The Versified Life of Saint Francis  - 462 

75A man of importance in the city of Assisi, rich in
Provision and lands. Watching the holy doings of
Francis And his peerless life, he ponders the peril to salvation
His own pursuit of the earthly brought. Him he hears, not
Merely now and again but often and, you might say,

80All the time, attentively saying psalms and wrapped up in
His works of devotion. Meal-times, and the very night that
Ought to be given to sleep, keep him not from the praise
Of God and the Blessed Mary. Full of God's power by which
Demons are routed, shrewd as serpent, Mt 10:16 alert as dragon,a

85Francis the prudent fights the serpent, Francis the watchful
Assaults the dragon. His host is in awe to see him unrelenting
And in bed never yield to slumber. The common bedroom
Wards off fumes and rising vapors,b and a small room allows
No sleep-producing agent to fill it.c And when at last his eyes

90Are from long exertion forced to yield, his drowsy tongue
Goes on to mutter prayers and is scarcely still when overcome
By sleep. Captivated by this picture of good example,
Bernard makes his soul secure with the breastplate
Of faith and the weapons of justice, and as a fresh

95Soldier in the camp of Francis,d militates with fervor
Against the ancient foe. No wonder, then, that great
Captain's rival he becomes in selling all and giving
To the poor. Mt 19:21 And wearing the clothing revealed by the Gospel,e
He cleaves to him like a loyal comrade. Victory over

100The worldf thus wrought is an example spurring many
To have a love for this spiritual war, and such virtue
Attracts others as followers of what was done in their sight.
Another from the city is converted by his zeal,
A simpleg and God-fearing man, Jb 1:1 who fought bravely




Legenda Sancti Francisci Versificata, Fontes Franciscani, p.

Francisci facit hospes idem, vir magnus in urbe

95Assisii divesque penu, Bernardus, et agris.
Actus namque sacros excellentemque tuendo
Francisci vitam, perpendit quanta salutis
Detrimenta suae tulerit terrena sequendo.
Non semel aut raro, sed saepius et quasi semper

100Psalmis intentum sacrisque laboribus audit
Implicitum, non mensa vacat, non ipsa quieti
Debita nox a laude Dei sanctaeque Mariae.
Plenus enim virtute Dei qua monstra domantur,
Prudens ut serpens, vigil ut draco, certat utroque

105Prudens serpentem, vigil oppugnare draconem
Franciscus. Miratur eum desistere numquam
Hospes et in lecto nihil indulgere sopori.
Arcet enim fumos ascendentesque vapores
Communis vas particulae, nullaque repleri

110Cella brevis patitur causa faciente soporem.
Cumque renitentes oculi luctamine longo
Tandem coguntur succumbere, lingua susurrat
Semisopita preces, vixdum sopita quiescit.
Hac exemplari Bernardus imagine ductus,

115Lorica fidei mentem praemunit et armis
Iustitiae, milesque novus ferventer in hostem
Militat antiquum., Francisci castra secutus
Tanti, nec mirum, ducis aemulus omnia vendit
Et dat pauperibus, evangeliceque repertos

120Fert habitus et ei comes indivisus adhaeret.
Partaque de mundo talis victoria multos
Provocat exemplis ad spiritualis amorem
Militiae, virtusque trahit spectata sequaces.
Eius enim zelo civis convertitur alter,

125Vir simplex metuensque Deum, qui tempore multo
Constanter certans et tandem vincere certus,

Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 1, p. 462