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The Keys of Morning

 While at her bedroom window once,
Learning her task for school,
Little Louisa lonely sat
In the morning clear and cool,
She slanted her small bead-brown eyes
Across the empty street,
And saw Death softly watching her
In the sunshine pale and sweet.
His was a long lean sallow face; He sat with half-shut eyes, Like a old sailor in a ship Becalmed 'neath tropic skies.
Beside him in the dust he had set His staff and shady hat; These, peeping small, Louisa saw Quite clearly where she sat - The thinness of his coal-black locks, His hands so long and lean They scarcely seemed to grasp at all The keys that hung between: Both were of gold, but one was small, And with this last did he Wag in the air, as if to say, "Come hither, child, to me!" Louisa laid her lesson book On the cold window-sill; And in the sleepy sunshine house Went softly down, until She stood in the half-opened door, And peeped.
But strange to say Where Death just now had sunning sat Only a shadow lay: Just the tall chimney's round-topped cowl, And the small sun behind, Had with its shadow in the dust Called sleepy Death to mind.
But most she thought how strange it was Two keys that he should bear, And that, when beckoning, he should wag The littlest in the air.

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