The Versified Life of Saint Francis  - 441 

Upon which two spurs, Love and Fear, their full vigor impose;
Action and Contemplation form the double greave protecting his legs;

120On his breast is the cuirass of Justice; by his left flank
Hangs the "shield of Faith"; Patience makes sure his helmeta
Is securely strapped round his neck; and the crest of that helmet
Is Hope,b that shines with the brightness of a host of stars.
The first movement of battle is made with his spear; the shaft

125Of that spear is right Judgment, and its point is fervent Devotion.
When at last the spear falls broken from so many throws, in the thick
Of the fight that still furiously rages, there flashes from his right
Flank the sword of the Cross for cutting to pieces those savage hordes.
Thus was he equipped; and from that time forward, nothing could he

130Accomplish that did not bring him military honors,
And nothing stood in the way of his fierce valor.
Sacred was the inspiration that endowed him with this sacred office;
So, this knight spiritual, lest perchance pride extol him for his virtues,
Or one who shared his secrets should, by exalting him, suppress

135The vigor he had received, is trying, through a contradiction, to play
A double part; on his character he casts a mantle, for though he has set
His heart on being good, he fears lest that be seen.
Lest his purposes turn his parents against him—for they were
Giving them thought—he makes ready as though he meant to do

140Some lucrative deal; he gathers together some stock and sets off
For Foligno. There he sells not only the wares that he carried
But the horses and wagons as well;c and with effort brings
Back so much money on foot.
And now rid of his mercantile empty cares,

145On the way back he thinks of what use he will find
For this big heap of money: where is one, who is to be conformed
To the figure of Christ, to deposit this useless load?
These worries occupy him, when lo! he comes upon the church
Of Saint Damian, in a sorry state, threatening to fall any moment.




Legenda Sancti Francisci Versificata, Fontes Franciscani, p.

Carnis equo firmat, duo cui calcaria totas,

130Impingunt acies Amor et Timor; ocrea duplex
Crura tuetur: Opus et Contemplatio; pectus
Iustitiae lorica tegit; laterique sinistro
Appendet scutum Fidei; Patientia firmis
Cervici galeam e vinclis annectere curat;

135Conus ibi Spes est, erebroque refulgurat astro.
Hasta movet belli primordia; fraxinus hastae,
Iudicium rectum; cuspis, Devotio fervens.
Postquam fracta iacet propriis impulsibus hasta,
Acrius accenso belli discrimine, dextra

140Fulminat ense Crucis saevas mutilante catervas.
Taliter armatus nil tempore gessit ab illo
Quod non militiae titulum praetendere certum
Posset, et ex omni stetit acrior obice virtus.
Sicubi sacra sacrum dedit inspiratio munus

145Spiritualis eques, ne forte superbia propter
Virtutes extollat eum, vel quisque latentum
Conscius infusum premat extollendo vigorem,
Esse per antiphrasim cupiens hypocrita, mentem
Palliat, optat enim bonus esse, timetque videri.

150Neu sua vota, suis perpensa parentibus, ipsos
Commoveant adversus eum, procingitur ac si
Lucrativa velit tractare negotia; merces
Colligit in summam; Fuligineumque profectus
Non solum quaecumque tulit venalia vendit,

155Sed currus et equos: vix tot pedes aera reportat.
Sic mercatoris curas exutus inanes,
Cogitat in reditu quein tanta numismatis usum
Massa sibi conferre queat, Christique figurae
Complantandus ubi deponat inutile pondus.

160His animum curis involvit: et ecce, reperta
Ecelesia Sancti Damiani vix pereuntem
Conservante statum subitamque minante ruinam,
Accedit, veteremque larem novus introit hospes,

Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 1, p. 441