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Link to an image of this page  Link to an image of this page  [M5r p185]

Alchimiae vanitas.[1]

The vanity of alchemy.

Perpetuò sudat cur Carbonarius iste?
Dissociare igni ut mixta elementa queat.
Cur quod nusquam extat, fuit aut essentia quinta
Hanc pretio quaerit, solicitatque focis?
Hoc stolidum mandat pectus, nec sana voluntas,
Quid referet lucri? vivat ut inde stipe.
Quae miseros hominum cepit dementia sensus,
Incerta ut certis sint redimenta bonis?
Spem pretio nunquam tibi pollicearis egenam,
Solvitur in fumum quidquid ineptus agit.

Why does this charcoal-burner sweat constantly? So that he might separate mixed elements with fire. Why does he seek with expense what nowhere exists or existed, and annoy it on the hearth? His stupid head demands this, his will, which is hardly sane. What would he think a gain? That he should live from this stupid stock. What madness is this which has seized the mind of men, that they seek to buy uncertain things with what is good for certain? You can never promise yourself a hope of profit in your need: everything an incompetent man does goes up in smoke.

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