geometry is so easy and naturall to children, how comes it to passe that Plato did not know the Quadrature of a Circle, so that Aristotle who was his schollar affirms that it might be known but was not yet known?
But that this was not unknown to the Philosophers of Nature is apparent from this: That they command a Circle to be turned into a Quadrangle, and this by a Triangle to be reduced again to a Circle. By a circle they understand the most simple body without angles, as by the Quadrangle they do the four Elements. It is as if they should say: The most simple corporeal Figure that can be found is to be taken and divided into four Elementall Colours, becoming an Equilaterall Quadrangle. Now every man understands that this Quadration is Physicall and agreeable to Nature, by which far more benefit accrues to the Publick, and more light appears to the mind of Man, than by any meere Theory of Mathematicks when abstracted from Matter. To learn this perfectly a Geometrician acting upon solid bodyes must enquire what is the depth of solid Figures, as for example the Profundity of Sphere and Cube must be knowne and transferred to manuall use and practice. If the Capacity or Circumference of the sphere be 32 foot, how much will one of the sides of the Cube be to Equalize the Capacity of this Sphere? On the contrary, one might look back from the Measures which the Cube contains to the feet of each Circumference.
In like manner the Philosophers would have the Quadrangle reduced into a Triangle, that is, into a Body, Spirit and Soul, which three appear in the three previous colours before Rednesse: that is, the Body or earth in the Blacknesse of Saturn, the Spirit in the Lunar whitenesse as water, and the Soul or air in the Solar Citrinity. Then the Triangle will be perfect, but this again must be changed into a Circle; that is, into an invariable rednesse, by which operation the woman is converted into the man and made one with him, and six the first of the perfect numbers is absolved by one, two having returned again to an unity in which there is Rest and eternall peace.
 
Emblem XXII.
Having acquired White Lead, do the work of women, that is: Cook.


 

 
The Discourse:
As the statues of Mercury used to be erected where three ways met, with inscriptions upon them to guide dubious Travellers into the true way, so there are severall remarkable sentences delivered by the Philosophers (although they be scattered up and down in their obscure books and allegorical writings) which will direct the Inquirers after Truth and lead them as it were by the hand into the right path. The present Emblematicall inscription is one of these. The meaning whereof is that Lead must be made of the Philosophickal Brasse, and Tin of that Lead which by Geber is called White Lead, who likewise teaches us how, by washing, Saturn together with Mercury may passe into Jupiter.
Wherefore credit is to be given to this Index or direction, although it is spoken by Battus: if at any time thou wouldst discover the Philosophickal Oxen and what place they frequent, they are in the mounteins and under the mounteins. For many men affirm this, as Arnold in his Novum Lumen, Capitulum 1: That Persons wandering in the mounteins know not these Animalls, but they are openly sold at a very small price. In the Highest mounteins Snow and Clouds are most commonly found even in Summer, by which as it were by vapour and water, black lead is washed and turned into whitenesse. But in the lowest Valleys and their mines their Chrystalls are found congealed and hardened out of ice, i.e. the Lapis Specularis, which with Talc is commended for making the Face white and beautifull if an Oyle be made thereof.
