Unformatted text preview: CD THE WORKS OF
THOMAS VAUGHAN SCHOLA TYPVS, THE WORKS OF
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.
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
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
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
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
It is said that an
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.
was of Tretower and Llansaintor Thomas Vaughan
At the latter place, and in what has been called
the farmhouse at Newton, there were born to him
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
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
and indeed otherwise,
into occult paths as a translator
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
in workmanship, and if he did not attain
the heights which were reached in rare moments by
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.
See Appendix IX of the present volume, p. 489.
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
royalty to which the triad belongs in literature.
is still the known
poet whose popularity is witnessed by
Henry Vaughan, designated the
but after another manner
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
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
ford, where Thomas in due course took "one Degree
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
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.
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
or alternatively a Master of Arts.
of his College
is also described
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.
the date is uncertain, that of 1640, which is usually given,
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
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
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
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
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
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."
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
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,
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
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
Mappersall in BedfordVaughan
It was the great grief of his life, as the private
memorials shew, and he was presumably henceforth alone,
for there is no reason to think that a son was born to the
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
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.
See, however, APPENDIX IX, s.v. ATTRIBUTED WORKS, accord- in the 1 ing to which Eugenius Philalethes published a translation of Nollius
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
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
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
He was satirised by Samuel Butler in his
CHARACTER OF AN HERMETIC PHILOSOPHER,* and of some say also in HUDIBRAS itself. Among his con- temporaries therefore he was not at least unknown.
proceed now to the consideration of a somewhat involved question. Thomas Vaughan published AULA
Lucis, one of the later texts, under his terminal initials,
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.
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
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
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.
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
treatise of undeniable Hermetic authority and exc...
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