The Versified Life of Saint Francis  - 502 

120From countless examples I choose but one:a
Once again we find him in the company of the aforesaid friar
In the same Marches of Ancona, where he meets a man
Carrying two small lambs; they are hanging downwards
By their weight, tough shackles binding the tender little

125Feet, and are opening their mouthsb in that piteous bleatingc
Nature gave them, the cry of pain in every sound they make.
Francis, seeing their dreadful state and fearing the worst
Of fates for them, asks the man that was carrying them
Why he should be inflicting hurt on the poor things.

130He replies: "I'm off to the market and I'll sell them
To the butcher for slaughter." "Don't do that," cries Francis,
"But be mild with mild creatures, do no harm to the harmless.
If you're willing to spare them, whatever your bidder would
Give you to kill them, I'll give you as much so they'll not

135Have to die." It was his kindly devotion praying for lambs
In misery. And so as not to waste his words on the air,
Taking off his cloak he gives it to the countryman,
With strict instructions and asking for solemn promisesd
That he release the lambs from bonds Mk 5:4 and give them a rearing.

 Previous

Next 

 

Legenda Sancti Francisci Versificata, Fontes Franciscani, p.


Cuius ut exemplum referam de milibus unum,

125Fratre supradicto comitatum Marchia rursus
Excipit Anconae praedicta, duosque ferenti
Obviat agniculos, quorum, pendente deorsum
Pondere, vincla pedes astringunt dura tenellos,
Oraque solventes miseri balantia voce,

130Quam natura dedit, emittunt 'signa doloris'.
Inferri nocumenta piis, et pessima cernens
Et peiora timens, quaerit Franciscus ab ipso
Qui portabat eos, fieri quid debeat inde.
Ille refert: " Intrabo forum vendamque necandos

135Carnifici ". Franciscus ad haec: " Ne feceris ", inquit,
" Sed placidus placidis, insons insontibus esto;
Quoque libens parcas, quantum daret ut morerentur
Ipse tibi lictor, tantum dabo ne moriantur ".
Sic pia pro miseris devotio supplicat agnis;

140Neve supervacuo sermone ceciderit auras,
Exutus chlamydem dat agresti, lege statuta
Et iuramentis intervenientibus, ut de
Compedibus vinctos educat et educet agnos.

Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 1, p. 502

Hardcopies Available for Purchase