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The Hermet's TaleBack to English alchemical verse.
The Hermet's Tale.
In Pilgrimage one onely thing I found
Of worth in Lemnes nere to Vulcan's shopp,
A Christall founteine runnig under ground,
Between a Vally and a Mounteins topp.
Pleas'd with this sight, I bid a Hermite tell
The story of the place, who there did dwell.
Within this Vale a hallowe dusky Cave
There is (quoth he) of greate Antiquity,
Where plumes of Mars blew greene and red you have:
Torne from his crest for his Iniquity.
The Troope of Smiths, as he for Venus lay,
Supris'd and tooke him, yett he gett away.
For as the Cyclops him in tryumph brought,
To halting Vulcan to receive his doome,
They lifted up his beaver, and found nought
But vacant place and Armour in the roome.
Of th'armour then they thought they had good prize,
But working it they found itt scyndarize.
The Smiths amaz'd finding themselves deluded,
Satt all in Counsaile in their Masters Denne,
Deliberating well, at length concluded,
There is no equall War twixt Godds and men,
Lett's finde the Angry God and pardon crave,
Lett's give him Venus our poore selves to save.
They sought in Heaven Mars knew his fact so bad,
He came out there, then one began to tell,
Saturne turn'd from his Throne, a Place had
Not far from thence, hard by this Christall Well.
Thither they wen, and found two Gods alone,
Sitting within a darke, but glittering throne.
Down fell old Vulcan on his crooked knee,
And said forgive, O mighty God of Warr,
My servants and my selfe (once God as yee)
Then use thy will with Venus my faire starr.
Saturne (quoth Mars) and I must not yet part,
Though shee for whom th'art pard'ned hath my heart.
With this the Cuckold with his sweaty Troope
Went to Forge and seem'd to make a legg,
Att every steppe, where halting made him stoope,
In thankes to Mars, granting what he did begg;
In whose remembrance you shall ever have
Syndars, and fetters in that hollow Cave.
But lett me tell you all that then befell,
Iove seeing this, meaning the Smith to right,
Sent downe a winged God, he trusted well,
Disguis'd in habitt of a shineing light,
Which to the Vally from the Hill's high topp,
Affrighted all the Smiths in Vulcans shopp.
A voyce was heard from Ioves Embassadour,
To summon Mars t'appeare before the Gods:
With Saturne forth came Venus Paramour:
Thinkeing with might to gett of right the odds:
Downward came he 9 myles, they upward fower,
All mett in mist, he fledd, they nere went lower.
Vulcan came hobling up to se what's done,
He findes nor light, nor Gods, but other shape;
To witnesse of this fact he calles the Sonne,
Who streght cryes Murther, and made hast to scape:
Sme dyeing Soule groan'd forth, Apollo stay,
Helpe wise Apollo ere thou goest away.
With this Apollo lookeing round about,
Espies this fountaine knowes the voice was here,
And boweing downe to finde the party out,
Himselfe unto himselfe doth streyght appeare.
There gaz'd he till a sturdy showre of rayne
Tooke wise Apollo from himselfe againe.
Farewell Apollo then Apollo sayd,
To morrow when this storme is fully past,
Ile turne and bring some comfortable ayd,
By which Ile free thee ere the latter cast.
Then did itt cry as if the voice were spent,
Come sweete Apollo, soe itt downwards went.
Vulcan went to his Forge, the Sonne to bed,
But both were up betimes to meete againe;
Next morne after the storme a pale foule dead
Was found att bottome of this faire Fountaine.
Smith (said Apollo) helpe to lade this spring,
That I may raise to life yonder dead thing.
Then Vulcan held Apollo by the heele,
While he lades out the Waters of the Well;
Boweing and straining made Apollo feele
Blood from his nose, that in the fountaine fell.
Vulcan (quoth he) this Accident of blood
Is that or nought must does this Creature good.
He spake the word, and Vulcan sawe itt done,
Looke Sol (said he) I see itt changeth hue,
Fewe Gods have vertue like to thee o Sonne,
From pale itt is become a ruddy blue;
Vulcan (quoth Phoebus) take itt to thy forge,
Warme it, rubb it, lett itt caste the Gorge.
Thus Vulcan did, itt spued the Waters out,
And then itt spake and cry'de itt was a cold;
Then Vulcan stuft and cloath'd it round about,
And made the Stone as hott as ere itt would.
Thus fourteene dayes itt sickly did indure,
The Sonne came every day to se the cure.
As itt grewe well the Colours went and came,
Blew, Blacke, White, Redd, as by the warmth & heate,
The humours moved were within the same,
Then Phoebus bid him put it in a sweate;
Which Vulcan plyed soe well, it grue all Red,
Then was itt found, and cald for drinke and bread.
Stay (quoth Apollo) though itt call for meate,
Digestion yett is weake, ‘twill breede relapse,
By surfett, therefore eye you lett itt eate,
Some little exercise were good perhapps,
Yett had itt broath alowde the strength to keep,
But when ‘twas on his leggs it would scarce creepe.
Sol sawe some reliques left of th'ould disease,
A solutine (quoth he) were good to clense,
With which the sickness he did so appease,
Health made the Patyent seeke to make amense;
Who went away three weekes, then brought a Stone,
That in projection yeelded ten for one.
This did he lay down att Apollo's feete,
And said by cureing one th'hast saved three:
Which three in this one present joyntly meete,
Offring themselves which are thine owne to thee.
Be our Physitian, and as we growe old,
Wee'le bring enough to make new worlds of Gold.
With that this Hermite tooke me by the hand
And ledd me to his Cell; Loe here (quoth he)
Could'st thou but stay, and truly understand
What thou now seest, thou knowst this Mystery.
I stayd, I saw, I tryd, and understood,
A Heav'n on Earth, and everlasting good.
If you have problems understanding these alchemical texts, Adam McLean now provides a study course entitled How to read alchemical texts : a guide for the perplexed.
Works of Nicolas Flamel
Works of George Ripley
Works of Sendivogius
Theatrum Chemicum Britannicum
Emerald tablet of Hermes
Texts from Musaeum Hermeticum
Spanish alchemical texts
German alchemical texts
French alchemical texts
Russian alchemical texts
Italian alchemical texts