BEINECKE RARE BOOK AND MANUSCRIPT LIBRARY
GENERAL COLLECTION OF RARE BOOKS AND
MEDIEVAL AND RENAISSANCE MANUSCRIPTS
Mellon MS 19
ALCHEMICAL MISCELLANY, in French and Latin
London, unsigned, partly dated during June and July 1480
19.1 Arnold of Villanova. Rosarius, in French.
19.2 Anonymous. Alchemy, in French.
19.3 Albertus Magnus. Compositum de compositis, in French.
19.4 Anonymous. Alchemical recipes and procedures, in Latin.
19.5 Anonymous. Alchemical recipes and procedures, in Latin.
19.6 Raymundus Gaufridi. Verbum abbreviatum de leone viridi, in
19.7 Ramon Lull. Clavicula, much expanded and translated into
19.8 Roger Bacon? Speculum alchemiae, in Latin.
19.9 Nicholas. Summa rosarii, in Latin.
19.10 Arnold of Villanova. Novum lumen, in Latin.
19.11 Anonymous. Alchemical procedures, in Latin.
19.12 Johannes Pauper. Breviloquium, in Latin.
19.13 Ramon Lull. Epistola accurtationis, in Latin.
19.14 John of Rupescissa. Liber lucis, in Latin.
19.15 Anonymous. Alchemical recipes and procedures, in Latin.
19.16 Anonymous. Procedures for staining glass and making paste
gems, in Latin.
19.17 Anonymous. Procedure calling for tin from Cornwall, in
19.18 Duc de Berry? Alchemical recipes and procedures said to have
been proven by the Duc de Berry, in Latin.
19.19 Anonymous. Medicinal and alchemical recipes and procedures,
Paper codex in French and Latin, 12mo., 143 x 102, ff. 159 of at least 163
originally, foliated in pen in an old hand with many corrections, no
signatures, no catchwords, faintly ruled with single bordering lines
throughout in blind or plumbate; 1 column, size variable, mostly about 90 x
60, 24-34 lines. Collation: (1)^^12, (2)^^12-1, (3-4)^^12, (5)^^3, (6-8)^^12,
(9)^^10, (10-11)^^12, (12)^^12+1, (13)^^10, (14)^^18-2; one leaf missing
after f. 17, another (probably) in the fifth quire, and two at the end. No
headlines, no color, no decoration, spaces left for some capitals with guide
letters, a few drawings in the text or in margins, as noted below. Written
throughout by one scribe in brown ink in a remarkably small and neat cursive
gothic hand, often very highly abbreviated, but with mainly standard forms;
rare correction by the scribe. A few additions in seventeenth- and
eighteenth-century Italian hands. Watermarks in folds and trimmed, not read.
BINDING: Nineteenth-century marbled paper boards with diced calf back, the
backstrip in compartments with horizontal gilt fillets, lines of gilt small
tools bordering the false bands, title label in the second compartment from
the top gilt-lettered "REGNAULT." Early, probably original green edges.
Hinges of the binding repaired.
PROVENANCE: Written almost unquestionably by an Italian, at least partly at
London in the summer of 1480; belonged to Joseph (surname erased) of Como,
1676 and 1698; to the same or another Italian owner, 1703; to a Milanese
owner later in the eighteenth century; to Baron Horace de Landau, Florence,
in the later nineteenth century, with his bookplate and shelf numbers "89 |
102"; to Denis Duveen, with his inked number 5; Mellon MS 30, acquired with
the Duveen collection. De Ricci-Bond 9 (30).
f. 1r, 1: Cy comence le rosier de Maistre Regnault de Ville- | [below, at the
end of line 2:] nove. | [beginning of line 2:] lE livre abregie et tresvray |
aprouve thresor des thresors: lequel est apelle Ro-| sier des philosophes. Et
de tous les secres: le plus grant | secret della [sic] plus droite
f. 25v, 17: ... en secretement gardant leur rosier: | afin que par merite tu
deserves que de toi soit dit: tu es | des antiens saiges. | Explicit rosarium
[sic] magistri Raynaldi de villa nova. | de lapide phisico de vero elixir
componendo: 1480. | die 13 Julij in civitate londoniarum. Deo gratias. Amen.
