The Versified Life of Saint Francis  - 506 

Slow and cool when it came to anger, he adapted with prudence to every case.

80Perhaps you think it futile to depict the features and temper
Of a holy man. But it was only right to describe them,
For thereby good reasons and a useful purpose are served.
The rather complete description which fills a few verses
Contains the Francis of my reflections or the image I have

85Of him. Moreover, it deposits in the mind ideas of a
Partly similar kind, even if not exactly the same.a
Monstrous foes by now long tamed, a world plowed underfoot,
Francis's flaming valor still fights for the stars, no mortal
Thing draws his heart. The mysteries of Christ are ever

90Enough for his meditation: the Word incarnate
And the heart-stirring passion of his nature assumed,
He never allows himself to forget; these sear the core
Of his heart and make it catch fire with desire for heaven.
It gives him joy to present these mysteries in appropriate

95Figures, and share out his pleasure to other people.
Again, one time wishing to celebrate the Birth of Christ,
He orders a manger made. An ox and an ass draw in hay
For their fodder; and things are provided whereby to
Becomingly represent the mysteries of the virginal birth.

100The people that gather for the holy festivities fill
The church, bring candles and torches, while incense breathes
Forth its scent. After matins, the Mass of the Feast
Is celebrated. •Francis it is who reads the Gospel
In sweet-toned melody; and then when the people are seated,

105He gives them a sermon, and softens hearts that were hardened Jn 12:40
And out of hard rock causes rivers to flow.
There leaps forth a compunction mixed with gladness; clapping
Of hands dries up the tears, a tear moistens the hands that clap.
All the night, till the new day dawns, passes in festive song

110And in praise of the Child that was born of the Virgin.
Accepting the mysteries celebrated in his honor, Christ,

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Legenda Sancti Francisci Versificata, Fontes Franciscani, p.


Et gravis, ad veniam velox et promptus, ad iram
Frigidus et torpens, ad singula cautus et aptus.

80Forte supervacuum credas depingere sancti
Effigiem moresque viri; sed oportuit ambo
Describi, nam causa subest et idoneus usus.
Talis enim completa brevi descriptio versu
Qualem Franciscum recolam vel imaginer in se

85Continet expressum mentique relinquit idéas
Partim consimiles, etsi non prorsus easdem.
Monstris iam dudum domitis mundoque subacto,
Ardua Francisci virtus iam militat astris,
Nil mortale petens. Semper mysteria Christi

90Quid meditetur habent: hanc incarnatio Verbi,
Hanc hominis stimulans assumpti passio numquam
Immemorem sinit esse sui, cordisque medullas
Concremat et caeli facit exardescere voto.
Haec etiam propriis repraesentare figuris

95Deliciasque suas aliis impendere gaudet.
Porro semel celebrare volens natalia Christi,
Effingi praesaepe iubet; sua pabula foenum
Bos asinusque trahunt, et adest quodcumque decenter
Virginei recitare potest mysteria partus.

100Ad sacra conveniens populus solemnia, replet
Ecclesiam, dat cera faces, thus spirat odorem.
Post matutinas missae celebrantur ad illud
Festum spectantes, Evangeliumque canoro
Franciscus dulcore legit, tandemque sedenti

105Sermonem populo facit, indurataque corda
Mollit et ex duris producit flumina saxis:
Mixtaque laetitiae resilit compunctio, plausus
Desiccat lacrimas, humectat lacrima plausum,
Totaque nox instansque dies in cantica festi

110Exit et in laudes Pueri de Virgine nati.
Acceptans celebrata sibi mysteria Christus
Praemia restituit, foenique superstitis esu

Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 1, p. 506

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