The Versified Life of Saint Francis  - 457 

Granted his request, recalling that the beggar had asked him
For so little in the name of so great a King. And that such a sin
Might not become habitual, he resolved in his heart and vowed

150That henceforth should he have anything, he would rebuff no one
Who begged in the name of Christ. Never would he let that promise
Slip from his heart, nor should hand resist the dictate of heart,
For the desires now inscribed in his mind he would seal with his acts.
Thusa does a divine call lead forward a just man capable of learning

155From misfortunes; for the just one profits from his mistakes.
Daring to fall, contemptuously going to excess, he becomes a criminal:
As soon as he is contrite, his rash daring becomes application,
His lapse becomes rising, his contempt admission, his excess merit,
His crime goodness. Thus did obstacles work in Francis, whose

160Double strength derived from falling—like that of Antaeus—b
Fought the better when it seemed it was already defeated.
And by his own example Francis taught those whomsoever one mishap
Confuted that they should throw every fault to the ground.
Meanwhile that chapel that offered Francis shelter when he first

165Set about leaving the world, was not destined to last long,
Due to the extreme poverty of its incumbent, the crumbling old age
Of the fabric, and the inaction of its first builder. The
Foundations subside, dampened by constant flowing of rain off the roof;
The walls, their joining loosened, fall apart; part of the roof

170Hangs aloft, another part lies on the ground. As it threatens
To suddenly collapse, the priest is minded to abandon it completely.
So as not to have been his useless lodger once, and have made void
His own words in not keeping his promise, remembering the money he'd
Givenc—the first thing he does is to carry out his first intention

175And renovate that aged chapel, lying ruinous, poor and pitiful.
Francis comes to prop up the ruinous, enrich what is poor, renew
The time-worn, raise what is fallen low.




Legenda Sancti Francisci Versificata, Fontes Franciscani, p.

Deinde recordantem pro quanti nomine Regis,

155Quam supplex mendicus eum, quam parva rogasset
Munera, poenituit non indulsisse roganti;
Neve malum vitii generare frequentia posset,
Hoc in corde suo posuit semperque premendum
Vovit, ut ulterius se quid dare posset habentem

160Nemo repulsandus peteret pro nomine Christi.
Hoc nusquam patitur a corde recedere votum,
Et manus imperio non ausa resistere cordis
Affectus scriptos in mente sigillat in actu.
Sic hominem iustum disciplinaeque capacem

165Provehit oppositis divina vocatio causis.
Iustus namque suo defectu proficit; audens
Labi, contemnens excedere, fit sceleratus:
Mox ubi conteritur, temerarius ausus ad usum,
Lapsus ad ascensum, contemptus ad agnitionem,

170Excessus facit ad meritum, scelus ad pietatem.
Sic in Francisco sese contraria causant,
Cuius, ut Antaei, virtus geminata cadendo
Tunc melius pugnat cum iam superata videtur;
Exemploque sui docuit Franciscus, ut omnem.

175Abiciant lapsum, quoscumque redarguit unus.
Interea cellam praedictam, quae fugituro
Mundum Francisco concessit prima penatem,
lam perstare diu nec conversantis egestas
Plurima, nec rerum demolitiva vetustas,

180Nec fundatoris permittit inertia primi.
Fundamenta labant humecta perennibus imbris
Fluxibus ex tecto, muri compage soluta
In partes abeunt, tecti pars pendet in alto,
Pars in humum prostrata iacet; subitoque perire

185Horret et ex toto proponit abire sacerdos
Cuius ne fuerit Franciscus inutilis hospes,
Et non complendo promissum fecerit ipse
Irrita verba sui, reminiscens aeris adempti
Quod dederat, primum complere satisfacit id quod

190Primun proposuit, dictamque revisere cellam,.
Quae labens et egens veterana iacebat et ima;
Sed veniens firmat labentem, ditat egentem
Franciscus, renovat veteranam, sublevat imam.

Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 1, p. 457