[19.1: Arnold of Villanova, Rosarius, in French, as in Corbett I, p. 280,
copied at London, 30 July 1480. A leaf of text has been torn out following f.
f. 25v, 23: Incipit quadam brevis et compendiosa loquutio apud praedictam
materiam. | Et primo de coloribus apparentibus in regimine tocius operis
lapidis. | En la mutation de la pierre dengendrer trois couleurs | c'est
chose necessaire, premierement noyre: puis blanche: et puis | apres rouge...
[f. 26v, 10:] .Capitulum de vita. | Je vueil que ceulx que secretement
tiennent auyent ce que ie di | Et mes amis: les paroles de ma bouche...
f. 28r, 20: ... Et guerit longues | enfermettes. Se tu fais droittement eaue
de tres pur | or. et cetera.
[19.2: Anonymous, Alchemy, in French. Unidentified, perhaps consisting of
several extracts from other works, translated into French.]
f. 28v, 1: Incipit tractatus alberti qui intitulatur compositum de
compositis. | Albert dit ainsi. Je me musserai [sic] point le denier qui mest
| comis par la negotiation de nostre seigneur: afin que ie nen | soie
f. 32r, 31: Explicit tractatus alberti de arte transmutandi metalla: qui |
dicitur liber compositi de compositis .1480. penultima Julij londo- | nijs. |
[19.3: Albertus Magnus, Compositum de compositis, translated anonymously
into French, copied at London, 30 July 1480. See TK 1555 and, especially, P.
Kibre, "Writings ascribed to Albertus Magnus," in Speculum, XVII, 1942, pp.
500-501, 506-507, where later French translations only, apparently made from
Ze IV, are noted.]
f. 30v, 1: Crocus Martis. | Recipe limaturem [sic] martis [i.e., Iron] quam
lava sepius... [line 11:] pulverisatio .Auri. | Expone laminam .Auri. optimi
super vaporem... [line 24:] Accipe cortices ovorum... [line 32:] Recipe .20.
albumina ovorum ... [Ends 37r, 28:] arsenico septies sublimatum: fit album
[19.4: Anonymous, Alchemy, in Latin, consisting of unidentified short
procedures and recipes.]
f. 37v, headline: liber transmutationis metallorum | [line 1:] Quamquam [?]
natura in omnibus suis operibus semper intendat quod melius est...
f. 50v, 16: portam per quam inponuntur ligna vel carbones: qua possit |
claudi et apperiri [sic] temporibus opportunis. |
[19.5: Anonymous, Alchemy, in Latin, unidentified.]
f. 51r, 1: [V]erbum abreviatum verissimum sequitur approbatum in opere .A. et
f. 52v, 8: ... de mi- | nera in omni examinatione. | Finit verbum abreviatum
Raymundi.1480. 21 Junij. in londonijs. |
[19.6: Raymundus Gaufridi, Verbum abbreviatum de leone viridi, TK 1688;
Little, pp. 397-398; T IV, p. 15; DWS 193; etc.; copied at London, 21 June
1480. The text is sometimes attributed to Roger Bacon. The symbols "A" and
"B" are not clearly identified, but most often represent gold and silver in
f. 53r, 1: Cy comence le tresor de sapience e clef e [sic] termination | de
tout corps de phisique. et tresor incomparable. | cE livre est nome tresor de
sapience porce che [sic] | nul ne puet acquerir le tresor qui de dens [sic] |
est escript se ce nest par grant sapience...
f. 96v,12: ... Et ainsi est acomply: | le secret precieus: lequel est au mond
le plus grand se- | cret. | Explicit thesaurus sapientie Rosarij magistri
lullij. in londonijs | 1480. 6. die Junijs et cetera. deo gratias amen.
[19.7: Ramon Lull, Clavicula, apparently much expanded and translated
anonymously into French, copied at London, 6 June 1480. See TK 924,
1360-1361; T IV, p. 632; etc. Corbett I, p. 239, cites a fifteenth-century
version in a mixture of Latin and French, but it does not closely resemble
the present version; the version printed in Ze III, pp. 290-299, is not the
Latin original ofthis translation.]
f. 97r, 1: Rosarium Ioannis dastini .capitulum. primum. quid sit ars
transmutandi | corpora metallica | iN plurimis antiquis codicibus: satis
f. 100r, 13: ... Et est opus unius diei | sive unius hore vel momenti et
dimidij. De quo semper mirabilis et | laudandus [sic] est deus in eternum
amen. Finis. |
[19.8: Roger Bacon, Speculum alchemiae, TK 702; DWS 194; Corbett II, p.
