The Book of Quinte Essence or The Fifth Being

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The Book of Quinte Essence or
The Fifth Being

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Title: The Book Of Quinte Essence Or The Fifth Being (1889) Edited
from British Museum MS. Sloane 73 about 1460-70 A.D.
Author: Unknown
Editor: Frederick James Furnivall
Release Date: November 29, 2005 [EBook #17179]
Language: English
Character set encoding: ASCII

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[Transcriber's Note:
This version of "The Book of Quinte Essence" is intended for those
readers who are unable to use either of the utf-8 versions (text or html).
Characters that could not be represented in 7-bit ascii have been
"unpacked" and shown in brackets: [gh] [th] yogh, thorn [-n] [-a] [-e]
letter with overline (abbreviation for following nasal) ['e] e with acute
accent [l-] l with bar [lb] "pounds" abbreviation (lb with bar through
both ascenders) [P] pilcrow (paragraph symbol) +transliterated Greek+
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 [th]e book of quintis
e{ess}encijs in latyn, [th]{a}t hermys [th]e p{ro}phete and kyng of
Egipt, aft{er} [th]e 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

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. Moreshwar
Atmaram.[2] The Sloane MS. I judge to be about, but after, 1460
A.D.[3] The later copy (Harleian MS. 853, fol. 66) seems late 16th
century or early 17th,[3] and has been only collated for a few passages
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