Heads of spines and joints professionally repaired, endpapers browned from turn-ins and a little foxed, plates foxed with offsetting as typical, contents bright and clean with occasional spotting, a few minor marks to D and 2A5 of volume 1, lower corner of R8 of volume 1 slightly torn, and top corners of M of volume 3 creased, overall a very good set.
View Full Details. If you have a specific question about this book, please complete the form below. For general enquires contact us. Contact us with details of the book you are interested in or selling and we will contact you. View a map. Email: mail peterharrington. Peter Harrington Limited. All rights reserved. Memoirs of Extraordinary Popular Delusions. The fair Ambrosia had never before condescended to answer his letters; but she replied to this. She told him, that she could never listen to his suit; that it was unbecoming in a wise man to fix his thoughts, as he had done, on any other than his God; and entreated him to devote himself to a religious life, and conquer the unworthy passion which he had suffered to consume him.
She, however, offered, if he wished it, to show him the fair bosom which had so captivated him. Raymond was delighted. He thought the latter part of this epistle but ill corresponded with the former, and that Ambrosia, in spite of the good advice she gave him, had, at last, relented, and would make him as happy as he desired. He followed her about from place to place, entreating her to fulfil her promise: but still Ambrosia was cold, and implored him with tears to importune her no longer; for that she never could be his, and never would, if she were free to-morrow.
She saw that he was shocked; and, extending her hand to him, she prayed him once more to lead a religious life, and set his heart upon the Creator, and not upon the creature. He went home an altered man. He threw up, on the morrow, his valuable appointment at the court, separated from his wife, and took a farewell of his children, after dividing one-half of his ample fortune among them. The other half he shared among the poor. He then threw himself at the foot of a crucifix, and devoted himself to the service of God, vowing, as the most acceptable atonement for his errors, that he would employ the remainder of his days in the task of converting the Mussulmans to the Christian religion.
In his dreams he saw Jesus Christ, who said to him, "Raymond! Having put his affairs in order, he set out on a pilgrimage to the shrine of St. James of Compostello, and afterwards lived for ten years in solitude amid the mountains of Aranda. Here he learned the Arabic, to qualify himself for his mission of converting the Mahometans. He also studied various sciences, as taught in the works of the learned men of the East, and first made acquaintance with the writings of Geber, which were destined to exercise so much influence over his future life.
At the end of this probation, and when he had entered his fortieth year, he emerged from his solitude into more active life. With some remains of his fortune, which had accumulated during his retirement, he founded a college for the study of Arabic, which was approved of by the Pope, with many commendations upon his zeal and piety.
Raymond had prayed to God, in some of his accesses of fanaticism, that he might suffer martyrdom in his holy cause. His servant had overheard him; and, being as great a fanatic as his master, he resolved to gratify his wish, and punish him, at the same time, for the curses which he incessantly launched against Mahomet and all who believed in him, by stabbing him to the heart.
He, therefore, aimed a blow at his master, as he sat one day at table; but the instinct of self-preservation being stronger than the desire of martyrdom, Raymond grappled with his antagonist, and overthrew him. He scorned to take his life himself; but handed him over to the authorities of the town, by whom he was afterwards found dead in his prison. After this adventure Raymond travelled to Paris, where he resided for some time, and made the acquaintance of Arnold de Villeneuve.
From him he probably received some encouragement to search for the philosopher's stone, as he began from that time forth to devote less of his attention to religious matters, and more to the study of alchymy. Still he never lost sight of the great object for which he lived -- the conversion of the Mahometans -- and proceeded to Rome, to communicate personally with Pope John XXI, on the best measures to be adopted for that end.
The Pope gave him encouragement in words, but failed to associate any other persons with him in the enterprise which he meditated. Raymond, therefore, set out for Tunis alone, and was kindly received by many Arabian philosophers, who had heard of his fame as a professor of alchymy. If he had stuck to alchymy while in their country, it would have been well for him; but he began cursing Mahomet, and got himself into trouble. While preaching the doctrines of Christianity in the great bazaar of Tunis, he was arrested and thrown into prison.
