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Little Women

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.