This manuscript concerns the chemical components of alchemy more than the actual crafting of any sorcerers’ stone or elixir itself; indeed, it is the general recipe for the precursor materials needed to work the great work itself. The formula is fairly explicit but most of the secondary content used to “prove” the point is religious in nature and heavily metaphorical. Overall, a fine alchemical work of note, from one of the less well known figures within the period. It is slightly similar to some of Hollandus’ work.
This work is quite interesting; written by Edward Kelly (sometimes spelled ‘Kelley’) while he was under imprisonment (either for murder or for failing to make gold using alchemy!) it is a discourse proving, he believes, several alchemical principles he held at the time, by referring to other parties’ works; philosophers, alchemical authors, and works of alchemy of both known and unknown origin; the Rosary, the Turba, and many others.
The main overarching principle is quite clear and not veiled at all, possibly because Kelly wished to escape the dungeons of Rudolph II: That gold, silver, and mercury, and those in their elemental forms, are the only materials used within the main great work of alchemy. Kelly allows one exception; the work of Saturn, the creating of elixir using lead and/or antimony a-la Hollandus. Under duress, or apparently so, Kelly created a short but monumentally clear work containing little of the ambiguity of most contemporary chemical works.