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Signs And Tokens
by [?]

Said the red-cloaked crone
In a whispered moan:

“The dead man was limp
When laid in his chest;
Yea, limp; and why
But to signify
That the grave will crimp
Ere next year’s sun
Yet another one
Of those in that house –
It may be the best –
For its endless drowse!”

Said the brown-shawled dame
To confirm the same:

“And the slothful flies
On the rotting fruit
Have been seen to wear
While crawling there
Crape scarves, by eyes
That were quick and acute;
As did those that had pitched
On the cows by the pails,
And with flaps of their tails
Were far away switched.”

Said the third in plaid,
Each word being weighed:

“And trotting does
In the park, in the lane,
And just outside
The shuttered pane,
Have also been heard –
Quick feet as light
As the feet of a sprite –
And the wise mind knows
What things may betide
When such has occurred.”

Cried the black-craped fourth,
Cold faced as the north:

“O, though giving such
Some head-room, I smile
At your falterings
When noting those things
Round your domicile!
For what, what can touch
One whom, riven of all
That makes life gay,
No hints can appal
Of more takings away!”