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 The Versified Life of Saint Francis  - 473 

Here the Patarene error had led many astraya
But Francis leads back the sheep of Christ to the fold. Acts 10:16b
While he instructs the unschooled, the Lord's word Acts 6:7 sits nobly
Upon his lips: like jasper on gold, like the dew

150On the fields, a flowerc in thickets, a glowing fire in some
Palace hall.d With divine faith he adorns souls like a jasper,
Like dew he moistens them, delights them like a flower,
And capturing human feelings, soothes them with sweet savor,
And reaches into the heart's deepest core.e

155And now those whose souls he pierced the more, prevail on him
Who learned from God such honored skill,
To let them join him as brethren; let them share
The onus he carries, share, too, the honors that are his.
These he enrolls under his banner;f the Order

160Grows greatly in numbers.g Yet up to now it lacks a name.h
Therefore its craftsman must give iti a definite name,
And decides to call it the Order of Minors.
How right! For who was minor or lesser than he,
Meager in victuals and drinking, uncluttered with mantle or toga,

165Not puffed up with grandeur or sway; that reckoned
All above himself and self to none preferred; that valued
What the world calls cheap and the costly learnt to scorn;
That lest he lose what was Christ, let himself go in want?
And so, Francis was right in calling them Minor—

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Legenda Sancti Francisci Versificata, Fontes Franciscani, p.


Hic Patarinorum multos seduxerat error,
Sed Christi Franciscus oves ad ovile reducit.
Erudiensque rudes sedet excellenter in ore
Ipsius verbum Domini, quasi iaspis in auro,

145Ros in agris, flos in virgultis, ignis in aula:
Divinaque fide mentes ut iaspis adornat,
Ut ros humectat, ut fios delectat, ut ignis.
Illustrat, captosque sua dulcedine sensus
Mulcet, et humani penetrat penetralia cordis,

150Inde probabilius compuncti fortius instant,
Ut qui tam celebrem didicit divinitus artem,
In fratres admittat eos, partemque ferendi
Concedens oneris, partem concedat honoris.
Ille suis insignit eos insignibus; Ordo

155Crescit in immensum, sed adhuc sine nomine res est.
Vult ergo suus huic opifex imponere certum
Nomen, et instituit dicatur ut Ordo Minorum.
Et merito: quis enim minor illo, quem neque potus
Aut cibus impinguat, nec diplois aut, toga densat,

160Nec decus aut ditio sublimat, qui sibi cunctos
Se nulli praeferre studet, qui vilia mundi
Appretians, pretiosa sibi vilescere cogit,
Qui ne deficiat in Christo, deficit in se?
Tales Franciscus recte vocat ergo Minores:

Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 1, p. 473

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