“The Last Performance,” by Thomas Hardy

“I am playing my oldest tunes,” declared she,
“All the old tunes I know,—
Those I learnt ever so long ago.”
—Why she should think just then she’d play them
Silence cloaks like snow.

When I returned from the town at nightfall
Notes continued to pour
As when I had left two hours before:
“It’s the very last time,” she said in closing;
“From now I play no more.”

A few morns onward found her fading,
And, as her life outflew,
I thought of her playing her tunes right through;
And I felt she had known of what was coming,
And wondered how she knew.

 

NPG 2929,Thomas Hardy,by William Strang
 

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