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Unformatted text preview: CD THE WORKS OF THOMAS VAUGHAN SCHOLA TYPVS, THE WORKS OF THOMAS VAUGHAN: EUGENIUS PHILALETHES BY ARTHUR EDWARD WAITE " I men call God but ; I AULA true." to witness that write that I which write not this to I know to amaze be certainly Lucis. PREPARED FOR THE LIBRARY COMMITTEE OF THE THEOSOPHICAL SOCIETY IN ENGLAND AND WALES AND ISSUED BY THE THEOSOPHICAL PUBLISHING UPPER WOBURN PLACE, LONDON, W.C. HOUSE, i i IN THE YEAR OF THE LORD MCMXIX FOREWORD the first volume of a series of Transactions to be by the Library Committee of the Theosophical Society of England and Wales. The choice has fallen upon Thomas Vaughan for two reasons in the first place, because of Jiis unique position in the chain of the Hermetic tradi- THIS is issued : tion during the seventeenth century ; and, secondly, because A. E. it has been possible to secure the services of Mr Waite, who is students of the hidden particularly fitted, not only by recognised by all one who is temperament and predilection, but also by special training and ripe scholarship, for the task of editing one of the profoundest and most difficult of all visionaries who have seen " the new East beyond the stars." The mantle of Robert Fludd may be said to have fallen upon the -shoulders of Vaughan, who in his time and generation continued the apostolate of the Secret Tradition, as this is represented by the secret and more spiritual side of alchemical philosophy. The two writers drew from the same sources from the school of the Kabalah in all its extensions and reflections, from the Hermetic NeoPlatonists, and from those Latin-writing scholars of Europe who, subsequent to the Renaissance, represented and not truth as : infrequently typified the struggle for liberation from the yoke and aridity of scholastic methods. Fludd was a physician, and when not dealing with cosmical philosophy he paid attention to the Hermetic foundation upon which the true art of medicine is built. Vaughan, on the other hand, was an exponent of alchemy ; and though first and foremost a mystical philosopher and a visionary, was none The Works of Thomas Vaughan it the less a practical alchemist upon the material side was, in fact, from inhaling the fumes of mercury during a chemical experiment that he met his death. Both Fludd and Vaughan were influenced by the move- ment known as Rosicrucian, which came into prominence in the early part of the seventeenth century. But Vaughan was an unattached interpreter, while there is ground for believing that Fludd may have been connected more or " Fratres R. C." At less directly with the so-called any rate he was a personal friend of Michael Maier, who cannot be dissociated from the movement. There is a living interest in Vaughan on the personal side ; he belongs to the history of English literature, more especially as a prose writer, though occasional felicity of his metrical exercises. and this concerns the present also by the Above all venture more closely than he has a position of his own as His works, which an interpreter of the Secret Tradition. are valued possessions to those with sufficient knowledge to appreciate their occult significance, are here made available for the first time in a collected edition. any lighter consideration, THE LIBRARY COMMITTEE. VI BIOGRAPHICAL PREFACE THE Vaughan of old repute in history in that It is said that an early England representative, Srr David Vaughan, fell at the Battle of family is as well as of Wales. The branch Agincourt. with which I am concerned had by the Usk in Brecknockshire as This is now in ruins and was perhaps its ancestral seat. at the end of the sixteenth century, falling into decay for it was left by the master of the place about that period in favour of a residence at Newton, near Seethrog, in the parish of Llansaintffraid, some five miles away in This is Newton-St-Bridget, also on the same shire. In the next generation Henry the banks of the Usk. 1 was of Tretower and Llansaintor Thomas Vaughan At the latter place, and in what has been called ffraid. 2 the farmhouse at Newton, there were born to him of the twin boys a wife about whom there is no record Thomas and Henry Vaughan. The traditional or accepted date, as I must term it, is between 1621 and 1622, but the tradition may be regarded as sound,* since it rests on Tretower Castle 8 almost unquestionably the authority of Wood, who had for his informant the younger of the two brothers. 4 1 The Rev. A. Henry Vaughan who first edited the complete writings of FULLER WORTHIES LIBRARY, four beautiful B. Grosart, in the exceedingly valuable for the lives of both brothers says that the father was Henry and that he was a magistrate in 1620. The Register of Oxford University describes him as "Thomas of Llansan- volumes fraide, co. 2 " Brecon,//^." See Theophilus Jones : HISTORY OF THE COUNTY OF BRECKNOCK, He speaks of a farmhouse at Newton, once occupied by two brothers of the name of Vaughan, of very eccentric vol. ii, part 2, p. 540. character." 