The Versified Legend of the Virgin Clare - 198 

Although his background is obscure, Johannes Sbaraglia writes of John the Englishman as a curial official who was a papal legate in England, Scotland, and Wales during the pontificate of Innocent IV. Among the literary endeavors attributed to him, we find De misteriis rerum, quae fiunt in Ecclesia, versu hexametro ad Fulconem Episcopum Londoniae, a versified treatise written in 1245. While further research must be applied to the question, John remains one of the strongest possible authors of this early work.

The value of the Versified Legend of the Virgin Clare lies in providing us a better understanding of the Legend of Saint Clare. Since the former work contains no mention of Clare's canonization, August 11-12, 1255, it is safe to assume that it was written in preparation for it; the latter work, on the other hand, concludes with its description. In light of the Versified Legend's frequent digressions and idiosyncratic passages, the Legend of Saint Clare seems to have been written sometime afterward since it undoubtedly follows the Versified Legend's structure quite closely yet deletes many of the troublesome passages. Nevertheless, the Versified Legend offers many striking poetic images of Clare and the Poor Ladies as well as insights into the unusual medieval art form of versified hagiography.a




Clare of Assisi: Early Documents, p. 198