The Versified Life of Saint Francis  - 428 

The First Book

FIRSTLY, A DESCRIPTION OF FRANCIS IN PURSUIT OF THE EARTHLY, TILL THE DIVINE HONOR INFLICTS ON HIM GRAVE FEVER, THEN COAXING HIM WITH GLEAMING ARMOR, CONVERTS HIM, AND KINDLES HIS LOVE FOR THE TRULY GOOD.

GREAT feats of a godly captain are the theme of my song:
For mastery over monsters foremosta was he and gave those
Called Minor the skill he acquired.b And lest shining for
Others, he lose his own lamp and brandish the torch, himself Jn 5:35

5Be rejected, his lessons he led off with actions,c and his
Words with example. The flesh he curbed with the soul's
Commands, the foe brought down by orders derived from within,
And on the world he trampled barefooted.
Let fame more sparingly extol
For triumphs of yore, by savagery wrought and with weapons

10Physical: those won in our day have out-shone them all!
For what, compared with Francis, did Julius Caesar,
Or the great Alexander, that we can recall?
Julius vanquished a foe, Alexander a world;d Francis did both.
Nay, Francis not only overcame a world and a foe,

15But also himself: victor and vanquished in the same war.
O soldier of Christ, 2 Tm 2:3 you alone, Francis, bore the scars
Of Life-triumphant-in-death; hid in your soul when living,

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Legenda Sancti Francisci Versificata, Fontes Franciscani, p.


Liber 1

Primus Franciscum scribit, terrena sequentem, Donec eum dignatio nunc pina flagellans Febre gravi, nunc alliciens radiantibus armis, Convertit verique boni succendit amore.

1Gesta sacri cantabo ducis, qui monstra domandi
Primus adinvenit tribuitque Minoribus artem;
Neve, quasi lucens aliis sibimetque lucerna
Deficiens, proprio vibraret lumina. damno,

5Actus praemittens monitis exemplaque verbis,
Carnem praeceptis animae frenavit, et hostem
Nutibus internis pessumdedit, et pede nudo
Mundum calcavit. Veteres iam fama triumphos
Saevitiis partos et materialibus armis

10Parcius extollat: plus enituere moderni!
Nam quid respectu Francisci Iulius, aut quid
Gessit Alexander memorabile? Iulius hostem
Vicit, Alexander mundum, Franciscus utrumque.
Nec solum vicit mundum Franciscus et hostem,

15Sed sese, bello vincens et victus eodem.
O Christi miles, qui solus stigmata Vitae
Morte triumphantis vivens in mente latenter

Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 1, p. 428

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