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Samuel Norton - The Key of Alchemy

Mixed Stone

This transcription was originally made by W.A. Ayton in the latter decades of the 19th century, from the original manuscript in the Bodleian Library, Ashmole 1421.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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Here beginneth the 5th treatise of the Key of Alchimie containing the mixed Stone

The Philosophers sometimes vexed, and grieved with the length of the time which they consumed are they might bring the Elixir to effect by putrefaction, did think with themselves to finde out some shorter way; which as last they found by joining together of contrairie natures; for whereas afore they were driven to make two worcks; one in a corroding, and an other in recomforting the corroded; that they at last found out to doe at one time by joining of their natures so eauqallie together, that as much as bodies were hindered by the fire against nature; so much they might on the contrary side be helpen even at that present instant by the fire of nature; wherefore they drew them both together: Or else after they were drawne, did commixe them; and put them together; so that they might jointlie have the use of them at one time; by vertue of which they might create their Elixirs in shorter time and space by alteration, where afore in longer time they did it by putrefaction.

Which Elixirs so made, happened by the vertue and benefit of the mixed water; wherefore think it no unnecessarie to give them the names of the mixed stones; for that all but such elixirs are perfected by the power and strength of the vegetable and minerall wee heere speake of; is not all one with that which in the vegetable afore I speake of: for by this our alteration which now we intreat of are the purities of all bodies lifted into [...] and so become calces of a second intention and of alterate qualities by vertue of our philosophicall fire against nature: Of which manner of working Caleatus [not in Dufresnoy] the philosopher saith that from the minerall and vegetable joyned together in the depth of this secret art proceedeth; And of these two waters writeth Raimond both in his Magic and in his Accortations: In the Magick, My Sons, there are two waters trough which the whole art of Alchimie is accomplished and in his Accortations Tota enim vita mineralium est, for the whole way of the minerall worck consisteth in two waters, of which two, the one maketh the stone volatile without labour and perill, the other fixing it, doth fixe and is fixed with him without any labour or perill, for that is made or drawne forth from out of a certaine stinking menstruall made of four things and this water is more strong and mortall than any other water in the world: whose only spirit doth multiply and increase the tincture of the ferment.

Of these waters verie few of the elder philosophers ever seemed to speake of, nor darklie to name it, except that in one only place I have redd of two dragons fighting together in the floud of Satalia; [not in Dufresnoy nor Johnson nor Pernetty]: which our noble Ripley expoundeth and aplieth to this worcke; with these waters: In whom and in Raimond I only heard of these waters: Of which I gave gud proofe, for that it will lift up calces into [Elixir], as I have seene.

And seing therefore that Raimond, is the elder philosopher whom Ripley most seemeth to follow. I will first of all beginn with the practick of Raimon on this mixed stone: Which I find written in his Accortations to king Robert; and is that which I afore referred over to this place; and is to be handled after the manner of the vegetable accortation rehearsed: Raimond therefore speaking of minerall and vegetable water saith that by a deepe consideration of which a man may so mingle the minerall, and vegetable together, that in short space he may make the greater medicine after this manner: The vegetable water saith hee; that is the water ardent being five time rectified; At which distillation, the water most commonlie: is void of flegme; then having verie good vitrioll, faire and clear and amber, so likewise in equall waight; Mingle them together, grind them verie well and drie them in the Sun, and afterwards on the fire: so that you would judge their watrinesse were gone; and then put them into your water; and in the beginning destill them with a lent fire, and in the end with a strong fire, as is the manner in corrosive and sharp water of philosophers. So doe five times, every time putting to new water. Alwaies taking heede that your powders be verie well dried; and so shall your minerall spirit be well joyned with the blessed spirit of water ardent: This, thus handled, take your gold in proportion and manner as is afore said in the vegetable Accortation, and doe in all points as afore and then shall you see that wonderfullie the spirit of the waters will be in four daies fixed with the gold; which in the vegetable will not be in 25 daies; and the reason is that one spirit engrosseth another; and because that the spirit of the quintessence of vitrioll is more fixed and gross than the spirit of the quintessence of the Ardent water, and for that also there is a greater concordancie between the spirit of vitrioll and the nature of gold; inasmuch as they have their beginnings from the same principles, in that they are Mineralls; Therefore the spirit of vitrioll joyned to the spirit of water ardent, doth make him more thicke and grosse and causeth him to cleave quickly into the metall:for the which cause and reason beleeve me that of all accortations this is most excellent as touching gold Alchemick.