108; etc. The preface, TK 188, is not present in this copy. See Little, pp.
411-412, where this is described as a work of Bacon which "may be genuine."
In this copy it is attributed not to Bacon, but to John Dastin.]
f. 100r, 16: Incipit sumaria expositio libri Rosarij. | nOta quod lapis est
unus medicina una: in quo totum magisterium | consistit...
f. 104r, 27: ... De quo mirabilis laudandus est deus | sine fine. Amen.
Explicit Summa rosarij. |
[19.9: Nicholas, Summa rosarii, TK 936, citing only a Cambridge MS dated
1528; not located elsewhere in the literature consulted.]
f. 104v, 1: Novum lumen. | pAter et domine .Reverende. licet liberalium
existam [?] | scientiarum ignarum: ...
f. 107v, 28: ... hac re meo iudicio digniorem. | Altissimus vos pervenire
faciat ad optatum [?]. Amen. | Explicit novum lumen. |
[19.10: Arnold of Villanova, Novum lumen, TK 1029; T III, pp. 67-69; etc.
DWS 326 attributes authorship differently, as do some other writers on the
f. 108r, 1: Fixatio C. | [line 9:] Fixatio .B.
[19.11: Anonymous, Alchemical procedures, in Latin, involving the use of "A"
and "B," probably representing symbols for metals. See the note to the text
by Raymundus Gaufridi in the present MS, 19.6 above. Not identified.]
f. 108v: [Blank, except for a partly erased and crossed-through inscription
in a seventeenth-century Italian cursive hand, ending, "1676 Comi."]
f. 109r, 1: Breviloquium Iohannis. | tEstatur Geber .Reverendus. liber .5.
capitulo .12. quod tres sunt ordines | medicinarum...
f. 112v, 14: ... sed propter eius sanitatem conservandam. ad dei honorem | et
eius perpetuam salutem: et gloriam sempiternam in futuro. | Explicit
breviloquium Johannis pauperis .de vera medinica.
[19.12: Johannes Pauper, Breviloquium, with the prologue, TK l568; DWS 217,
f. 112v, 17: Recipe .A. et .B. optime purgatorum .ana .C. de montepesulano:
vel de Hyspania...
[Unidentified procedure, in which "A," "B," and "C" have not been certainly
identified (but see notes to 19.6 and 19.11 above), partly compressed into
twenty lines of minute writing on this page, then, following a marginal note,
completed in twenty-six lines of minute writing beginning at f. 116r, 20.]
f. 113r, 1: Raymundus de accurtatione lapidis. | lVom [sic] ego Raymundus
lulli de insula Maioricarum iam preteritis | temporibus plures libros...
f. 116r, 16: ... Elige ergo ab ea intentum. Laudamus deum. qui vivit in |
secula seculorum amen. | Explicit epistola Raymundi de accurtatione lapidis
destinate regi | Roberto: excellentissimo regi Christianorum. | [Below, the
procedure begun on f. 112v is finished.]
[19.13: Ramon Lull, Epistola accurtationis, TK 296; T IV, pp. 24, 623, 625;
DWS 250; Corbett I, pp. 190, 270; etc.]
f. 116v, 1: De Lapide philosophorum. | mAteria lapidis nostri est res vilis
f. 119r, 22: ... non tingit nisi. 100.
[19.14: John of Rupescissa, Liber lucis, TK 851. In this version the text
has no prologue and contains seven operations; it most closely resembles B.M.
MS Sloane 338, ff. 53v-56v, as described in DWS 293.]
f. 119r, 23: Quomodo errata sunt corrigenda... | In imittatione [sic] lapidis
tres attende colores. principales. primo nigrum | postea album: deinde
rubeum... [f. 119v, 28:] Hic est furnus philosophorum... [In the lower margin
is a good drawing of the furnace, apparently by the copyist of the codex,
together with a legend. The description ends f. 120r, 18. F. 120v is blank
except for an inscription of nine lines, in the same hand as the dated note
on f. 108v, in which the erased name Joseph--? Comensis and the date "1698
.adi. 26 Maij." occur; f. 121r, 1:] Opus mirabile super mercurium ad eius
fixationem... [There follows a long series of mostly short recipes and
procedures, including a description of a furnace with a fine drawing on f.
