The Versified Life of Saint Francis  - 476 

Into trial, but let evil be kept far from us
By that Goodness in which you created all things.' "
Through these and other prayers, which implore the most high

30Father's clemency, were the brothers taught devout simplicity,
Of which they had so much, it would never occur to them
That the words of a priest meant anything else but the solemn truth.
For it happened once there went a certain friar to a priest
For confession, when that priest to him did say: "Brother,

35Take care would you be a hypocrite." Believing this to be
More a true statement of his condition than a mere
Caution offered him,a he sighed with sorrow sore,
Nor could the solace of a friend his grief remove.
For he held for sure he was nothing but a hypocrite,

40Since that is what he thought the priest had put in words.
Till ready words from Francis put closure to his scruple,
And assured him there was nothing to it and no call for fear.
A word of his could soften and get through to hardest hearts,
Could lift again the fallen, give hope to those in misery,

45Give light to those in blindness, consolation to the sad.
As to how he stood with the Lord were his brothers to ever
Waver in opinion, they learned the truth by this supernal sign.
About the mid-hour of night, when the lofty sun draws
The shades from the nether earth,b while their master was away,

50Some brothers slumbered,c some stayed at prayer. When, lo!
A fiery chariot 2 Kgs 2:11 is seen being let down from the sky above.
Resting on it is a globe that shines like the sun,
A ball of light, all glittering, that dazzles and flashes
Its intense flame on the eyes of those brothers in full view.

55They rouse one another; they bestir themselves to see
The wondrous spectacle. They are curious as to what the chariot
Might mean. Opinions vary at first, then at last they come
To see it stands for the soul of Francis—perfect
Like the sphere, fleet as the chariot, blissful as the radiance.




Legenda Sancti Francisci Versificata, Fontes Franciscani, p.

Nos inducas in tentamen, sed mala longe
A nobis faciat Bonitas, qua cuncta creasti ".

30Has aliasque preces, quibus est clementia summi
Exoranda Patris, fratrum devota docetur
Simplicitas, quae tanta fuit, ne verba putarent
Ulla sacerdotis gravitate carentia veri.
Accidit inde semel, dum confessurus adiret

35Presbyterum quidam de fratribus, ille sacerdos
Dixit ei: " Caveas ne sis hypocrita, frater ".
Illius voci plus de se, quam sibi credens,
Ingemuit moerore gravi, nullumque dolori
Apposuit verbum consolatoris amici,

40Pro certo quin hypocritam se crederet, ex quo
Ille videretur sic adstruxisse sacerdos;
Donec Francisci finem facundia nugis
Poneret, et vanum faceret residere timorem.
Eius enim placore sui rigidissima sermo

45Corda penetrabat, praebens relevamina lapsis,
Spem miseris, lumen caecis, solatia moestis.
De quo ne fratrum nutaret opinio, quanti
Esset apud Dominum, signo didicere superno.
Nocte fere media, dum sol altissimus umbras

50Contrahit antipodum, procul absistente magistro,
Pars fratrum sopita iacet, pars orat; et ecce,
Igneus inspicitur dimissus ab aethere currus,
Cui globus insidens quasi sol micat, undique vibrans
Orbiculare iubar, qui fratrum disgregat ad se

55Directos visus, nimioque reverberat igne.
Excitat alterutrum; quibus ad spectacula sese
Mira cohortatis, fit quaestio, quid sibi currus
Hic velit. In primis variatur opinio, demum
Esse notant animam Francisci, quam sphera signat

60Perfectam, currus agilem, splendorque beatam;

Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 1, p. 476