The Versified Life of Saint Francis  - 452 

The Fourth Book

AN EXAMINATION OF HIS CRUEL TREATMENT AT THE HANDS, NOW OF THIEVES AND AGAIN OF MONKS, OF THE GREAT ZEAL WITH WHICH HE TOOK CHARGE OF LEPERS, OF HIS CARE IN REPAIRING FOR CHRIST OLD CHAPELS AROUND ASSISI.

GRACE from on high accompanies the wretcha on his way.
Infinite his woes, such as would weigh, O Job,
On your patience, if not break it!
He has become like a "wandering jester"b with no fixed abode,

5Poor, needy, neglected and freezing, fatigued and famished.
He is to others a burden and despised by himself,c a wanderer
And exile on his own native soil. In that better country he'd belong
To a household and be a free man and would know a house
Where he could lay down his head. For so many misfortunes

10There must be some recompense.
The winter season now, as a slanting sun lengthens the nights
And shortens the days; when the earth, once dotted with a thousand
Hues, gleams with only one color, as her bareness is swathed
In the snow's woolen robe and adorned with crystals of ice;

15When travelers are happy at the shimmering roads, and all pathways
Are white, and no foot is moistened; the north wind congeals all
Waters; warmth from walking tempers the winter's cold, and the cold
Tempers the warmth. Francis, traversing the woods, rejoices Mt 5:12 Lk 6:23
And exults with all his heart, and his gladness makes him sing.

20He delights at the thought that he is free of his wicked
Father's control, with his fraudulent gains; that he walks now
As Christ's slave and a free man himself; 1 Cor 7:2 that being naked

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Legenda Sancti Francisci Versificata, Fontes Franciscani, p.


Liber IV

Insinuat quartus nunc furum, nunc monachorum Quomodo saevitiam tulerit; quantoque leprosis Praefuerit studio; qua sollicitudine circa Assisium veteres Christo reparaverit aedes.

Gratia caelestis vernam comitatur euntem;
Infinita tamen patitur, quibus ipsa gravari,
Etsi non frangi, tua, Iob, patientia posset.
Factus enim quasi scurra vagus, cui mansio nusquam

5Certa datur, pauper et egens, neglectus et algens,
Fessus et esuriens, aliis gravis et sibi vilis,
Natali patrioque solo peregrinus et exsul
Fertur, ut in patria meliore domesticus esset
Et civis certaque domo requiescere possit.

10Deque tot adversis aliquot referenda videntur.
Tempore brumali, quando producere noctes,
Abreviare dies solet obliquatio solis,
Et, quae mille fuit distineta coloribus, uno
Terra colore nitet, dum nudam nix quasi lana

15Vestit eam, glaciesque quasi crystallusa adornat;
Quando viatores gaudent candore viarum,
Limes ubique merus, nusquam pes humefit, omnes
Densat aquas aquilo, calor acquisitus eundo
Temperat hibernum frigus, frigusque calorem;

20Per nemus incedens Franciscus pectore toto
Gaudet et exsultatb: movet exsultatio cantum.
Delectatur enim, reminiscens quod sit iniquo
Exemptus patris arbitrio lucrisque dolosis,
Quod Christo servus iam perviet et sibi liberc

25Quod nudus ferale ferat quasi mulcebre frigus.

Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 1, p. 452

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