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The Book Of Quinte Essence Or The Fifth Being (1889) Edited from British Museum MS. Sloane 73 about 1460-70 A.D.   By:

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[Transcriber’s Note:

This text uses a number of characters that depend on utf 8 encoding, particularly “ȝ” (yogh) and “þ” (thorn). For readers who are unable to view these characters, there is an alternate version of this file using only ascii (typewriter) characters.

The 1866/1889 text printed many single letters in italics, representing contractions in the 15th century original. These italicized letters are shown within {braces}. Italics elsewhere in the text are indicated with lines in the usual way. Brackets from the original text are [[doubled]] where necessary to avoid ambiguity.

The printed text used headnotes, footnotes and several kinds of sidenote. In this e text, headnotes begin with the page number, and footnotes are marked [Footnote...]; all other bracketed lines are sidenotes. Details are explained at the end of the text.]

The Book of Quinte Essence

or The Fifth Being;

That is to say, Man’s Heaven.

A tretice in englisch breuely drawe out of þe book of quintis e{ess}encijs in latyn, þ{a}t hermys þe p{ro}phete and kyng of Egipt, aft{er} þe flood of Noe fadir of philosophris, hadde by reuelaciou{n} of an aungil of god to him sende.

Edited from British Museum MS. Sloane 73 about 1460 70 A.D. by FREDERICK J. FURNIVALL



Original Series, No. 16 Reprinted in Great Britain by Richard Clay (The Chaucer Press) Ltd., Bungay, Suffolk

The odd account of the origin of this Treatise in its first lines caught my eye as I was turning over the leaves of the Sloane Manuscript which contains it. I resolved to print it as a specimen of the curious fancies our forefathers believed in (as I suppose) in Natural Science, to go alongside of the equally curious notions they put faith in in matters religious. And this I determined on with no idea of scoffing, or pride in modern wisdom; for I believe that as great fallacies now prevail in both the great branches of knowledge and feeling mentioned, as ever were held by man. Because once held by other men, and specially by older Englishmen, these fancies and notions have, or should have, an interest for all of us; and in this belief, one of them is presented here.

The loss of my sweet, bright, only child, Eena, and other distress, have prevented my getting up any cram on the subject of Quintessence to form a regular Preface. The (translated?) original of the text is attributed to Hermes Trismegistus, “or the thrice great Interpreter,” so called as “having three parts of the Philosophy of the whole world”[1] to whom were credited more works than he wrote. The tract appears to be a great fuss about Alcohol or Spirits of Wine; how to make it, and get more or less tipsy on it, and what wonders it will work, from making old men young, and dying men well, to killing lice.

The reading of the proof with the MS. was done by Mr. Edmund Brock, the Society’s most careful and able helper. To Mr. Cockayne I am indebted for the identification of some names of plants, &c.; and to Mr. Gill of University College, London, for some Notes on the Chemistry of the treatise, made at the request of my friend Mr... Continue reading book >>

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