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DIMEV 6014
IMEV 3772
NIMEV 3772
To the honour of God one in persons three
Thomas Norton, Ordinal of Alchemy — 3102 lines in seven chapters and a prologue
Note: Printed Ashmole (1652), pp. l-106.
Author(s): Thomas Norton
Title(s): Ordinal of Alchemy
Subjects: alchemy
Versification: — two-line — aa



Manuscript Witnesses:
1.Source: Oxford, Bodleian Library Ashmole 57 (SC 6938), pp. 1-123
First Lines:
To the honor of God one in Persones three
this booke is made that lay men shold it see
and Clerkes also after my decease
whereby all laymen which put them selfe in prease…
Last Lines:
…in the yeare of Christe M. CCCC. seauentie and seauene
this worke began Honor to God in heauene
Note: Written by Ashmole on an unnumbered leaf the start of the MS: ‘John Dee Anno Domini 1577. This following Booke (called Norton’s Ordinall) was transcribed by the hand of Dr. John Dee, and had been bound in purple velvet’. On p. 123 is the index of ‘Authors recitede in this booke’.
2.Source: Oxford, Bodleian Library Ashmole 1441 (SC 7624), p. 79
First Lines:
Of rude people which delen with this werkes
Ten Thousand Laymen against ten able Clerks…
Last Lines:
…In this yeare of Christ 1470 & seaven
This worke was begun, Honor to God in heaven
Note: Last 12 lines only; at the end: ‘Finis’.
3.Source: Oxford, Bodleian Library Ashmole 1445 (SC 7630), Part II, F, ff. 2-96
First Lines:
To the honor of god oen in parsons thre
This bewerke is maede þat Laye men shullde hit se…
Last Lines:
…in þe year of cryeste 1477
this worke bygan honor to gode in heauen
Note: Incomplete: a leaf containing the conclusion of the ‘Prohemium’ is lost. At the end: ‘Explicit’.
Attributed Title: Sir Thomas Nortons Ordinal. Prohemium (f. 2)
4.Source: Oxford, Bodleian Library Ashmole 1451 (SC 8343), f. 2v
First Lines:
A sende man that late serued this arte
tasted of the white stone aparte…
Last Lines:
…whome my magister by greate engine
cured with litarge of þe mine
Note: 8 lines, extract. In the margin: ‘Norton Cap 5’.
5.Source: Oxford, Bodleian Library Ashmole 1451 (SC 8343), f. 9v
First Lines:
At the firste makinge of our stone
that tyme for winninge looke thou none…
Last Lines:
…in this our white worcke alone
as well as in the red stone
Note: 18 lines, extract. In the margin: ‘Cap 5 Norton’.
6.Source: Oxford, Bodleian Library Ashmole 1451 (SC 8343), f. 9v
First Lines:
God made all thinge and set them sure
in nomber ponder and in measure…
Last Lines:
…with pro portion if you do change or breake
vppon nature you muste do wreake
Note: 10 lines, extract. In the margin: ‘Norton Cap 5’.
7.Source: Oxford, Bodleian Library Ashmole 1451 (SC 8343), f. 11
Transcription:
Remember that water will bubble & boile
But butter shoulde simper & also oyle
and so, with longe Labour waste
and not with bublinge made in haste
Note: 4 lines, extract. In the margin: ‘Norton Cap 4’.
8.Source: Oxford, Bodleian Library Ashmole 1464 (SC 7635), ff. 1-44v
First Lines:
To the honor of god one in persons three
this booke is made that laie men should it see…
Last Lines:
…In the yeare of Christe 1000 foure hundred & seaven
This worke beganne honnor to god of heauen
Note: At the end of the Ordinal; in the margin: ‘1477’.
9.Source: Oxford, Bodleian Library Ashmole 1479 (SC 7643), ff. 245-298v
First Lines:
To þe honor of god one in persons thre
thys boke is made þat laye men shold yt se…
Last Lines:
…in þe yere of chryste 1477
thys work was begonne honor to god in heaven
10.Source: Oxford, Bodleian Library Ashmole 1490 (SC 7010), ff. 277-289
First Lines:
To the honour of god on in persons three
This bocke is made that laie men it should see…
Last Lines:
…in the year of christ 1447
This worcke be gane honor to god of heaven
Attributed Title: Liber Thome Norton hic incipit (f. 277). Explicite and nowe laste copied out bi me Simon Forman, 1591. March the 23. student in Astronomy and Phisick & Arte nicromantike (f. 288v). The English Preface to the Ordinal follows the poem on f. 289 with a title ‘Norton 1447’ and is subscribed with a colophon by Forman
11.Source: Oxford, Bodleian Library e Musaeo 63 (SC 3652), ff. 2-40
First Lines:
To the honour of god one in persons three
this booke is made that lay men shoulde it see…
Last Lines:
…In the yere of christe Ml CCCC seventi & seven
this werke begane honour to god in heuen
12.Source: Cambridge UK, Trinity College R.14.38 (910), ff. 1-73v
First Lines:
To the honour of god one in persons three
this boke ys made that lay men shulde yt see…
Last Lines:
…In the yere of Christ a ml cccc seventie & seven
This werke beganne honour to god in hewen
Attributed Title: Claudes secreta (top margin f. 1, added by later hand); Prohemium libri qui intitulatur Ordinatio secretorum (f. 1)
13.Source: Cambridge UK, Trinity College O.2.15 (1119), ff. 1-49
First Lines:
To the honor of God one in persons three
This book is made that lay men might it see…
Last Lines:
…In the yeare of Christ 1470 and seauen
This worke was begunne honor to god in heauen
Note: Ends, ‘Deo gratias’.
