The Closet Of Sir Kenelm Digby Knight Opened
By Kenelm Digby

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8 chapters

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57 minute read

With the waning of Sir Kenelm Digby's philosophic reputation his name has not become obscure. It stands, vaguely perhaps, but permanently, for something versatile and brilliant and romantic. He remains a perpetual type of the hero of romance, the double hero, in the field of action and the realm of the spirit. Had he lived in an earlier age he would now be a mythological personage; and even without the looming exaggeration and glamour of myth he still imposes. The men of to-day seem all of little stature, and less consequence, beside the gigantic creature who made his way with equal address and audacity in courts and councils, laboratories and ladies' bowers. So when, in a seventeenth-century bookseller's advertisement, I lighted on a reference to the curious compilation of receipts entitled The Closet of Sir Kenelm Digby Opened , having the usual idea of him as a great gentleman, romantic...


2 hour read

This Collection full of pleasing variety, and of such usefulness in the Generality of it, to the Publique, coming to my hands, I should, had I forborn the Publication thereof, have trespassed in a very considerable concern upon my Countrey-men, The like having not in every particular appeared in Print in the English tongue. There needs no Rhetoricating Floscules to set it off. The Authour, as is well known, having been a Person of Eminency for his Learning, and of Exquisite Curiosity in his Researches, Even that Incomparable Sir Kenelme Digbie Knight, Fellow of the Royal Society and Chancellour to the Queen Mother, (Et omen in Nomine) His name does sufficiently Auspicate the Work. I shall only therefore add, That there is herein (as by the Table hereunto affix'd will evidently to thee appear) a sufficiency of Solids as well as Liquids for the sating the Curiosities of each or...


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TO MAKE A SACK POSSET Boil two wine-quarts of Sweet-cream in a Possnet; when it hath boiled a little, take it from the fire, and beat the yolks of nine or ten fresh Eggs, and the whites of four with it, beginning with two or three spoonfuls, and adding more till all be incorporated; then set it over the fire, to recover a good degree of heat, but not so much as to boil; and always stir it one way, least you break the consistence. In the mean time, let half a pint of Sack or White muscadin boil a very little in a bason, upon a Chafing-dish of Coals, with three quarters of a pound of Sugar, and three or four quartered Nutmegs, and as many pretty big pieces of sticks of Cinnamon. When this is well scummed, and still very hot, take it from the fire, and immediately...


8 minute read

A Scotch Ale from my Lady Holmbey 98 To make Ale drink quick 100 A very pleasant drink of Apples 100 Ale with Honey 104 Small Ale for the stone 105 Apple drink with Sugar, Honey, &c. 106 Master Webbs Ale and Bragot 107 To stew Apples 201 Apples in Gelly 234 Sweet-meat of Apples 238 To make an excellent syrup of Apples 253 B Stewed Broth 125 Portugal Broth, as it was made for the Queen 127 Nourishing Broth 133 Broth and Potage 141 Broth for sick and convalescent Persons 143 A savoury and nourishing boiled Capon 133 To stew Beef 150 To stew a Rump of Beef 163 , 196 , 197 To rost Wilde Boar 168 About making of Brawn 205 To bake Beef 208 To boil Beef or Venison 209 Ordering Bacon for Gambons, and to keep 212 To make Bisket 219 C To make Cider...


2 minute read

SOME ADDITIONAL RECEIPTS 1. Aqua Mirabilis . Sir Kenelm Digby's way. Take Cubebs, Gallingale, Cardamus, Mellilot-flowers, Cloves, Mace, Ginger, Cinammon, of each one dram bruised small, juyce of Celandine one pint, juyce of Spearmint half a pint, juyce of Balm half a pint, Sugar one pound, flower of Cowslips, Rosemary, Borage, Bugloss, Marigold, of each two drams, the best Sack three pints, strong Angelica-water one pint, red Rose-water half a pint; bruise the Spices & Flowers, & steep them in the Sack & juyces one night; the next morning distil it in an ordinary or glass-still, & first lay Harts-tongue leaves in the bottom of the still. THE VERTUES OF THE PRECEDENT WATER This water preserveth the Lungs without grievances, & helpeth them; being wounded, it suffereth the Blood not to putrifie, but multiplieth the same. This water suffereth not the heart to burn, nor melancholly, nor the Spleen to...


2 minute read

The true Preparation of the Powder of Sympathy, as it was prepared every year in Sir Kenelm Digby's Elaboratory, and as I prepare it now . Take good English Vitriol, which you may buy for two pence a pound, dissolve it in warm water, using no more water than will dissolve it, leaving some of the Impurest part at the bottom undissolved; then powr it off and filtre it, which you may do by a Coffin of fine gray paper put into a Funnel, or by laying a Sheet of gray Paper in a Sieve, and powring your water or Dissolution of Vitriol into it by degrees, setting the Sieve upon a large Pan to receive the filtred Liquor; when all your Liquor is filtred, boil it in an earthen Vessel glazed, till you see a thin Scum upon it; then Set it in a Cellar to cool, covering it...


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A LIST OF THE HERBS, FLOWERS, FRUITS, ETC., REFERRED TO IN The Closet Opened: — 1. Agrimony; alexander; angelica; avens, leaves & flowers; balm; bay-leaves; beet leaves; bettony, wild; bettony, Paul's; bistort; bloodwort; bluebottles; blue-button; borage, leaves & flowers; bramble, red, tops of; broom-buds; bugle; bugloss, leaves & flowers; burnet; carduus benedictus; carrot, wild; celandine; cersevril; chicory; chives; clove gilly-flowers; clown's all-heal; coltsfoot; comfrey; cowslip & French cowslip flowers; dragons; elder flowers; endive; eyebright; fennel; fever-few; garlic; ground-ivy; groundsel; hart's tongue, leaves; hops, flowers; horehound; hypericum, tops & flowers; hyssop; ladies' mantle; lettuce, leaves & stalks; lily of the valley; liquorice; liverwort; maidenhair; marigold, flowers & leaves; marjoram, sweet; marjoram, wild; marshmallow, leaves, flowers, & stalks; may-weed, brown; meadowsweet; mellilot, flowers; mint; spearmint; mouse-ear; mugwort; muscovy; nettle, red; oak of Jerusalem; organ; origanum [wild marjoram]; oseille; parietary; peas (chick); pellitory-of-the-wall; penny-royal; philipendula; pimpernel; pourpier; primrose, flowers; purslane; ribwort; rocket; rosemary,...


5 minute read

Introduction p. x 1. 3 Old Cookery Books and Ancient Cuisine . By W. Carew Hazlitt. Booklovers' Library. 1886. p. x 1. 5 The Life of Sir Kenelm Digby . By One of his Descendants [T. Longueville]. 1896. p. xi 1. 29 For the controversy about the date of his birth, see the usual biographical authorities:—Longueville, op. cit. , Digby's Memoirs , ed. Nicolas, 1827; Dict. of Nat. Biog. ; Biog. Brit. (Kippis); Wood's Athenae Oxon. , iii. 688; Aubrey's Lives , ii. 323, etc. etc. p. xiv 1. 13 "the elder Lady Digby." See text, p. 141. p. xv 1. 15 "manuscript of elections." See W.H. Black's Catalogue of the Ashmolean MSS. , 240, 131 and 1730, 166. p. xx 1. 20 Journal of a Voyage to Scanderoon , ed. J. Bruce for Camden Soc., 1868. p. xxi 1. 3 "Scanderoon had to be repudiated." Here is a curious...