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)



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

Ad natale solum cum solo fratre reversus,
non homines solum, verum pecuaria laudes
divinas efferre iubet, mireque frequenter
accidit ut, quamvis ratione carentia, verbis
eius obedirent intelligerentque loquentem.
dumque iuvat patriae diversos visere fines,
iuxta Bevanium collectas agmine denso
cernit aves varias, quibus exspectare benignum
ipsius accessum placido ducentibus ausu,
causam miratur, et mansuetudinis eius
unde datum sit eis arcanum scire tenorem
quas adiens fratresque vocans: “o nobile”, dixit,
“Primipotentis opus! quantas exsolvere laudes
vos illi de iure decet! qui corpora mundo
vestra superponens, plumis amicivit et alis,
qui vobis planas offendiculoque carentes
in caeli regione vias et in aëre puro
constituit, nostraeque nihil gravitatis habente;
qui quamvis uno produxerit ex elemento
et vos et pisces, vobis tamen altera longe
nobilitas, citior cursus, diffusius arvum,
maior libertas et deliciosior esca.
ergo simul laudate Deum, benedicite nomen
eius, qui tanto vos insignivit honore.”
(Henry of Avranches, Legenda Sancti Francisci Versificata 8.181-204)

Returning to his native soil with only one friar,
He urges not alone humans but the very beasts of the field
To utter the divine praises. And oft did the wonder occur
That though they lacked the power of reason they would obey
His words to them and understand him when he spoke.
His delight was to visit the various parts of his land
And while near Bevagna he espies an assortment of birds
Congregated in a closely knit flock; a mild bravery
Was making them await his kindly approach. Yet he wonders
Why, and how they could come to know the secret
Of his gentleness. Up he comes, calling them brothers,
Said to them: “O noble product of the First and Powerful One
How right and proper for you to ring out his praises!
Up above the world he placed your bodies, covering you
With wings and plumage. He made straight tracks for you,
With nothing to strike against, there in the heavens,
And set you in the pure air, where you are not weighted
Down like us, although out of the same element.
He produced the fish and yourselves, your nobility
Is the greater, your course is swifter, your range
Is wider, greater your freedom, and more delicious your fare.
Together, then, praise the Lord, bless his name,
Who has marked you with so much distinction and beauty.”
(tr. Regis J. Armstrong)