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 The Versified Life of Saint Francis  - 486 

That came, for their points of entry were everywhere.a

110What manly courage in a man to cross that great river
In a tiny skiff! Alone and unarmed he moves towards
The weaponed and hostile host, through darts, through
Unquenchable "Greek fire,"b through a thousand mortal perils!c
A thousand dangers strewed his path, yet more the menace

115At journey's end. Fears he neither till the greedy river
He crosses and, nothing daunted, reaches the enemy's midst.d
But before he can advance further to reach the presence
Of the king of the Persians, to whose ears
The word of the Lord Acts 6:7 he intended first to convey,

120He must take furious treatment in plenty,e with cruel club
Be smitten. His flesh is livid, his blood pours out;
Violet is his body from violence, and rose-red his wounds
Within. Nor does the soul within him any sorrow feel
For those tortured limbs now all swathed in purple.

125While the flesh is hostile to the soul, why should
Its wounds be pitied? Anyone who boosts his foe
Leaves himself in a weaker position. Hence the inner
Francis sought nothing of outer honors, through the losing
Of which he has his will set on salvation's gaining, on

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Legenda Sancti Francisci Versificata, Fontes Franciscani, p.


Non poterat fieri, quia punctus ubique fiebat.

110O virtus animosa viri, qui flumine tanto
Cymba transvectus modica, tot solus ad hostes
Armatos et inermis abit per tela, per ignes
Non exstinguibiles, per mille pericula mortis!
Praetendit via mille metus, plus meta minatur;

115Sed neutras timet ille minas, fluviumque rapacem
Transit, et intrepidus medios effertur in hostes.
Ante tamen quam progrediens pertingere possit
Ad faciem regis Persarum, cuius ad aures
In primis verbum Domini deferre volebat,

120Saevitias plures expertus, fuste cruento
Vapulat; exterius livet caro, sanguis ab intus
profluit; exterior violas violentia pingit,
Interiorque rosas, nec mens dolet ipsa dolore
Artubus arctatis quos utraque purpura vestit.

125Hostis enim cum sit animae caro, cur ea laesae
Compateretur ei? Qui plus corroborat hostem,
Et sese plus debilitat. Franciscus obinde
Interior nullum cupit exterioris honorem,
Cuius nancisci vult perditione salutem,

Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 1, p. 486

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