Ficino, Marsilio – Selected Letters - From a letter to Matteo Corsini
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Ficino, Marsilio – Selected Letters
From a letter from Marsilio Ficino to Matteo Corsini.
The father of my mother Alessandra was called Giovanni, and her mother was called Angela. Alessandra was in Figline, Giovanni in the town of Montevarchi, and Angela in Florence. Angela wrote to Giovanni and Alessandra that she was well, and would return on the following day.
They read her letters, and while asleep that night they both saw Angela at the same time. She appeared to Alessandra in the entrance of the house, and when the daughter was greeting her mother as if she had returned home, the mother avoided her daughter's embrace. "Farewell," she said, "and take care that the priests pray to God for me." And to Giovanni she said, "My Giovanni, how I grieve at your misfortune! Farewell, and ask that prayers be offered to God for me."
Suddenly aroused by these visions, they both cried out, thinking her to be dead. They sent to Florence. The news came back that she had departed this life that very night.
You may wonder at these things, Corsini, but listen to something equally miraculous. As soon as her son was born, my mother entrusted him to a country woman as a wet nurse. Seventeen days later, while asleep at noon, it seemed to her that she was deeply troubled and was being comforted by her own mother, long since dead, who said "Do not grieve, my daughter."
On the following day, the country people brought her the news that her son had been suffocated by the nurse.
I shall omit how she foresaw in a dream that her husband, Ficino the doctor, would fall from his horse , and where it would happen. I shall also omit many other instances of this kind. For the present it is enough to have told you these two stories which seem to confirm two things in particular.
First, that the souls of men that are almost separated from their bodies because of a temperate disposition and a pure life may in the abstraction of sleep divine many things, for they are divine by nature; and whenever they return to themselves, they realize this divinity. The second thing these stories confirm is that the souls of the dead, freed from the chains of the body, can influence us, and care about human affairs.
Hesiod sang of this; our Plato confirmed it in the Laws; and both these men were known as heroes to all antiquity.
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Observation contributed by: John Bryant