My Madonna

A poem by Robert William Service

I haled me a woman from the street,
Shameless, but, oh, so fair!
I bade her sit in the model's seat,
And I painted her sitting there.

I hid all trace of her heart unclean;
I painted a babe at her breast;
I painted her as she might have been
If the Worst had been the Best.

She laughed at my picture, and went away.
Then came, with a knowing nod,
A connoisseur, and I heard him say:
"'Tis Mary, the Mother of God."

So I painted a halo round her hair,
And I sold her, and took my fee,
And she hangs in the church of Saint Hilaire,
Where you and all may see.

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