From Theatrum Paracelsicum
Dedicatory Letter to Frederick IV, Elector Palatine
Frankenthal, 1 January 1594

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Source: Tractatus varii, de vera praeparatione et usu medicamentorum chymicorum, ed. Bernard Gilles Penot, Frankfurt am Main: Johann Feyerabend for Peter Fischer, 1594, sig. A4r–A6v = pag. 7–12 [BP.Penot.1594-01]

Summary: Penot extols the virtue of contributing to the welfare of humanity through the advancement and application of knowledge, particularly in the field of medicine. He reflects on his own efforts to serve the public good through his medical practice and the publication of his observations.
Penot humbly acknowledges that while he has not reached the pinnacle of medical knowledge, he has endeavored to offer a valuable path for those studying medicine. He announces his intention to dedicate a small book to Frederick IV, which he had decided upon when he first met the Elector, in the presence of Guillaume Ancel, a royal envoy. Penot suggests that the exploration of nature and its secrets not only satisfies curiosity but also offers practical benefits, echoing the sentiment that kings and princes have historically valued and practiced the art of medicine.
The letter also touches upon the alchemical art, emphasizing its legitimate aim of purifying substances and contributing to medical knowledge, as opposed to being used for fraudulent financial gain. Penot criticizes those who dismiss or oppose the scientific pursuit out of ignorance or greed, urging a reevaluation of nature's mysteries for the betterment of humanity and the restoration of true medicine.
Penot concludes by offering his current work to the Elector as a modest contribution to the public good, promising more significant efforts in the future, and invoking divine blessings on Frederick IV and his wife for their continued prosperity and well-being. (generated by ChatGPT)


[p. 7] Serenissimo potentissimoqve Heroi Friderico IIII. s[acrae] r[omanae] Imperij Archidapifero, & Electori, Comiti Pal[atino] Duci Bauariæ, &c. Domino meo clementißimo.

Nihil præstantius, nihil omnino homini laudabilius esse, quam de hominum genere quoquomodo possimus bene mereri, eamq́ue cognitionem quam à natura habemus, nostra quoque opera arctius astringere, clarius est (Serenissime Princips) quàm vt multis argumentis egeat. Id ego diligenter perpendens, dedi ab ineunte ætate operam, omniq́ue conatu eò respexi, vt pro virili Reipub[licae] inseruirem. [p. 8] Id tum medicinam faciendo, tum obseruationibus meis in lucem edendo reipsa comprobaui. Quamuis autem me ad supremum illud doctrinæ fastigium non peruenisse (nec enim tàm mei amans, ne dicam amens sum) facilè intelligam, viam tamen Medicinæ studiosis non spernendam, me monstrasse profiteri audeo. Inter alia cum & hunc libellum prælo destinassem, illum iam tunc, quum primo mihi à T[uo] Celsitudine porrecta heroica dextra fuit, præsente nobilissimo Ancelio, Regis nostri apud Cæsarem internuntio prudentissimo, tibi dicare decreui: scio maiora offerri tanto principi solere, sed cum naturæ varietas sæpenumero animum excitare soleat, certo mihi statuo si animi causa, curis publicis semotis, & hæc physicæ secretiora percurrere dignabitur inuenturum non pau- [p. 9] ca, quæ & arrideant & prosint. Reges & principes hanc artem quondam amasse excoluisse & exercuisse multi historici non solum restantur, verum etiam narrant, & affirmant, qui hac scientia digniorem nullam (post Mysteriorum diuinorum contemplationem) vitam Regiam decuisse arbitrari sunt: nec immeritò. Tot enim illa nobis Dei optimi maximi opera patefecit, tot pandit naturæ arcana, tot ante hac ignotas pharmacorum præparationes, herbarum, denique animantium Mineralium, ac omnium penè rerum abditos, & in ipso naturæ sinu reconditos vsus depromit, vt in genus humanum ingrati sint, qui sepultam illam velint. Absit autem vt te (nobilissime principum) ad Chrisopœiam pellicere velim. Impostorum illud est, omnique supplicio dignorum [p. 10] hominum, artem illam pecuniæ emungendæ causa publicare velle, quæ maiestatem suam venerando admirationis arcanorum silentio tueri solita est: Artem ego illam chymicam profiteor, quæ vi ignis corpora heterogenea soluere, homogenea coagulare docet. Pura scilicet, ab impuris secernere & puris addere, & quam inter Acroamaticas iure referre possumus: vtpotè quæ Medicinæ cognitionem exquisituirem reddat. Nec dubito, si vera illa in pellendis morbis medicamentorum præparatio, (vt meritò debet) sit habitura locum, quin multi & quidem grauissimi morbi, qui hodie à medicorum vulgo iudicantur incurabiles, radicitus tollantur. Principum etiam conditio hoc de fæcatorum remediorum vsu, futura est longè felicior, ne inposterum sua corpora illis impuritati- [p. 11] bus præbeant hospitia. Habebunt etiam tuta & certa remedia, quibus tempore necessitatis in timore Dei poterunt cum fructu vti: Oblatrant quamplurimi huius scientiæ inimici, principium ignorantes & finem: quibus non tàm salus proximi, quàm eiusdem crumena curæ est. Hos si qua pietas erga ægrotos adhuc mouet, rogo vt deposita inuidia, socordia, inueterato etiam & iniquissimo in Paracelsum eiusq́ue sectatores odio, naturæ arcana inquirant. Ita inuentis & præparatis omnium morborum genuinis & specificis remedijs, melius agetur cum genere humano: & vera Medicina à Deo creata & Medicorum diligentiæ commissa pristino nitori, & amissæ gloriæ restituetur.

