Now I will speak a word or two of Solution,
Which reveals what ere was hid from sight,
And makes thin, things that were thick,
By virtue of our first menstruum clear and bright,
In which our bodies have been eclipsed from light,
And of their hard and dry compaction subtilated,
Into their own first matter kindly retrogradated.
One in gender they be, and in number two,
Whose father is the Sun, the Moon the mother,
Mercury moves between,
These and no more be our Magnesia, our Adrop,
And no other things be here, but only sister and brother,
That is to mean, agent and patient,
Sulphur and Mercury, co-essential to our intent.
Betwixt these two, equally contrary,
Engendered is our mean most marvellous,
Which is our Mercury and unctuous menstrum,
Our secret Sulphur working invisibly,
More fiercely than fire burning the body,
Dissolving the body into mineral water,
Which we do call night or darkness in the North.
But yet I trust, you understand not utterly,
The very secret of the Philosopher’s Dissolution.
Therefore understand me, I counsel you wisely,
For the truth I will tell you without delusion,
Our Solution is cause of our Congelation,
For Dissolution on the one side corporeal,
Causes Congelation on the other side spiritual.
And we dissolve into water which wets no hand,
For when the earth is integrally incinerated,
Then is the water congealed; this understand,
For the elements be so together concatenated,
That when the body is from his first form altered,
A new form is induced immediately,
For nothing is without form utterly.
And here a secret I will disclose to you,
Which is the ground unto our secrets all,
Which if you do not know you shall but lose,
Thy labour and costs both great and small.
Take heed therefore that in error you not fall,
The more your earth, and the less your water be,
The rather and better solution shall you see.
Behold how ice to water does relent,
And so it must, for water it was before,
Right so again to water our earth is gone,
And water thereby congealed for evermore.
For after all Philosophers that ever were born,
Each metal was once mineral water,
Therefore with water they turn to water all.
In which water of kind occassionate,
Of qualities been repugnant and diversity.
Things into things must therefore be rotated,
Until diversity be brought to perfect unity.
For Scripture records when the earth shall be troubled,
And into the deep sea shall be cast,
Mountains and bodies likewise at the last.
Our bodies be likened conveniently to mountains,
Which after high Planets we name,
Into the deepness therefore of Mercury,
Turn them, and keep you out of blame,
For then you shall see a noble game,
How all shall become powder as soft as silk,
So does our rennet kindly curd our milk.
Then have the bodies lost their first form,
And others been induced immediately,
Then you have well bestowed your cost,
Whereas others uncunningly must go by,
Not knowing the secrets of our Philosophy.
Yet one point more I must tell thee,
How each body has dimensions three.
Altitude, Latitude and also Profundity,
By which always we must turn our wheel,
Knowing that your entrance in the West shall be,
Your passage forth to the North if you do well,
And there your lights lose their light each deal,
For there you must abide by ninety nights,
In darkness of purgatory without lights.
Then take your course up to the East anon,
By colours variable, passing in manifold ways,
And then be winter and spring nigh overgone,
To the East therefore devise your ascending,
For there the Sun with daylight does uprise in summer,
And there disport you with delight,
For there your work shall become perfect white.
Forth from the East into the South ascend,
And sit you down there in the chair of fire,
For there is harvest, that is to say an end
Of all this work after your own desire,
There shines the Sun up in his Hemisphere,
And after the eclipse is in redness with glory,
To reign as King upon all metals and Mercury.
All in one glass must all this thing be done,
Like to an egg in shape and closed well,
Then you must know the measure of firing,
Which if unknown your work is lost each deal.
Never let your glass be hotter than you may feel,
And suffer still in your bare hand to hold,
For fear of losing, as Philosophers have told.
Yet to my doctrine futhermore attend,
Beware your glass you never open nor move,
From the beginning until you have made an end,
If you do otherwise, your work may never achieve,
Thus in this Chapter, which is but brief,
I have taught you your true Solution,
Now to the third gate go, for this is won.
The end of the second gate.