The Versified Life of Saint Francis  - 455 

85To season his morsels; for the devout brethren
Would rather fatten their sows with it. So how could he hope
They would give him something a human being might wear,
When the supper they gave to a pig they denied him?
Every kind of sin a greedy monk commits:

90For when one that strictly professes religion
Inclines to acedia, there is nothing he will shrink from.
He will go on to all manner of crime,
After but one offence. Perfection is safe in the hands
Of no creature; but more horrific is the fall

95Of one that is nobler and higher. Lucifer once
Was the glory of angels; now he is the one at whom shudder
The demons. And Adam the first of all mortals, when death
Was his earning none could be uglier, as human death
And its dread still testify. The same for the monk,

100Whom holy profession puts above other Church members,
When he stoops to the lowest he is more crooked
Than others who believed him more upright than they!
The snow, melted by sun and wind, flows off into rivers
And the ice begins to crack up.

105And Francis, seeing the swollen rivers subside,
Resumes his journey, which is more like his flight,
For he flees like a wounded deer, not caring which way
He goes so long as he moves. No more gladly did Paul
Flee from Hebrew synagogue, or Peter from Herod's prison.a

110He wasn't as happy even in his recent release from his
Father's mastery or the hands of the robbers. Nor did he
Strive less from these false brethren to flee, than if they
Were the Lotus-eaters or the inhospitable Cyclopean monsters
Or the songs of the Sirens from which long ago Ulysses fled.b

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Legenda Sancti Francisci Versificata, Fontes Franciscani, p.


Nam consuevit eo potius devotio fratrum

90Impinguare sues: humanaque quomodo vestis
Donaretur ei, cui porci coena negatur?
Omne genus culpae monachus committit avarus:
Relligionis enim districtae quando professor
Vergit in accidiam, nihil est quod abhorreat; omne

95Attentat facinus, postquam deliquit in uno.
Tuta creaturae datur excellentia nulli:
Sed quae nobilior, quanto declinat ab alto
Plus horroris habet. Naturae gloria quondam
Lucifer angelicae, nunc est quem monstra perhorrent;

100Et rebus qui praefuerat mortalibus Adam,
Quando mori meruit, meruit turpissimus esse,
Sicut adhuc perhibet humani funeris horror.
A simili monachus, quem sacra professio membris
Praetulit Ecelesiae, cum vergit ad infima, tanto

105Pravior est aliis, quo rectior esse tenetur.
Postquam nix austri solisque soluta vapore
In rivos abiens glaciesque fatiscere coepit,
Et Franciscus aquae crementa residere vidit,
Arripiens iter, immo fugam, quasi dama cruenta

110Fertur, non curans quo vadat, dummodo vadat.
Non adeo laeti fugerunt de synagoga
Paulus Hebraeorum, de carcere Petrus Herodis;
Seque magisterio patris manibusque latronum
Non adeo nuper fuerat gavisus ademptum;

115Nec falsos leviore fugit conamine fratres,
Quam vel Lotophagos vel inhospita monstra Cyclopes,
Vel cantus olim Sirenum fugit Ulixes

Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 1, p. 455