Having therefore on this wise made fixation, you may proceed to solution by often dissolution and coagulation as in the vegetable Accortation, altho it will not so soone be dissolved as in the vegetable: for that it will aske 9 days solution, which solution must be reiterated thrice as in the vegetable; except it be dealt with all as hee teacheth immey in these words following; In which he openeth a great secret saying, O king, that I may in as much brief manner as is possible, write unto you, you must understand that out of the lead of philosophers, there is an oile of golden colour extracted or there abouts: With which you shall after their first fixion dissolve either the stone minerall mixed; or Animall, three or four times, or for the space of 3 or 4 days, it shall excuse you from all labour of solution and coagulation; The reason is for that this is the secret oile which maketh all medicines penetrable, amicable and conjungible to all bodies and doth above measure incrase his effect in such wise that in this world, there is nothing more secret than this; wherefore I will tell thee, O king, that which shall be wonderfull, and that which will seem incredible unto all the old philosophers that if you know how to separate this oile from his watrishness and shall therein labour according to the manner of mixion afore said, you shall in 30 daies accomplish the stone, the order of which is alreadie shewed in the separation of elements, and in the vegetable stone yet in no wise meddle therewith all in the vegetable accortation; and so endeth that worcke of the mixed stone collected out of Raimond.

If not resteth therefore to speake of the mixed stone, according to the way of Ripley: For sure it is that among all men there are none that gave himself so much to the diverse and sundrie opinions of practice, as hee did; but most speciallie of Raimond's: Who marvaille therefore, if his schollers finde so much profit in Raimond; considering that this mr was so conversant with Raimond's worcks, and was so great an expositor of Raimond, that almost he might deserve the proverbe of Raimond's Apes; and yet in this hee sure exceeded Raimond, so that looke what soever hee fetched out of him, he proved it to the uttermost; yea more waies then one as may well appeare by his worcks on this mixed stone: For whereas in Raimond there is only one way rehearsed, hee setteth downe 3 several practises:

Of which one is with the water of the pure sea, that is our sharp vinegere of Mercury sublimed, and mingled with the ardent water upon the calx prepared, which I heere slightly overpasse; for that it is shewed and meaneth the like manner of dealing in the minerall treatise, by circulating: To come to the making of these mixed waters which are in number, two, the one consisting of the 4 things; of salt peter, vitrioll Romaine, vitriol sericon [or opus come to the red, according to some] that is the gum of sericon, and vermillion or cinober; The order by manner of drawing heereof is alone with the order by manner of drawing of the corrosive water afore shewed in the last treatise: the proportion of the ingredients followeth; Let the gumm of the sericon bee double the vitrioll, the peter half to the vitrioll, and the cinobar half to the peter: The process of the work set downe by Ripley, I cannot advise thoroughly to be followed for that hee doth that with crude Mercury sublimed and fixed: for that I never think it philosophically done when crude things are dealt with all, - therefore forsake crude Mercury and worck on this sort; Take Mercury sublimed, & sublime it by itself 7 times more; which will then bee scarce willing to rise from the bottome of the sublimatorie, and of that Mercury take 6 parts, and of the oile of gold one part and a halfe; & grind them well together on a glasse made broad and smooth like a marble stone: That done; put it into a long necked glasse stopped with clay or cotton; and set it to precipitate in ash fire, increase the fire daily; and in five it will be precipitated into redd powder in 5 daies if it be well followed with strong fire; so that it will be of thoroughlie fixed: Then with this fire against nature, dissolve this pouder, and being dissolved, draw the corrosive therefrom untill it be as thick as oile in the bottome, and stopping well the glasse, let that be fixed into drie powder; first with a lent fire, after with a stronger, a soe reiterate this worcke 10 times, for then it cannot be made drie, but remaineth oile transmuting all imperfect bodies into true Sol; The order how to dissolve Sol with this water is thus; Your Sol being made into powder or fine calxe as aforesaid, dissolve it in a great quantity of the first water that cometh of in the drawing of this compound water; and let it stand therein in balneo 20 daies, and then it will be redd and faire oile to see to, from which in a Limbeck, and in an ash fire, draw of the water, and the oile shall remaine in the bottome; where which inceare your Mercury as aforesaid.