He was shortly afterwards brought to trial, and sentenced to death. Some of his philosophic friends interceded hard for him, and he was pardoned, upon condition that he left Africa immediately, and never again set foot in it. If he was found there again, no matter what his object might be, or whatever length of time might intervene, his original sentence would be carried into execution.
Raymond was not at all solicitous of martyrdom when it came to the point, whatever he might have been when there was no danger, and he gladly accepted his life upon these conditions, and left Tunis with the intention of proceeding to Rome. He afterwards changed his plan, and established himself at Milan, where, for a length of time, he practised alchymy, and some say astrology, with great success. Most writers who believed in the secrets of alchymy, and who have noticed the life of Raymond Lulli, assert, that while in Milan, he received letters from Edward King of England, inviting him to settle in his states.
They add, that Lulli gladly accepted the invitation, and had apartments assigned for his use in the Tower of London, where he refined much gold; superintended the coinage of "rose-nobles;" and made gold out of iron, quicksilver, lead, and pewter, to the amount of six millions. The writers in the "Biographie Universelle," an excellent authority in general, deny that Raymond was ever in England, and say, that in all these stories of his wondrous powers as an alchymist, he has been mistaken for another Raymond, a Jew, of Tarragona.
Naude, in his "Apologie," says, simply, "that six millions were given by Raymond Lulli to King Edward, to make war against the Turks and other infidels:" not that he transmuted so much metal into gold; but, as he afterwards adds, that he advised Edward to lay a tax upon wool, which produced that amount.
Edmond Dickenson, in his work on the "Quintessences of the Philosophers," says, that Raymond worked in Westminster Abbey, where, a long time after his departure, there was found in the cell which he had occupied, a great quantity of golden dust, of which the architects made a great profit. In the biographical sketch of John Cremer, Abbot of Westminster, given by Lenglet, it is said, that it was chiefly through his instrumentality that Raymond came to England.
Cremer had been himself for thirty years occupied in the vain search for the philosopher's stone, when he accidentally met Raymond in Italy, and endeavoured to induce him to communicate his grand secret. Raymond told him that he must find it for himself, as all great alchymists had done before him. Cremer, on his return to England, spoke to King Edward in high terms of the wonderful attainments of the philosopher, and a letter of invitation was forthwith sent him.
Robert Constantinus, in the "Nomenclatore Scriptorum Medicorum," published in , says, that after a great deal of research, be found that Raymond Lulli resided for some time in London, and that he actually made gold, by means of the philosopher's stone, in the Tower; that he had seen the golden pieces of his coinage, which were still named in England the nobles of Raymond, or rose-nobles.
Lulli himself appears to have boasted that he made gold; for, in his well-known "Testamentum," he states, that he converted no less than fifty thousand pounds weight of quicksilver, lead, and pewter into that metal. Camden, who is not credulous in matters like these, affords his countenance to the story of his coinage of nobles; and there is nothing at all wonderful in the fact of a man famous for his knowledge of metals being employed in such a capacity.
Raymond was, at this time, an old man, in his seventy-seventh year, and somewhat in his dotage. He was willing enough to have it believed that he had discovered the grand secret, and supported the rumour rather than contradicted it. He did not long remain in England; but returned to Rome, to carry out the projects which were nearer to his heart than the profession of alchymy.
He had proposed them to several successive Popes with little or no success. The first was a plan for the introduction of the Oriental languages into all the monasteries of Europe; the second, for the reduction into one of all the military orders, that, being united, they might move more efficaciously against the Saracens; and, the third, that the Sovereign Pontiff should forbid the works of Averroes to be read in the schools, as being more favourable to Mahometanism than to Christianity. The Pope did not receive the old man with much cordiality; and, after remaining for about two years in Rome, he proceeded once more to Africa, alone and unprotected, to preach the Gospel of Jesus.