But chiefly there is to be found clear and running Mercury, which being well prepared mends the Blemishes of Saturn and advanceth Him into the Throne of Jupiter. However, this is not to be understood of Saturn and Jupiter as they are commonly found (for common Mettalls do not enter into the Physicall work). But it is said of them, when purged by a long preparation and made Physicall, that Saturn is the Father of all the Gentiles or rather of all searchers after the Golden Work and the first Gate of Secrets. By him (says Rhasis in his Epistle) the Gates of Sciences are opened, to him succeeds his son Jupiter who expelled his Father out of his Kingdom and dismembered him least he should begett more Sons, and from that member cut off and thrown into the Sea Venus the most Beautifull of females is born. From Jupiter, who is White Lead prepared, the rest of the planets are produced; as Mars from Juno, Mercury from Maia the daughter of Atlas (a mountein in Mauritania), Luna and Sol from Latona. Which four are brought into the Light by Coction only, which is the work of women.
By Coction is understood the Maturation and Dispersion of the more Crude parts, which is performed by Vulcan in the Vessells of Philosophye. For it is not to be supposed that it is common boyling which is the method of operation; it agrees with that only as to its end or intent. For as a woman Matures Fish in waters- that is, by resolving all superfluous moisture from them into Waters and Air, softens, boyles and seethes them- so the philosopher handles his subject in proper water which is stronger than the Sharpest Vinegar by Macerating, Liquifying, Solving, Coagulating and Mixing it in the Vessell of Hermes, the joints of which as it is requisite are most strictly closed, least the water exhale and that which is in the Vessell be burnt. This is that Vessell above the Vessell, and the Philosophers' Pott- the Balneum Laconicum or Vaporous Bath- in which the old man sweats.
Some there are who Boyle Fish, Lobsters, Crabs and Green Peas in a double Pott, so that the thinges before mentioned are placed in the upper Pott, Water being only in the Lower, and the Potts placed one above the other with orbs least the vapour should come forth. By which means the Vapour of the Water ascending only penetrates and matures the thinges contained, and makes them much more perfectly soft and tender than if they had been boyled in water. This is the most Laudable way of the Philosophers, whereby they soften that which is hard, dissolve that which is compact and rarifye that which is Thick. For it is Air or an insensible Vapour which matures, decocts and perfects the fruit of Trees, and not water Crude and Cold as it is. It is Air also which Tinges and Colours the Golden Apples in the Garden of the Hesperides. For if it is well considered, the Ebullition of Water whereby raw flesh is boyled till it be fit to eat is nothing else but rarefaction of waters; which bubbles easily vanish away, the Air betaking itself from the Waters to its own Sphere, and the Water subsiding into its own Centre.
 
