The Versified Life of Saint Francis  - 494 

85Precious stones, or incantations.a Oft but in vain
Has she tried the various cures of skillful physicians.
And now she lies lifeless and like one that senses
The hand of Fate cutting the threads of her hope.b
Over the bed of the dying woman friends place reins:

90Since they were reins Francis, riding in the region, had handled,
They credit what they had in them something of power.
At once the woman gives birth: the imprisoned fetus
Breaks its bars, and issues from the womb's dark chamber.
Likewise with regard to a rope Francis, from the Order's beginnings

95Used to wear as a belt,c one Walfried had, who lived
In Città della Pieve: guilty he'd feel to hold on
To that sacred possession if he didn't oft place it
Upon the persons of women that were sick,
For by mere contact with it much solace did they derive.d

100There is report from Toscanella, evidence from Narni,
An account from Gubbio: of a sick weakling child,
Of a color-blind woman and a paralytic man;
Of a woman both of whose hands were crooked
From a contraction inflaming the finger sinews,

105Allowing her to do no manual work whatever.
The kind support of Francis brought it all to an end,
Curing by brief word and brief touch longstanding ailments.
A terrible affliction troubled a certain friar:
Often he foamed at the mouth, writhing, Mk 9:19 and torn;

110It ripped and disjointed his limbs, making his mouth
Twist and gape. Now it bundles him up, again
It stretches him out; he turns savage with a furious
Roll of the eyes,e and frightens bystanders with menacing
Shouts. In his suffering, the right hand of Francis makes

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Legenda Sancti Francisci Versificata, Fontes Franciscani, p.


85Vel gemmis vel carminibus, physicaeque scientum
Saepe sed incassum varias experta medelas,
Iam iacet exanimis, iam desperata videtur
Praesensisse manum resecantis stamina Parcae.
Lora superponunt lecto morientis amici,

90Quae quia contigerat equitans in partibus illis
Franciscus, credunt aliquid virtutis inesse.
Protinus illa parit, claususque repagula foetus
Solvit, et egreditur obtusa cubilia ventris.
A simili funem Francisci, quo quasi zona

95Circa principium consueverat Ordinis uti,
In Castro Plebis habitans Gualfridus habebat:
Quem, ne sacra reum possessio redderet, aegris
Saepe superponens illum mulieribus, ampla
Impendebat eis solo solatia tactu.

100Tuscanella refert, testatur Narnia, narrat
Eugubium, quod ibi puer extenuatus et aeger,
Hic mulier nulla discernens luce colores,
Virque paralyticus, ibi femina quam manuale
Incurvans utriusque manus contractio nervos.

105Inflans articulos nihil exercere sinebat,
Francisci pia pertulerint suffragia, verbo
Contactuque brevi longos curantia morbos.
Horribilis quemdam vexabat passio fratrem:
Saepe volutatur spumans, alliditur, artus

110Discerpens et dilanians, et rictibus ora
Distorquens: et nunc se contrahit in breve, nunc se
Porrigit in longum, furibundaque lumina torvum
Versat et astantes terret stridore minaci.
Talia perpessum Francisci dextera signat

Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 1, p. 494

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