Dante Alighieri (1315-1318) - 886 

When He who destined Francis to such goodness
was pleased to draw him up to the reward
that he had won through his humility,

then to his brothers, as to rightful heirs
Francis commended his most precious lady,
and he bade them to love her faithfully;

and when, returning to its kingdom, his
bright soul wanted to set forth from her bosom,
it, for its body, asked no other bier.a

Consider now that man b who was a colleague
worthy of Francis; with him, in high seas,
he kept the bark of Peter on true course.

Such was our patriarch; thus you can see
that those who follow him as he commands,
as cargo carry worthy merchandise.

But now his flock is grown so greedy for
new nourishment that it must wander far,
in search of strange and distant grazing lands;

and as his sheep, remote and vagabond,
stray farther from his side, at their return
into the fold, their lack of milk is greater.

Though there are some indeed who, fearing harm,
stay near the shepherd, they are few in number—
to cowl them would require little cloth.

Now if my words are not too dim and distant,
if you have listened carefully to them,
if you can call to mind what has been said,

then part of what you wish to know is answered,
for you will see the splinters on the plant
and see what my correction meant: 'Where one

may fatten well, if one does not stray off.'"




Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 3, p. 886