The Versified Life of Saint Francis  - 500 

World; no two were ever more powerfully united.a
To the holy the holy are known and the true know who to trust;
To this great priest's guardianship Francis commits

55The care Lk 10:34 of all the Order and the brothers.
He took the onus on, and never made a single slip.
Great the need that lay in store for him,b
Often would Francis say, as with prophetic utterance
He would call him "Bishop of the Whole World."

60What he said proves now to be true: he who then was Hugolino
Now is Gregory; head of one city was he then,
Now head of the wide world, where the Order of Minors thrives.
Well did he merit the honors reserved for the great,
Since his gracious devotion respected them that were little!

65God who is just, in secret rewards each one for his acts;
And he is deserving of reward all the greater
Who offers himself to those that are lesser.
Now, his compassion was beyond measure.
For after he'd given away everything, with no means left

70With which to satisfy his own desires, he is bold enough
To shame his own head with modest mien
Begging from the rich to give to the needy.
And not alone does he feed them, but pays them respect,
And forbids all talk that would cause them annoyance.

75No one must dare hurt Christ's little ones with ranting words:
He corrected one friar for this and in him he corrected us all.
He, seeing a man without means, said: "Make sure, my dear man,
You're not feigning poverty." Francis when he hears him
Say it, bids him beg forgiveness for the remark,

80Naked and prostrate at the feet of the poor man.
Reverence for the poor to Francis meant that anything said
Of a pauper was scandal uttered against Christ.
And if he saw anyone carrying stones or timber
Or with some other load that was difficult to bear,

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Legenda Sancti Francisci Versificata, Fontes Franciscani, p.


Expertusque sacer sacrum, fidusque fidelem,
Tanti Franciscus tutelae praesulis omnem,
Ordinis et fratrum curam commisit agendam

55Depositum suscepit onus, nulloque fefellit,
Praesul in articulo. Quem praemia quanta manerent,
Saepe profabatur Franciscus, pontificemque
Totius mundi praesaga voce vocabat.
Iam rebus se dieta probant; qui tunc Hugolinus,

60Nunc est Gregorius; qui tune caput unius urbis,
Nunc caput est orbis, in quo viget Ordo Minorum.
Et bene summorum meruit reperire favorem,
Cuius honorabat devotio grata pusillos!
Iustus namque Deus sua cuilibet acta latenter

65Retribuit, talesque sibi reperire meretur
Maiores, qualem se quisque minoribus offert.
Eius vero modum superans miseratio, postquam
Omnia dispersit, nec suppetit ulla facultas
Unde satisfaciat propriis affectibus, audet

70Ore verecundo propriam confundere frontem
Mendicans a divitibus quid donet egenis.
Nec solum sustentat eos, sed honorat, et omni
Voce molestari prohibet; Christique pusillos
Ne quis praesumat tumidis offendere verbis,

75Fratris ab unius exemplo corripit omnes.
Ille videns inopem: " Caveas, carissime ", dixit,
" Ne paupertatem simules ". Franciscus ut audit
Talia dicentem, iubet ut sibi dicta remitti
Nudus et ante pedes prostratus pauperis oret.

80Haec est Francisco reverentia pauperis, ut de
Paupere dicta notet de Christo scandala dici;
Et si quem videat lapides aut ligna ferentem
Aut aliud pondus non absque labore ferendum,

Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 1, p. 500

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