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Samuel Norton - The Key of Alchemy
The Elixir of LifeThis transcription was originally made by W.A. Ayton in the latter decades of the 19th century, from the original manuscript in the Bodleian Library, Ashmole 1421. Samuel Norton was the great-grandson of the famous 15th century English alchemist Thomas Norton, author of the Ordinall of alchemy.
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I trust there is none so ignorant that thinketh any art able to prolonge, or continue the life of man any jot or little longer than the appointed houre; against which determined time of God there can be no defense, which to uphold, were farr from faith and sacred religion, neither have I ever redd any of the philosophers, or rather learned phisitians of elder time that asserted or attributed any such vertue of elongation unto their Elixir of Life; Although thereby they kept the bodie safe and sound from the extremitie of greefe, al long as God shall appoint times. Although it pleaseth some with full-blown cheekes of Goylus [B.C. 259 - used for austere critics] breath, to yield such sounds in reprochful sort, wondring, why some of the philosophers lived so little time and had such medicines to prolong life, as though what skill soever man hath, hee were able to prolonge the set houre; wee see none so great enemies to learning as the ignorant, not untrulie therefore riseth the Proverbe Scientia nemine habet inimicum proeter ignorantem: and these wee see are soonest readie to condemne, who either have least skill to judge, or else not to comprehend, have missed that which ignorantly they have sought for and cannot find or else moved by envie to see that attained to which they cannot aspire to. Do speak evil thereby to hinder what they mislike. I meane it by such obscure phisitians as know no more than maides, but walk in no other way to the woode, but one; deprave and speak ill of the most ancient medicine of the expert elders to cleave to the unsavorie Gallen's drugs, and if they chance to say that the elder sort which used them as Hermes, Alchimeus, with numbers, whose names are extant in turba philosophorum, knew not the excellent vertue of that chimicall kind of phisicke; Then what say they to Avicenne and Averroes, who were old men and knew both but used the one farre above the other: Rupescissa florished about that time, of latter times, Arnold and Raimond and others a number a number successively whom wee know not: Although of later yeeres and there were whose memories are fresh, as about an hundred yeeres since were Thomas Norton, whose owne word are these
Which mee bereft a marchant's wife:
She wrought with it a full great wonder;
I made the quintessence which set under
The nose of him which soundeth nie to death,
Would make revive thereof the only breath.
Yf of him it were asked what daies he lived; there were lately that
could well report, for he lived since the birth of my father and was provectoe
aetatis: In his time there flourished, Anglorum Raimundus, I mean George
Ripley, who resting alonlie to that excellent kind of phisick, hadd Gallen's
doses in little price: And yet I speak not this to condemne Galen, for
I know in describing the knowledge of phisick, hee wrote right excellentlie;
although in prescribing of medicines hee had them all from the empiricks,
and set downe none of this owne; what phisic used Gallen to minister of
his owne? if he had none but that which hee had from other men's practise?
or wherefore getteth hee his name of a most expert phisitian? if hee did
great cures, it appeareth hee did them not with that kind of phisick: of
which he was ignorant, yf then at all with some other mean then is commonly
knowne, I write not this to deprave Gallen, but rather to shew that Gallen
used the secret phisick of philosophers which hee learned of Hippocrates
his Master; which phisick since hee could not teach, unless hee should
disclose the secret of the stone, hee therefore gave out another kind of
phisick to colour the matter with all, which hee had observed to do good
by worcking the practises of the Empiricks; I used not this opinion as
of my own authoritie; for indeed the honorable Raimod fathers in his first
distinction of his quintessentiis, where shewing that Hyppocrates, philosophers
like had darklie in his pronosticks spoken of it commeth to Gallen, and
writing a gloss upon the same worcke of Hyppocrates, hee saith; Galenus
à veritate hujus narrare voluit, [...] which indeede Raimond most
faithfully teacheth, and the use thereof; which here I mean to declare,
not that the world should know it, for feare of opening so great secrets
abroad; But in this place that you most noble soveraigne mought be instructed
therein for the preservation of that time in healthie estate; which time
I desire of Gold to grant it long; for I feede not on future hope;
from the head to the feete after a general manner,
so likewise for the restoring of youth, which is to be done;
Take the Elixir of life aforesaid, and thereunto joyne 2 or 3 drops of the quintessence of pearle to the quantitie of half a nut shell and so take it for a convenient space of 4 or 5 daies, and it to this you will add the common quintessence of wine, it shall worck more stranglie and forceablie. This is the rule which must be observed for the restoring of age and strengthning of the feeble:
it is to be used for the raising up of those
which seeme to be gone in pangs:-
Take of this Elixir the quantitie aforenamed, and putting it with some liquor in a spoone, minister it to the parties, upon the receipt whereof you shall see how dispersing itself into the stomach and principall members, it will raise the materiall heat of life: [...] which [...] have it worcke more [...], add thereunto the quantity of [...] the fierie element which is of golden colour extracted out of the herb Chelidon.
