The Versified Life of Saint Francis  - 431 

Despite these failings so knavish he maintains
Certain traces of virtue that fail to see practice.

70For near years five and twenty his youth passed in such wise.
A rascal, however, "a whipping" deserves;
So, the way of the Most High changed Ps 76:11 [Vulgate, Ps 75:11] and would halt
This evil course: He cuts down him who would not surrender,
Reins in the unbridled one, tames the wild man.

75Like a long-lost coin that is found,
With its surface buried in rust and scarcely seeming a coin,
That should be thrown not away, but have its rusty blemish
Purged in the forge's fire.
Even so did mischief close in from all sides on the young

80Man's soul, immersed in murky mist till a shade of the divine
Image therein could scarce be seen; yet it should not be damned
But have its cloud of darkness Ps 97:2 [Vulgate, Ps 96:2]
Purged in the fever's fire.
Clement sweetness of God, sweet clemency!

85A worthless slave he would deign to spare,
One in vice enveloped, to excesses given, by smiting him
In righteous wrath, frightening, striking down, bringing anguish.
Yet in correcting him so, God's wrath is for love of him,
He smites him to heal him, He frightens to teach him,

90Strikes down to lift up, brings him anguish for unction;a
The fire of His burning is one that is soothing,
The wound He inflicts is a wound that cures him,
The pain He sends is a physic for pain.
Thus when the Doctor Above comes to cure the disease

95Of the soul, measureless scourges justly fall
On an uncoaxable slave.b A burning strange to him
Drives his natural heatc through the body and it rages




Legenda Sancti Francisci Versificata, Fontes Franciscani, p.

Mitis enim, largus, clemens, affabilis, inter
Ipsos excursus vitii vestigia quaedam
Virtutis retinet non pervenientis in actum.

70Quinque fere lustris sic exspatiante iuventa,
Cum sit flagitium res exigitiva flagelli,
Caedit eum, qui noLucrat sibi cedere, frenat
Effrenem, domat indomitum mutatio dextrae
Excelsi, dignata malis imponere finem.

75Sicut enim drachmae post tempora longa repertae
Quando superficiem sepelit rubigo, moneta
Vix apparet ibi, quo, ne reprobetur, oportet
Purgari vitium rubiginis igne fabrili;
Sic animam iuvenis tanta caligine mersam

80Ut vix divinae videatur imaginis umbra,
Undique noxa premit, quo, ne damnetur, oportet
Purgari nubem caliginis igne febrili.
O clemens dulcedo Dei, clementia dulcis!
Cuius ut indignum servum dignatio servet

85Implicitum vitiis, intentum luxibus, odit
Et de iure ferit, terret, premit, angit; at ipsum
Corripiens, odit ut amet, ferit ut medeatur,
Terret ut erudiat, premit ut levet, angit ut ungat.
Igne remulceri solet ignis adustio, vulnus

90Vulnere curatur, dolor est medicina doloris.
Sic, animae morbum Medico curante superno,
Servum blanditiis ingratum verbera iuste
Immoderata premunt, naturalemque calorem
Ipsius per membra fugans extraneus ardor

95In cordis regione furit, venisque minutis
Succendente chymos generatur caumate febris,
Interiorque calor dum phlegma liquefacit extra,
Supra sensibiles nervos aspergitur ille
Algor et horripilat caput inducitque tremorem,

Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 1, p. 431