The Versified Legend of the Virgin Clare - 203 

try to tear the Lord's tunic do not crawl as in old times
nor are they hiding in caves, but come out from their
old hiding places, make errors public, and defend false doctrines.a

25The people erred, as did the priest himself.
The leaders strayed. The zeal of the shepherd disappeared,
abandoned the sheep-pen, and neglected to save the sheep,
exposing them to the jaws of the wolves. The tongue of the learned was quiet,
and the enclosed life was made foolish. What else?

30Culpability embraces every value without exception.
Thus evil increases, the flame of love grows cold.
For the battered vessel of the Church, tossed high by many waves,
thrown low by innumerable evils, groaned at the violent winds,
drew deep breaths of the heart from within .

35Barely staying its course, as if submerged in a deep sea,
it raised its groans and tears to Christ alone.
Its heavenly sailor, desiri ng to avoid shipwreck
and to wipe away its tears,
sent two heralds, as if splendid stars,

40that the world might shine with a new light, a new splendor.
After the clouds of error had dissipated and the vices of speech
were cut down by the sickle of eloquent preaching,
cultivation invigorated the faith, brought forth these men,
as falling stars in the evening of the world, producing light from the fountain

45of eternal light, so that the world's aging was renewed by their light.
These two men, following the sacred footprin ts of Christ by vow,
fled the joys of an unstable world,

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Legenda Versificata Sanctae Clarae, Fontes Franciscani, p. 2350


Ecclesie facies; heresis, que senper id egit
Scinderet ut Domini tunicam, non serpit, ut olim,
Nec latet in caveis; veteres exuta latebras
Publicat errores et dogmata falsa tuetur.

100Erravit populus, erravit et ipse sacerdos;
Erravere duces: studium pastoris ovile
Deseruit, neglexit oves servare, luporum
Faucibus exponens; doctorum lingua quievit,
Ipsaque desipuit claustralis vita. Quid ultra?

105Excipiens nullum, clausit genus omne reatus.
Sic crevere mala, sie friguit signis amoris,
Quod ratis ecclesie, numerosis fluctibus acta,
Innumeris depressa malis, illisa procellis
Ingemuit, cordis suspiria traxit ab imo;

110Nec rata iam sistens, pelago quasi mersa profundo,
In solum Chistum gemitus lacrimasque reduxit.
Cuius naufragio cupiens occurrere nauta.
Celestis, lacrimasque suas detergere, binos
Precones misit, quasi splendida sydera, quorum

115Luce nova, splendore novo claresceret orbis;
Pulsis errorum nebulis vitiisque recisis
Eloquii falce, fidei cultura vigeret.
Hos velud occiduas sub mundi vespere stellas
Edidit, accendens eterni luminis [h]austu,

120Ut mundi senium sub eorum luce novetur.
Hii duo sub vario ritu, sub dispare veste,
Mundi labentis spreverunt gaudia, Christi

Clare of Assisi: Early Documents, p. 203

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