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Chymical Wedding - Seventh DayBack to Rosicrucian page.
After eight o'clock I woke up, and quickly made myself ready, wanting to return again into the Tower; but the dark passages in the wall were so many and various, that I wandered a good while before I could find the way out. The same happened to the rest too, till at last we all met again in the nethermost vault, and entirely yellow apparel was given to us, together with our golden fleeces. At this time the Virgin declared to us that we were Knights of the Golden Stone, of which we were before ignorant.
After we had made ourselves ready, and taken our breakfast, the old man presented each of us with a medal of gold.
On one side were these words:
AR. NAT. MI.
(Art is the Priestess of Nature)
On the other these:
TEM. NA. F.
(Nature is the Daughter of Time.)
He exhorted us moreover that we should try to take nothing more than this token of remembrance. Herewith we went forth to the sea, where our ships lay, so richly equipped that it was not possible but that such amazing things must first have been brought there. The ships were twelve in number, six of ours, and six of the old lord's, who caused his ships to be freighted with well appointed soldiers. But he himself came to us in our ship, where we were all together. In the first the musicians, of which the old lord also had a great number, seated themselves; they sailed before us to shorten the time. Our flags were the twelve celestial signs, and we sat in Libra. Besides other things our ship also had a noble and curious clock, which showed us all the minutes. The sea was so calm, too, that it was a singular pleasure to sail. But what surpassed all the rest was the old man's discourse; he knew so well how to pass away our time with wonderful stories, that I could have been content to sail with him all my life long.
Meanwhile the ships passed on in haste, for before we had sailed two hours the mariner told us that he already saw the whole lake almost covered with ships, by which we could conjecture that they had come out to meet us, which proved true. For as soon as we had come out of the sea into the lake by the aforementioned river, there before us were five hundred ships, one of which sparkled with gold and precious stones, and in which sat the King and Queen, together with other lords, ladies, and virgins of high birth. As soon as they were well in sight of us the pieces were discharged on both sides, and there was such a din of trumpets, shalms, and kettle drums that all the ships upon the sea capered again. Finally, as soon as we came near they brought our ships together, and so made a stand.
Immediately the old Atlas stepped forth on the King's behalf, making a short but handsome oration, in which he welcomed us, and asked whether the Royal Presents were ready. The rest of my companions were in great amazement, where this King should come from, for they imagined nothing other than that they would have to awaken him again. We allowed them to continue in their amazement, and acted as if it seemed strange to us too. After Atlas' oration out stepped our old man, making a rather longer reply, in which he wished the King and Queen all happiness and increase, after which he delivered up a curious small casket. What was in it, I do not know, but it was committed to Cupid to keep, who hovered between the King and Queen.
After the oration was finished, they again let off a joyful volley of shot, and so we sailed on a good time together, till at length we arrived at another shore. This was near the first gate at which I first entered. At this place again there attended a great multitude of the King's family together with some hundreds of horses. Now as soon as we came to shore, and disembarked, the King and Queen presented their hands to all of us, every one, with singular kindness; and so we were to get up on horseback.
Here I wish to friendlily entreat the reader not to interpret the following narration as any vain glory or pride of mine, but to credit me this much, that if there had not been a special necessity for it, I could very well have utterly concealed this honour which was shown me. We were all one after another distributed amongst the lords. But our old lord, and I, most unworthy, were to ride alongside the King, each of us bearing a snow-white ensign with a red cross. Indeed, I was made use of because of my age, for we both had long grey beards and hair. I had also fastened my tokens about my hat, which the young King soon noticed, and asked if I were he who could redeem these tokens at the gate?
I answered in most humble manner, "Yes".
But he laughed at me, saying, "There was no need for ceremony; I was HIS father".
Then he asked me with what I had redeemed them?
I replied, "With Water and Salt".
Whereupon he wondered who had made me so wise; upon which I grew a bit more confident, and recounted to him how it had happened with my bread, the Dove and the Raven, and he was pleased with it and said expressly that it must be that God had herein vouchsafed me a singular happiness.
With this we came to the first gate where the Porter with the blue clothes waited, bearing in his hand a supplication. Now as soon as he saw me alongside the King, he delivered me the supplication, most humbly beseeching me to mention his ingenuity to the King. Now in the first place I asked the King what the condition of this porter was. He friendlily answered me, that he was a very famous and rare astrologer, and always in high regard with the Lord his Father, but having once committed a fault against Venus, and seen her in her bed of rest, this punishment was therefore imposed upon him, that he should wait at the first gate for so long until someone should release him from it.
I replied, "May he then be released?"
"Yes," said the King, "if anyone can be found that has transgressed as highly as himself, he must take his place, and the other shall be free."
