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with other excellent Experiments. Divided into twelve Gates.
Pulchrum pro Patria pati.
The Compound of Alchymy has been already noticed in our account of Ashmole's Theatrum Chemicum Britannicum, 1652, 4to, where it is inserted among the poetical tracts printed on the Science of Alchemy. It was written in 1471, and is dedicated by Ripley to Edward IV. It is composed in seven-line stanzas, and not, according to Warton, in the octave metre. The title is in a compartment with termini at the sides, the Stationers' arms at the top, and the date on a tablet at the bottom. After which is an “Epistle Dedicatorie” by Rabbards “To the most High and Mightie Princesse Elizabeth, by the grace of God Queene of England, Fraunce, and Ireland, Defender of the Faith,” &c.; the capital E at the commencement being what is termed a blooming letter, with Queen Elizabeth in the centre seated on the throne. Rabbard, in this epistle, is highly complimentary to the Queen, “ whose piercing rays," says he, “ hath since, like the Sunne beames, both dispersed all grosse mists and fogges of ignorance, error, and blinde superstition, and withall so comforted and nourished the plant of infallible truth of the Gospel (first taking roote in this Land in the short Raigne of the peerelesse Prince Edward the sixt your Maiesties Brother, of most rare expectation and famous memorie) as the same being now sprung up to a perfect tree of such full groath, that the branches thereof haue spread themselves long and wide manie waies ouer other Empires, Kingdomes and States, mauger the Diuell, the Pope, and King of Spaine, with all their fraternitie, consorts, leaguers, and adherents, or other their ministers, spreaders, and maintainers of lies; under the shelter and couert of which fourishing Palme, all true Christians have
VOL. V. PART I.
been, are, and (I hope) long shall be (by the continuance of your Maiesties most bountifull and gracious especiall favour) protected and shrowded, from the burning heate of the sharpe persecutions of all malicious Enemies thereof: the which, God of his great mercie graunt.” Rabbards also speaks “ of the imprisonment, torments, and other hard usage he had met with for many years, and of the losse of many yeares spent unprofitably in a labyrinth of law suites and private contention with men of verie great abilitie, and better friended than myselfe, wherein now utterly wearyed, and worne out of heart, through the greatnes of my adversaries purse and friendes, I am now forced for want of abilitie, after ten yeares chargeable suite, to relinquish the same, and to returne to those my delectable studies and serviceable exercises again." This is followed by a Preface “To the Right Honourable, Worshipfull, and worthy Gentlemen of England, and other learned and industrious Students in the secrets of Philosophie,” by commendatory verses in Latin by “ Thomas Newtonus Cestreshyrius," and the divine poet Palingenius, and in English by J. D., gent., P. Bales, gent., and Sir E. K. (Edward Kelly), concerning the “Philosophers Stone," eight sixline stanzas; by “The Vision of Sir George Ripley, Chanon of Bridlington,” twenty-four lines of verse; “ Titulus Operis," sixteen lines; and by “A briefe note to the Readers," signed R. Rabbardes.
The poem is preceded by “ The Prologue,” thirteen stanzas, and “The Preface,” twenty-nine stanzas. The twelve gates are: (1.) Of Calcination ; (2.) Of Dissolution; (3.) Of Seperation; (4.) Of Coniunction; (5.) Of Putrifaction ; (6.) Of Congelation; (7.) Of Cibation; (8.) Of Sublimation; (9.) Of Firmentation ; (10.) Of Exaltation ; (11.) Of Multiplication; (12.) Of Proiection. Then“ A Recapitulation of the whole work," eleven stanzas; “An Admonition, wherein the author declareth his erronious experiments," fifteen stanzas; “The Epistle to King Edward 4," thirty octave stanzas; a woodcut of “George Ripley's Wheele mentioned in his Worke," with verses; and a short prose address “To the indifferent Reader," closes the volume.
We fear the poetry in this work will not interest our readers. It is harsh and rugged, and in parts hardly now intelligible, being written in the mysterious jargon of these enthusiastic seekers after the aurum potabile, with what success the few stanzas here given as a sample of the verse very amusingly declare. They are taken from the fifth Gate, “ Of Putrifaction.”
And be thou wise in choosing of the matter,
For whatsoeuer any worker to thee doth clatter,
Where is my money become, saith one ?
Westminster Abbey, the rebuilding of which had been commenced by Henry III., and had been carried on slowly by succeeding princes, was still unfinished in Edward the Fourth's time. The great tower and other parts were not completed till after the Reformation; and it is to the slow progress of the work that Ripley here, and a few stanzas before, alludes.
In Cens. Liter., vol x, p. 157, an “Induction” is printed in fifteen sevenline stanzas from an old MS. of much earlier orthography than that contained in Ashmole's work, or in the present volume, which has only thirteen stanzas, the first two being separated from the others as the title of the work, and as these relate to the personal history of the author, we here quote them :
Heare beginneth the compounde of Alchemye,
The which chanon St George Rypley hight,
Doing vnto God no displeasaunce. Ripley, who was a person of considerable learning, was a Canon Regular of the monastery of Saint Augustine at Bridlington, in Yorkshire, and had travelled much abroad in France aud Italy. He afterwards became a Carmelite at Boston, in Lincolnshire, and died there in 1490.
See Warton's Hist. Eng. Poet., vol. ii, p. 448; Herbert's Typog. Antiq., vol. ii, p. 1246; Cens. Liter., vol. x, p. 157; Ritson's Bibl. Poet., p. 94; and Bibl. Ang. Poet., p. 608. Nassau's copy, pt. ii, No. 965, sold for 1l. 138.; Sir Mark M. Sykes's, pt. iii, No. 1134, 1l. 168.; Bibl. Selecta (Midgley's) No. 715, 1l. 10s.; Bright's, No. 4741, 1l. 18.; Skegg's, No. 1492, 1l. 178.; Bibl. Ang. Poet., No. 608, 101.
Collation : Sig. A 4, *4, B. to M 4 in fours.
The present copy has the engraved frontispiece by Vaughan, to Ripley Redio'd, inserted.
Bound in Russia, marbled leaves.
Ripley, (George.) — Ripley Reviv'd: or, an Exposition upon Sir
George Ripley's Hermetico-Poetical Works. Containing the plainest and most excellent Discoveries of the most hidden Secrets of the Ancient Philosophers, that were ever yet published. Written by Eirenæus Philalethes an Englishman, stiling himself Citizen of the World.
London, Printed by Tho: Ratclif and Nat. Thompson, for William Cooper at the Pelican in Little Britain. 1678. 8vo.
The name of the author of this exposition, under the assumed title of Eirenæus Philalethes, has not transpired. Cooper, the publisher, speaking of him in an advertisement, remarks that he was “an Englishman, supposed to be yet living, and travelling, and about the age of fifty-five years, but his name is not certainly known; that he was the author of several other works, some of which he afterwards burned; that among other things he