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The idea of a soul existing apart from the body has long been a tradition in western thought, going back to Socrates and the Platonic dialogues. Plato’s claim that the soul is permanent while the body is temporary merged with Christian ideas about the everlasting nature of the soul in poetic traditions that emerged during the Renaissance. As a result, many Christian poets depicted various scenes of conflict between the body and the soul, which they imagined could never be fully integrated. This pattern in turn gave rise to the idea that love itself was split between the physical body and “Platonic love,” which existed at the level of the soul. Marvell engages the neo-Platonic traditions of Renaissance poetry, especially in his poems “The Garden” and “The Definition of Love.” Both narratives depict souls caught in conflict with the body, one due to the passionate stirrings of love and the other because of its desire to reconcile earthly pleasures with spiritual pursuits.