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Alchemical treatises and poems, and Welsh pieces

 Single Item
MS. e Mus. 63
Held at the Weston Library

  • Request

Alchemical treatises and poems, and Welsh pieces:

A (early 16th cent.):

  1. Fol. 1. 'Liber T[home] N[orton] qui intitulatur Ordinale secretorum, with a Latin and English preface (begg. 'Liber iste Clericis', 'To the honour of God one, in Persons three': the text beg. 'Maystrye full mervellous and archimaystrye'): an alchemical work, with notes, partly by dr. John Dee
  2. Fol. 41. 'Here begynithe the Compende of Alkamie made by [George Ripley] a channon of Bridlington', with prologue, preface, twelve chapters, recapitulation, and 'permonicio autoris', in English verse, with notes as above: prol. beg. 'Childe of this discipline', text beg. 'Calcinacione is the purgacione of our stone'.
  3. Two short pieces follow: (fol. 66) 'Verba Secretorum Hermetis', in Latin and English; (fol. 67) an alchemical poem, beg. 'Of Spayne take the clere light | The redd gume that is so bright'. Three leaves are torn out after fol. 69.

B (mid-16th cent., in several hands):

Short alchemical pieces:

  1. Fol. 70. 'Mr Ryppleys work, The Bost of Mercurye', a poem beginning 'I am Mercury, the mightie flos florum'
  2. Fol. 71v. 'Speculum Alchimiæ', in prose, beg. 'Scriptura tale nomen'
  3. Fol. 72. a poem on the Philosopher's Stone, in Latin verse: beg. 'Ergo nota vere lapidem quem cupis habere'
  4. Fol. 74v. 'Conclusiones quorundam philosophorum de lapide Voarhadumico seu Indico'
  5. (fol. 76) 'Opinio cuiusdam academici Oxoniensis de lapide philosophico', in English verse: beg. 'The deepe conceyte well hatch'd in Muses brayne'
  6. Fol. 76v. 'Catalogus librorum Jo Gwynn Arnst', Feb. 28, 157 2/3, thirty-four volumes, chiefly alchemical
  7. Fol. 77. 'Documentum cuiusdam spiritus, traditum magistro Scoto, de virtute bufonis, seu philosophici Lapidis, siue auis Phcenicis'
  8. Fols. 77v, 78. Two Latin poems, begg. 'Si minis et nouus', 'Si rerum secreta petis'
  9. Fol. 80. 'De Lapide philosophico', a Latin rhythmical poem (beg. 'En philosophantium hac in cantilena'), preceded by heraldic crest and arms, coloured, of alchemical significance
  1. Fol. 83. 'Liber quem composuit magister Arnaldus de Noua Villa de Secretis nature.'
  2. Fol. 88. 'Liber Merlini de expositione Lapidis philosophici', a commentary on some verses ascribed to Merlin: beg. 'In quodam tractatu qui incipit Omne datum optimum'.
  3. Fol. 90v. 'Liber Virgilii de Lapide benedicto', beg. 'In nomine beatissime'.
  4. Fol. 93. 'Liber Morieni de exposicione Lapidis benedicti': beg. 'Moriene, primum querere libet': followed by medical recipes, etc. (fol. 95, cf. last cover, and foll. 40v, 75, 92v).
  5. Fols. 97-107 are filled with Welsh writing, see below: two leaves are perhaps lost after fol. 96. Foll. 108-26 are blank.
  6. Fol. 127. 'Gramatica Brytannico idiomate conscripta', a Welsh grammar (?), part of which (fol. 138) is about the composition of verses: finished Oct. 10,1571
  7. at fol. 143 is a copy of a Welsh poem by 'Meredith ap Rees ap Kant, A.D. 1440'
  8. Fols. 144-6 bear Welsh writing, and at fol. 147 is a copy of a letter from John Gwynn 'Arnstlensis' to dr. John Dee, in Latin
  9. Fols. 149-75 are blank: some leaves have been torn out at the end.

The entry of this MS. in the Benefactors' Register seems to imply that a 'Liber de Arte Necromanticâ Anglicè, cui Tit: Cephar Rariel: MS.' was the first item in this volume. A few pages seem to have been torn out before art. 1, and there are now no traces of the treatise.


  • Creation: Made up of two MSS. written in the 16th century in England


175 Leaves

Language of Materials

  • English
  • Welsh
  • Latin

Preferred Citation

Oxford, Bodleian Libraries [followed by shelfmark and folio or page reference, e.g. MS. e Mus. 63, fols. 1-2]

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MS. e Mus. 63

Collection ID (for staff)

CMD ID 18238


Alchemical treatises and poems, and Welsh pieces

Biographical / Historical

John Dee (1527-1608) was a mathematician and astrologer.

Other Finding Aids

Falconer Madan, et al., A summary catalogue of western manuscripts in the Bodleian Library at Oxford which have not hitherto been catalogued in the Quarto series (7 vols. in 8 [vol. II in 2 parts], Oxford, 1895-1953; reprinted, with corrections in vols. I and VII, Munich, 1980), vol. II, no. 3652

Custodial History

Manuscript acquired by the Bodleian Library (186)

Owned by 'W. Typsell' about 1550, and John Strangman in 1559 (?): by John Gwynn, who writes on fol. i a vision of Julius Caesar's image at Rome, June 29, 1569, in Latin, cf. foll. 67 (1582), 76v (1573): and by dr. John Dee in 1595 (fol. 41). The name 'Tho: Shilton' is on the inner front cover (16th cent.).

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Presented to the Library by Evan Jones, M.A., in 1605.

Physical Facet

On paper


12 1/8 × 8 1/2 in.

Alchemical treatises and poems, and Welsh pieces
EAD version 2020 by Alice Whichelow
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Bodleian Libraries Repository

Weston Library
Broad Street
Oxford OX1 3BG United Kingdom