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Fr. Cecil Champneys Burnham

1914 - 2002

Fr. Cecil Home Page


When young I lived upon a farm

And memories flow back now

Of seeing fields prepared for seed

As horses drew the plough.

Magnificent those horses were,

So patient, huge and strong.

They left behind their plodding hooves

Fresh furrows straight and long.

Theirs was the power, but whose the skill

Which gave the plough its course?

The ploughman’s hand, the ploughman’s eye,

Supplied that guiding force.

A ploughman is a lonely soul.

His task is his alone.

No friend, how fond, can do his work;

He’s ever on his own.

One man only and only one

The lonely plough can guide,

And only you can live your life

Though friends be at your side.

Yours the praise when you succeed –

The glory and the fame,

But failure too is due to you.

You’ve no one else to blame.

A farmer ploughs a furrow straight

And we must do no less

With truthful lips and honest hearts,

Whate’er our strain and stress.

God gives us wit and energy

But yet does not enforce

How we make use of all his gifts.

‘Tis we decide their course.

A ploughman works on barren soil

In wind and rain and cold.

Though all around is desolate,

With hope he must be bold.

He must recall the harvests past

And know they’ll come again.

Let us remember past success

When life seems full of pain.

We plough in hope which God fulfils,

But we our part must play

And do the things that must be done

As day succeeds to day.

When our last harvest we have reaped

And feel it’s evening now,

Then as the lengthening shadows fall,

We must lay down our plough.

Then let us pray that other hands

Our plough may put to work.

The training of the young’s a must

That none of us should shirk.

God’s may a field to sow and reap,

Though we ourselves have gone.

The plough itself must never cease.

The lonely plough goes on.

Copyright © 2000 [Rev. C. Champneys Burnham]. All rights reserved.
Revised: May 24, 2018 .