"In the bodies of metals,
Of men, and of beasts.
From it the Sages derive their science,
And through it they attain the Heavenly Gift,
Which is called the Philosopher's Stone,
Possessing the power of the whole world.
This gift the Sages impart to us with loving hearts,
That we may remember them for ever."
two fishes are swimming in our sea
[full double page image]
that in a venomous dragon there should be the great medicine
These images come from a curious handwritten 1607 manuscript known as 'The Book of Lamspring' (Tractatus de Lapide Philosophorum - how to obtain the philosopher's stone), translated into latin from german (I think) by Nicholas Barnaud Delphinas [at least that's what the secondary sources say - the site these images comes from, and indeed the text itself reads as Nicolaus Majus or Nicolaum Majum]
I have been very confused and spent ages searching around with different spellings but I finally found a complete english transcript of this 50 double-page oddity at Sacred Texts from whence the opening quote above derives.
So it appears that this is an allegorical work written for adepts and augmented with painted emblems which are described in the text. This is definitely a very early manuscript and there are more (not online I don't think) in other European repositories.
I'll leave the explication to Adam McLean from Levity -
"The Book of Lambspring is an important work that points us especially to the inner aspect of the alchemical process. The indications I have presented here are only hints at one possible way of entering into the Lambspring process. However, as with all such hermetic systems of inner exercises, we cannot entirely grasp it through our thinking and if we wish to work this process we must take an inner journey into the strange landscape of Lambspring's work. By studying the text and meditatively penetrating each emblem in sequence we will be able to experience the symbols working within our souls."
- The Book of Lamspring at the University of Salzburg (thumbnail page)
- Translation at Sacred Texts [Link updated Feb '09].
- Essay by Adam McLean at Levity.
- The captions (probably not so accurate) for the above images come from here.