He landed at Bona in ; and so irritated the Mahometans by cursing their prophet, that they stoned him, and left him for dead on the sea-shore. He was found some hours afterwards by a party of Genoese merchants, who conveyed him on board their vessel, and sailed towards Majorca. He lingered in this state for some days, and expired just as the vessel arrived within sight of his native shores. His body was conveyed with great pomp to the church of St. Eulalia, at Palma, where a public funeral was instituted in his honour. Miracles were afterwards said to have been worked at his tomb.
Thus ended the career of Raymond Lulli, one of the most extraordinary men of his age; and, with the exception of his last boast about the six millions of gold, the least inclined to quackery of any of the professors of alchymy. His writings were very numerous, and include nearly five hundred volumes, upon grammar, rhetoric, morals, theology, politics, civil and canon law, physics, metaphysics, astronomy, medicine, and chemistry. The powerful delusion of alchymy seized upon a mind still greater than that of Raymond Lulli. Roger Bacon firmly believed in the philosopher's stone, and spent much of his time in search of it.
His example helped to render all the learned men of the time more convinced of its practicability, and more eager in the pursuit. He was born at Ilchester, in the county of Somerset, in the year He studied for some time in the university of Oxford, and afterwards in that of Paris, in which he received the degree of doctor of divinity. Returning to England in , he became a monk of the order of St. He was by far the most learned man of his age; and his acquirements were so much above the comprehension of his contemporaries, that they could only account for them by supposing that he was indebted for them to the devil.
Voltaire has not inaptly designated him "De l'or encroute de toutes les ordures de son siecle;" but the crust of superstition that enveloped his powerful mind, though it may have dimmed, could not obscure the brightness of his genius.
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To him, and apparently to him only, among all the inquiring spirits of the time, were known the properties of the concave and convex lens. He also invented the magic-lantern; that pretty plaything of modern days, which acquired for him a reputation that embittered his life. In a history of alchymy, the name of this great man cannot be omitted, although, unlike many others of whom we shall have occasion to speak, he only made it secondary to other pursuits. The love of universal knowledge that filled his mind, would not allow him to neglect one branch of science, of which neither he nor the world could yet see the absurdity.
He made ample amends for his time lost in this pursuit by his knowledge in physics and his acquaintance with astronomy. The telescope, burning-glasses, and gunpowder, are discoveries which may well carry his fame to the remotest time, and make the world blind to the one spot of folly -- the diagnosis of the age in which he lived, and the circumstances by which he was surrounded. His "Mirror of Alchymy" was also published in French in the same year, and in Paris in , with some additions from the works of Raymond Lulli. A complete list of all the published treatises upon the subject may be seen in Lenglet du Fresnoy.
Tradition asserts of him, that he made great quantities of gold, and died as rich as Croesus. He was born at Cahors, in the province of Guienne, in the year He was a very eloquent preacher, and soon reached high dignity in the Church. He wrote a work on the transmutation of metals, and had a famous laboratory at Avignon. He issued two Bulls against the numerous pretenders to the art, who had sprung up in every part of Christendom; from which it might be inferred that he was himself free from the delusion.
The alchymists claim him, however, as one of the most distinguished and successful professors of their art, and say that his Bulls were not directed against the real adepts, but the false pretenders. They lay particular stress upon these words in his Bull, "Spondent, quas non exhibent, divitias, pauperes alchymistae. He died in the year , leaving in his coffers a sum of eighteen millions of florins. Popular belief alleged that he had made, and not amassed, this treasure; and alchymists complacently cite this as a proof that the philosopher's stone was not such a chimera as the incredulous pretended.
They take it for granted that John really left this money, and ask by what possible means he could have accumulated it. Replying to their own question, they say triumphantly, "His book shows it was by alchymy, the secrets of which he learned from Arnold de Villeneuve and Raymond Lulli. But he was as prudent as all other hermetic philosophers. Whoever would read his book to find out his secret, would employ all his labour in vain; the Pope took good care not to divulge it.