3 ATHENE OXONIENSES, 4 Ibid., edited by Philip Bliss, vol. sub nomine Olor Iscanus. vii iii, p. 722. The W^orks of Thomas Vaughan are, however, no registers of births for that period shall in the district, nor for almost a century later. find further on that importance attaches to the birth-date There We of Thojnas Vaughan, and at this point that there certainty hereon. it is is a necessary therefore to note minimum element of un- 1 Thomas and Henry Vaughan became famous respec- tively in the annals of two departments of literature, the first as a mystic and alchemist whose little books have long been sought eagerly and prized highly by students, the second as a beautiful, though very unequal, religious With vocations sufficiently distinct, they yet bepoet. longed to one another in the spirit as well as in the blood, own manner Thomas was also a poet, or at of pleasant verse, while Henry was drawn 2 and indeed otherwise, into occult paths as a translator 3 as a record of his repentance testifies. Between and for after his least a maker above both there stands the saintly figure of George Herbert, their contemporary and kinsman by marriage, The paths of the secret sciences albeit in remote degree.* were beyond his ken entirely, and this is one distinction in the triad. But there is another of more living imHerbert was an artist in verse, " beautiful portance. " in workmanship, and if he did not attain exceedingly the heights which were reached in rare moments by 1 There is extant a letter from Henry Vaughan to John Aubrey, dated June 15, 1673. It is said that he and his brother were born in 1621, but as a second letter mentions that Thomas Vaughan died in 1666 in his forty-seventh year, there is a mistake on one side or the other, and the birth-date is still open to question. 2 See Appendix IX of the present volume, p. 489. 3 See The Importunate Fortune, written to Dr Powell of Llanheff. The poet commits his body to earth, his "growing faculties ... to the humid moon," his cunning arts to Mercury, his "fond affections" to Venus, his " to the royalty of Sol, his rashness pride" if there was aught in me and presumption to Mars, the little he has had of avarice to Jupiter And my false Magic, which I did believe, And mystic lies, to Saturn I do give." ; Grosart WORKS of Henry Vaughan, vol. was the antiquary, John Aubrey. 4 : viii i, p. xxiv. Another kinsman Biographical Preface Henry Vaughan, he knew still less of his descents. I mention these matters to indicate the kind of race and Herbert royalty to which the triad belongs in literature. is still the known poet whose popularity is witnessed by innumerable editions. Henry Vaughan, designated the 1 is known indeed but after another manner Silurist, and one much more restricted. His works have been collected twice and the Thomas Vaughan, the As regards selections are few. a. single exception in respect of EUPHRATES, he has been edited in only, and the volume to which entitled tract with modern times by myself the present words are prefixed represents the only attempt produce his writings in collected form. In the vicinity of Newton and Tretower is the little town of Llangattock, still within the voices of the Usk, and there at the period dwelt the Rev. Matthew Herbert, to kinsman perhaps also, to whom Thomas 2 and Henry wrote Latin and English verses, and to whom the former a 3 AULA Lucis, addressing him as Seleucus Abantiades or such at least is my suspicion. The records 4 on which I depend tell me that the boys were placed in his charge at the age of eleven years for may have dedicated schooling, and so therein that in 1638 they College, Oxapparently together 6 ford, where Thomas in due course took "one Degree 6 in Arts." This is stated by Wood and seems final on profited to Jesus proceeded 1 Thomas Vaughan as much entitled to be termed Silurist as his was a family designation, belonging to that branch home in South-East Wales, where dwelt once the war- In a sense, brother. which had its is it like Silures. 2 See APPENDIX 3 The also dedicated to Philalethes. 4 II, p. 475. tract entitled THE MAN-MOUSE Matthew Herbert by Henry More was in reply to his " pupil and servant," Eugenius In addition to the researches of Grosart there are those of E. K. in his WORKS of Henry Vaughan, 2 vols., MUSES' LIBRARY, must not be said that the discoveries made by either editor are considerable in respect of Thomas Vaughan, the materials being wanting. " Chambers 1906. It 6 The University Register says that Thos. Vaughan from Jesus College on 14 Dec, 1638, aged 16." ATHENA OXONIENSES. ix . . . matriculated The Works of Thomas Vaughan the subject, but it has been said that he became a Fellow 2 l His or alternatively a Master of Arts. of his College is also described the time of at matriculation variously age The last is on the as eighteen, seventeen and sixteen. authority of the University Registers, and from this it would follow that he was born in 1622. The date of his