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Sir Bat-ears

Sir Bat-ears was a dog of birth
And bred in Aberdeen,
But he favoured not his noble kin
And so his lot is mean,
And Sir Bat-ears sits by the almshouses
On the stones with grass between.

Under the ancient archway
His pleasure is to wait
Between the two stone pineapples
That flank the weathered gate;

And old, old alms-persons go by,
All rusty, bent and black,
"Good-day, good-day, Sir Bat-ears,"
They say and stroke his back.

And old, old alms-persons go by,
Shaking and well-nigh dead,
"Good-night, good-night, Sir Bat-ears!"
They say and pat his head.

So courted and considered
He sits out hour by hour,
Benignant in the sunshine
And prudent in the shower.

(Nay, stoutly can he stand a storm
And stiffly breast the rain,
That rising when the cloud is gone
He leaves a circle of dry stone
Whereon to sit again.)

A dozen little door steps
Under the arch are seen,
A dozen aged alms-persons
To keep them bright and clean:

Two wrinkled hands to scour each step
With a square of yellow stone--
But print-marks of Sir Bat-ears' paws
Bespeckle every one.

And little eats an alms-person,
But, though his board be bare,
There never lacks a bone of the best
To be Sir Bat-ears' share.

Mendicant muzzle and shrewd nose,
He quests from door to door;
Their grace they say--his shadow gray
Is instant on the floor,
Humblest of all the dogs there be,
A pensioner of the poor.

Next: Cluny

Previous: Roger And I

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