And this way accordeth somewhat with Raimond worcks written both in Magick and in the Accortation where hee saith, Moreover, if thou shall impast Mercury 7 times sublimed with thy gold dissolved; and although there be 7 parts of silver and but one of gold; yet if thou wilt put thy Mercury to sublime sundrie times, ever putting that downe againe upon his foeces which riseth up, this Mercury shall at last bee fixed into medicine piercing and tincting; this manner of worcking carrieth a farr greater likelihood then to worcke with Mercury crude: For that the one is almost, nay very near brought to fixion, and the other is raw and crude, and will aske a longer time of doing; besides that the proportion of ferment is verie smale after that way and all the benefit of the fixion must in crude Mercury rise by the oile of gold; where heere it hath 2 healfs, the one from the quintessence of vitrioll wheron Ripley saith that the bodie of the spirit volatill is fixed by the fire against nature, which is the quintessence which riseth up (is saith Rupescissus) in snowie whiteness, and the other from the oile of gold; wherefore I conclude that this manner of dealing must of necessity far excell the other crude mercurie; of which this is the way, Take gold calcined in the colour of bloud with the first water, viz. Mercurielle, very clear and clarified 20 daies: For in less time nothing is done; which calcination cannot be so much profitable, unlesse gold be mercurized into such thinness, that it may with that to whom it shall be joyned in a 24 proportion strained through a linnen cloth without any glob remaining: for myself saith hee have so seen it ordered; for then may it without fail be precipitated in a long vessaile, and strong and surelie luted on every side; except in the top: where let it boile into red powder, like unto cinober, with violence of fire; as I have seene it done, saith hee by profe thereof; and being fixed, dissolve it, and doe as is afore declared; for now both waies are shewed.

Let that be followed which hath most reason; And for the fixing of sublimate I have done it into red pouder with the onlie elemental fire; above and beneath in the space of 8 houres and less, The other compound water which serveth for the alteration of calces, followeth in these words: Make a compound water of 3 things, that is, gumm of sericon. Naturall vitrioll, and Salt Niter or Salt Peter and them destill according to Art, it worketh many things, and is called the two dragons of philosophers and fighting in the bloud of satatia: Besides touching the vertues of this water he speaketh much, which I heere now omit for brevitie sake: Touching the order of the worcke, he giveth this note; and so commeth to practick, the working with the prepared Calces therein innceted, must be placed in a could place, the vessaile hard stopped with a linen cloth: Now to the practick; Take the prepared calx of the body, and put upon him such convenient quantities of compound water as may well cover it, or no more, agreeable to the reasonable judgment of the expert Artist: which straightway shall boile without any other externall fire added to it: which dissolving and lifting and letting up itself inform of yce, the hand of the workman must remove; and so doing tell the whole Calx of it bee lifted up and made to powder; which must be put in a good quantity of naturall fire rectified into water ardent, which by administration of outward fire as in the Balneo or Lent heat of sand, must be dissolved into oile by substracting the water from it, the oftener it be done the better: with this oile if it be of Sun and Moon may the calces of other bodies be lifted up after this manner be inceared, until they be fixed and flowing which shall congeale Argent vive and other imperfect bodies: the same oile may also be put in kymia, [or kymena, a Matras - q] there to putrefie and to be burned into ferment, which is that which was spoken of, touching alterations for ferment; with which in a great deale shorter time we may make ferment redie for the stone, then by putrefaction and an end of the mixed stone.