Perhaps they thought that, if everybody could transmute metals, gold would be so plentiful that it would be no longer valuable, and that some new art would be requisite to transmute it back again into steel and iron. If so, society is much indebted to them for their forbearance.
All classes of men dabbled in the art at this time; the last mentioned was a Pope, the one of whom we now speak was a poet. His famous poem of the "Roman de la Rose," which treats of every subject in vogue at that day, necessarily makes great mention of alchymy. Jean was a firm believer in the art, and wrote, besides his, "Roman," two shorter poems, the one entitled, "The Remonstrance of Nature to the wandering Alchymist," and "The Reply of the Alchymist to Nature.
A pleasant story is related of him and the ladies of the court of Charles IV. He had written the following libellous couplet upon the fair sex This naturally gave great offence; and being perceived one day, in the King's antechamber, by some ladies who were waiting for an audience, they resolved to punish him. To the number of ten or twelve, they armed themselves with canes and rods; and surrounding the unlucky poet, called upon the gentlemen present to strip him naked, that they might wreak just vengeance upon him, and lash him through the streets of the town. Some of the lords present were in no wise loth, and promised themselves great sport from his punishment.
But Jean de Meung was unmoved by their threats, and stood up calmly in the midst of them, begging them to hear him first, and then, if not satisfied, they might do as they liked with him. Silence being restored, he stood upon a chair, and entered on his defence. He acknowledged that he was the author of the obnoxious verses, but denied that they bore reference to all womankind.
He only meant to speak of the vicious and abandoned, whereas those whom he saw around him, were patterns of virtue, loveliness, and modesty. If, however, any lady present thought herself aggrieved, he would consent to be stripped, and she might lash him till her arms were wearied. It is added, that by this means Jean escaped his flogging, and that the wrath of the fair ones immediately subsided.
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The gentlemen present were, however, of opinion, that if every lady in the room, whose character corresponded with the verses, had taken him at his word, the poet would, in all probability, have been beaten to death. All his life long he evinced a great animosity towards the priesthood, and his famous poem abounds with passages reflecting upon their avarice, cruelty, and immorality. At his death he left a large box, filled with some weighty material, which he bequeathed to the Cordeliers, as a peace-offering, for the abuse he had lavished upon them.
As his practice of alchymy was well-known, it was thought the box was filled with gold and silver, and the Cordeliers congratulated each other on their rich acquisition. When it came to be opened, they found to their horror that it was filled only with slates, scratched with hieroglyphic and cabalistic characters. Indignant at the insult, they determined to refuse him Christian burial, on pretence that he was a sorcerer. He was, however, honourably buried in Paris, the whole court attending his funeral. The story of this alchymist, as handed down by tradition, and enshrined in the pages of Lenglet du Fresnoy, is not a little marvellous.
He was born at Pontoise of a poor but respectable family, at the end of the thirteenth, or beginning of the fourteenth, century. Having no patrimony, he set out for Paris at an early age, to try his fortune as a public scribe. He had received a good education, was well skilled in the learned languages, and was an excellent penman. He soon procured occupation as a letter-writer and copyist, and used to sit at the corner of the Rue de Marivaux, and practise his calling: but he hardly made profits enough to keep body and soul together. To mend his fortunes he tried poetry; but this was a more wretched occupation still.
As a transcriber he had at least gained bread and cheese; but his rhymes were not worth a crust. He then tried painting with as little success; and as a last resource, began to search for the philosopher's stone, and tell fortunes. This was a happier idea; he soon increased in substance, and had wherewithal to live comfortably.
In the course of a few years, he became desperately addicted to the study of alchymy, and thought of nothing but the philosopher's stone, the elixir of life, and the universal alkahest. In the year , he bought by chance an old book for two florins, which soon became the sole study and object of his life. It was written with a steel instrument upon the bark of trees, and contained twenty-one, or as he himself always expressed it, three times seven, leaves. The writing was very elegant and in the Latin language.
