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The Mirror of Alchimy

The Mirror of Alchimy
Author: Bacon Roger
Title: The Mirror of Alchimy
Release Date: 2018-12-01
Type book: Text
Copyright Status: Public domain in the USA.
Date added: 27 March 2019
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The Project Gutenberg eBook, The Mirror of Alchimy, by Roger Bacon

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Title: The Mirror of Alchimy

Author: Roger Bacon

Release Date: December 1, 2018 [eBook #58393]

Language: English

Character set encoding: UTF-8



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Mirror of Alchimy,

Composed by the thrice-famous and learned
Fryer, Roger Bachon, sometimes fellow of
Martin Colledge: and afterwards of
Brasen-nose Colledge in

Also a most excellent and learned discourse of
the admirable force and efficacie of Art and Nature,
written by the same Author.

With certaine other worthie Treatises of
the like Argument.

Vino vendibili non opus est hedera.

Publisher’s Device

Printed for Richard Oliue.


The Preface.


n times past the Philosophers spakeafters diuers and sundrie mannersthroughout their writings, sith thatas it were in a riddle and cloudievoyce, they haue left vnto vs a certainemost excellent and noble science,but altogither obscure, andwithout all hope vtterly denied, and that not withoutgood cause. Wherefore I would aduise thee, that aboueall other bookes, thou shouldest firmly fixe thy mind vponthese seuen Chapters, conteining in them the transmutationof mettalls, and often call to minde the beginning,middle, and end of the same, wherein thou shaltfinde such subtilitie, that thy minde shalbe fully contentedtherewith.


The Mirrour of Alchimy,composed by the famous Fryer,
Roger Bachon, sometime fellow of
Martin Colledge, and Brasen-nose
Colledge in Oxenforde

Of the Definitions of Alchimy.


N many ancient Bookes thereare found many definitions ofthis Art, the intentions wherofwe must consider in this Chapter.For Hermes saith of this Science:Alchimy is a Corporal Sciencesimply composed of oneand by one, naturally conioyning things moreprecious, knowledge and effect, and conuertingthem by a naturall commixtion into a betterkind. A certain other saith: Alchimy is a Science,teaching how to transforme any kind of mettallinto another: and that by a proper medicine, asit appeareth by many Philosophers Bookes. Alchimytherfore is a science teaching how to makeand compound a certaine medicine, which is calledElixir, the which when it is cast vpon mettalsor imperfect bodies, doth fully perfect them inthe verie proiection.


Of the naturall principles, and procreationof Minerals.

SEcondly, I will perfectly declare the naturallprinciples & procreations of Minerals: wherefirst it is to be noted, that the naturall principlesin the mynes, are Argent-uiue, and Sulphur. Allmettals and minerals, whereof there be sundrieand diuers kinds, are begotten of these two: butI must tel you, that nature alwaies intendeth andstriueth to the perfection of Gold: but many accidentscomming between, change the mettalls,as it is euidently to be seene in diuers of the Philosophersbookes. For according to the puritieand impuritie of the two aforesaide principles,Argent-uiue, and Sulphur, pure, and impuremettals are ingẽdred: to wit, Gold, Siluer, Steele,Leade, Copper, and Iron: of whose nature, thatis to say, puritie, and impuritie, or vncleane superfluitieand defect, giue eare to that whichfolloweth.

Of the nature of Golde.

Gold is a perfect body, engendred of Argent-uiuepure, fixed, cleare, red, and of Sulphurcleane, fixed, red, not burning, and it wantethnothing.

Of the nature of Siluer.

Siluer is a body, cleane, pure, and almost perfect,begotten of Argent-uiue, pure, almost3fixed, cleare, and white, & of such a like Sulphur:It wanteth nothing, saue a little fixation, colour,and weight.

Of the nature of Steele.

Steele is a body cleane, imperfect, engendredof Argent-uine pure, fixed & not fixed cleare,white outwardly, but red inwardly, and of thelike Sulphur. It wanteth onely decoction or digestion.

Of the nature of Leade.

Leade is an vncleane and imperfect bodie, engendredof Argent-uiue impure, not fixed,earthy, drossie, somewhat white outwardly, andred inwardly, and of such a Sulphur in part burning.It wanteth puritie, fixation, colour, and fiering.

Of the nature of Copper.

Copper is an vncleane and imperfect bodie,engendred of Argent-uiue, impure, not fixed,earthy, burning, red not cleare, and of the likeSulphur. It wanteth purity, fixation, and weight:and hath too much of an impure colour, and earthinessenot burning.

Of the nature of Iron.

Iron is an vnclean and imperfect body, engendredof Argent-uiue impure, too much fixed,earthy, burning, white and red not cleare, and ofthe like Sulphur: It wanteth fusion, puritie, and4weight: It hath too much fixed vncleane Sulphur,and burning earthinesse. That which hathbene spoken, euerie Alchimist must diligentlyobserue.

Out of what things the matter of Elixir must be morenearly extracted.

