Canentes

Giotto di Bondone, San Francesco predica agli uccelli
Giotto di Bondone, San Francesco d’Assisi predica agli uccelli (ca. 1290-95)

This is part 2 of 2. Part 1 is here.

O rerum natura creans, o gloria quamvis
sensum transcendens nullis incognita rebus!
vocibus humanis silvestria corda moventur,
auctorisque sui gaudent mansuescere servo.
unde Creatori se subicit, inde creata
quisque sibi subicit: nil est quod obaudiat eius
vocem, qui voci divinae semper obedit.
in volucres humana venit discretio: quidquid
ille iubebat, eas intellexisse putares.
nam species quamquam diversae, vox tamen una
omnibus, aut uni similis super aethera concors
effertur, nomenque Dei modulamine laudant,
quale sibi natura dedit; concentibus aër
acclamat, colles reboant, silvaeque resultant.
delectatus eis plusquam citharaeque lyraeque
cantibus et laetas tollens ad sidera palmas,
per medias Franciscus aves utrobique canentes
fertur, et immotas attrectarique ferentes
prolixae gaudet tunicae contingere limbo;
et benedicit eas dulcique licentiat ore.
permissae surgunt, pedibus tellure repulsa,
celsaque supportant libratis corpora pennis.
(Henry of Avranches, Legenda Sancti Francisci Versificata 8.205-226)

O creative force present to nature, O glory not hidden
From creatures, though transcending our senses!
Sylvan hearts respond to the voice of humans
And are gladly mild for the servant of their Maker.
Since he himself is his Creator’s perfect subject,
Every creature bows before him; there’s none that’s deaf
To word of his, who always the divine voice obeys.
A discernment human comes upon the birds: you would think
They could tell with minds whatever he bade them do.
Of divers kinds are they, yet all one song they sing;
as one and with one accord mounting up the sky,
They melodiously praise the name of God, in the way
That nature gave them; the air is loud with the chorus,
Re-echoed by the hills, resounding in the woods.
Delighted with their singing more than with harp or lyre,
And skywards raising his hands for joy,
Francis moves In among the birds, still singing on both sides of him,
Remaining still and allowing themselves to be handled,
And he loves to touch them with the hem of his long tunic.
And then he blesses and with dulcet voice gives them leave to go
Free to depart they rise, their legs kicking back the ground,
And convey their soaring bodies on poised wings.
(tr. Regis J. Armstrong)

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