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“There is no tongue that moves”


Paracelsus asserts, then, that it is through a


process of

separation (“Scheidung”) that all products in nature emerge

(Pagel, 1982: 135-36). Here we note that the three Sicilian

royal family members are also separated, and thereby

preserved, following Paulina's medical treatment, herself a

“quasi magus” (Stockholder, 1992: 161). Their separation is

required in order to distill the quintessence, the therapeutic


The ultimate quintessence that will help to restore the

energy and health of the Sicilian court in

The Winter’s Tale


already perhaps to be seen in Perdita, the daughter of

Hermione and Leontes. Named after her fate as the






, “to lose”

she is the embodiment of a

young life living and growing in an exotic garden of flowers

and herbs. Found along with gold and jewelry, Perdita

explicitly symbolizes gold, the most noble metal and thus the

most noble medicine according to Francis Anthony, a follower

of Paracelsus, in his influential work

Medicinae Chymicae



Thus, we can see Paulina’s therapeutic art of


in telling Leontes that his wife and daughter were


as being analogous to the crucial separation and

distillation that is essential to the healing process. In fact she

“heals” the whole family by paradoxically emphasizing its

separation in order to bring it (them) together again. Paulina is

a true woman-healer, a “midwife” who transcends socio-

political and sexual boundaries to bring about the distillation

and regeneration of a family.


I am indebted to Allen G. Debus for this source, as in his words, in

Medicinae Chymicae

, Francis Anthony “referred repeatedly to Paracelsus,

Duchesne, Penotus, and other leading iatrochemists” (1965: 142). Debus

continues, Anthony “admitted that gold was a difficult metal to obtain in

solution, but he affirmed that by proper calcination it could be done and


aurum potabile

could be prepared” (Debus, 1965: 142). See Anthony

(1610: 25-31).