The Versified Life of Saint Francis  - 447 

55Especially since you are so delicate? But perish the thought!
You can stop being used to mundane delights, if you accustom yourself
To the ways of Christ: 'One familiarity is forgotten by another.' "a
The unrestrained harshness of the stern father did not loosen its grip
But fastened all the more tightly on the one that told him these things;

60Nor would he listen to any more of such holy advice. It is the worst
Of errors to try to teach a crude ignorance; wisdom will never make
Its way into a crafty soul. Evil power overtops its own bounds;
It doesn't want what is right, but forces the one who does to be the same
As itself. But in this it sows seed in the sand; for a nature

65That's kindly takes care to guard against such, lest
Coercion alter its purpose.
A shining example of this is Francis, against whom all things conspire:
His fellow townsmen's derision, the wrath of his father, the hardship
Of beatings, the horrors of prison, the tears of his mother.b

70Against all these troubles one man makes a brave stand;
So many attempts to drag him back captive to earth and keep him
From soaring to celestial freedom. But the Four Virtues,
Standing squarely together, prevent all assaults being made on his soul.c
And all those adversities affect him no more

75Than can ants set about moving a mountain as great.
Beyond his powers no one is allowed to be tempted;
So, at God's bidding, his mother with pity for her son
Sets him free from his bonds while her husband is absent.
He comes forth, but no longer a fugitive; not far away does he go,

80But feeling secure, he returns in joy to the room close by
From which an angry father had thrust him in shame.
The father returning learns that his wife had loosened his bonds.
Hers was an open act of pity, but he condemns it as an occult crime.
The air is filled with his noisy shouting, as he loads filthy curses

85On his good wife. Suddenly rushing inside the sacred precincts,
The chains he fastens on Francis and threatens him with dire punishment.




Legenda Sancti Francisci Versificata, Fontes Franciscani, p.

Non levei, praesertim quia deliciosus es? Absit!
Mundi delicias poteris desuescere, Christi

65Assuescendo vias; usus dediscitur usu ".
Talia dicentem non inde remissius arctat,
Sed magis astringit patris irrepressa severi
Asperitas, monitusque sacros audire recusat.
Pessimus errorum ruditas ignara doceri;

70Perversam non ingreditur sapientia mentem.
Sic proprios fines transscendit iniqua potestas,
Et non recta volens, vult cogere recta volentem
Esse sibi similem, sed arenae semina mandat.
Istud enim cavit naturae cura benignae,

75Ne qua voluntatem mutare coactio possit.
Hoc in Francisco liquet exemplariter, in quem
Omnia conspirant: patriae derisio, patris
Ira, flagellorum districtio, carceris horror,
Et matris lacrimae. Per tanta resistitur uni,

80Monstra viro, quem, ne volet ad caelestia liber,
Tot nituntur ad haec terrena reducere vinctum.
Sed quadruplex virtus conquadrans eius ad omnes
Incursus animam, nulla sinit arte moveri,
Totque nihil faciunt secus adversantia, quam si

85Formicae totidem montem transferre pararent.
At quia tentari nemo permittitur ultra
Posse , Dei nutu nati miserata labores
Materna pietate parens, absente marito,
Adstrictum vinclis emancipat. Ille recedit,

90Non tamen ut profugus, nec enim. procul aufugit, immo
Ad cellam laetus redit incolumisque propinquam,
Unde verecundum patris exturbaverat ira.
Percipiens pater in reditu quod solverit uxor
Vincula Francisci, pietatem damnat apertam

95Ut scelus occultum, rixisque strepentibus auras
Implet et uxorem blasphemat turpis honestam.
Protinus arrepto repetens sacra limina cursu,
Vincula Francisco parat et tormenta minatur.

Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 1, p. 447