The Versified Life of Saint Francis  - 509 

20Nothing save Christ being in his heart or on his lips.
God inspires him, as it is love that spurs him, to seek
To know what destiny may have in store for him,a
And which track he must take when he makes his starboundb
Journey. Anxious is his watch and ward. And what no human art

25Could tell him, he looks for in a divine revelation.
•The next thingc he does is to place upon the altar a great
Volume containing the Gospels. He falls down in adoration,
And begs the Lord to show him what must be, on a first
Opening of the book. And when he opened up the book,

30•The first thing offered was the passion of Jesus Christ
The Lord. Lest it be thought this occurred by accident,
Again and again he looks into the freshly opened book,
And is amazed to find the same thing happens always:
The same message, even if not always the selfsame words.

35From this, man of discernment that he was, he learns Prv 11:12
That before he dies, great afflictions must come his way.
Very probable his interpretations seem,
And the dark doubts in his heart are blotted out
By a second vision that followed. Disclosed to him in this

40Is the sight of a Seraph Is 6:2 with six wings,
His feet close together, the palms of his hands extended
On a cross, and two of the wings above his head for going
Upward, two to cover his body, and two with which he flew,
Or with which he was readyd and set to fly.

45His gaze is fixed on the sight: the presence of such a great
One from the city beyond rejoices a future fellow-citizen.
Yet he is puzzled and is worried as he strives to think
What marvel such a vision might convey, and how it is
That a simple impassible being should wish to be seen

50To undergo pain. Troubled much he is to know; but it is
In his own self he is to find the pain he queries in the




Legenda Sancti Francisci Versificata, Fontes Franciscani, p.

20Nil praeter Christum vel corde vel ore revolvens,
Inspirante Deo correptus amore sciendi
Quid sibi fatorum series providerit et quo
Tramite de terris sit migraturus ad astra,
Anxius invigilat, humana quod quia non est

25Arte requirendum, divina sorte requirit.
Porro superponens altari grande volumen
Ex Evangeliis contextum, pronus adorat,
Et petit, hoc ut ei Dominus manifestet aperti
Prima parte libri; libroque patenter aperto

30In primis offert Domini se passio Iesu
Christi: neu casu sic evenisse putetur,
Rursus idem cernens in libro rursus aperto
Multoties miratur idem contingere, vel si
Non eaedem voces, eadem sententia semper:

35Ex quo, sicut erat vir prudens, conicit ante
Mortem se gravibus subici debere flagellis.
Quoque probabilior ea coniectura videri
Possit, et ambigui tenebras abstergere cordis,
Succedens ad idem facit altera visio, cuius

40Indicio Seraphim sex alas cernit habentem,
Coniunctis pedibus, extensis in cruce palmis,
Alarumque duas supra caput eius in altum
Ire, duas corpus amicire, duasque volare,
Aut in procinctu videt apparere volandi.

45Haeret in aspectu, concivem, namque futurum
Exsultare iubet tanti praesentia civis.
Hoc autem dubitat conturbaturque studendo
Quale sibi talis praetendat visio mirum,
Cur ita res simplex impassibilisque videri

50Suppliciis addicta velit, multumque laborat
Scire, sed in sese reperit quod quaerit in illo.

Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 1, p. 509