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A Poem From The ‘Chymica Vannus’- The Nobility Of Man

Title page of the 1666 edition

of the Chemica Vannus


Another sharing from the Blue House of Via-HYGEIA, a poem from the Chymica Vannus, from its 1666 Amsterdam Johannes Janssonius (Jan Janszoon)) edition. It surprises us that there is no English nor no French translation, up to now, of this underrated alchemical masterpiece. There is an Italian translation done in the years 1924-25, republished by Arche in Milano in 1982. With the ‘Fortuita’, by the Dutch classicist  Jacob Tollius, the multi-layered ‘Chymica Vannus’ is a gold mine for quotations & stories, rebus & enigmas by the writers of the Antiquity as reported by the anonymous author. Often attributed to the German Johannes de Monte-Snyder (Johannes Mondschneider), some scholars also point to the Englishman Thomas Vaughan, aka. Eugenius Philalethes. More to come from this living well 🙂


English Translation


‘Consequently, anyone who has shown to be naturally inclined towards good, this very one is noble, even though his mother would be an Ethiopian*. Lets express ourselves in truly accurate verses:

The nobility of man, it’s the intellect and the image of the deity;

The nobility of man, it’s the shining lineage of the virtues;

The nobility of man, it’s pulling up the afflicted fallen;

The nobility of man, it’s to curb the rage of the mind;

The nobility of man, it’s to maintain nature’s rights;

The nobility of man, it’s to fear what is shameful;

The nobility of man, it’s to despise the earthly links*;

The nobility of man, it’s to seek the celestial fountains;

True nobility is acquired with gemstones*, not by gold;

Nobility seeks to obtain something much greater.

Because things are but the jewels of wisdom:

Fortune gives them and takes them back with her own hands.

She cannot make someone generous.

The doctrine of nobility keeps in itself its ancestors.’

Notes by Via-HYGEIA :

*‘Ethiopian’ means here from humble origin. But can also be a symbol of the color black and its symbolic in alchemy. Alike the opening of the Song of Songs, “I [am] dark and lovely, daughters of Jerusalem, as tents of Kedar, as curtains of Solomon. Do not fear me, because I [am] very dark, || Because the sun has scorched me“. The Latin word is ‘Aethiope’. (the Italian translator writes: ‘madre negra’, the black mother). Also the ‘Black Virgins’ or ‘Black Madonas’, scattered all around Europe’s ancient churches. Etc…

*‘Despise earthly links’ means being aware and avoid attachments.

*‘Gemstones’ are here the symbol of the slow maturation of our defects and qualities blending and giving birth to the beauty of virtue like the gemstones in the bosom of the earth. Gemstones are here opposed to gold, meaning that one has to work on him/her self the gemstones of his/her nature and cannot by-pass this process with the power that gold-money pretends to give.


French Translation

from the original Latin

by Athanase Lynxe

« Par conséquent, quiconque s’est montré naturellement enclin au bien, celui-là est noble, quand bien même sa mère serait une Éthiopienne. Exprimons-nous donc par des vers bien justes :

La noblesse de l’homme, c’est l’intellect et l’image de la déité ;
La noblesse de l’homme, c’est l’éclatante lignée des vertus ;
La noblesse de l’homme, c’est relever le malheureux gisant ;
La noblesse de l’homme, c’est refréner la fureur de l’esprit ;
La noblesse de l’homme, c’est maintenir les droits de la nature ;
La noblesse de l’homme, c’est ne craindre que ce qui est honteux ;
La noblesse de l’homme, c’est mépriser les ponts terrestres ;
La noblesse de l’homme, c’est chercher les sources célestes ;
La vraie noblesse s’acquiert par des pierres précieuses, non par de l’or ;
La noblesse cherche à obtenir quelque chose de plus grand.
Car les choses ne passent que pour des parures de la sagesse :
La fortune les donne et les ravit de ses propres mains.
Elles ne peuvent donc rendre personne généreux.
La doctrine de la noblesse garde en elle-même ses ancêtres. »


From the Italian translation

by Ercole Quadrelli


Original Latin

To further investigate

the ‘Chymica Vannus,

we warmly suggest this great website


A Poem From The ‘Chymica Vannus’- The Nobility Of Man

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