A Guardian at the Gate

The dog beside the threshold lies,
Mocking sleep, with half-shut eyes —
With head crouched down upon his feet,
Till strangers pass his sunny seat —
Then quick he pricks his ears to hark,
And bustles up to growl and bark;
While boys in fear stop short their song,
And sneak in startled speed along;
And beggar, creeping like a snail,
To make his hungry hopes prevail
O'er the warm heart of charity,
Leaves his lame halt and hastens by.
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