The Versified Life of Saint Francis  - 430 

Sentiment is stronger than reason.a
The boy sees his parents' contrasting characters;
From the two ways he decides to follow the wrong one;
Choosing his father's lead,b off he goes to the left on a crooked

45And rambling track, instead of a straight course rightward
Along those clear lines of living, traced by his mother's sound footprints.
Our senses are bent on the worse;c too easily
Downward we slide; any skyward ascent is with effort.d
So, for long the youth is like a crooked bow Ps 78:57 [Vulgate, Ps 77:57]e

50With no thought for his soul and indulging his flesh,
Judging naught with his head, but all with emotion;
Never striving for virtue, nor testing aught with light of his mind,
Distinguishing nothing with rational aid. He pursues what's unreal
And what appears to be good; he loves food more than life,

55What he possesses more than his own self; though in fact he has no love
For food, life, possessions, or self.
It must be love-gone-astray, or just plain perverse,
When one is led to hate what one loves,
Or to love what one hates.

60Now spoilt by his father's first lessons in greed,
With a nose for the import of gain, well up in deceit,
He piles up his stocks, pulls off many a swindle, conducts
Himself haughtily, directs his thoughts to enticements,
Fritters his time away. Yet his character, naturally good,

65Was by evil unalloyed; still his behavior made good habits
Ugly, rather than the ugly conform to the good.
But being gentle, generous, kindly and affable,




Legenda Sancti Francisci Versificata, Fontes Franciscani, p.

Fortior est sensus ratione; vidensque parenturn
Oppositos mores, puer inter utrumque statutus
Subsequitur peioris iter, mavultque patrissans
Ire sinistrorsurn per prava, per avia, quam per

45Directas methodos, per plana diametra vitae
Dextrorsum sincera sequi vestigia matris.
Proni sunt sensus in deteriora: deorsum
Tendimus ex facili; gravis est ascensus ad astra.
Inde fit ut, pravum longe conversus in arcum,

50Nil animae iuvenis indulgeat, omnia carni;
Nil intellectu consideret, omnia sensu;
Nil studio virtutis agat, nil lumine mentis
Inspiciat, nil consilio rationis honestet,
Apparensque bonum plus exsistente sequatur,

55Plus et amet victum quam vitam, plus sua quam se,
Immo nec victum nec vitam, nec sua nec se.
Debet enim vel amor erroneus ille vel error
Simpliciter dici, quo decipitur quis habere
Intendens odio quod amat, vel amare quod odit.

60Iamque rudimento patris corruptus avari,
Iam lucri momenta sequens, iam fallere doctus,
Merces multiplicat, multos circumvenit, alte
Se gerit, illecebris intendit, tempora perdit.
Mens tamen eius erat bona naturaliter, omni

65Impermixta malo; sed conversatio mores
Plus sibi prava bonos conformat, quam bona pravos;
Mitis enim, largus, clemens, affabilis, inter
Ipsos excursus vitii vestigia quaedam
Virtutis retinet non pervenientis in actum.

Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 1, p. 430