The Versified Life of Saint Francis  - 491 

The Ninth Book

THE MAN WHO RESTRAINED CHATTERING SWALLOWS AND MADE THEM STAND STILL; WHAT HE DID FOR A HARE AND A FISH; WATER BY MIRACLE CHANGED TO WINE AND CURING HIM, AND HIS HEALING THE MALADIES AND MORALS OF THE SICK.

SURVEYING the sky, he is full of wonder that wandering birdsa
Of space could hold his sermon's weight,
Could allow him to touch them, and give forth
A pleasant song and heedfully chant supernal praises.

5The footsoldier, happy that miracles sparkled at his command,
Completes his planned march, and end of day finds him
In Alviano. There on the following morningb he is ready
To address devout words to the crowds assembled from everywhere.
But the tiny place itself is filled with so many swallows

10Flying all aboutc and making such rustling sounds
And plaintive murmurs,d that no one saying something
Can be heard by those that stand beside him.
He, bothered by such great chatterers, said: "Sisters,
You have said your say and it is quite enough for now;

15It is now my turn, so you give ear to what I have to say. Ps 78:1 [Vulgate, Ps 77:1]
Nor should I presume to order you about like this,
But that you ought to be moved by reverence for your Maker
Whose holy praises I am announcing to the people." Ps 51:17 [Vulgate, Ps 50:17]
His admonition finished,e all of them kept silence

20And remained in their places nor dared make a stir
Until he had said the last word of his sermon. Dn 4:30
Those present, staring at the spectacle, say among

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Legenda Sancti Francisci Versificata, Fontes Franciscani, p.


Liber IX

Nonus hirundineis ponentem frena susurris, Sistentemque vagas, leporis piscisque favorem Scribit, et in vinum conversam caelitus undam, Sanantenique virum morbis et moribus aegros.

Suspiciens miratur aves per inane vagantes
Sermonis potuisse sui gravitate teneri,
Et tactum voluisse pati, placidumque dedisse
Carmen et attente laudes cecinisse supernas.

5Gavisus fulsisse suo miracula iussu,
Propositum pedes explet iter quem meta diaetae
Excipit Albianum. Turbis ubi mane sequenti
Undique collectis sacra vult proponere verba;
Sed tot hirundinibus circumvolantibus auras

10Et tenues querulo crepitantibus ore susurros
Ipse replebatur locus, ut nullius ab ipsis
Iuxta se positis audiri dictio posset.
Tantis affectus garritibus ille: " Sorores ",
Inquit, " sufficiat vos hactenus esse locutas;

15Nunc et ego dicam, nunc vestras vocibus aures
Inclinate meis, quod nec praesumo iubendum,
Sed vos auctoris moveat reverentia vestri,
Cuius ego sacras populis annuntio laudes ".
Finierat monitus: tenuere silentia cunctae,

20Manseruntque locis nec praesumpsere moveri,
Donec ad extremum completus sermo fuisset.
Praesentes haec intuiti miracula, dicunt
Inter se: " Quia sanctus is est, meritoque colendus,

Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 1, p. 491

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