The Versified Life of Saint Francis  - 503 

The Eleventh Book

HOW HE WOULD EXHORT ALL THINGS TO PRAISE GOD AND CALL THEM HIS BRETHREN. WHAT HIS HUMAN APPEARANCE WAS LIKE. HOW HE CELEBRATED THE FEAST OF CHRIST'S BIRTH REPRESENTED WITH SPECIAL FIGURES.

OF virtues best, piety, is infused in his fair soul
In such wise that he brings all help to pitiable creatures,
Permitting cruel treatment none, any savage attack
Preventing, dreading the very thought of bloodshed.

5Simple he is no less than clement; it is as though
He emitted a fragrant amber resin,a a mixture
Of two elements: clement simplicity, simple clemency.
With these for wings, high he soars,b above the lofty stars,
Yet beneath his own self, every created thing companioning,

10Leading, tutoring to climb to where true bliss lies.
Regarding things beneath him with comrade courtesy,
In the manner of Ananias, Azarias and Mizael, and conferring
The name of brother on each of the creatures,c
He addresses them in dulcet tones and eagerly invites them

15To proclaim the praises of the Highest Good: the heavens
And stars, sun and moon, darkness and light, seasons and years,
Shower-bearing clouds and the many-splendored rainbow,d
The thunder and the lightning, the storm-clouds
And rains, the winds and winter weather, the cold and heat;

20And atmosphere, circling round the world's center,
Reaching to the vault of heaven, freshening all
With its moistening, itself refreshed by all things else;

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Legenda Sancti Francisci Versificata, Fontes Franciscani, p.


Liber XI

Explicat undecimus res quomodo duxerit omnes hortandas laudare Deum fratresque vocarit; Qualis homo fuerit; natalia quomodo: Christi Festa celebrarit propriis recitata figuris.

Optima virtutum pietas infusa sereno
Sic animo, miseris fert adiutoria rebus,
Nil fieri crudele sinens, sed quaslibet arcens
Saevitias damnumque timens conscire cruoris.

5Nec minus est simplex quam clemens, sed quasi quoddam
Electrum redolet, quod conficit una duorum
Mixtio: simplicitas clemens, clementia simplex.
His alis sublime volans excelsior astris,
Inferior sese, socialiter omne creatum

10Tractat et ad veram docet aspirare salutem,
Et socio subiecta sibi dignatus honore,
Sicut Ananias, Azarias, Misaël, unam
Quamque creaturam fraterno nomine censens,
Dulciter affando studet ad praeconia summi

15Invitare Boni, caelos et sidera, solem
Et lunam, tenebras et lucem, tempus et annos,
Imbriferas nubes et versicoloribus Irim
Distinctam radiis, tonitrus et fulgura, nubes
Et pluvias, ventos et brumas, frigus et aestum,

20Aëra qui mundi complectitur undique centrum,
Usque spheram sese protendens, omnia mutans
Humiditate sui, mutatus ab omnibus idem,

Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 1, p. 503

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