The Versified Life of Saint Francis  - 493 

By depriving you of the enjoyment of a long life.
Go back free and unharmed to your ancestral home."

55With that, he threw it back out into the safety of the waters.a
Although it had suffered loss of liberty
And had feared for its life, it comes out nonetheless unafraid
From the deep recesses of the river; it plays on the edge
Before its rescuer, and never minds

60Being approached or touched: such great trust
Derives from the experience of kindness. Nor does it give up
Its playing until Francis at length bids it be off.
And not daring to ignore the command,
It hides its silvery formb far in the flowing stream.

65On leaving there Francis is forced to take to bed
With a serious bout of sickness. But so to provide
For his servant a medicine, Christ's clemency changes
Water to wine. A draught of this
By its sweet taste upon palate and its boosting of natural

70Warmth, all the malady's causes eliminates.
The grace of God is a cure not only for Francis,
But through him bestows a double healing on many.
On his way through the lands, the farms, the cities,
He is entering the city called Ascoli, when all

75The sick come to him; and a struggle there is
To see if they can touch even the hem of his garments. Mt 14:36
For they regard his very garments as relics,
And they so tear them off him that he goes around
In tatters. And they offer him loaves which he blesses;

80A crumb of which, seasoned with faith, mitigates pains,
Alleviates ailments and brings riddance to injuries.
A woman of Arezzo laboring in childbirth,
Has for ages to the saints been praying and none of her pleas
Have been answered. Nor is she aided by herbs,




Legenda Sancti Francisci Versificata, Fontes Franciscani, p.

Incitet, ut longum vitae tibi subtrahat usum:
Liber et indemnis ad avita revertere tecta ".

55Dixit, et in medias salvandum reicit undas.
Qui libertatis quamvis dispendia passus,
Exitiique metum, tamen imperterritus altas
Fluminis egrediens latebras, in margine coram
Servatore suo ludit, nullumque recusat

60Accessum tactumve pati: fiducia tanta
Expertae pietatis inest; nec ludere cessat,
Donec eum tandem iubeat Franciscus abire.
Cuius praeceptum non ausus omittere, corpus
Concolor argento medio tenus amne recondit.

65Inde recedentem gravis infestatio morbi
Franciscum cogit decumbere, sed medicinam
Exhibitura suo Christi clementia servo
In vinum convertit aquas; quae potio gustum
Dulciter immutans naturalemque calorem

70Confortans, morbi causas eliminat omnes.
Gratia nec soli Francisco summa medetur,
Sed per eum multis impendit utramque salutem.
Ad quem dum terras, dum praedia lustrat et urbes,
Urbis in introitu, quae dicitur Esculus, aegri

75Conveniunt, et fit conflictus ut eius ab ipsis
Vestimenta queant vel saltem fimbria tangi.
Nam pro reliquiis vestes ipsius habentur,
Quas ita diripiunt ut vix incedat opertus.
Et panes illi praesentant, quos benedicat,

80Quorum mica, sale fidei condita, dolores
Mitigat et morbos levat et nocumenta relegat.
Aretii mulier partus gravitate laborans,
Sanctorum quaesita diu suffragia nullis
Impetrans precibus, nullis adiuta vel herbis

Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 1, p. 493