There was once a man of small renown,
Who lived in a boisterous country town,
Of perhaps a hundred people or more,
With three saloons and a country store.
This man desired no celebrity,
But a painter of curious skill was he.
He was a man of a large estate,
But his love for painting became so great,
That all his hardly and slow-earned wealth
Was gradually squandered as if by stealth.
His surplus money went dime after dime,
Then all his possessions, after a time,
Till he had no roof to cover his head--
No home to shelter the woman he wed;
And all that should have been dear to his heart
Was sacrificed to his costly art.
He did not paint like an Angelo,
For the centuries that should come and go,
Nor did he picture the landscape fair,
With mountains distant and high in air
Nor beauteous lake with shimmer and sheen,
All fringed and gloried with groves of green,
There was for this man no silent charm,
As in old Landseer, for creature form;
Nor bird, nor beast, nor sparkling rill,
Were ever objects of his rare skill.
He did not paint for a glorious name,
To be writ high up on the scroll of fame.
No "water-colors" did he ever use;
No time with these did he waste or abuse.
Long years he wrought at the arduous task,
And what the picture, do I hear you ask?
'Twas a costly picture, it took a mint
Of money to paint It tint on tint!
The picture! yes, I will now disclose--
It was a very red, red rose,
That blossomed out on the end of his nose.
The pigments he used year after year,
Were rum and whiskey and gin and beer.
Tho in it the rainbow and sunset blent,
He could not have sold it for one red cent.
And as he reeled up and down the street,
The naughty boys would this song repeat--
It cost $10,000 to paint that rose
On the end of that poor drunkard's nose.
__J. M. Cavaness.
J. M. Cavaness
(Chanute: Tribune Pub. Co. 1913)