Attributed Title: Nortons Booke proemium (f. 1)
14.Source: Cambridge UK, Trinity College O.4.39 (1269), ff. 1-40
First Lines:
To the honor of god one in persons three
this booke is made that laye men scholde it see…
Last Lines:
…in the yeare of Christ 1477
this woorke began onour god in heaven
Note: Followed by epilogue, ‘This booke vnto Clarkes declareth science greate…suche graces greate shall haue as he thought not to fynde’ on ff. 39v-40.
15.Source: London, British Library Addit. 10302, ff. 1-67
First Lines:
To the honour of god in persones þree
This boke is made þat lay men shuld it se…
Last Lines:
…Thus endith the subtile werk with al hire store
It nede not I may not I will shewe no more
Note: Chapters 1-5 only.
Editions:
Reidy, John, ed. Thomas Norton’s The Ordinal of Alchemy. EETS o.s. 272 (1975): 1-78, 81-83 (lines 1-2502, 2623-2682).
16.Source: London, British Library Harley 853, f. 26v
17.Source: London, British Library Royal 18 B.XXIV, ff. 80-138v
18.Source: London, British Library Sloane 1873, ff. 4-16
Editions:
Reidy, John, ed. Thomas Norton’s The Ordinal of Alchemy. EETS o.s. 272 (1975): 78-81, 83-96 (lines 2503-2622, 2683-3102).
19.Source: London, British Library Sloane 2036, ff. 30-36v
Note: Extracts: chapters III, VI, VII.
20.Source: London, British Library Sloane 2174, ff. 89-116v
21.Source: London, British Library Sloane 2174, ff. 117-139v
22.Source: London, British Library Sloane 2532, ff. 1-49
23.Source: London, British Library Sloane 3580 B, ff. 61-115
24.Source: London, Lincoln’s Inn Hale 90, ff. 2-31
First Lines:
To the honour of God one in persons three
This booke is made that Low men shold it see…
Last Lines:
…All other blewes the sadder þer they be
They haue lesse of slyer but more terrestirelye…
Note: Ends imperfectly in the 5th chapter.
25.Source: London, Wellcome Historical Medical Library 580, pp. 1-157
First Lines:
To the honour of god one in persons three
this Booke is made þat lay-men should it see…
Last Lines:
…All þat haue pleasure in this booke to reade
pray for my soule & for all quicke & dead
in the Yeare of Christe Mcccclxxvij
This work was begoon honour to god in heaven.
Soli beo Honor
et gloria
Note: Ends imperfectly in the 5th chapter. Seventeeth-century hand.
Attributed Title: Norton vpon / Alchymie (p. 1)
26.Source: Dublin, Trinity College, Dublin 684, ff. 2-72v
First Lines:
To the honor of God one in persons three
This booke is made that laymen should it see…
Last Lines:
…As would haue bene his chapter of the fire
And meruell not Lordes ne ye freendes all
Note: Ends imperfectly in the 5th chapter.
Attributed Author: Norton (top f. 2)
Attributed Title: Norton his Ordinall of Alchemie (top f. 2)
27.Source: Edinburgh, Edinburgh University Library La.III.164 [olim Laing 164], pp. 129-224
First Lines:
To the honour of god oone in parsones thre
Thys boke ys made þat laye one shuld ytt se…
Last Lines:
…In the yere of Christ ml cccc seventy & seven
This warke biganne honour to god of heven
Note: With epilogue, 5 couplets, ‘Putrifaccion most desstroy & deface…’.
Attributed Title: Ordinall of Alchymy (p. 129 by later hand); Liber Thomas Norton (p. 129, by later hand)
28.Source: Longleat, Marquess of Bath MS 178, ff. 10v-49
29.Source: Boston, MA, Massachusetts Historical Society Winthrop 20 C, ff. 29-65
First Lines:
To the honor of god one in persons three
Thys boke ys made that lay men shuld it see…
Last Lines:
…All that haue pleasure in thys booke to rede
Pray for my sowle & for all quycke & deade
In the yere of Chryste 1477
Thys worke beganne honor to god in heaven
Note: Latin prologue begins f. 29; English begins f. 29v; text following explicit on f. 65 is to be inserted earlier in Chapter 6.
Attributed Author: Thomas Northon (f. 29v)
Attributed Title: Proemium libri Thomas Northon Qui Intitulatur Ordinale Secretorum (f. 29v)
30.Source: Boston, MA, Massachusetts Historical Society Winthrop 20 C, f. 90v
First Lines:
…Who wolde haue trewe worke he may no labowre spare
Nether yet thys purse though he make it Bare…
Last Lines:
…These be þe sayenges of Norton
In hys booke the Ordynall there
Comprehendyng þe trew circulacion
Of elementes in euery degre & mayner…
Note: Extract of 20 couplets plus one cross-rhymed quatrain.
31.Source: Copenhagen, Royal Library, Copenhagen Gl. kgl. S. 3503
32.Source: Northampton, Record Office Finch Hatton MS 323, ff. 1-63
33.Source: Bristol, Clifton College Norton’s Ordinal of Alchemy
Note: Reidy (1975) lists as missing.