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Robert Service: My Madonna


My Madonna

Robert 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 Hillaire,

Where you and all may see.