The Versified Life of Saint Francis  - 434 

Reason holds out life without end, delights in that City Above,
Paradise joy, mysterious song, unspeakable light.

160Between those two offers there is no proportion: people are mad
When they hesitate between the eternal and transient things,
Between heaven and earth, between measureless joys and insignificant things!a
Clear evidenceb may be shown for the case of contempt of the world;
For love of it, no cogent proof is advanced without quibbling.

165Francis, as yet an unwise judge, easily side-tracked,
Makes no intervention for the right in the testimony's favor,
But leans towards the unfavored party.
But praise or blame Should not fall till after the outcome
And the judge's last word reveals all that was wished for.

170One moment his mind is up in the air and again it is down on the ground;
New suggestions he proffers, but falls back on what he's used to.
No firm proposal he makes. Like a ship in a headwind
One moment it is the wind of sense,
The next the wind of reason.

175He is carried in different directions;
By a northerly blowing its pleasures,
Or a southerly breeze of good fortune.
Light is the labor in sinking; but if the strong
Take a long time getting used to recovering

180Strength, even they can hardly resurface:
What one is used to is hard to relinquish.c
Meanwhile the richest citizen in townd
Yokes up his wagons and pairs, piles on his wares,
And toward Apulia makes ready to travel;e no matter




Legenda Sancti Francisci Versificata, Fontes Franciscani, p.

Praetendit ratio vitam sine fine, supernae
Urbis delicias, paradisi gaudia, cantus
Indefinibiles et inenarrabile lumen.

165Esse supradictis cum nulla proportio rebus
Inter se valeat, quantus furor est animarum,
Ut dubiae conferre velint aeterna caducis,
Caelica terrenis, immensáque gaudia parvis!
Ex per se notis fit demonstratio, propter

170Mundi contemptum; cuius cum propter amorem
Nil persuaderi queat absque sophismate, iudex
Inconsultus adhuc Franciscus, in avia pernix,
Non interloquitur pro recta parte secundum
Allegata, sed ad partem declinat iniquam.

175Non tamen imponi laus aut infamia primo
Debet ab eventu, donec sententia totum.
Iudicis affectum definitiva revelet.
Mens ita nunc eadem sursum, nunc acta deorsum,
Cum nova proponat, tamen ad consueta recurrit;

180Unde nihil firmum proponit, sed quasi navis
Turbine diverso, nunc sensus nunc rationis,
Fertur in oppositas regiones, nunc aquilone
Flante voluptatum, nunc austro flante salutis.
In labes labi levis est labor; ast ubi longa

185Convaluere mora seu more, resurgere fortes
Vix etiam. possunt: assueta relinquere durum est.
Interea civis tota ditissimus urbe,
Merce replens bigas et plaustra iugalia, versus
Apuliam procingit iter, nulloque reverti

190Se putat eventu, quin plurima lucra reportet.

Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 1, p. 434