They contain, under the title Doctrine of Democritus, a fairly methodical treatise in ten books comprising the Argyropoeia and Chrysopoeia of the pseudo-Democritus, with many receipts for colouring metals, making artificial precious stones, effecting the diplosis or doubling of metals, &c. They give illustrations of the apparatus employed, and their close relationship to the Greek is attested by the frequent occurrence of Greek words and the fact that the 1 An alchemistical work bearing the name of Ostanes speaks of a divine water which cures all maladies - an early appearance of the universal panacea or elixir of life.
This sulphur again was not ordinary sulphur, but some principle derived from it, which constituted the philosopher's stone or elixir - white for silver and yellow or 1 " Some traditionary knowledge might be secreted in the temples and monasteries of Egypt; much useful experience might have been acquired in the practice of arts and manufactures, but the science of chemistry owes its origin and improvement to the industry of the Saracens.
But the most eager search of Arabian chemistry was the transmutation of metals, and the elixir of immortal health: the reason and the fortunes of thousands were evaporated in the crucibles of alchemy, and the consummation of the great work was promoted by the worthy aid of mystery, fable and superstition."
Thus he says that the silver which has been changed into gold by the projection of the red elixir is not rendered resistant to the agents which affect silver but not gold, and Albertus Magnus in his De Mineralibus - the De Alchemia attributed to him is spurious - states that alchemy cannot change species but merely imitates them - for instance, colours a metal white to make it resemble silver or yellow to give it the appearance of gold.
It was at this time too that the many-sided Alexius invented his famous "drops," or tinctura toniconervina Bestuschefi, the recipe of which was stolen by the French brigadier Lamotte, who made his fortune by introducing it at the French court, where it was known as Elixir d'Or.
Eau de vie (" elixir of life") was in use during the 13th and 14th centuries; Arnoldus Villanovanus applied it to the product of distilled wine, though not as a specific name.
"The Church Porch," "The Agony," "Sin," "Sunday," "Virtue," "Man," "The British Church," "The Quip," "The Collar," "The Pulley," "The Flower," "Aaron" and "The Elixir" are among the best known of these poems. Herbert and Keble are the poets of Anglican theology.
Trithemius is the reputed author of some obscure tracts on the great elixir, and as there was no other chemistry going Paracelsus would have to devote himself to the reiterated operations so characteristic of the notions of that time.
Whether or not he believed in the philosopher's elixir is of very little consequence.
He is said to have resided most frequently at Kufa, where he prepared the "elixir," but, according to others, he never spent long in one place, having reason to keep his whereabouts unknown.
It is at the lastnamed spot that the various pharmaceutical preparations are now manufactured for which they are famous (though sold only since about 1840) - the Elixir, the Boule d'acier (a mineral paste or salve), and the celebrated liqueur.
You have invented an elixir not of memory, but of reminding.