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Vitrum Annulare, Pastes

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366
VITRUM ANNULARE.
effecting the object desired. But his recipes are in themselves so curious that I shall transcribe a few of the most remarkable, although strongly disposed to consider all as little better than the dreams of some monkish artist too lazy to try the experiment of their truth. In the frequent introduction of earth-worms into his menstrua, there may lurk some reminiscence of Solomon's worm Samir, whose blood dissolved all gems—that fable of the wooden-headed Rabbis, engendered upon the employment of the smyr (emery) by the practical Greeks.
HERACLIUS ON SOFTENING GEMS.
The notion entertained by many, and which involuntarily forces itself upon the mind on examining the facile execution of many of their works, viz. that some secret for softening the gems beforehand was known to the ancients, derives some confirmation from the following recipes of Heraclius, who wrote at a period (the 7th century) when the traditionary proceeds were still kept up, though in a faint and feeble existence. If we could believe his positive assertion in his prelude, that he had himself tested all his recipes,
" Nil tibi scribo quidem quod non prius ipse probassem,"
the whole mystery would be solved at once ; but his promises are so extravagant as to make one suspect that, instead of disclosing ancient trade-secrets, he is merely passing off for such chimerical theories of his own, after the common manner of Mediaeval quacks.
Extracts from a MS. of the 13th century, in the Library of Tr'm. Coll., Cambridge, published in Baspe's Treatise on Oil-Painting.
" Of engraving upon Glass.—Ye artists who wish to engrave glass handsomely, now will I disclose to you a method exactly as I myself have proved it. I collected fat earth-worms turned up by the plough out of the ground ; and at the same time the art useful for such matters directed me to get vinegar, and the hot blood out of a big he-goat : which I skilfully fed upon strength­ening herbs for a short time, when kept tied up in-doors. With the hot blood I then mixed the worms and the vinegar, and so
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King. Natural History of Precious Stones.