The widower in the foreground looks up as he thinks for a moment that he hears his late wife's voice as his daughter, whom he cannot see, begins to sing.
The picture was exhibited with lines from Alfred Lord Tennyson's poem Break, break, break:
But O for the touch of a vanished hand,
And the sound of a voice that is still!
The poetic quote underscores the deeply sentimental nature of this painting (source: Tate).
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