Kelley

, alias Talbot (Edward), a famous English alchymist, or, as some have called him, a necromancer, was born at Worcester in 1555, and educated at Gloucesterhall, Oxford. Wood says, that when his nativity was calculated, it appeared that he was to be a man of most acute wit, and great propensity to philosophical studies and mysteries of nature. He belied this prophecy, however, both in the progress and termination of his life; for, leaving Oxford abruptly, and rambling about the kingdom, he was guilty of some crime in Lancashire, for which his ears were cut off at Lancaster; but what crime this was we are not informed. He became afterwards an associate with the famous Dr. Dee, travelled into foreign countries with him, and was his reporter of what passed between him and the spirits with whom the doctor held intelligence, and who wrote down the nonsense Kelley pretended to have heard. Of their journey with Laski, a Polish nobleman, we have already given an account in the life of Dr. Dee. We farther learn from Ashmole, if such information can be called learning, that Kelley and Dee had the good fortune to find a large quantity of the elixir, or philosopher’s stone, in the ruins of Glastonbury abbey; which elixir was so surprisingly rich, that they lost a great deal in making projections, before they discovered the force of its virtue. This author adds, that, -at Trebona in Bohemia, Kelley tried a grain of this elixir upon an ounce and a quarter of common mercury, which was presently transmuted into almost an ounce of fine gold. At another time he tried his art upon a piece of metal, cut out of a | warming-pan; which, without handling it, or melting the metal, was turned into very good silver, only by warming it at a fire. Cervantes has given us nothing more absurd in the phrenzy of Don Quixote. This warming-pan, however, and the piece taken out of it, were sent to queen Elizabeth by her ambassador, then residing at Prague. Kelley, afterwards behaving indiscreetly, was imprisoned by the emperor Rodolphus II. by whom he had been knighted; and, endeavouring to make his escape out of the window, fell down and bruised himself so severely that he died soon after, in 1595. His works are, “A Poem of Chemistry,” and “A Poem of the Philosopher’s Stone;” both inserted in the “Theatrum Chymicum Britannicum,1652De Lapide Philosophorurn,” Hamb. 1676, 8vi; but it is questioned whether he was the author of this. He was, however, certainly the author of several discourses in “A true and faithful Relation of what passed for many Years between Dr. John Dee and some Spirits,” &c. Lond. 1659, folio, published by Dr. Meric Casaubon. There are “Fragment* aliquot, edita a Combacio,” Geismar, 1647, 12mo; also “Ed. Kelleii epistola ad Edvardum Dyer,” and other little things of Kelley, in ms. in Biblioth. Ashmol. Oxon. 1

1

Ath. Ox. vol. I.—Weever’s Funeral Monuments.