Little Women

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Four little chests all in a row,

Dim with dust and worn by time,

All fashioned and filled long ago

By children now in their prime.

Four little keys hung side by side,

With faded ribbons, brave and gay

When fastened there with childish pride

Long ago on a rainy day.

Four little names, one on each lid,

Carved out by a boyish hand;

And underneath there lieth hid

Histories of the happy band

Once playing here, and pausing oft

To hear the sweet refrain

That came and went on the roof aloft

In the falling summer rain.

Four little chests all in a row,

Dim with dust and worn by time:

Four women, taught by weal and woe

To love and labor in their prime;

Four sisters parted for an hour,–

None lost, one only gone before,

Made by love's immortal power

Nearest and dearest evermore.

Oh! when these hidden stores of ours

Lie open to the Father's sight,

May they be rich in golden hours,–

Deeds that show fairer for the light,

Deeds whose brave music long shall ring

Like a spirit-stirring strain,

Souls that shall gladly soar and sing

In the long sunshine, after rain.

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