The Versified Legend of the Virgin Clare - 200 

what is lowly, nor, because you are great, trample upon the lesser.
What is sought might not be in the offering, indeed

20the intention is measured in the giving. Good will colors
what is discarded, dignifies what is worthless. A generous spirit
makes insignificant gifts equal to those that are great.


1An unskilled and simple mind feared the beginning,
amazed at the work's endeavor; it was in awe of its middle and end.
The sun blocked the stars; the noble theme confounded
the mirror of mental powers. Who expects delightful fruit

5from a dry tree, looks for the waves of a river
from hard marble, or hopes for delights from a poor table?
Because it is a thoughtless thing,
as lacking a word, needing sense, an impulse might inspire
glorious deeds, and the light of a new lamp

10might extol in poetic verse, where the Muse Maro would
go no further, and the tongue of any poet would become numb.a
The intellect's powers grow faint, the sinful mind curbs
the tongue because it considers it profane for someone sordid
to extol the virgin's glories, the defiled the undefiled,

15the impure the pure,
the bulrush to speak about the flower.
But because fervent devotion prompts a thought,
that error might repeat, so that it comes to light,
I proceed with this work. I call upon the Author of all light

20to rain upon, soak with a heavenly dew, and,
once the cloud of vices has taken flight, enlighten my mind.
May the light of light, the splendor or mirror of the Father,




Legenda Versificata Sanctae Clarae, Fontes Franciscani, p. 2347-2348

15Hec humili depicta stilo tua gratia, queso,
Dignetur penetrare tue dulcedinis aures;
Nec, quia summa decent te summum, spernere debes
Infima; nec, quoniam magnus, calcare minora.
Non quid in oblatis sit queritur, immo ferentis

20Pensatur votum; que sunt abiecta colorat,
Vilia nobilitat affectus, parvaque mangnis
Munera muneribus equat generosa voluntas.

II — Verba a[u]ctoris

Principium metuit, operis fastigia mirans,
Mens rudis et sinplex, medium finemque veretur.

25Sol celat stellas; confundit nobile thema
Ingenii speculum. Quis fructus poscat amenos
Arbore de sterili, vel quis de marmore duro
Fluminis exquirat undas, de paupere mensa
Speret delitias? Etenim temeraria res est,

30Ut sermone carens, sensu mendicus, in eius
Almificos actus spiret, lumenque novelle
Lanpadis extollat metris, ubi musa Maronis
Sisteret, et quevis torperet lingua poete.
Languent ingenii vires, mens feda reatu

35Offitium lingue frenat, censetque prophanum,
Virginis ut sordens maculis insignia promat,
Incestus castam, pollutus sorde carentem
Personet eloquio, scirpus de flore loquatur;
Set quia conceptum mentis, quem culpa relegat,

40Quod fluat in lucem fervens devotio cogit,
Hoc opus aggredior. A[u]ctorem luminis omnis
Invoco, quod mentem celesti compluat inbre,
Imbuat, illustret, vitiorum nube fugata;
Adsit et huic studio lumen de lumine, Patris

45Splendor seu speculum, sapientia, forma, figura;

Clare of Assisi: Early Documents, p. 200