123r. Ends f. 123v, followed by a short procedure in Italian by the
seventeenth-century Italian hand.]
[19.15: Anonymous, Alchemical recipes and procedures, in Latin, not
f. 124r, 1: de vitro tingendo | Ut lamina vitrea tingatur in rubeo claro ...
[Next follows a long series of procedures for making colored and stained
glass, together with paste gems, techniques for polishing stones, plus a
description, but without the drawing called for, of a "furnax [sic]
reverberationis." Ends f. 134v, 14, the remainder of the leaf being blank,
but is immediately followed by another unidentified, long glassmaking recipe,
f. 135r, 1:] Calx pro rubeo claro in vitro. | [Ends f. 135v, 17:] ... in aqua
frigida post suam fusionem. Et eius finis [?]. | [remainder blank.]
[19.16: Anonymous, Procedures for staining glass and making paste gems, in
Latin, not identified.]
f. 136r, 1: Modus educendi .[word not read]. de Iove [i.e., Tin]: quod valet
ad multa | Recipe Jovis [Tin] optimi Anglici de cornubia...
[19.17: Anonymous, Procedure calling for tin from Cornwall, in Latin, not
identified, followed by many others, among which is a group beginning on f.
141v, 9, with this heading:] Sequuntur Recepta mihi data a monaco qui
asseruit esse operationes | quae operabatae per domino Bituricensi. | [These
unidentified recipes and procedures end in a highly abbreviated passage, not
read, at f. 144v, 8, with two small drawings of a flask and retort in the
[19.18: Duc de Berry (?), Alchemical recipes andprocedures said to have been
proven by the Duc de Berry, in Latin, not identified.]
f. 145r, 1: Contra crepaturam. | [There follows another long series of
recipes and procedures of all sorts, evidently entered in the volume at
different times, but all by the same hand, continuing through f. 159 where
the codex ends abruptly due to the loss of two or more ff., but with parts of
some pages left blank, and ff. 154-157 originally left entirely blank. Some
pieces of the originally blank leaves have been torn away, apparently for
scrap paper or to remove signatures which accompanied later entries, then
repaired with blank paper. Ff. 153v, 154r, 155v, and 156v have such notes in
a late seventeenth- or early eighteenth-century hand, conceivably the one
which has made the late seventeenth-century entries in the codex, already
described, the note on f. 153v accompanied by a pen profile drawing of a male
head, that on f. 155v dated February 28th, 1703. Folio 157r-v contains a
frequently illegible note in another, later eighteenth-century Italian hand,
the sense of which is that its writer remained at home reading the present
volume "in this city of Milano" while all the others went about to the
masques, dances, and other festivals, and the writer found the remarkable
secrets in the volume very precious and interesting. Not transcribed.]
f. 158r, 1: Ad multiplicandum lac mulierum: lactantium... [a group of recipes
ending abruptly and illegibly because of staining and wear at f. 159v, 29.]
[19.19: Anonymous, Medicinal and alchemical recipes and procedures, in
Latin, not identified.]
SUMMARY: It has already been remarked that MS 18 bears a relationship, yet to
be determined, to MS 19, and it is conceivable that both were written by a
single individual, namely Franciscus de Traversagnis, despite entirely
distinct hands. The two manuscripts share many features, including virtually
identical size, edges of the same color, signs of rearrangement of the
contents, and recent provenance; both are personal compilations. There can be
little doubt that MS 19 was written by an educated Italian; though his
command of French was excellent, some Italianisms, like "della" for "de la"
at f. 1r, 5; "e" twice for "et" at f. 53r, 1; "che" for "que" at f. 53r, 3;
and "se" for "si," passim, have been noted. Whatever the relationship between
the two manuscripts may be, MS 19 is undeniably an important and interesting
codex containing unrecorded French translations of well known works and
literally hundreds of recipes and procedures, including the long series on
glass-making. Its contents combine an extended series of mystical or
speculative alchemies, including a number of French translations not noted in
the literature consulted, and a long series of wholly practical procedures,
demonstrating that interest in one aspect of alchemy did not preclude
interest in the other.