The Versified Life of Saint Francis  - 450 

Manliness lie? In scorning the world, in making himself disdained
By the world; in caring not a whit for his property or person,

155In putting up with derisive taunts, in leaving an earthly father
For his Father in heaven. Mt 19:29 Is there one word to describe the virtue
In the man who accomplished so many arduous tasks?
The bishop rises in admiration of such daring courage
And, clasping those fine shoulders, takes off his mantle

160And puts it round them. Moreover he pledges support for his intentions
And follows up promises with help. Thus Francis, in giving up resources
And garments, will keep nothing by which his opponent might hold him.
Besides heaven, in the world he seeks nothing
And, though still on earth, he belongs not here, but to a city

165Beyond this earth; of the upper world, he yet languishes here;
Of the earthly world, his real life is beyond; and his soul dwells
More truly in heaven than his body does on earth. Now he sees God
In a mirror, 1 Cor 13:12 and should see him face to face, if the hull of flesh
Intervening would but allow clear vision to the soul inside.

170Naked he takes his departure under the eyes of father, prelate,
And all his fellow citizens of Assisi.a But by reason of the fact
That the air on a height, being moist and having no force to withstand,
Is moved away by all things opposing it, there is no doubt
But that it transforms bodies that are naked, in accordance

175With the patterns by which it is itself transformed; nor does
Our constitution suffer its continuous motions.b Hence, albeit
He was fervent, he gives some thought to this theory,
And knowing he could not go on long thus exposed,
He accepts some old clothes offered him by a pauper.

180He goes on his way with nothing but himself; and just as an exile
Would return to his country, he lives in exile in his own,
Nobody forcing him and of his own will. He has come

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Legenda Sancti Francisci Versificata, Fontes Franciscani, p.


Quae fuit haec virtus? Mundum contemnere, mundo

185Reddere se contemptibilem, rerumque suarum
Personaeque suae nullis insistere curis.
Irrisiva pati commenta, relinquere patrem
Terrenum propter caelestemt. Tot facienti
Ardua virtuti nomen non sufficit unum?

190Admirans tantae virtutis episcopus ausum,
Surgit, et exutum blandis amplectitur ulnis
Et circumponit chlamydem, votisque favorem
Spondet et exsequitur rebus promissa secundis.
Sic Franciscus opes et vestimenta resignans

195Nilque tenere volens per quod teneatur ab hoste,
Iam nihil in mundo praeter caeleste requirit,
Et licet in terris exsistens, civibus haeret
Aethereis plus quam terrestribus, aethereusque
In terris languet, terrestris in aethere vivit,

200Mente colens caelos potius quam corpore terras.
Iamque Deum videt in speculo, facieque videret
Ad faciemu, si grossities intersita carnis
Inclusae sineret animae procedere visum.
Nudus abit coram patre, coram praesule, coram

205Omnibus Assisii concivibus. At quia, cum sit
Humidus in summo nullique resistat agenti,
Cunctis mutatur contrarietatibus aër:
Non est ambiguum quin corpora nuda secundum
Formas immutet quibus immutatur et ipse;

210Nostra nec assiduos patitur complexio motus.
Inde, licet fervens, considerat hanc rationem,
Seque sciens non posse diu subsistere nudum,
Suscipit oblatas veteres a paupere vestes.
Nil nisi semet habens abit, utque repatriet exsul

215Exsulat in patria, nullo cogente, sed ultro;

Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 1, p. 450