Friday, 11 May 2012
I've just started a book recommended by Rogerh - John Read's "The Alchemist in Life Literature and Art". I haven't finished it yet, but I just had to post this delicious quote. As you read it, please remember that it's about alchemists and not climate scientists. I don't want anyone mixing them up.
The alchemical adepts treated their esoteric doctrines and practical operations as weighty and sacred secrets, to be maintained as a closed body of knowledge. Their "noble practise" was thus "to vaile their secrets with mistie speech," lest the clodhopper might turn from his plough and cultivate the more alluring soil of the Sages.
The literature of alchemy, of which enormous accumulations have been preserved both in printed books and manuscripts, therefore abounds in cryptic expressions, often to the point of unintelligibility and incoherence. The alchemists delighted also in allegory and in symbolic representations of their doctrines and ideas. In such ways they made great play with a limited stock of ideas, upon which they rang an unending series of trivial changes, both in their expressions and their imagery.
Does nothing change?