baccalaureat is February 18, 1640, and thereafter I find no particulars concerning him until he was ordained by Dr Mainwaring, Bishop of St Davids, and was pre- sented to the living of Llansaintffraid by his kinsman Sir George Vaughan of Follerstone in Wiltshire. Again the date is uncertain, that of 1640, which is usually given, 3 In any case he became in this seeming too early. manner the rector of his native parish and was at least nominal possession till 1649, when he was ejected by a Parliamentary Commission, under an Act for the 4 The more immediate Propagation of the Gospel. reason was unquestionably that, in common with his He had also fought brother, he was an ardent Royalist. in for the King, notwithstanding the fact of his ministry where or under what circumstances we are never likely But the White King perished in the Royal to know. Cause on January 30, 1649, and Wood says that the loyal but dispossessed subject sought the repose of Oxford to pursue his studies. 6 He alternated between there 1 "Was made Fellow of the said House" are the words of Wood, referring to Jesus College, but it is a mistake according to Grosart, who gives no reason. The fact of this Fellowship is affirmed by Foster, ALUMNI OXONIENSES, following Walker's SUFFERINGS OF THE CLERGY. 2 Grosart says that he "passed M.A.," but mentions no authority. is, however, an expression of opinion in the letter from Henry " Vaughan to John Aubrey, already quoted (I think) he could be no less than Master of Arts." There : 3 See Grosart, op. cit., vol. ii, p. 301. " He was ousted by the propagators of the Theophilus Jones says gospel in Wales, for drunkenness, swearing, incontinency and carrying arms for the King." Loc. tit. The last charge implied the others presumably. 5 " The unsettledness of the time hindering him a quiet possession of 4 : the place" meaning his cure of souls X "he left it, and retired to Oxon, Biographical Preface and London, and the suggested repose notwithstanding Chief among these was busy about .many things. were the publication of his first five tracts, in two small duodecimo volumes, in 1650, and his marriage to a lady named Rebecca patronymic unknown on September 28, 1651. In this and one other tracts included ence at possible 2 field, the among Newton year also in 1652. he issued three further An "intercepted letter" THURLOE PAPERS * indicates his pres- It the early part of 1653. unfortunately to identify the Pinner of in is not Wake- his Note-Book tells us that he lived with " " " in those dear when " the gates opened days where his wife in a sedate repose prosecuted his medicinal genius (in a manner valued to him), and at length became eminent in the chemical part Wood, loc. cit. thereof, at Oxon and afterwards at London." 1 AN INTERCEPTED LETTER of M. Vaughan to Mr Charles Roberts. Cousin Roberts By the inclosed from Captain Jenkin John Hewett to Mrs Lewes of Lanvigan, you may see that he threatens the country with and : Mr Morgan of Therw and divers others of the best of the country were at this cock-fight, which was kept no otherwise than according to the custom of all other schools. We conceived that there was no troop in our country, nor under his command but it appears by this his own letter that he hath them still listed and keeps them up For though he came not to the cock-fight, according to his privately. menaces, yet he had that morning at his house above thirty horse, with saddles and pistols, which did much trouble and terrify the country people. I pray learn if his highness hath lately granted him a commission. Otherwise I know no reason but these actions should be taken notice of. Our justices of the peace still slight the Lord Protector's authority and have now issued forth their warrants for the contribution, some in the name of the keepers of the liberty by authority of parliament, others without any name at all and divers gentlemen have been served with them but refused to execute them. I wonder at these proceedings and more at those that suffer them. I'll assure you, the people by reason of this public and persevering contempt will not believe that there is a Lord Protector and do laugh at such relations. I could wish that those whom it concerns would look to it, lest their too much clemency prove I pray let me hear from you with the first conveniency, hurtful to them. and how the business goes betwixt me and Mrs Games. Farewell. his troop. ; ; Your friend and affectionate kinsman, THO. VAUGHAN Newton, Ash- Wednesday, 1653. For my respected kinsman, MR CHARLES ROBERTS, at his chamber 2 APPENDIX See in Gray's- Inn, This. I. xi The Works of Thomas Vaughan and he believed himself to have entered deeply into the The next traceable event is 2 the publication of EUPHRATES, his last text, in i655 There follows another period of silence, but on April realm natural secrets. of 1 3 by his own testimony that Rebecca at and buried was died, Mappersall in BedfordVaughan 4 It was the great grief of his life, as the private shire. memorials