Each seventh leaf contained a picture and no writing. On the first of these was a serpent swallowing rods; on the second, a cross with a serpent crucified; and on the third, the representation of a desert, in the midst of which was a fountain with serpents crawling from side to side. It purported to be written by no less a personage than "Abraham, patriarch, Jew, prince, philosopher, priest, Levite, and astrologer;" and invoked curses upon any one who should cast eyes upon it, without being a sacrificer or a scribe.
Nicholas Flamel never thought it extraordinary that Abraham should have known Latin, and was convinced that the characters on his book had been traced by the hands of that great patriarch himself. He was at first afraid to read it, after he became aware of the curse it contained; but he got over that difficulty by recollecting that, although he was not a sacrificer, he had practised as a scribe.
As he read he was filled with admiration, and found that it was a perfect treatise upon the transmutation of metals. All the process was clearly explained; the vessels, the retorts, the mixtures, and the proper times and seasons for the experiment. But as ill-luck would have it, the possession of the philosopher's stone or prime agent in the work was presupposed.
This was a difficulty which was not to be got over. It was like telling a starving man how to cook a beefsteak, instead of giving him the money to buy one. But Nicholas did not despair; and set about studying the hieroglyphics and allegorical representations with which the book abounded. He soon convinced himself that it had been one of the sacred books of the Jews, and that it was taken from the temple of Jerusalem on its destruction by Titus. The process of reasoning by which he arrived at this conclusion is not stated.
From some expression in the treatise, he learned that the allegorical drawings on the fourth and fifth leaves, enshrined the secret of the philosopher's stone, without which all the fine Latin of the directions was utterly unavailing. He invited all the alchymists and learned men of Paris to come and examine them, but they all departed as wise as they came.
Nobody could make anything either of Nicholas or his pictures; and some even went so far as to say that his invaluable book was not worth a farthing. This was not to be borne; and Nicholas resolved to discover the great secret by himself, without troubling the philosophers. He found on the first page, of the fourth leaf, the picture of Mercury, attacked by an old man resembling Saturn or Time.
The latter had an hourglass on his head, and in his hand a scythe, with which he aimed a blow at Mercury's feet. The reverse of the leaf represented a flower growing on a mountain top, shaken rudely by the wind, with a blue stalk, red and white blossoms, and leaves of pure gold. Around it were a great number of dragons and griffins. On the first page of the fifth leaf was a fine garden, in the midst of which was a rose tree in full bloom, supported against the trunk of a gigantic oak. At the foot of this there bubbled up a fountain of milk-white water, which forming a small stream, flowed through the garden, and was afterwards lost in the sands.
The blood of the children was carefully collected by another party of soldiers, and put into a large vessel, in which two allegorical figures of the Sun and Moon were bathing themselves. For twenty-one years poor Nicholas wearied himself with the study of these pictures, but still he could make nothing of them. His wife Petronella at last persuaded him to find out some learned Rabbi; but there was no Rabbi in Paris learned enough to be of any service to him.
The Jews met but small encouragement to fix their abode in France, and all the chiefs of that people were located in Spain. To Spain accordingly Nicholas Flamel repaired. He left his book in Paris for fear, perhaps, that he might be robbed of it on the road; and telling his neighbours that he was going on a pilgrimage to the shrine of St. James of Compostello, he trudged on foot towards Madrid in search of a Rabbi. He was absent two years in that country, and made himself known to a great number of Jews, descendants of those who had been expelled from France in the reign of Philip Augustus.
The believers in the philosopher's stone give the following account of his adventures: -- They say that at Leon he made the acquaintance of a converted Jew, named Cauches, a very learned physician, to whom he explained the title and the nature of his little book. The Doctor was transported with joy as soon as he heard it named, and immediately resolved to accompany Nicholas to Paris, that he might have a sight of it. The two set out together; the Doctor on the way entertaining his companion with the history of his book, which, if the genuine book he thought it to be, from the description he had heard of it, was in the handwriting of Abraham himself, and had been in the possession of personages no less distinguished than Moses, Joshua, Solomon, and Esdras.