Emblem XXIII.
When Pallas was born and Sol was in Conjunction with Venus it rained gold at Rhodes.


 

 
The Discourse:
Unlesse it were to be understood Allegorically it would be madnesse to affirm that Gold ever rained upon the Earth. For there are no Gold-bearing Rivers, nor Mines in the Clouds that it may possibly be said to be produced there; nor is gold of so little a weight that it may be thought to be attracted thither by Vapours. But a Trope admitts and excuses all these thinges. For so truly as Pallas actually sprang from the brain of Jupiter and Sol was joined in Adultery with Venus, so truly also fell Golden Showers- not as if we any ways doubt that both these have happened, but that we may remove the literal and vulgar sense from thinges that are spoken Allegorically. For if we follow the plain words of this Emblem there is nothing more absurd, but if we attend to the meaning there can be nothing more true. Now Rhodes is an island, at first called Ophiusa from the Multitude of Serpents, then Rhodes from the Gardens of Roses which flourished there, and lastly Colossicola from the Colossus of the Sun, which being there was esteemed one of the seven wonders of the world. Hence the Ancient Philosophers, seeing that their Mercuriall matter when it is Crude has the resemblance of a serpent, but after it is prepared and decocted assumes to itself the purple colour of a Rose, have taken severall of their Similitudes from this Island of Rhodes, and for the same reason ascribed to it that Golden shower which fell upon Apollo's conjunction with Venus.
This being at first spoken figuratively gave the Rhodeians a pretence to grow Naughty upon their imagination that such great Deityes should desire to have an offspring conceived upon their Island, and therefore they erected an Idol to the Sun of a most Stupendous Value and Magnitude. For that Colossus as History relates was seventy Cubits high, and so placed that ships under full sail might passe between the legs. Its fingers were as big as ordinary Statues, and few men could embrace its thumb. The Artist was Chares Lyndius the Disciple of Lysippus who was twelve years in the finishing of it. After it had stood fifty and six years it was overthrown by an Earthquake, and yet as it lay prostrate was still thought wonderous. When the Soldan of Ægypt conquered Rhodes he is reported to have laden nine hundred Camells with the Brasse of this Statue.
What Sol is among the Planets, say the Philosophers, that is gold among the Metalls; and this is chiefly appropriated to the Sun in the respect of its Heat, Colour, Virtue and Essence. Hence a golden rain is ascribed to the generation of the Sun, and little Suns are conceived by Venus. For Venus has a Rosy colour in her Face, which if it be infused into the seed of Sol the offspring which is hence produced must really be born at Rhodes. For the Son of the Philosophers is beautifull, and like Roses He draws and allures the Eyes and minds of all men. He deserves love, therefore it is not strange that at his birth Miracles should happen, for he is afterwards to be miraculous in all his works and to raise up a shower of Gold. He is brother of Augias the Son of Sol who had oxen for his patrimony, the Dung of whom in one dayes time was purged away by Hercules. He is also the Brother of Æetes who possessed the Golden Fleece later obtained by Jason.
It is reported of Pallas that she was born from the Brain of Jupiter without a Mother, and that she was called Tritonia because she was brought forth near the River Triton. She is feigned to be the Goddess of Wisdom and is not undeservedly so esteemed, seeing she springs from the Brain which is the Seat of it. Golden showers did likewise signifye her birth day at Rhodes, that so the time of her coming into this Light might remain in the memory of mankind. For as at the time of a publick rejoycing, whether it be the Coronation of a King or the Birth of a Prince, there are gold medalls thrown among the people, so the same was done at the birth of Pallas. For Pallas is Sophia or Wisdom, who carries health in her right hand and riches in her left, providing at the same time both for man's ease and plenty. To Her Perseus brought the head of Medusa which turned all thinges into Stone, and was horrid in its appearance with serpents and vipers instead of Hairs; which she afterwards placed in her shield to use it against her Enemyes, that is to say Rude and Barbarous people who are therefore to be turned into Stones. And in truth Wisdom or Naturall Philosophye renders its incredulous and envious condemners quite stupid and void of sense and understanding by the means of that same thinge, from whence Chrysaor was borne who was the father of Geryon who had three bodyes. That is by the means of the Lapiditick Gorgonian blood, which is nothing else but the Tincture of the Philosophick Stone.
 
Emblem XXIV.
A wolf devoured the King, and being burnt it restored him to life again.


 

