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 The Versified Legend of the Virgin Clare - 201 

his wisdom, form, figure, be at my side
and assist me in this endeavor. May the Painter of all things

25paint this work. May the Spirit by whose prompting
the cold is inflamed, the hard is softened, the arid made moist,
inflame my heart's vital parts.
Thus supported I will be able to describe clearly
with poetic enjoyment the praises of a bright virgin

30whose birth is bright, as is her youth.
Bright is her faith, her deportment, and her way of life.
Bright is her fragrance, her reputation, her death,
her tomb, her remains, her miracles.
Bright is her spirit , fixed in a bright region.

III. A PROLOGUE TO THE LEGEND
OF SAINT CLARE, VIRGIN

1Polishing a historical texta according to the demands of poetic verse
I permit one thing: I will not seek the images of poets
or the imaginings of the ancients, that a false sense
might not adorn that work, nor a sophisticated word

5color its subject. Its attire requires light, that the author
might remain close to the deeds, bring what is said back
to the form of truth, and give the word in marriage to truth;
that he not delight your ears with the affectation of words,
but steep your attentive minds with the sweetness of what is true.

10I do not seek people's applause and look for their praise,
lest a fleeting breeze take away the fruit of my labor.
A human spirit attempting to speak of such a virgin
draws upon the moderate, does not refer itself to that
supreme height or imperishable light

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Legenda Versificata Sanctae Clarae, Fontes Franciscani, p. 2348-2349


45Splendor seu speculum, sapientia, forma, figura;
Pingat opus pictor rerum, vitalia cordis
Spiritus accendat, sacro spiramine cuius
Frigida flammantur, mollesscunt dura, rigantur
Arida. Sic fultus potero preconia clare

50Virginis ad votum metrico describere ludo;
Est ortus cuius clarus, primevaque clara,
Clara fides, clarus habitus, mores quoque clari,
Clarus odor fame, mors eius clara, sepulcrum
Est clarum, clarusque cinis, miracula clara,

55Spiritus est clarus, clara regione locatus.

III — Prephatio super legendam sancte Clare virginis.

Istorie textum levigans sub lege metrorum,
Unum prelibo, quod non figmenta poete
Queram, seu veterum faleras, ut sensus adulter
Vestiat istud opus, vel sermo sophista coloret

60Materiam; que luce sua vestita requirit,
Hereat ut gestis scriptor, dictumque reducat
Ad faciem veri, vero det nubere verbum,
Verborum fuco non aures mulceat, immo
Imbuat attentas veri dulcedine mentes.

65Non hominum plausus cupio laudesque requiro,
Ne michi subripiat fructum levis aura laboris.
Mens humana loqui tentans de virgine tanta,
Sobria concipiat, non se deleget [ad] illud
Culmen suppremum vel inviolabile lumen

Clare of Assisi: Early Documents, p. 201

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