Give of our Elixir unto the partie by the space of 8 daies and hee shall be perfectly cured so that it be not leprosie from the finger of God as was Gehazi, and Constantine his leprosy; yet for the better worcking hereof, let it be taken in the water of strawberries, for if that water be druncken inwardlie, and clothes wet therein laid on the partie, it will worcke wonderfully; for that strawberrie hath a special propertie in that behalfe.
Take the quantitie of Elixir aforesaid, and give it in drinck with the juice of yvie and sage with musterd seed for the space of 9 daies to drinck wherewith all use also to rub the paraliticall members and therewith all let him bee bathed in a bath hot and moist made of these herbs by which shall be cured in short space, and that so wonderfully, as if he never had had it; and other helpe there is with all that with our quiescence you give such things as purge viscous humours.
Give with our Elixir the aire of the hero Chelidon separated according to art, and herewith all mingle some quantetie of the pouder of the flesh of water crevishes; and hee shall be whole and sound; Note also that this is the onlie cure and refuge of all fevers whatsoever.
The cure which is that with our Elixir aforesaid given in drinck wherein be infused Humitorie, Centaurie, the greater epichinie, Lime, Lapis Lazuli, and Eleboris niger; Bust most chiefly it unto them you add the herb Hyperion, commonly called St. John's Wort or Perforatum; and if for the falling sickness; Piony helpe.
to make them recover strength, boldness and fortitude
more then commonlie they have by Nature.
Add unto our Elixir of the Quintessence of pearle, nionie, angelica, and saffran, and give it him to drinck, and soe shall he recover both externall fortitude and strength.
by biting, stinging, or any kind of poison.
Give him with the quantitie of our Elixir or medecine aforesaid some of the Quintessence by our Angelica, with the juice of Rue, red Dittanie and Scopae regiae, whereunto put Gentian and Unicornes horne, which let him drinck and hee shall be cured.
lice, and fowle breaking out.
Give them of our Elixir to drinck and outwardlie anoint them with ointment made of quicksilver and stavesacre, to which some of our Elixir, and which the drinck may stavesacre be mingled; and so doing hee shall bee cured, except it be a plaane from God as that of Herod, which is redd of the 12 of the Acts.
which seemeth so nard to common Galenic Christians:-
Give unto the patient with our Elixir to drinck such things as are spoken of in our cure of Melancholy, adding thereto the herb Savine which only hath an especial propertie for this fever in so much that if there be but 2 or 3 drops of his juice warmed, put into the mouth or into his eare, it taketh away the fever, being so used for 3 or 4 daies:-
give of Rubarbe, two penie waight to drinck, one penie waight of pure scamonie; with half a nutshell full or our Elixir, and so continue 3 daies, and hee shall be cured; But if the Elixir be mixed with phlegme add unto the decoction aforesaid Turbith Senna; and Tolipodie.
