Guide To Medieval and Renaissance Manuscripts in the Huntington Library


HM 30313

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RIPLEY (?), ALCHEMICAL SCROLL
England, s. XVI2
1. [Richard Carpenter?] Of the Sunne take the light/ The red Gum that is so bright/ And the Moone doe allsoe/ The white gum there keepe to…But in the Matrix wher the bee put/ Looke never the vessell bee unshut/ Till they haue ingendred a Stone/ In all the woorld is not such a one.
IMEV 2656. E. Ashmole, ed., Theatrum Chemicum Britannicum (London 1652) 275-77, and R. H. Robbins, ed., Secular Lyrics of the XIVth and XVth Centuries (Oxford 1956) 82-84, here in 42 verses, of which only 15 correspond to the text printed by Robbins (his vv. 1-12, 34-36). See also Schuler, n. 105, citing this manuscript.
2. [George Ripley? First block of text, 36 verses:] On the ground there is a hill/ Allso a Serpent in a well…Of the white Stone and the red/ Here truly is the very deede. [Second block, 40 verses:] [Take thy] father that phebus soe bright/ [That] sit so highe in Maiestie…Sum behinde & some before/ As philosephers there him gaue. [Third block, 12 verses:] In the sea withouten lees/ Stoude the Byrd of Hermes…Vnderstand now well A Right/ & thancke God of this Sight. [Fourth block, 38 verses:] I Shall Now tell without Leesinge/ hou & what is My Generation…And make them All thre but one/ Loe here is the philosephers Stone.
IMEV 1364.5. Ashmole, here reversing the order of his blocks of text, to be read 378-79, 377-78, 376-77, 375-76. See R. H. Robbins, “Alchemical Texts in Middle English Verse: Corrigenda and Addenda,” Ambix 13 (1966) 62-73, citing this manuscript as olim Dyson Perrins on pp. 70 and 73 (in a list of known manuscripts). Schuler, n. 464.
3. In the name of the Trinitie/ Harke here and ye shall see…All maner Good men in his Degree/ Amen amen for Charitie. [dorse blank]
Hanna, “Addenda,” n. 20 printing this text in full. See also Oxford, Bod. Lib., Ashmole 1480 article 15 (s. XVI) and Ashmole 972 article 16 (Ashmole’s notes in an interleaved copy of his Theatrum Chemicum Britannicum).
Parchment, roll of 6 membranes; 3,247 × 392 mm. 196 lines of verse. Written in an italic script, badly rubbed in some areas. Four large illustrations in ink and watercolor, ca. 760 mm. in height. In the first (process for the White Stone), Aristotle (?) holding a large retort within which are 8 circles containing monks looking at human figures in glass bottles, each bottle being linked by a chain to a circle containing 2 men holding a book. In the second picture (process for the Red Stone), a fountain supported by a column held by one of 3 naked figures standing in a pool; 7 philosophers stand on pinnacles around the fountain, in which a naked man and woman are eating grapes from a vine; on the base of the fountain is a green dragon with a frog jumping from its mouth; below it, “The Red Lyon” and “The Grene Lyon” warm their paws at a fire. In the third picture (process for the Elixir of Life), the white bird of Hermes standing on a globe, eating its wing. In the fourth, a sun above a creascent moon which is held in the mouth of a dragon standing on a winged globe; inside the sun are 3 linked circles identified as “the white stone,” “the red stone” and “the Elixir vitae.” Below the winged globe, the final verses written on a scroll held by a king and a pilgrim (representing George Ripley?). For plates of New Haven, Yale University, Beinecke Library, Mellon MS 41, a Ripley alchemical scroll very similar to HM 30313, see Alchemy and the Occult: A Catalogue of Books and Manuscripts from the Collection of Paul and Mary Mellon given to Yale University Library, compiled by Laurence C. Witten II and Richard Pachella (New Haven 1977) 3:271-88. Written in England in the second half of the sixteenth century. A number of other rolls with variations of this text and with similar illustrations were produced about the same period; London, Brit. Lib., Add. 5025 is dated 1588. Belonged to C. W. Dyson Perrins (1864-1958). Acquired by the Huntington Library from Sotheby’s, 9 December 1958, lot 42 with a plate of the upper part of the second picture, showing the fountain. Bibliography: Chronica, 6.
Abbreviations
Chronica
J. Preston, “Medieval Manuscripts at the Huntington: Supplement to De Ricci’s Census,” Chronica: a Newsletter Published by the Medieval Association of the Pacific 21 (1977) 2-9
Hanna, “Addenda”
R. Hanna, “The Index of Middle English Verse and Huntington Library Collections: a Checklist of Addenda,” Papers of the Bibliographical Society of America 74 (1980) 235-58
IMEV
C. Brown and R. H. Robbins, Index of Middle English Verse (New York 1943) and Supplement by R. H. Robbins and J. L. Cutler (Lexington 1965)
Schuler
R. M. Schuler, English Magical and Scientific Poems to 1700 (New York 1979)

C. W. Dutschke with the assistance of R. H. Rouse et al., Guide to Medieval and Renaissance Manuscripts in the Huntington Library (San Marino, 1989). Copyright 1989.
Henry E. Huntington Library and Art Gallery, San Marino, California.
Electronic version encoded by Sharon K, Goetz, 2003.
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