This went to my heart, for my conscience convinced me that I was the offender, yet I kept quiet, and herewith delivered the supplication. As soon as he had read it, he was greatly terrified, so that the Queen (who with our virgins, and that other Duchess as well - whom I mentioned at the hanging of the weights - rode just behind us) observed this, and therefore asked him what this letter might mean. But he had no mind to take any notice of it, and putting away the paper, began to talk about other matters, till thus in about three hours' time we came to the castle, where we alighted, and waited upon the King as he went into his hall.
Immediately the King called for the old Atlas to come to him in a little closet, and showed him the writing, and Atlas did not tarry, but rode out again to the Porter to get more information on the matter. After this the young King, with his spouse, and the other lords, ladies and virgins, sat down. Then our Virgin began to highly commend the diligence we had shown, and the pains and labour we had undergone, requesting that we might be royally rewarded, and that she might be permitted to enjoy the benefit of her commission from then on. Then the old lord stood up too, and attested that all the Virgin had said was true, and that it was only just that we should both be contented on both our parts. Hereupon we were to step forward a little, and it was concluded that each man should make some possible wish, and accordingly obtain it; for it was not to be doubted that those of understanding would also make the best wish. So we were to consider it until after supper.
Meantime the King and Queen, for recreation's sake, began to play together, at something which looked not unlike chess, only it had different rules; for it was the Virtues and Vices one against another, and it might ingeniously be observed with what plots the Vices lay in wait for the Virtues, and how to re-encounter them again. This was so properly and cleverly performed, that it is to be wished that we had the same game too. During the game, in came Atlas again, and made his report in private, but I blushed all over, for my conscience gave me no rest.
After this the King gave me the supplication to read, and the contents of it were much to this purpose. First he (the doorkeeper) wished the King prosperity, and increase, and that his seed might be spread abroad far and wide. Afterwards he remonstrated that the time was now come in which according to the royal promise he ought to be released, because Venus had already been uncovered by one of his guests, for his observations could not lie to him. And that if his Majesty would be pleased to make a strict and diligent enquiry, he would find that she had been uncovered, and if this should not prove to be so, he would be content to remain before the gate all the days of his life. Then he asked in the most humble manner, that upon peril of body and life he might be permitted to be present at this night's supper. He was hoping to seek out the very offender, and obtain his desired freedom. This was expressly and handsomely indicated, by which I could well perceive his ingenuity, but it was too sharp for me, and I would not have minded if I had never seen it. Now I was wondering whether he might perhaps be helped through my wish, so I asked the King whether he might not be released some other way.
"No," replied the King, "because there is a special consideration in the business. However, for this night, we may well gratify him in his desire."
So he sent someone to fetch him in. Meanwhile the tables were prepared in a spacious room, in which we had never been before, which was so perfect, and contrived in such a manner, that it is not possible for me even to begin to describe it. We were conducted into this with singular pomp and ceremony. Cupid was not at this time present, for (as I was informed) the disgrace which had happened to his mother had somewhat angered him. In brief, my offence, and the supplication which was delivered, were an occasion of much sadness, for the King was in perplexity how to make inquisition amongst his guests, and the more so because through this, even they who were yet ignorant of the matter would come to know about it. So he caused the Porter himself, who had already arrived, to make his strict survey, and he himself acted as pleasantly as he was able.
However, eventually they all began to be merry again, and to talk to one another with all sorts of recreative and profitable discourses. Now, how the treatment and other ceremonies were then performed, it is not necessary to declare, since it is neither the reader's concern, nor serviceable to my design. But all exceeded more in art, and human invention, than we exceeded in drinking! And this was the last and noblest meal at which I was present. After the banquet the tables were suddenly taken away, and certain curious chairs placed round about in a circle, in which we, together with the King and Queen, and both their old men and the ladies and virgins, were to sit.
After this, a very handsome page opened the above-mentioned glorious little book, and Atlas immediately placed himself in the midst, and began to speak to this purpose: that his Royal Majesty had not forgotten the service we had done him, and how carefully we had attended to our duty, and therefore by way of retribution had elected all and each of us Knights of the Golden Stone. And that it was therefore further necessary not only once again to oblige ourselves towards his Royal Majesty, but also to vow to the following articles; and then his Royal Majesty would likewise know how to behave himself towards his liege people. Upon which he caused the page to read over the articles, which were these.
(I) You my lords the Knights shall swear that you shall at no time ascribe your order to any devil or spirit, but only to God your Creator, and his handmaid Nature.
(2) That you will abominate all whoredom, incontinency and uncleanness, and not defile your order with such vices.
