The Versified Life of Saint Francis  - 453 

Makes the fierce cold almost soothing. For who is so rigid
He would not rejoice at the change from a worse to a better condition?

25So many reasons for rejoicing transacting within his breast,
Francis opens up in song in the language of the French.
It resounds through the woods and reaches the ears of some robbers.
They leap forth and see a fellow with nothing. Their hopes disappointed,
They think they've been fooled, and they throw out their query:

30 "Who are you?" And he replies: "The herald of Christ, why ask?"
Fanned by no stronger a breeze their anger flares up
And they lay hands on one who's in no wise afraid of them.
Alas! Before the ferocity of thieves no traveler may sing,a
Though harmless and purseless he be. Indeed he pays dearly,

35Our moneyless songster, thrown into a trench full of snow.
What if his pockets were full and he'd sung!
Francis lies in the snow and the robbers deride him:
"There's your bed, lie in it, silly herald
Of Christ. For your song, these are the bed-clothes

40You're getting." But he answer makes none.
As they go off, out he comes from his snowy cave,
The tomb he lay in almost buried up to the hair
Of his head. But no hostile force gets the better Ps 89:23 [Vulgate, Ps 88:23]
Of him whom divine pity keeps safe in its keeping.

45Shaking off the snow, stuck in lumps in all parts of him,
All stiffened his clothes, his beard and his hair,
He feels glad to have escaped the rage of the robbers.
Then finding the lost route, taking up his unfinished song,
With praise of the Creator he pierces meandering hollows

50And trains the woods to re-echo the mysteries of Christ.b
Singing away, he arrives at the edge of the forest
And goes to a monastery a short distance away,
Where for some peaceful lodging he asks and obtains.
Andc as the night's rest is soothing the day's turmoil,

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Legenda Sancti Francisci Versificata, Fontes Franciscani, p.


Nam quis tam rigidus, mutatum quin aliquando
A peiore statu se gaudeat ad meliorem?
Inde resultandi tot agens in pectore causas,
Franciscus lingua Francorum psallere coepit.

30Silva sonum geminans latronum perculit aures;
Exsiliunt inopemque vident; spes excidit, et se
Illusos reputant indignanterque requirunt:
" Tu quis es? ". Ille refert: " Christi sum praeco; quid ad vos? "
Praeturbata levi flagrat iracundia vento,

35Iniciuntque manus in eum nil tale timentem.
Proh! furum feritas, coram quibus ipse nec insons
Nec vacuus cantare potest impune viator!
Immo luit graviter, plenum nive trusus in antrum,
Quod vacuus cecinit. Quid si cecinisset onustus?

40In nive Franciscus iacet, illuduntque latrones:
" Ecce, tuus lectus; iaceas ibi, rustice Christi
Praeco: tuum meruit ea lectisternia carmen ".
Ille nihil contra; sed, eis abeuntibus, exit
Speluncam tumulumque nivis, quo pene sepultus

45Crine tenus latuit. Sed quem divina tuendum
Assumpsit pietas, in eum non proficitd hostis;
Excutiensque nives, quibus omni parte globatis
Et vestes omnes et barba comaeque rigebant,
Gaudet se furum sic evasisse furorem;

50Amissamque viam repetens et carmem omissum,
Laude Creatoris sinuosa repercutit antra,
Et Christi resonare docet mysteria silvas.
Sic ubi cantando nemoris pervenit ad oram,
Inde monasterium modico discrimine distans

55Intrat et hospitii petit assequiturque quietem.
Dumque quies motus relevat nocturna diurnos,

Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 1, p. 453