Accipe igitur (Fortissime Princeps) quod in vsum Reipub[licae] in præsentia [p. 12] pro tenui facultate nostra conferimus, & maiora deinceps à me obsequia, splendidioresq́ue fructus expecta; Deus Opt[imus] Max[imus] Celsitudinem tuam, cum serenissima vxore, in maius semper & melius augere dignetur. Frankenthalij Kal[endis] Ianuar[ii] 1594.

T[uae] Celsitudinis Obsequentißimus

Bernhardus G. Penotus à Portu S. Mariæ Aquitanus, Frankenthalensis Medicus.

Modern English Raw Translation

Generated by ChatGPT on 27 February 2024. Attention: This translation is a machine translation by artificial intelligence. The translation has not been checked and should not be cited without additional human verification.
To the most serene and powerful hero, Frederick IV, sacred Roman Empire's standard-bearer and Elector, Count Palatine, Duke of Bavaria, &c., my most merciful lord,

Nothing is more excellent or more praiseworthy for a person than to earn the good will of humanity in any way possible, and to deepen the understanding that we have from nature through our own efforts. This is clearer, Most Serene Prince, than to need much argument. Considering this carefully from a young age, I have endeavored to serve the Republic to the best of my ability, looking to do so through my efforts. I have proven this in practice both by practicing medicine and by publishing my observations. Although I realize I have not reached the highest pinnacle of learning (for I am not so self-loving, or to say, deluded), I dare to profess that I have shown a not to be despised path for those studying medicine. Among other things, when I had intended to send this small book to press, I decided to dedicate it to you, right from the moment when your Highness extended your heroic hand to me, in the presence of the most noble Guillaume Ancel, our king's most prudent envoy at the Emperor's court. I know that greater things are usually offered to such a great prince, but since the variety of nature often tends to stimulate the mind, I am convinced that if, for the sake of curiosity, you deign to examine these more secretive aspects of physics, setting aside public cares, you will find not a few things that will both please and benefit. Many historians not only testify but also narrate and affirm that kings and princes once loved, cultivated, and practiced this art, considering it second only to the contemplation of divine mysteries as befitting a royal life; and not without merit. For it reveals so many of God's great works, unveils so many secrets of nature, and brings forth so many previously unknown preparations of drugs, herbs, animals, minerals, and nearly all things hidden and stored in nature's bosom, that those who would prefer it remain buried are ungrateful to mankind. Far be it from me to tempt you, most noble of princes, towards Chrysopoeia. That is the work of impostors, deserving of every punishment, wishing to publish that art for the sake of squeezing out money, which ought to protect its majesty with a venerable silence of mysterious admiration. I profess that alchemical art which teaches through the power of fire to dissolve heterogeneous bodies and coagulate homogeneous ones. To separate the pure from the impure and to add to the pure, which we can rightly include among the Acroamatic arts: as it makes the knowledge of medicine more exquisite. I do not doubt that if the true preparation of medicines for driving out diseases (as it rightly should) is to have its place, then many serious diseases, which today are deemed incurable by the common lot of doctors, will be eradicated. The condition of princes will also be much happier concerning the use of purified remedies, so that their bodies no longer provide lodging to impurities. They will also have safe and reliable remedies, which they can use fruitfully in times of necessity in fear of God. Many enemies of this science bark, ignorant of its principles and goals, caring more for their own purse than for the health of others. If any piety towards the sick still moves them, I ask that they set aside envy, laziness, and even the long-standing and most unfair hatred against Paracelsus and his followers, and explore the secrets of nature. Thus, with genuine and specific remedies for all diseases found and prepared, humanity will be better served, and true Medicine, created by God and entrusted to the diligence of doctors, will be restored to its former brilliance and lost glory.

Therefore, Most Valiant Prince, accept what we currently contribute to the use of the Republic according to our modest ability, and expect greater services and more splendid results from me in the future; may the Almighty God always increase your Highness and your most serene wife in greatness and goodness. From Frankenthal, the first day of January 1594.

Your Highness's Most Obedient,

Bernhardus G. Penotus from Port Sainte-Marie, Aquitaine, Physician of Frankenthal.