Sonnet de Courval. Violent satire against alchemists and charlatans of all kinds.

Sonnet de Courval

Sonnet de Courval

Sonnet de CourvalThomas Sonnet de Courval. Satyre contre les Charlatans, et pseudomédecins Empyriques. En laquelle sont amplement descouvertes les ruses & tromperies de tous les Theriacleurs, Alchimistes, Chimistes, Paracelcistes, Distillateurs, Extracteurs de Quintescences, Fondeurs d’or potable, Maistres de l’Elixir, & telle pernicieuse engeance d’imposteurs. En laquelle d’ailleurs sont réfutées les erreurs, abus & impiétez des Iatromages, ou Médecins Magiciens, qui usent de charmes, billets, parolles, charactères, invocations de Démons, & autres détestables & diaboliques remèdes, en la cure des maladies. Paris, Jean Milot, 1610. In-8°. Title, [8] pp. dedication, [7] pp. notice to the reader, [8] pp. of odes, stanzas, satires and sonnets, [1] p. of privilege, 335 pp. (text). Portrait of the dedicatee of the book and the author engraved by Léonard Gaultier, headbands, ornamental initials. Havana calf of time, back with 5 decorated raised bands, fawn-coloured morocco label, gilt ornaments on the cuts, red edges. 

Rare first edition, well complete of the engraved portrait of the author, “very beautiful” according to Caillet; portrait that is often missing.

Sonnet de Courval

Thomas Sonnet de Courval (Vire, 1577-Paris, 1627), doctorate in medicine, produced a pamphlet against the alchemists followers of Paracelsus and charlatans of all kinds.

This satire contains a wealth of singular detail.

The author begins with an anatomical analysis of the various parts of the human body; after which he sharply attacks the charlatans, unmasks their tricks and deceptions and declares that they must be exiled and banished in perpetuity. Then the author warns against the extremely dangerous use of antimony.

The second part is devoted to spagyric doctors and other alchemists. The author demonstrates the impotence of the followers of the great work, the dangers of their chemical cures, and he concludes by saying “that they should be burned and smoky., as well as foxes in their dens, or boiled with their distilled oils, as we make cabbages in Dauphiné”.

In the third part, Courval fights against the practices of iatromages, while believing in their efficiency. He cites several wonderful cures operated by this means, that he thinks diabolical. Also, he dedicates, without mercy, these iatromages to tortures, to the dungeons, irons, to the wheels, to the gibbet, flames. He who makes such a harsh war on charlatans and pseudo doctors, however, ends his work with a very extensive list of strange remedies.. He touts the properties of selenite stone, of jasper, of the heart of the swallow. “A duck applied alive on the belly, relieves colic; a living spider, enclosed in a nutshell and brought to the neck, cures from quarte fever; the eyes of a lively frog, suspended from the collar, cure third-party fever; the tooth of a mole, by the touch alone, cures toothache, etc, etc. ”

The dedication is addressed to Nicolas de Pelvé, Count of Flers, illustrated by his engraved portrait.

Nicolas de Pelvé, comte de Flers

Among the poems at the beginning of the work, we find the signatures of Angot l’Esperoniere, of the doctor Jacques du Crioult and J. Tournet, lawyer in Parliament.

Caillet, n° 10266 ; Dorbon, n° 4622 ; Bulletin du bibliophile, Techener, Juillet-Août 1861, volume XXVI, n° 194, pp. 479-481.

Light restorations to corners and tails; reinforcement to the upper white flyleaf, waterstain at the head of the 1st quire without affecting the text, trimmed short in the head without affecting the current title.

Rare edition.