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loves: you win if you guessed "pets" and "museums". Also books, art history, travel, British punk, Korean kimchi, bindis, martinis, and other things TBD. I will always make it very clear if a post is sponsored in any way. Drop me a line at thepetmuseum AT gmail.com !

Friday, February 24, 2017

sir bat-ears, the dog of the poor

From a slim volume of verse dated 1918, a gentle story of a dog who gives his patient love to the old folks living in the care of the parish.

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 alms-houses
On the stones with grass between.

Under the ancient archway
His pleasure is to wait
Between the two stone pine-apples
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 wellnigh 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 Bats-ears’ share.

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

-- Eden, H. Parry. (1918). Coal and candlelight and other verses. London: J. Lane. 15-18.

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