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CHAPTER II

Of the interpretation of the name Florentius and its three glorious meanings

(1)

VERILY the name “Florentius, son of Radewin,” was a prophecy of his future righteousness, which should declare the glory of our Father in Heaven and make yet more bright the fame of his own kin. For herein is a laudable thing, if the life of a man be in accord with his name, and if his repute be consonant with his virtues: which thing is approved in every way by his upright deeds,

Florentius is a name sweet for the righteous to utter and recall, for in his life he showed himself such that he was held in the greatest love and reverence by all men, both the Religious and those of the world.

(2) Well is he named Florentius, as one that gathereth flowers (Flores legens) by reason of the liberal arts which once he learned and in which he was so skilled and proficient that he had the title of a Master thereof, as indeed he was—or again by reason of his knowledge of the divine law, and the books of sacred Theology, which he 87studied (legit) yet more gladly in preference to any other Science, and loved more dearly than all the treasures of the world, as saith the prophet in the Psalm, “Therefore have I loved Thy commandments above gold and topaz.”

But a far more lovely meaning is “One that holdeth flowers” (Flores tenens) because he followed Christ the Flower of all virtues and the Lover of Chastity, for Whose love Florentius despised the flowers of the world and held most firmly the integrity of the faith and the one law of Catholic peace, saying with the Bride in the Song of Songs, “My Beloved to me and I to him, who feedeth among the lilies. I held him and I will not let him go.”

(3) Moreover by a more sanctified interpretation and one more fruitful, he is called Florentius as one that gathereth flowers together (Flores colligens) because he gathered together with him in his house many clerks and brethren who were in the flower of their age; and these, despising the vanity of the world, served the Most High God with humility and devotion, in chastity of life and brotherly love, as the Holy David singeth with joyful voice: “Behold! how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity.” These brethren Florentius ruled with such a discipline and taught with such fervency of spirit that his house was a school of heavenly training, having therein a mirror of holiness, a garniture of moral virtues, a pattern of goodness, a door to admit the poor, a place of meeting for clerks, of instruction for lay folk, of refuge for the devout, and for the beginning and carrying forward of every good thing. In this house many honourable and learned men first conceived the spirit of devotion, 88and like bees laden with honey went far afield from the full hive to spread fertility in divers places; and God giving them His blessing, the fruit of their labours was not small, so that one may justly say of them that thereby “the flowers have appeared in our land.”

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