Fr. Cecil Champneys Burnham

1914 - 2002

Fr. Cecil Home Page

THE PORTRAIT

An artist advertised for months

And travelled far abroad,

Seeking one who’d sit for him

As traitor to our Lord.

 

As Judas the Iscariot

Few men wished to pose,

But then came one so saturnine

That him the painter chose.

 

So evil was his countenance,

So vile his raddled features

The artist scarce could see in him

One of the good God’s creatures.

 

The finished work was soon acclaimed

A masterpiece of skill.

The gallery wherein it hung

Each day with crowds did fill.

 

Some could not look at it for long,

So malignant did it seem.

Its eyes appeared to follow them

As in a nightmare dream.

 

A well dressed woman used to come

Each afternoon at three

And as she gazed upon that face

Her tears flowed fast and free.

 

The artist could not help but ask

Just why it was she wept

And why she came so many times

To suffer such upset.

 

She said, “It is the finest thing

That you have ever done.

It’s true to life in every line.

The model is my son”.

 

The artist nothing could reply,

No matter how he tried.

The picture glowed in every tint

With sin personified.

 

She sobbed, “I must apologise

That I’m distraught and wild.

My son, when young, your model was

For Christ the Holy Child”

 

 

Copyright © 2000 [Rev. C. Champneys Burnham]. All rights reserved.
Revised: June 06, 2017 .

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