The Versified Life of Saint Francis (after 1283) - 97 

All ardor, moreover, going out from cell into garden
Where the snow would be thick, and into it naked he plunged.
And so, if his body froze as penalty externally,
Passion's flame was put out so perfectly internally,
That thenceforth nothing like it within him was he to endure.
If he is well fought, swiftly is a tempter defeated
And his combatant's brawn a foe cannot stand if impaired.

When training others to engage in the wars of the flesh,
Like the carnal vices, so also the external senses
By which death gains entry, he was instructing them to restrain.
"He who does not shrink from talk with women or from their sight
Can come spotlessly clean away, unless very stout-hearted,"
He would say, "as likely as stay in a fire and not be burnt."

Idle ways, he would say, as the deposit of vices,
Were to be avoided and the flesh to be tamed by toil.
He practiced what he preached; let the flesh submit to spirit,
Spirit to Christ, obeying by waiting upon his beck.
Hence, fully submissive while he was to his Creator,
A marvel was the command he himself had over creatures,
And promptly the artifact obeyed its Maker's servant.
For when from all the tears he shed his eyesight had grown dim,
And the doctor urged him cauterized, the holy man obeyed,
Knowing it would be painful but salubrious as well.
His flesh before the red-hot iron shuddered, but to brace
His trembling body the man of the Lord admonished the fire
To take pity on him, and entreated the Lord to temper
Its burning heat so that he might be able to bear it.
Then over the glowing iron making the sign of the cross,
He thenceforth stood unflinching and, though cauterized from ear
As far as eyebrow, nothing of pain or of sore distress
Did he feel at all, so that, what a marvel to relate!
The fire became compliant, with no tortures to inflict.

In its grip once again, a heavy attack of sickness
Compelled him to take to his bed, but so as to provide
For his servant a medicine, the clemency of Christ
Transformed water into wine, a draught of which, its flavor
Transmuting sweetly and to the warming effect of nature
Adding strength, all the disease's causes eliminated.
And when needing wine he looked for some and none was at hand,
He ordered water to be brought him which, when he blessed it,
At the sign of the cross became at once wine, cured his sickness,
And the saint's devotion enriched the poverty of the place.




Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 3, p. 97