The Versified Life of Saint Francis  - 445 

The Third Book

AN EXPLANATION OF THE SHOW HE WAS FOR THE COMMON CROWD, CHAINED, AS HE WAS, IN A PRISON LIKE A MADMAN, HOW NO ADVICE COULD DISSUADE HIM, UNTIL DISOWNED THROUGH HIS FATHER'S WICKED DECISION, NAKED HE ABANDONS HIS CITY.

ESTRANGED is he in the city that once was his.
Where but late they worshiped his footmarks Is 60:14
The cobblers and the victualers now buffet 2 Cor 12:7 his head.
Whom would such a wrong not annoy, with no guilt as its pretext?

5Do what they would, Francis is steady and calm; no hurt,
No wrath can flex him; no suffering inflicted is as great
As the patience he has to endure it.
His father rushes to the scene and, adding thrashing to railing,
Binds him like a thief or a maniac, locks him up at home,

10And treats him harshly as an enemy. Although he has no mind
Thus to harm him, only to correct him, this is where he errs,
For blind man that he is, he guides a sighted one right
Into the ditch. Mt 15:14 Two things hurt most: an enemy's trick
And a friend's error. To Francis leaving the world of the vain,

15The worse block is the deception of friends, who to one
Who's been through every peril, close the way to his homeland
And the port of salvation. It was his father, more than all else,
Strove with words and with blows to call him back from his soaring
Course, from entering the starbounda ways of the Lord. Acts 13:10

20He pledges penalties for virtue, and for wrongdoing payment.
But no talking moves Francis, no trouncing crushes him;
And his father's proposal he refutes in these words:b"
What do you want of me, father? You are so wrong.
Return to the vortex I once escaped from?c With life

 Previous

Next 

 

Legenda Sancti Francisci Versificata, Fontes Franciscani, p.


Liber III

Tertius explanat quae carcere vinctus ut amens Praebuerit vulgo spectacula; quomodo, nullis, Perversus monitis, exheredatus iniquo Sit patris arbitrio, nudusque reliquerit urbem.

Exterus est, ubi civis erat; vestigia cuius
Nuper adorarunt, caput eius nunc colaphizanta
Sutores et carnifices. Iniuria quem non
Tanta molestaret, nullo causata reatu?

5 Sed quidquid faciant, Franciscus ad omnia constans
Perstat et aequanimis, quem nulla molestia, nullus
Incurvare potest furor, inferrique benigno
Passio tanta nequit, quin sit patientia maior.
Ipsemet accurrit pater, opprobriisque flagella

10 Addit eumque ligat quasi furem vel furiosum,
Recluditque domi; nec tractat amicius hoste.
Non tamen intendit poenas inferre nocivas,
Immo quibus castiget eum; sed in istud agendo
Errat, et in foveam caecus iubet ire videntem. 

15 Haec duo summe nocent: dolus hostis et error amici.
Vana relinquenti Francisco plurimus obstat
Error amicorum, qui tanta pericula passo
Praecludunt aditum patriae portumque salutis.
Prae cunctis pater eius eum sublime volantem

20 Ingressumque vias Domini, quibus astra petuntur,
Et verbis et verberibus revocare laborat,
Virtuti poenas vitioque salaria spondens.
Franciscum nec verba movent, nec verbera frangunt;
Propositumque patris tali sermone refellit:

25 " Quid mihi vis, decepte pater? Repetamne Charybdim,
Quam semel evasi? Vis ut, qui vivere-possum,

Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 1, p. 445

Hardcopies Available for Purchase