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'To rauish and refine an earthly soulc': Ficino and the Poetry of George Chapman

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Chapter Summary

It is commonly acknowledged fact that George Chapman made extensive use of the philosophical writings of Marsilio Ficino. This adaptation of Ficino's chapter of De amore in which he discusses the inadequation of material forms to the 'ideas, concepts and seeds' (ideae, rationes, et semina) of the 'true nature of the divine' (divinorum naturam propriam), transposes metaphysical reflections into the political sphere. The 'mortall things' are the false opinions of Carr's opponents, while the 'immortall' things represent the 'trew' opinions of Carr and his faction. This philosophical ethics of policy plays an important role in Chapman's defence of the Somersets against court scandal. The two most controversial aspects are resumed and answered in a poetic dialogue between Pheme (or Rumour) and Theodines (the divinely inspired poet, that is, Chapman).

Keywords: Ficino's De amore; George Chapman; Marsilio Ficino



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