There came a shrill and a whistling sound,

Above, beneath, beside, and around,

Yet leaf ne’er moved on tree!

So that some people thought old Beelzebub must

Have been lock’d out of doors, and was blowing the dust

From the pipe of his street-door key.

This is from the poem called The Witches’ Frolic (1837). https://ebooks.adelaide.edu.au/i/ingoldsby/thomas/ingoldsby_legends/chapter9.html

What does 'pipe of his street-door key' here?

  • Please reference the source of this quote. Also it looks quite old. It probably means something to people hundreds of years ago. – James K Dec 5 '19 at 6:36

A pipe key is an old fashioned key, where the barrel is hollow and fits over a pin in the lock. If it's full of dust, it's not going to fit.

So, we are to imagine the devil blowing across the top of the key to clean it (like a cowboy in a western blowing smoke from his gun) and making a whistling sound.

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