Chapter 2Of Nature and art.
But there are in the arch of this world, two efficient causes, Nature and art. Nature daily produces and generates new things. But art by conception, making an impression of the similitudes of those things upon herself, does in an admirable manner prosecute the footsteps and delineations of Nature. So that if the wit of man do not sometime assist in some things, it is evident that Nature herself had gone astray from her operation. Or art sometimes does by the help of Nature, correct, supply and in a manner (especially in this magnificent discourse of mineral things) seems to exceed Nature. Which has already been long since consecrated to perpetual memory by those ancient Philosophers.
There are two sorts of Philosophers. Some only searching into Nature by herself, have in the monuments of their writings delivered the virtue and power which sublunary things have, as well from the elemental qualities, as from heaven and the stars; as the physicians are. And some others who have described the natures of animals, trees, herbs, metals, and precious stones. But others truly are more glorious, penetrating most sagaciously and sharply not only into Nature, but finally into the arcanum itself of Nature, and into her more inward recesses, have by a truer title assumed to themselves the name of philosopher. But because Nature produces all metals out of two things sulphur and Mercury, and has left us the superior bodies generated out of them, with the inferior bodies, certain is it is that the industrious may make the same out of her three operations, and reduce the inferior bodies to the Nature and perfection of the superior bodies.
This text is a translation of a Latin text, Marsilius Ficinus, Liber de Arte Chemica, which was printed in the Theatrum Chemicum, Vol 2, Geneva, 1702, p172-183. It is not entirely certain if this text was actually written by Ficino, or was later ascribed to him.