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.