The Versified Life of Saint Francis  - 499 

And the world of God's own hidden secrets.
His sermon goes down so well with the audience
That he to whom it meant more admired him all the more.

25The purpled brethren to a man are in awe of him;a so too
Is the Pope; who all have their silent question: What spirit
Is it speaks through the lips of this layman? Mt 10:20 It is their
Devoted listening that is vocal; for lips are silent, faces
Fixed,b it is their hearts that are moved; understanding

30Is alive, senses are stilled and, as they lift the eyes
Of their thought, they gaze on the face of an angel!
The bitter foe, however, is not far off, with calumny
Instead of praise.c But Ostia's bishop, the lord Hugolino,
Is Francis's shield, and heaven-sent grace

35Made him promoter of the holy man's plans.
He now extols his virtues, vindicates what he says,
And with his personal authority restrains all detractors.
Francis had known him for a while and obtained first place
In his heart as a father when, on his way to the people

40Of France, he had to increase the brothers minor in number.d
When Florence was host to our footsore traveler,e
He learned that that bishop was there as Legate,
And went to see him. And he receives him with fatherly
Welcome—star that he was, flower, splendor and jewel:

45Star of probity, flower of rectitude, splendor of clerics,
Jewel among priests. He asked him where he was headed
And to what purpose; and since to go beyond the Alps was his aim,
He persuaded him to return, and ordered him to visit the brothers.
Then they commended themselves to each other's prayers.

50From that moment they were joined in an unbreakable bond,
A bond of friendship that had the strongest knot in the

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Legenda Sancti Francisci Versificata, Fontes Franciscani, p.


Ipsiusque Dei secreta latentia mundum.
Sermo suis adeo placet auditoribus, ut plus
Admiretur eum qui plus intelligit: omnes

25Quaerendo tacite fratres mirantur, et ipse
Papa, quis in laici sic spiritus ore loquatur,
Cuius in auditu devotio clamat eorum,
Ora silent, vultus figuntur, corda moventur,
Intellectus agit, sensus vacat et, rationis

30Erecta facie, facies divina videtur.
Non tamen hostis abest qui commendanda maligne
Carpat; sed dominus Hugolinus, episcopus Hosti-
ensis, Francisco clipeus, cui gratia sese
Caelitus infudit sanetorum vota fovendi,

35Eius virtutes attollit, dicta tuetur
Et detractores propria gravitate coërcet.
Huius notitiam patris primumque favorem
Dudum nactus erat, numerum dum forte Minorum
Multiplicare volens, Francos Franciscus adiret.

40Cumque recepisset peditem Florentia fessum,
Audito quod ibi Legatus episcopus idem
Esset, adivit eum, quem vultibus ille paternis
Suscipiens, ut erat sidus, flos, gloria, gemma:
Sidus honestatis, flos morum, gloria cleri,

45Gemma sacerdotum, quaesivit quo proficisci
Vellet et ad quod opus; et transalpare volenti
Persuasit reditum, fratresque revisere iussit;
Seque suis precibus commendavere vicissim.
Ex tunc iunxit eos indissociabile foedus,

50Foedus amicitiae, quo non est nexus in orbe
Firmior aut virtus magis unitiva duorum.

Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 1, p. 499

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