shew, and he was presumably henceforth alone, for there is no reason to think that a son was born to the 5 marriage, as inferred by one writer. Thomas Vaughan was now about thirty-six years of age and had not reached therefore the prime of life ; but he disappears from the field of authorship, and all that we can glean concerning him is contained by a few 17, 1658, we learn lines in the biographical notice of Wood. He is said to have been under the protection and patronage of Sir Robert Murray, Secretary of State for Scotland in the 6 days of the Commonwealth, but also a persona grata under the Restoration in those of Charles' II. When the plague of 1665 drove the Court from London to Oxford Thomas Vaughan went thither with his patron, and a little later took up his residence with the Rector of Albury, the Rev. Sam. Kern,7 at whose house, on February 27 of that year, he was killed by an explosion course of chemical experiments. He is said to have been buried on March i in the church of Albury See APPENDIX I. 2 See, however, APPENDIX IX, s.v. ATTRIBUTED WORKS, accord- in the 1 ing to which Eugenius Philalethes published a translation of Nollius in 1657. 3 APPENDIX 4 Mr E. K. of Mappersall 26th of April. 6 6 I, p. 446. Chambers obtained the following : 1658. Buried : extract from the Register Mr Vahanne, the Rebecka, the Wife of DICTIONARY OF NATIONAL BIOGRAPHY, Thomas Vaughan. s.v. Wood ATHENE OXONIENSES. : DICTIONARY OF NATIONAL BIOGRAPHY, s.v. Samuel Kem. He was on the Parliamentary side in the days of the Civil War, and was notorious for fighting, preaching and plundering but he became a convinced loyalist at the Restoration. It is difficult to understand Vaughan's 7 ; connection with this dissolute character. xii Biographical Preface " village by the care and charge of the said Sir Robert * This is on the authority of Wood and is Murray." Eclogue, supported by Henry Vaughan in his Elegiac " " care and must have charge quoted later. The meant something more than burial fees, and there is a If so, all trace tradition that a monument was erected. to be it has vanished, and the registers of Albury contain no record of Vaughan's interment. 2 It seems to follow that we know as much and as little about the passing of Thomas Vaughan as might be expected from his literary 3 His little books importance and repute at that period. could have appealed to a few only, though it may be granted that occult philosophy was a minor fashion of the time. He was satirised by Samuel Butler in his as CHARACTER OF AN HERMETIC PHILOSOPHER,* and of some say also in HUDIBRAS itself. Among his con- temporaries therefore he was not at least unknown. I proceed now to the consideration of a somewhat involved question. Thomas Vaughan published AULA Lucis, one of the later texts, under his terminal initials, 1 ATHENE OXONIENSES. But the letter of Henry Vaughan Aubrey says only that his brother died "upon an employment to John for His Majesty." 2 He gave all his books and MSS. to Sir Robert Murray. The DICTIONARY OF NATIONAL BIOGRAPHY is wrong in supposing that the will of Thomas 'Vaughan is in Somerset House reference 53 Mico though there is one of a person bearing that name. He was, 3 however, of Cropredy in Oxfordshire, and a son William, to whom he bequeathed most of his property, was the father of four children at the date of making the will namely, February I7th, 1662-63 whereas any issue of Thomas Vaughan of Newton and Rebecca his wife would have bqen only about ten years old at that period. 4 The satire remained in MS. for something like a century. It is certain that Butler intended to depict Vaughan and was acquainted with some of his writings. The Hermetic Philosopher in question "adored" Cornelius Agrippa, magnified the Brethren of the Rosy Cross, was at war with the schoolmen, recommended Sendivogius and the ENCHIRIDION of Jean See THE GENUINE d'Espagnet to all of which Vaughan answers. REMAINS of Mr Samuel Butler From the original MSS. ... by R. Thyer, voU ii, p. 225 et seq., 1759. The suggestion that Ralpho the squire of Hudibras was also intended for Vaughan can have been made . . . by no one acquainted with the works of Eugenius Philalethes. no vestige of similitude. xiii There is The Works of Thomas Vaughan S. N. Otherwise he wrote always as Eugenius Philalethes, and out of this fact there arises a very curious question of identity, involving a confusion of distinct or apparently distinct personalities, on which I hope to cast such light In the perhaps be regarded as determined. year 1667 being two years after Vaughan, according to there appeared at his history, had departed this life Amsterdam a work entitled INTROITUS APERTUS AD OCCLUSUM REGIS PALATIUM, edente Joanne Langio, the accredited author being Eirenseus Philalethes, described as anonymus philosophus, and by himself as natu tAnglus^ It sprang at once into fame as a habitatione cosmopolita. treatise of undeniable Hermetic authority and exc...
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