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 The Versified Life of Saint Francis  - 466 

Their place above; if the body's, both go downward. The two are yet
One human being; so, it might be hoped they would agree on certain
Things. But, what accord has Christ with Belial? 2 Cor 6:15 Each side here

195Has its own special thrust; neither can be drawn unless overcome.
Strive we must therefore to give the mastery to our better self
And bring our worse self to heel, and compel, not the spirit
To serve the flesh, but the flesh to render service to the spirit.
The body has five attendants,a and in their desires, reason,

200Most loyal partner of the soul, hardly shows interest. It is hers
To raise our downcast consciousness, not to pamper the taste of the senses.b
But drawn along is the body by the rope of poverty, Jb 36:8c
Once it loses its turgid fleshiness and adopts the soul's vigorous gait;
Once it sets its course on interests celestial and is not bound

205For the things of earth. For there is a freedom in poverty
That makes her the seat of frugality; she is the untroubled rest
Where virtues lie. She does not sink under weighty worries,
Nor fear the hand of the thief; nor does she hunt for vanities.d
And yet she is much suspected. But still, in one committed to the war

210Christ wages, forbearance is not strong if fortune presses him hard.
She is mild; though poverty may be harsh to the eyes of some.
If he but willingly carry it, no one will falter under her load.e
If he have the will for it, he can be glad with even a little.
This is hard at the outset; but we are left with the habit

215Of frugality, and then practice makes it something we are used to.f
When the timid complain about poverty
It is not poorness, but poor persons themselves, they offend:
Unless there be one who poverty freely accepts, no one unhappy
In want will ever accept her. If people in need had more toleration,

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Legenda Sancti Francisci Versificata, Fontes Franciscani, p.


Consistent sursum; si corporis, ambo deorsum.
Ista duo sunt unus homo: spes inde quibusdam
Est ut conveniant. Sed quae conventio Christi
Ad Belial? Proprio pars nititur utraque motu;

220Neutra trahi nisi victa potest; est ergo studendum
Ut melior dominetur ibi peiorque dometur,
Et compellatur, non carni spiritus, immo
Spiritui servire caro.Quod quinque ministri
Corporis affectant, animae fidissima consors

225Vix ratio conscire velit, mentemque iacentem
Erigat, et nulla recreet dulcedine sensum.
Sed paupertatis quodam quasi fune trahatur
Carnali caro mole carens, animaeque vigorem
Et motum sortita suae, caelestibus illam

230Sectando studiis, terrenaque nulla petendo.
Sobrietatis enim paupertas libera sedes,
Virtutum secura quies, nec pondere rerum
Deprimitur, nec furta timet, nec inania captat.
Attamen est multis suspecta: sed in profitente

235Christi militiam non est patientia fortis,
Quem fortuna premit; tener est: cuicumque videri
Paupertas res dura potest; sub pondere tali
Nemo vacillabit, si duxerit ultro ferendum.
Quo modo vult, ita quisque potest gaudere pusillo;

240Hoc tamen in primis grave, sed praescripta relinquit
Sobrietas habitum, generatque frequentia mores.
Cumque pusillanimes de paupertate querantur,
Non in pauperie sed in ipso paupere peccant;
Quam nisi quisque ferat, invitus nec feret inops.

245Si toleraret egens, tolerabilis esset egestas

Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 1, p. 466

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