 
The Discourse:
The Hunger and Voracity of a wolf is remarkably knowne to be very great, insomuch that when his prey is wanting he will feed even upon the Earth; with which he is likewise said to fill his belly when he is about to set upon large herds of Cattle, that so being made heavier by that burden he may resist more strongly and not easily be shaken off from his hold. When he enters a fold he doth not only kill enough to satisfye his hunger but through greedinesse destroys the whole flock. He is Sacred to Apollo and Latona because he stood by her when she was in Labour, for Latona could not have delivered young unlesse he had been present. Hence likewise the wolf is thought acceptable to Apollo because he celebrated his birthday, as also because his Eyes shine and cast forth light in the midst of the night. Therefore the breathlesse body of the King is thrown to the wolf when he is ravenously hungry, not to the end that the wolf should wholly consume and annihilate the King, but that by his own death the wolf should restore strength and life to him. For there is a certain amatorious Virtue in the Tayle of the Wolf which is infused into the half dead King which makes him very desirable to all men upon the recovery of His former Health and Beauty.
The Hyrcanians nourished Doggs for no other Use but that they might cast their Dead Bodyes to be devoured by them, as Cicero tells us. And so the Massagetes give men that dye of diseases as a prey to doggs. But the Philosophers give their King to a Wolf, nor indeed are they pleased with the Custom of the Sabeans, who carryed out their dead in the same manner as dung and threw their King upon the Dunghills; nor that of the Troglodytes of the Red Sea, who tyed the Necks of their dead men to their feet and hurried them along with Jests and Laughter, and so put them into the ground without any Consideration of the place of Buriall. But the Philosophers chose to follow the Custom of the Magi, who did not bury their dead bodyes till they had first been torn to pieces by wild beasts; or of the Indians, who being Crowned and singing the praises of the Gods commanded themselves to be burnt alive, least old age should come upon them.
But these customs were imposed upon them all without any hopes of Resurrection or Renewall of Life. Thinges are far otherwise disposed among the Philosophers. For they certainly know that from their King devoured by a wolf there will appear one that is Alive, Strong and Young, and that the wolf must be burnt in his stead. For when the belly of the wolf is so gorged he will easily be slain, but although the King be dead he hath a Martiall or Cygnean Virtue that he can neither be wounded nor consumed.
But where is this Wolf to be hunted, or whence this King to be taken? The Philosophers answer that the wolf wanders up and down in the Mounteins and Valleys that he may seize his prey, which must be drawn out of their dens and preserved for Use. But the King being fatigued with the long journey he has taken from the East at length falls down, and his death is then hastened by his grief seeing himself among Strangers, deprived of all his Honours and so little esteemed as for a small price to be sold into slavery. But it is necessary that the Wolf must be taken out of a Cold Region, for those that are bred in Cold Countryes are more fierce than in Libya or Egypt by reason of their greater hunger occasioned by the externall cold. Hence the devoured King revives with the heart of a Lyon and is able afterwards to conquer all beasts. And although he is the meanest in Aspect among his six brothers, being the Youngest of them all, yet after many miseries and tribulations he shall at last come to the most powerfull Kingdom. Hereupon Gratianus in the Rosary saith: In Alchymy there is a certain noble body which moved from Master to Master, in whose beginning there shall be Misery with Vinegar, but in the End Joy with Gladnesse. And Alanus in the same place says: There is one thing to be chosen out of all, which is of a Livid Colour, having a clear liquid metallick Species, and is a thinge Hot and Moist, Watery and Combustible, and is a Living Oyle and Living Tincture, a Minerall Stone and Water of Life of wonderfull efficacy.
It is not always safe for Kings to travell out of the Confines of their Kingdoms, for if they endeavour to conceal themselves and yet happen to be known by their Adversaries, they are taken for Spyes and imprisoned; if being known they would proceed without an Army they are in the same manner of danger. And so it has happened to this Indian King, or if he had not been prevented by death it would so have happened. This capture is the first Sublimation, Lotion and Nobilitation which the Philosophers use, that the second and third may be performed with more happy success. For the second and third without the first are of no moment, the King being as yet Pusillanimous, Drowsy and Sick. For He must first require Subsidies and Tributes of his Subjects by which he may purchase himself garments and other necessaryes, and afterwards he will be rich enough and able to new clothe all his Subjects as often as He pleases. For great thinges being generally sprung from small beginnings can afterwards raise up small thinges, or even suppresse great ones if such their pleasure be. As appears by some Cities, which at first were small but were governed by mighty Kings, and so from Villages became populous and Magnificent Towns.
 
Emblem XXV.
The Dragon does not dye unlesse he be slain by a Brother and a Sister, which are Sol and Luna.


 