It contained all the secrets of alchymy and of many other sciences, and was the most valuable book that had ever existed in this world. The Doctor was himself no mean adept, and Nicholas profited greatly by his discourse, as in the garb of poor pilgrims they wended their way to Paris, convinced of their power to turn every old shovel in that capital into pure gold.
But, unfortunately, when they reached Orleans, the Doctor was taken dangerously ill. Nicholas watched by his bedside, and acted the double part of a physician and nurse to him; but he died after a few days, lamenting with his last breath that he had not lived long enough to see the precious volume. Nicholas rendered the last honours to his body; and with a sorrowful heart, and not one sous in his pocket, proceeded home to his wife Petronella.
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He immediately recommenced the study of his pictures; but for two whole years he was as far from understanding them as ever. At last, in the third year, a glimmer of light stole over his understanding. He recalled some expression of his friend, the Doctor, which had hitherto escaped his memory, and he found that all his previous experiments had been conducted on a wrong basis. He recommenced them now with renewed energy, and at the end of the year had the satisfaction to see all his toils rewarded.
On the 13th January , says Lenglet, he made a projection on mercury, and had some very excellent silver. On the 25th April following, he converted a large quantity of mercury into gold, and the great secret was his. Nicholas was now about eighty years of age, and still a hale and stout old man. In this interval he had made immense quantities of gold, though to all outward appearance he was as poor as a mouse.
At an early period of his changed fortune, he had, like a worthy man, taken counsel with his old wife Petronella, as to the best use he could make of his wealth. Petronella replied, that as unfortunately they had no children, the best thing he could do, was to build hospitals and endow churches. Nicholas thought so too, especially when he began to find that his elixir could not keep off death, and that the grim foe was making rapid advances upon him. He richly endowed the church of St. Jacques de la Boucherie, near the Rue de Marivaux, where he had all his life resided, besides seven others in different parts of the kingdom.
He also endowed fourteen hospitals, and built three chapels. The fame of his great wealth and his munificent benefactions soon spread over all the country, and he was visited, among others, by the celebrated Doctors of that day, Jean Gerson, Jean de Courtecuisse, and Pierre d'Ailli. They found him in his humble apartment, meanly clad, and eating porridge out of an earthen vessel; and with regard to his secret, as impenetrable as all his predecessors in alchymy. But M. It was in this year, , that he lost his faithful Petronella.
He did not long survive her; but died in the following year, and was buried with great pomp by the grateful priests of St. Jacques de la Boucherie. The great wealth of Nicholas Flamel is undoubted, as the records of several churches and hospitals in France can testify. That he practised alchymy is equally certain, as he left behind several works upon the subject.
Those who knew him well, and who were incredulous about the philosopher's stone, give a very satisfactory solution of the secret of his wealth. They say that he was always a miser and a usurer; that his journey to Spain was undertaken with very different motives from those pretended by the alchymists; that, in fact, he went to collect debts due from Jews in that country to their brethren in Paris, and that he charged a commission of fully cent.
Among the works written by Nicholas Flamel on the subject of alchymy, is "The Philosophic Summary," a poem, reprinted in , as an appendix to the third volume of the "Roman de la Rose. A report was current in Paris, not long previous to the year , that some lodgers had found in the cellars several jars filled with a dark-coloured ponderous matter.
Upon the strength of the rumour, a believer in all the wondrous tales told of Nicholas Flamel bought the house, and nearly pulled it to pieces in ransacking the walls and wainscotting for hidden gold. He got nothing for his pains, however, and had a heavy bill to pay to restore his dilapidations.
While alchymy was thus cultivated on the continent of Europe, it was not neglected in the isles of Britain. Since the time of Roger Bacon, it had fascinated the imagination of many ardent men in England. In the year , an act of parliament was passed, declaring the making of gold and silver to be felony. Great alarm was felt at that time lest any alchymist should succeed in his projects, and perhaps bring ruin upon the state, by furnishing boundless wealth to some designing tyrant, who would make use of it to enslave his country.