THe generation of mettals, as well perfect, asimperfect, is sufficiently declared by thatwhich hath bene already spoken. Now let vs returneto the imperfect matter that must be chosenand made perfect. Seeing that by the formerChapters we haue bene taught, that all mettallsare engendred of Argent-uiue and Sulphur, andhow that their impuritie and vncleannesse dothcorrupt, and that nothing may be mingled withmettalls which hath not beene made or sprungfrom them, it remaineth cleane inough, that nostrange thing which hath not his originall fromthese two, is able to perfect them, or to make achaunge and new transmutation of them: so thatit is to be wondred at, that any wise man shouldset his mind vpon liuing creatures, or vegetableswhich are far off, when there be minerals to beefound nigh enough: neither may we in any wisethinke, that any of the Philosophers placed theArt in the said remote things, except it were byway of comparison: but of the aforesaid two, allmettals are made, neither doth any thing cleauevnto them, or is ioyned with them, nor yetchaungeth them, but that which is of them,and so of right wee must take Argent-uiue5and Sulphur for the matter of our stone: Neitherdoth Argent-uiue by it selfe alone, nor Sulphurby it selfe alone, beget any mettall, but ofthe commixtion of them both, diuers mettalsand minerals are diuersly brought foorth. Ourmatter therefore must bee chosen of the commixtionof them both: but our finall secrete ismost excellent, and most hidden, to wit, of whatminerall thing that is more neere then others, itshuld be made: and in making choise hereof, wemust be very warie. I put the case then, yt our matterwere first of all drawne out of vegetables, (ofwhich sort are hearbs, trees, and whatsoeuerspringeth out of the earth) here wee must firstmake Argent-uiue & Sulphur, by a long decoction,from which things, and their operation weare excused: for nature herselfe offereth vnto vsArgent-uiue and Sulphur. And if wee shoulddraw it from liuing creatures (of which sort ismans bloud, haire, vrine, excrements, hens egs,and what else proceede from liuing creatures)wee must likewise out of them extract Argent-uiueand Sulphur by decoction, frõ which weare freed, as we were before. Or if we shouldchoose it out of middle minerals (of which sortare all kindes of Magnesia, Marchasites, of Tutia,Coppres, Allums, Baurach, Salts, and many other)we should likewise, as afore, extract Argent-uiueand Sulphur by decoction: frõ whichas from the former, wee are also excused. And ifwe should take one of the seuen spirits by it selfe,as Argent-uiue, or Sulphur alone, or Argent-uiueand one of the two Sulphurs, or Sulphur-uiue,6or Auripigment, or Citrine Arsenicum, or redalone, or the like: we should neuer effect it, becausesith nature doth neuer perfect anythingwithout equall commixtion of both, neithercan wee: from these therefore, as from the foresaideArgent-uiue and Sulphur in their naturewe are excused. Finally, if wee should choosethem, wee should mixe euerie thing as it is, accordingto a due proportion, which no manknoweth, and afterward decoct it to coagulatiõ,into a solide lumpe: and therefore we are excusedfrom receiuing both of them in their propernature: to wit, Argent-uiue and Sulphur, seeingwee know not their proportion, and that weemay meete with bodies, wherein we shall findthe saide things proportioned, coagulated & gatheredtogether, after a due manner. Keepethis secret more secretly. Golde is a perfectmasculine bodie, without any superfluitieor diminution: and if it should perfect imperfectbodyes mingled with it by melting onely,it should be Elixir to red. Siluer is also abody almost perfect, and feminine, which if itshould almost perfect imperfect bodyes by hiscommon melting onely, it should be Elixir towhite, which it is not, nor cannot be, becausethey onely are perfect. And if this perfectionmight be mixed with the imperfect, the imperfectshuld not be perfected with the perfect, butrather their perfections shuld be diminished bythe imperfect, & become imperfect. But if theywere more then perfect, either in a two-fold,foure-fold, hundred-fold, or larger proportion,7they might then wel perfect the imperfect. Andforasmuch as nature doth alwaies work simply,the perfection which is in them is simple, inseparable,& incommiscible, neither may they byart be put in the stone, for ferment to shorten theworke, and so brought to their former state, becausethe most volatile doth ouercome the mostfixt. And for that gold is a perfect body, consistingof Argent-uiue, red and cleare, & of such aSulphur, therfore we choose it not for the matterof our stone to the red Elixir, because it is sosimply perfect, without artificiall mundification,& so strongly digested and sod with a naturalheate, that with our artificiall fire, we are scarcelyable to worke on gold or siluer. And thoughnature dooth perfect any thing, yet she cannotthroughly mundifie, or perfect and purifie it,because she simply worketh on that which sheehath. If therfore we should choose gold or siluerfor the matter of the stone, we should hard andscantly find fire working in them. And althoughwe are not ignorant of the fire, yet could we notcome to the through mundification & perfectionof it, by reasõ of his most firme knitting together,and naturall composition: we are thereforeexcused for taking the first too red, or the secondtoo white, seeing we may find out a thing or sombody of as cleane, or rather more cleane Sulphur& Argent-uiue, on which nature hath wroughtlittle or nothing at all, which with our artificiallfire, & experience of our art, we are able to bringvnto his due concoction, mundification, colourand fixation, continuing our ingenious8labour vpon it. There must therefore bee sucha matter chosen, wherein there is Argent-uiue,cleane, pure, cleare, white & red, not fully compleat,but equally and proportionably commixtafter a due maner with ye like Sulphur, & congeledinto a solide masse, that by our wisdomeand discretion, and by our artificiall fire, we mayattain vnto the vttermost cleannesse of it, and thepuritie of the same, and bring it to that passe, thatafter the worke ended, it might bee a thousandthousand times more strong and perfect, thenthe simple bodies themselues, decoct by their naturallheate. Be therefore wise: for if thou shaltbe subtile and wittie in my Chapters (wherin bymanifest profe I haue laid open the matter of thestone easie to be knowne) thou shalt taste of thatdelightfull thing, wherin the whole intention ofthe

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