Page:Elizabethan People.djvu/130

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92
THE ELIZABETHAN PEOPLE

grow rich by the possession of it? The victim was willing to pay a great sum for the precious drug that wrought the transformation. Needless to say, he never again saw the vender.

Both Nash and Greene are outspoken in their attack on alchemy. The former says:

"If they see you covetously bent, they will tell you wonders of the philosopher's stone, and make you believe they can make gold of goose-grease; only you must be at some two or three hundred pounds cost, or such a trifling matter, to help set up their stills, and then you need not care where you beg your bread, for they will make you do little better if you follow their prescriptions." He even goes so far as to make the usurer in The Groat's Worth of Wit condemn it most heartily. "Multiply in wealth, my son, by any means thou mayest, only fly Alchemy, for therein are more deceits than her beggarly artists have words; and yet are the wretches more talkative than women."

In spite of the complimentary prose concerning Dr. Dee, Nash grows enthusiastically poetical when he upholds the opposite side.

"Sky measuring mathematicians;
Gold breathing Alchemists also we have,
Both which are subtle-willed humourists,
That get their meals by telling miracles,