This alarm appears to have soon subsided; for, in the year , King Henry VI, by advice of his council and parliament, granted four successive patents and commissions to several knights, citizens of London, chemists, monks, mass-priests, and others, to find out the philosopher's stone and elixir, "to the great benefit," said the patent, "of the realm, and the enabling of the King to pay all the debts of the Crown in real gold and silver.
No gold, of course, was ever made; and, next year, the King, doubting very much of the practicability of the thing, took further advice, and appointed a commission of ten learned men, and persons of eminence, to judge and certify to him whether the transmutation of metals were a thing practicable or no. It does not appear whether the commission ever made any report upon the subject.
In the succeeding reign, an alchymist appeared who pretended to have discovered the secret. This was George Ripley, the canon of Bridlington, in Yorkshire.
He studied for twenty years in the universities of Italy, and was a great favourite with Pope Innocent VIII, who made him one of his domestic chaplains, and master of the ceremonies in his household. He was very rich, and allowed it to be believed that he could make gold out of iron. Fuller, in his "Worthies of England," says that an English gentleman of good credit reported that, in his travels abroad, he saw a record in the island of Malta, which declared that Ripley gave yearly to the knights of that island, and of Rhodes, the enormous sum of one hundred thousand pounds sterling, to enable them to carry on the war against the Turks.
Before he died, he seems to have acknowledged that he had misspent his life in this vain study, and requested that all men, when they met with any of his books, would burn them, or afford them no credit, as they had been written merely from his opinion, and not from proof; and that subsequent trial had made manifest to him that they were false and vain. Germany also produced many famous alchymists in the fifteenth century, the chief of whom are Basil Valentine, Bernard of Treves, and the Abbot Trithemius.
Basil Valentine was born at Mayence, and was made prior of St. Peter's, at Erfurt, about the year It was known, during his life, that he diligently sought the philosopher's stone, and that he had written some works upon the process of transmutation. They were thought, for many years, to be lost; but were, after his death, discovered enclosed in the stone work of one of the pillars in the Abbey.
They were twenty-one in number, and are fully set forth in the third volume of Lenglet's "History of the Hermetic Philosophy. The life of this philosopher is a remarkable instance of talent and perseverance misapplied. In the search of his chimera nothing could daunt him. Repeated disappointment never diminished his hopes; and, from the age of fourteen to that of eighty-five, he was incessantly employed among the drugs and furnaces of his laboratory, wasting his life with the view of prolonging it, and reducing himself to beggary in the hopes of growing rich.
He was born at either Treves or Padua, in the year His father is said by some to have been a physician in the latter city; and by others, to have been Count of the Marches of Treves, and one of the most wealthy nobles of his country. At all events, whether noble or physician, he was a rich man, and left his son a magnificent estate. At the age of fourteen he first became enamoured of the science of alchymy, and read the Arabian authors in their own language. He himself has left a most interesting record of his labours and wanderings, from which the following particulars are chiefly extracted: -- The first book which fell into his hands, was that of the Arabian philosopher, Rhazes, from the reading of which he imagined that he had discovered the means of augmenting gold a hundred fold.
For four years he worked in his laboratory, with the book of Rhazes continually before him. At the end of that time, he found that he had spent no less than eight hundred crowns upon his experiment, and had got nothing but fire and smoke for his pains. He now began to lose confidence in Rhazes, and turned to the works of Geber. He studied him assiduously for two years; and, being young, rich, and credulous, was beset by all the chymists of the town, who kindly assisted him in spending his money.
Among all the crowd of pretended men of science who surrounded him, there was but one as enthusiastic and as disinterested as himself. With this man, who was a monk of the order of St. Francis, he contracted an intimate friendship, and spent nearly all his time. Added to basket. Promise Me You'll Shoot Yourself. Florian Huber. My Hidden Chimp. Steve Peters. The Silent Guides. David Epstein. Man's Search For Meaning. Viktor E. Stay Sexy and Don't Get Murdered.
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