The Versified Life of Saint Francis  - 498 

The Tenth Book

THE EFFECT OF HIS SPEAKING UPON WISE MEN AND POPE; HIS PREDICTION CONCERNING A FUTURE POPE, HIS LIGHTENING THE LOADS OF THE BURDENED, HIS PITY FOR A SHEEP, AND HIS RESCUE OF SOME PITIABLE LAMBS.

NAME brought him renown, but every virtue still more,
The man who in those days was holy father to the City
Of Rome and to the world: that pinnacle of honesty
And honor, Honorius.a To him Francis comes, bidden to preach

5Upon a theme. Though he must speak before so many
Of the purpled brethrenb and the reverend Father,c he consults
None of the textual masters, opens up no volumes, nor his own
Mental resources. Instead, pouring forth at once with never
A break, and aptly forming them into sentences,

10Delivers each single one of his choicest thoughts.
And also making use of rhetorical gesture he involves
Not only his tongue but his total body in speaking.d
With inclinations and signals, his external motions keep pace
With those of his mind, each articular move expressive

15Of his articulate skill. Lest his peculiarly elegant discourse
Lose flow, wander off course, in among his own words
He plants, like flowers in grass, sayings from the ancients.
And to create coherence between what's from himself and what
He brings in, he unlocks prophetic mysteries, explores

20The fathomless depths of law and Scripture, as well as
The finer points of faith, the profundity of the Gospel,

 Previous

Next 

 

Legenda Sancti Francisci Versificata, Fontes Franciscani, p.


Liber X

Declarat decimus quo papam, quo sapientes Moverit eloquio; papae praesaga futuri Nuncia protulerit; multos relevarit onustos; Sit miseratus ovem, miserosque reduxerit agnos.

Nomine vir celebris, virtute celebrior omni,
Tempore sanctus eo pater exstitit Urbis et orbis,
Culmen honestatis et honoris, Honorius; ad quem
Franciscus veniens, proponere thema iubetur.

5Ille, licet coram tot fratribus et reverendo
Patre locuturus, non exponentia textum
Verba magistrorum, non integumenta librorum,
Non propriam mentem praeconsulit, immo repente
Oris in excursu quod nusquam caespitat, apte

10Singula continuans exquisitissima profert.
Rhetoricos etiam satagens praetendere gestus,
Non solum lingua loquitur sed corpore toto,
Nutibus et signis, extraque movetur ut intus,
Et motus artis per motos explicat artus.

15Cuius ne propria sermo levitate vacillans
Vergat in ambages, inter sua verba priorum.
Dicta quasi quosdam serit inter gramina flores;
Utque cohaerenter propriis aliena coaptet,
Alta prophetarum reserans aenigmata, legis

20Et Scripturarum vastas explorat abyssos,
Et fidei scrupulos, Evangeliique profundum,

Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 1, p. 498

Hardcopies Available for Purchase