The Versified Life of Saint Francis  - 487 

130Reaching heights through being brought low, on winning
Through losses, on living through dying, on delights
Through pain. For the flesh's woes cheer the soul, groans
Are comfort, wounding brings healing, agreeable are insults,
Hurts are helpful, distress spells relief.

135When the fair name of the holy man who was indomitable
Under every affliction had spread through the Persian camp,
Such was a kingly king's admiration for his great spirit
That he gave him a great reception and offered him precious gifts.
He, content with what he has, declines the king's

140Offer, and asks for that gift of gifts, to be given a hearing.
So as to hear him, the king himself bids the crowd be silent Acts 13:16
And orders every noise to cease, while to his attendants
He said: "Fetch me my sages; let them be the judges
If this man's teaching be genuine, or if he's not minded

145Rather to lead multitudes astray." Jn 7:12a And so, as he speaks
To the wise ones gathered together, this wise man
Proves the source out of which he has drawn his philosophy.
All of his reasoning he hastens to carry onto celestial things;
He discourses on things unheard before, as though beyond

150Mere human ken: here is one to whom nothing's unknown.
He reasons matters which few mortals have ever perceived,
Or on the origins of the universe manifest only to God.b
Whence he introduces reflections upon the first cause;
Then he condemns the perverse school of Mohammed, proves

155That God is one, and that a host of gods has no existence;c
How it is that all things come from one source, how a moment
Of that first principle is simple substance, a simple
Moment in the present, a substance simpler than
A mathematical point; how its essence is wondrously present




Legenda Sancti Francisci Versificata, Fontes Franciscani, p.

130Pressuris apices, damnis lucra, funere vitam,
Poenis delicias; animamque molestia carnis
Exhilarat, gemitus confortant, laesio sanat,
Probra probant, nocumenta iuvant, angustia solvit.
Sancti fama viri, quem nulla domare flagella

135Sufficiunt, postquam Persarum castra replevit,
Tantos admirans animos clementia regis
Magnifice suscepit eum, pretiosaque dona
Obtulit: ille suis contentus dona refutat
Regis, et audiri pro summo munere poscit.

140Auditurus eum rex ipse silentia turbis
Indicit, totosque iubet cessare tumultus,
Et famulis: " Mihi philosophos accersite ", dixit,
" Iudicio quorum doceatne fideliter iste
Constet, an intendat potius seducere turbas ".

145Collectis igitur sapientibus, ille loquendo
Philosophum sapiens probat ex quo fonte sophiam
Hauserit, et totas rapit in caelestia mentes,
Sermonesque novos edisserit, et quasi sensum
Transscendens hominis nihil ignorare videtur.

150Syllogizat enim mortalibus agnita paucis
Aut soli manifesta Deo primordia rerum,
Ex quibus insinuet primae perpendia causae,
Perversamque scholam Machometi damnat, et unum
Esse Deum, turbamque probat non esse Deorum;

155Qualiter ex uno sint omnia, quomodo primi
Sit mora principii, simplex substantia, simplex
Instanti mora, simplicior substantia puncto;
Quam mirabiliter essentia talis ubique
Tota sit absque loco semper sine tempore praesens.

Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 1, p. 487