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 The Versified Life of Saint Francis  - 471 

85O man of great renown," replies Francis,a "would you
Advise to cling to cloister or hermitage men asked
To heal a whole world? We feel obliged to carry weapons
Not alone for ourselves but to guard all who are brethren to us.
Would you have us neglect to bring medicine

90To a plague-ridden world—while merely wishing it well?
Surely it is wicked to prefer our own saving to that of all men.
To bring back the guilty and stoop down to the fallen—
That is my work.b This is the cross that I shoulder. Lk 14:27 Jn 19:17
I earnestly yearn to follow Christ thus; and I think I can

95Follow him no otherwise; so do I learn from the very words of the Gospel."
Moved by such great fervor in Francis, John
Leads him in to face the Pope he wished to consult.
The brothers bear him company on his way.c
And of the good purposes for which he had come

100The Pope readily grants in favor. Everything yields
Ground to the requests and nothing whatever is refused.
Thus having obtained all that they came to petition,
The time comes to go. The Pope gives them license and leave
And imparts them his blessing. He bids them take once again

105To the paths they had started out on, and throughout
Every land to publish the doctrine of Christ, and bring back
To safe haven those swamped by the billows of vices, in the ship of the virtues.
Verily following Francis is grace of the highest divine favor;
Endowed with it he is filled with amazement

110As it brings him so many and such speedy triumphs.d
An oath God did swear to make him increase. Sir 44:22 His like
Was not found in furthering the law of the Most High, Sir 44:20
In serving God, in contemning the world, in mastering
Himself, in fostering his fellows, in converting the crooked,

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Legenda Sancti Francisci Versificata, Fontes Franciscani, p.


80Franciscus: " Quid ", ait, " vir magne, vir inclyte, claustris
Aut eremis haerere mones, quos publica mundi
Cura petit? Qui nec tantummodo ferre tenemur
Pro nobis, verum pro fratribus arma tuendis,
Vis ut omittamus medicinam pestibus orbis

85Ferre salutiferam, soli salvere volentes?
Communi propriam scelus est praeferre salutem;
Sed reparare reos et condescendere lapsis
Hic meus est labor, haec mea crux quam baiulo i; Christum
Sic affecto sequi, nec eum secus esse sequendum

90Ex ipsis Evangelii considero verbis ".
Tanto Francisci motus fervore Iohannes,
Ad faciem Papae, quem consultare volebat
Introducit eum: fratres comitantur euntem.
Adventusque sui causas referentibus aptas

95Provenit ex facili Papae favor; omnia, cedunt
Ad votum, nullamque ferunt omnino repulsam.
Sic impetrato quidquid duxere petendum,
Restat ut abscedant, et Papa licentiat ipsos
Et benedicit eis, iniungens ut gradiantur

100Quo passu coepere gradi, terrasque per omnes
Doctrinam Christi promulgent, et vitiorum
Fluctibus absorptos virtutum nave reportent.
Vere Franciscum summo divina favore
Gratia prosequitur, cuius succedere dono

105Miratur sibi tam propere tot prospera. Iure
Iurando fecit Deus illum crescere; non est
Inventus similis illi protendere legem
Excelsi, servire Deo, contemnere mundum,
Praeesse sibi, prodesse suis, convertere pravos

Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 1, p. 471

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