(3) That you through your talents will be ready to assist all that are worthy, and have need of them.
(4) That you desire not to employ this honour to worldly pride and high authority.
(5) That you shall not be willing to live longer than God will have you do.
At this last article we could not choose but laugh, and it may well have been placed after the rest only for a conceit. Now after vowing to them all by the King's sceptre, we were afterwards installed Knights with the usual ceremonies, and amongst other privileges set over Ignorance, Poverty, and Sickness, to handle them at our pleasure. And this was afterwards ratified in a little chapel (to which we were conducted in procession) and thanks returned to God for it. I also hung up there at that time my golden fleece and hat, and left them there for an eternal memorial, to the honour of God. And because everyone had to write his name there, I wrote thus:
The highest wisdom is to know nothing.
Brother Christian Rosenkreutz
Knight of the Golden Stone
Others wrote likewise, each as it seemed good to him. After this, we were again brought into the hall, where, having sat down, we were admonished quickly to think what we each one would wish. But the King and his party retired into a little closet, there to give audience to our wishes. Now each man was called in separately, so that I cannot speak of any man's own wish. I thought nothing could be more praiseworthy than to demonstrate some laudable virtue in honour of my order, and found too that none at present could be better, and cost me more trouble, than Gratitude. Wherefore in spite of the fact that I might well have wished something more dear and agreeable to myself, I vanquished myself, and concluded, even at my own peril, to free the Porter, my benefactor.
So as I was now called in, I was first of all asked whether, having read the supplication, I had observed or suspected nothing concerning the offender? Upon which I began undauntedly to relate how all the business had passed, how through ignorance I fell into that mistake, and so offered myself to undergo all that I had thereby deserved. The King, and the rest of the lords, wondered greatly at so unexpected a confession, and so asked me to step aside a little.
Now as soon as I was called in again, Atlas declared to me that although it was grievous to the King's Majesty that I, whom he loved above others, had fallen into such a mischance, yet because it was not possible for him to transgress his ancient usages, he did not know how to absolve me; the other must be at liberty, and I put in his place; yet he would hope that some other would be apprehended, so that I might be able to go home again. However, no release was to be hoped for, till the marriage feast of his future son.
This sentence had nearly cost me my life, and I first hated myself and my twaddling tongue, in that I could not keep quiet; yet at last I took courage, and because I thought there was no remedy, I related how this Porter had bestowed a token on me, and commended me to the other, by whose assistance I stood upon the scale, and so was made partaker of all the honour and joy already received. And therefore now it was but fair that I should show myself grateful to my benefactor, and because this could not be done in any other way, I returned thanks for the sentence, and was willing gladly to bear some inconvenience for the sake of he who had been helpful to me in coming to such a high place. But if by my wish anything might be effected, I wished myself at home again, so that he by me, and I by my wish might be at liberty. Answer was made me, that the wishing did not stretch so far. However, I might wish him free. Yet it was very pleasing to his Royal Majesty that I had behaved myself so generously in this, but he was afraid I might still be ignorant of what a miserable condition I had plunged myself into through my curiosity. Hereupon the good man was pronounced free, and I with a sad heart had to step aside.
After me the rest were called for too, and came jocundly out again, which pained me still more, for I imagined nothing other than that I must finish my life under the gate. I also had many pensive thoughts running up and down in my head, what I should do, and how to spend the time. At length I considered that I was now old, and according to the course of nature, had few years more to live. And that this anguished and melancholy life would quickly send me from this world, and then my door-keeping would be at an end, and by a most happy sleep I might quickly bring myself to the grave. I had many of these thoughts. Sometimes it vexed me that I had seen such gallant things, and must be robbed of them. Sometimes I rejoiced that still, before my end, I had been accepted to all joy, and should not be forced to depart shamefully. This was the last and worst shock that I sustained.
During my cogitations the rest had got ready. So after they had received a good night from the King and lords, each one was conducted into his lodging. But I, most wretched man, had nobody to show me the way, and must moreover suffer myself to be tormented; and so that I might be certain of my future function, I had to put on the ring which the other had worn before. Finally, the King exhorted me that since this was now the last time I was likely to see him in this manner, I should behave myself according to my place, and not against the order. Upon which he took me in his arms, and kissed me, all which I understood to mean that in the morning I must sit at my gate. Now after they had all spoken friendlily to me for a while, and at last given their hands, committing me to the Divine protection, I was conducted by both the old men, the Lord of the Tower, and Atlas, into a glorious lodging, in which stood three beds, and each of us lay in one of them, where we spent almost two, &c.....
(Here about two leaves in quarto are missing, and he (the author of this), whereas he imagined he must in the morning be doorkeeper, returned home.)
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