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 The Versified Life of Saint Francis  - 514 

Elias, he hastens to visit his beloved father.
On seeing his disciple, Francis is so comforted
His spirit must find unfettered joy, and to his heart

45This rejoicing lends freedom. His freed heart Ps 119:32 [Vulgate, Ps 118:32]
Releases his spirits, and this supply of spirit checks
The malady and has a rebounding effect on his nature.
Somewhat safely thence he can manage to go to Cortona.
But then, rejoicings of soul may be impetuous emotions,

50And cannot once and for all have effect on the soul.
Aware is Francis that little by little those same joys
Recede and are annihilated because the effect they had
Is ruined. Once his spirited vigor ceases, disease
Is back and nature suffers her old attacks:

55His legs refuse to move, enfeebled is every sinew,
And his weak stomach now all food rejects,
And no amount of endurance alters his weakened powers.
So when for the very great sorrows his soul was bearing,
Struggling in the last agony of dying, Francis

60Is aware that the axe has been put to the roots of the tree, Lk 3:9 Mt 3:10
And aware of the advent of Christ knocking on the door,
He begs to be brought to Assisi, not out of love for
His native place, but in order that he might leave
This earth from the spot where he relinquished earthly things,

65And make his way towards Christ whence first he clung to Christ.
Carried thither (for by now no power of movement of his own
Has he), the life that hung by so thin a thread,a and which he
Cannot salvage for earthly time, he saves for endless ages.
O soldier brave and vindicator invincible!

70Misfortune masters him not, for he draws energy out of
His very weakness, and that which renders him lifeless
Is that which enlivens him; for the battles he waged
Unwearied in life, more gallantly still he completes in death!
•Sprinkled with ashes, and a goatskin garb on him,b

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Legenda Sancti Francisci Versificata, Fontes Franciscani, p.


Tantis fama malis aures ubi fratris Heliae
Perculit, accelerat dilectum visere patrem:
Viso Franciscus ita confortatur alumno,
Nil animum prohibere potest quin gaudeat, et cor

45Gaudia dilatant, et dilatatio cordis
Egressum dat spiritibus, morbumque repellens
Copia spirituum, facit ut natura resultet.
Inde quasi sospes Cortonam sustinet ire,
Sed subiti cum sint animarum gaudia motus,

50Nec possint animae subitoque diuque moveri,
Gaudia Franciscus paulatim dicta remitti
Sentit, et effectum causa perimente perempta.
Postquam spirituum cessat vehementia, surgit
Morbus, et insultus patitur natura priores;

55Gressum crura negant, marcentibus undique nervis,
Et stomachi iam debilitas alimenta refutat,
Nullaque defectos immutat passio gustus.
Sic ubi prae nimios anima tolerante dolores
Mortis in extremo Franciscus agone laborans,

60Arboris appositam radicibus esse securim c
Sentit et adventum pulsantis ad ostia Christi,
Transferri petit Assisium, non propter amorem
Natalis patriae, recto sed ut ordine terras
Inde relinquat, ubi terrena reliquit, et inde

65Ad Christum migret, ubi Christo primitus haesit.
Vectus eo (nec enim propria virtute moveri
Iam poterat), tenui pendentem stamine vitam,
Quam salvare nequit pro tempore, salvat in aevum.
O fortis miles et inexpugnabilis ultor,

70Quem neque fata domant ex ipsa namque vigorem
Debilitate trahit, et eum facit hoc animosum
Quod facit exanimem, nam praelia quae studiose
In vita gessit, in morte virilius explet!
Aspersus cinere suprapositusque melote

Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 1, p. 514

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