Breviary Hymns and Missal Sequences, Saint Francis of Assisi, Matins

Spurred on by the sweet flames of love,
Francis, desiring to abide
Far from the world’s vain tumults, goes
To woods and caves, there safe to hide.

Ah, in that holy solitude,
What loving intercourse of prayer!
What miracles does it behold!
What wonders are accomplished there!

No desert has there ever been
More blessed than this with glories bright;
Such an indweller to possess
The lofty Apennines delight.

Through glades and woodlands, like the dove,
Moaning he wanders full of grief,
And there, O in what floods of tears,
His loving spirit finds relief.

Sometimes his body from the earth
His fiery spirit bears on high,
As, from the midst of living fire,
The sparks soar upwards to the sky.

When death draws nigh, to give him joy
An angel comes; his death is blessed;
God’s messenger with Heavenly lyre
Delights his ears, and soothes his breast.

Grant then, O Blessed Trinity,
The Spirit may inspire our heart,
And the world’s vanities to spurn
His precious graces may impart. Amen.

– translated by Archbishop Edward Gilpin Bagshawe, C.O., Bishop of Nottingham, England