The Quotidian is only cured by taking our Quintessence afore it be artificiall Balme [...] Elixir, and especially if therewith all be given any of those things which purge fflegme, but above all if you put thereunto some of the juice of the herbe Mercury: for it is an experiment that if you take 3 or 4 drops thereof, and put it, and put it in the right nostrill or right eare of the partie, then as Raimond saith:- Tollit typum quotidianae foebris.
whether of blood, coller, or phlegme,
whether foebris sinochae, causon, frenesie, or lethargie,
or any other proceeding of phlegme:-
In leavers proceeding of bloud, first make phlebotomie or letting of blood; and after applie the partie with our quintessence, the pouder of water crevishes, and a little chamber; give it to be drunck, that the feaverie inflamation may be taken away if of coller, applie with our quintessence in drinck such as wee use to coole, and outwardlie applie Cinaments, with those cooling things, water crevishes and champhir: Of phlegme applie with our quintessence things as purge phlegme. If for the lethargie, give the fire of the quintessence, i.e. the fire of oile of our stone; Which let it be applied with hot things, and in drinck, let cold things be given: If unto all these things of the quintessence of man's bloud, be added; it will worck wonders in the cure of all feavers.
Minister of our Elixir of life half a nut shell full and it shall suffice, yet if you will have it worck the stronger, adjoin thereto Gentian, Red Dittany, Cloves, Poole Armenie, Castorium, Scopae, Regiae or Wild Rue: which when hee shall taste, the raies of life will ascend to the heart, which will expell the infected aire. This would be given within a day after the partie is sick and God willing hee shall be cured;
There are divers kinds of spasms, some proceeding of emptiness, some of overfulness, some of wounds, but howsoever it happeneth, it is deadlie, [...] drinck it with the fire of oile of our stone, or quintessence : If thereto you add things that are moist of operation. The greatest cure in this is to induce a feaver, which is to be done with the herb flamula or Speerwort, if it be put in our quintessence, and so let it stand 3 houres with which rubb the Arteries and the back bone, and lay on clothes enough, and the patient shall have a feaver which cureth the spasme: Then labor after to cure the feaver with the medicines apointed for the feaver: If the spasms proceed of emptiness, let the partie eate: Yf of fulness give him a spare diet; if of a wound, combat the wound with a hot iron; After that which salves that provoke rottenness or quitture, and then with such as cause flesh to grow; and give all these ministered with a little of our quintessence. Further four wounds or fistalas, this can I add that our first menstrue worketh wonders.
foot gout, and all manner of gouts,
and last of all how laxative medicines ought to bee ministered:-
ffor the cure of the gout in generall, God hath given us the quintessence to bee used in drinck, and to bee laid upon the place, but farre better if with all, the quintessence of man's bloud be administered, or mingled, but if to these bee added the quintessence of Ebulus sodden in wine, bee outwardlie applied; But because wee are entered into the cure of the Gout, not knowing what may happen even unto the greatest, I will show the most approved medicine of the world, which sithence it was my happe to finde by great consideration of the thing, and having also had great proofe thereof, I will heere set it downe; for I know it is the only medicine [...] upon a piece of lether and immediately within and hour or two after, it taketh away both redness, swelling, and paine; But in tempering of it, you are to add a spoonefull of our menstrue to it; then work [...] it as quick dispatch: yf for the thorow cure; our Elixir were given for 6 or 7 daies inward and applied outward; then noe doubt, it should bee cleane [...] write not this conjecturally; for my selfe in whom it is morbus hereditarius, and greatly given unto it, am by that only in a manner never troubled with all, ffor the administering of laxative things, there falleth out three considerations: first that they kill not; secondlie, that the lose no vertue: 3rdly, that they may worcke in the farmost parts of the bodie without danger to take away the corrupt humours. Observe therefore these things and give it without our quintessence; and let stand mixed 3 houres, for the quantitie is without our quintessence that you minister one ounce: with it one dragme if of a dragme one pennie waight, if of a pennie waight one barlie corn and so forth.
As touching the making of the Quintessence of man's bloud, I referre it over to Arnold de Villanova, in the book which hee writeth ad Magistrum Iacobum de Tolledo, which is a common booke and joyned to Rupesissus; and so the 7th treatise hath end.