Posted by Anders on April 24, 2003
In Reply to: Mysterious alchemy posted by ESC on April 24, 2003
: : : At Amazon.com I came upon this beautiful expression: "By some mysterious alchemy." Google gives 58 hits, the first of which is the quote appearing at Amazon (albeit from another website). What's the origin?
: : : BTW, on the same page at Amazon, there's yet another fine expression: "To seize the passing dream." Sounds Shakespearean. Is it?
: : : Thanks
: : : Anders
: : Regarding alchemy, if you expand the Google search a little, you'll get 558 hits for "mysterious alchemy". However, your question is a good one, because "by some mysterious alchemy" is a phrase I recognise as havign seen before, so it must be in use. However, I can find no attribution for it - but I'll bet someone else here can.
: Nice phrases. But I can't find either in my quotation books.
Thanks for your replies, guys. Yes, I like those phrases too. In terms of 'by some mysterious alchemy' vs. 'mysterious alchemy', there's a huge difference. Alchemy in itself is notoriously mysterious, and a well-covered subject, so really there's little mystery to the fact that 'mysterious alchemy' yields a lot of hits. 'By some mysterious alchemy', on the other hand, - this wonderfully mysterious adverbial! - now that's something else. I am sure it will eventually creep into my vocabulary, and do so, yes, verily, by some mysterious alchemy! :-)
I did a search for 'seize the/a passing dream' in a Shakespeare search engine. No hits. It echoes, of course, the Platonic notion of life as but a dream, which is present in many places of Shakespeare, as it was in the Renaissance generally.