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Stedman and Hutchinson, comps. A Library of American Literature:
An Anthology in Eleven Volumes. 1891.
Vols. IX–XI: Literature of the Republic, Part IV., 1861–1889

At the Piano

By Anna Katharine Green (1846–1935)

[The Defence of the Bride, and Other Poems. 1882.]

PLAY on! Play on! As softly glides

The low refrain, I seem, I seem

To float, to float on golden tides,

By sunlit isles, where life and dream

Are one, are one; and hope and bliss

Move hand in hand, and thrilling, kiss

’Neath bowery blooms,

In twilight glooms,

And love is life, and life is love.

Play on! Play on! As higher rise

The lifted strains, I seem, I seem

To mount, to mount through roseate skies,

Through drifted cloud and golden gleam,

To realms, to realms of thought and fire,

Where angels walk and souls aspire,

And sorrow comes but as the night

That brings a star for our delight.

Play on! Play on! The spirit fails,

The star grows dim, the glory pales,

The depths are roused—the depths, and oh!

The heart that wakes, the hopes that glow!

The depths are roused: their billows call

The soul from heights to slip and fall;

To slip and fall and faint and be

Made part of their immensity;

To slip from Heaven; to fall and find

In love the only perfect mind;

To slip and fall and faint and be

Lost, drowned within this melody,

As life is lost and thought in thee.

Ah, sweet, art thou the star, the star

That draws my soul afar, afar?

Thy voice the silvery tide on which

I float to islands rare and rich?

Thy love the ocean, deep and strong,

In which my hopes and being long

To sink and faint and fail away?

I cannot know. I cannot say.

But play, play on.