 
The Discourse:
In the acquisition of the Golden Fleece the Dragon was first to be killed, which Labour having been in vain attempted by many men, they were overcome by the Dragon and destroyed with his deadly poison. The reason was because they were not sufficiently armed against his Venom, nor instructed by what device he might be slain. But Jason the Physitian neglected no manner of Remedies, severall of which he received from Medea (the counsel of his mind) and among them the Images of Sol and Luna, by the true use of which he obtained the victory which was the Golden Fleece. Therefore the Dragon was slain by Sol and Luna, or by their Images, as the Philosophers often observe.
So the Author of the Rosary out of other Writers as Hermes says: The Dragon dyes not unlesse he be killed by the Brother and Sister; not by one alone but by two together, to wit by the Sun and Moon. The Philosophickal Mercury never dyes unlesse it be killed with his sister; that is, it is necessary to congeal him with the Moon or Sun. Note the Dragon is Argent Vive extracted from bodyes, having in it Body Soul and Spirit; whereupon he saith the Dragon dyes not unlesse with his Brother and Sister, that is Sol and Luna, that is Sulphur extracted, having in itself the Nature of Moisture and Coldnesse by reason of the Moon. With these the Dragon dyes, that is Argent Vive extracted from the same bodyes at first, which is the Aqua Permanens of the Philosophers, which is made after putrefaction and after separation of the Elements, and that water by another Name is called Aqua Foetida. So far he goes, with whom all the rest do agree, and therefore I think it unnecessary to quote them.
The People of Epyrus worshipped a Dragon in the Temple of Apollo in memory of Python that was slain by him. There is by Nature a continuall war between the Dragon and the Elephant, at whose eyes and throat he always strikes, till the Elephant falling upon the ground kills the Dragon with his Weight, from whence by many is said to come that Dragon's Blood which is imported into these parts. The Dragon's Eyes are of equall Value with Jewells. His sight is very sharp and clear, and therefore he is placed as a guard over Treasures, as to the Garden of the Hesperides and the Golden Fleece at Colchis. The Ancients also joined him to Æsculapius as a Hieroglyphick.
But the chemists appropriate Dragons to their Work not in reality but as an Allegorye. For a Dragon always denotes Mercury, whether he be fixed or volatile. Hence Mercury has two serpents about his Caduceus (for a dragon is a great serpent), and Saturn has but one which devours his Tayle, as also has Janus. A Serpent is dedicated to Æsculapius, the son of Apollo and the Inventor of Medicine (the Philosophick Medicine), and it is believed that he was carryed in that shape from Epidauros to Rome, and there always worshipped for the cessation of the pestilence which (as they thought) was effected by him.
Now the Philosophick Dragon is always most Vigilant and Lively, not easily to be wounded both by reason of the thicknesse of his skin and sharpnesse of his teeth and Venom with which he is armed: for although the common Dragons are said to be without poison, yet this is not without it, venting it upon any one that comes near unlesse he be managed warily. He therefore can rarely be overcome by Force, unlesse the Craft of those who are related to him by consanguinity be added to it. For it is truly observed by an Author that it is a safe and usuall way to deceive under the name of a Friend; but how safe or usuall soever it may be, it carries a Crime along with it. It may be so in other affairs, but it is not so in this. Jugglers and mountebanks are said to kill worms and drive them out of children by a powder made of such worms, that is to kill brothers with their brothers and sisters: so here the Dragon is to be killed with the Brother and Sister, which is Sol and Luna. Whence it appears that the Dragon is also one of the Planets, to wit (as before showed out of the Rosary) Mercury extracted out of Bodyes.
Some of the Grecians have told us that in the Reign of Herod King of Judea a Dragon fell in love with a beautifull maid who was marriageable, and lay with her in bed; and that Tiberius the Emperor delighted in another which he commonly fed with his own hand. So also the Philosophickal Dragon if he be rightly handled leaves his fiercenesse and becomes a friend to man, but he is dangerous if used otherwise. Xanthus the historian as Pliny relates it, tells us that a Dragon's young one being killed was by his parent brought to life again with the Herb called Balin, which notwithstanding I ascribe to a Philosophickal Allegorye rather then a true History. For only in Chymicall processe Death happens to the live Dragon and life returns to the dead one, and that by turns alternately.
But it may be enquired where and how the Dragon may be taken. The Philosophers answer: The Mounteins give Dragons to Rebis and the Earth Founteins. But in Tacitus may be seen the way of taking him, and with what Care and Industry many men watched to seize a very great Dragon which had been observed in Africa, that so he might be carryed to Tiberius. For they found his accustomed path among Stones; this they enclosed, and having seduced it to a narrow compasse they then included him in bands and netts, and tamed him by Clubs and Stripes till at last by the help of many Land Carriages He was brought to the ship which conveyed him to Rome.
 


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