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 The Versified Life of Saint Francis  - 465 

160The sweet fruit is the praise we get when the Order is young;
The less sweet is when we suffer the scandals of false brothers;
Finally, the sour fruit, even that which smells good, is when
Friars, scattered throughout the world,a make themselves loathsome
To people."

165Meanwhile another good man of acceptable life, so that he'd be
A better Christian and his life be still more acceptable,
Comes to take up arms and engage in brave battles under Francis,
That "wager of brave wars,"b and consecrate himself a soldier
Under a holy commander.

170Their number reached eight, Francis calls them together
And sends them in twos throughout the world, Lk 10:1 to pass on
What they learned of the art of combat. He commands them to show
Courage in battle, Heb 11:12 be patient in affliction, whatever might happen,
And be constant in purpose, not to seek easy ways nor fear opposition,

175To cast a wary eye on successes, and all the more readily accept
Adversities. Without opposition no one is toughened; no one fights
A war without being tough; but there is no triumph if there's no war,
And the kingdom of heaven Mt 11:12 comes not, unless it is won.
And, directing his words towards them, he said:c

180"Note well the situation you are in, and know that life here
Is but a military campaign, Jb 7:1 and sides now eager for battle
Have declared an unending war, each against the other.
Souls belong to the side of heaven,d bodies to the side of earth.e
Now composed of these natures are humans; and the soul levitates

185To the sphere of heaven, while the body gravitates down
To the middle of the earth. But any move forward awaits
The composite's decision as to which must be the progression
That will bring it to either region; whichever is favored
Is stronger, and will draw the other one with it.

190As either component stands within the composite, so shall it be
Outside it. If the soul's progression is decided for, both take

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Legenda Sancti Francisci Versificata, Fontes Franciscani, p.


Dulcia quando recens laudabitur Ordo; remisse
Dulcia dum pseudo patiemur scandala fratrum;

185Prorsus amara, licet redolentia, quando per orbem
Diffusi fratres populis fastidia gignent ".
Vir bonus interea vitaeque probabilis alter,
Ut fieri melior in Christo possit et eius
Vita probabilior, accedit et arma capessens

190Fortia bella gerit sub fortia bella gerente
Francisco, milesque sacer sub principe sacro.
Sic ubi completus est octonarius, omnes
Convocat, et binos mittit Franciscus in orbem,
Ut doceant artem bellandi quam didicerunt,

195Praecipiens ut quidquid eis contingere possit,
Fortes in bello, patientes x sint in agone,
Constantes in proposito, non prospera captent,
Non adversa tremant, sed suspicione notantes
Prospera, suscipiant adversa libentius. Absque

200Adversis equidem nemo riget, absque rigore
Nemo bellatur, sine bello nemo triumphat,
Et regnum caeli non provenit absque triumpho.
Verbaque convertens ad eos: " Advertite ", dixit,
" Quae vestri sit conditio, nec credite vitam

205Hic aliud quam militiam, bellumque perenne
Indixere sibi partes utrobique rebelles.
De caelis animae, de terris corpora: cum sint
Ex his compositi naturis, de levitate
Est animae motus ad sphaeram, de gravitate

210Corporis ad centrum. Sed utro pars utraque motu
Progrediens ad utram pertingere debeat oram,
Compositi stat in arbitrio: cui faverit, illa
Fortior est aliamque trahet. Nam sicut utrumque
Est in composito componens, sic erit extra.

215Ergo si motus animae praeiudicet, ambo
Consistent sursum; si corporis, ambo deorsum.

Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 1, p. 465

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