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Angela Landry United States (11/2/2013 6:02:00 PM)

I looking for the title and or author for a poem I found on a tombstone, the lines are as follows:
But why it was that the whole world wasted
This you will know when they count the tears
After the dust of the grave is tasted
After this noise of years

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  • Laura Burns (11/2/2013 7:40:00 PM) Post reply

    It is part of a longer poem:

    VIRGILIA
    by Edwin Markham

    I

    Had we two gone down the world together,
    I had made fair ways for the feet of
    Song,
    And the world s fang been but a foam-soft feather,
    The world that works us wrong.

    If you had but stayed when the old- sweet
    wonder
    Was a precious pain in my pulsing side!
    Ah, why did you hurry our lives asunder—
    You, born to be my bride?

    What sent it upon me—my soul importunes—
    All the grief of the world in a little span,
    All the tears and fears, all the fates and
    fortunes,
    That the heart holds for a man?

    Is this then the grief that the first gods
    kneaded
    Into all joy that the strange world brings?
    Did the tears fall into the heap unheeded,
    These tears in mortal things?

    But why it was that the whole world
    wasted,
    This you will know when they count
    the tears,
    After the dust of the grave is tasted,
    After this noise of years.

    Yet some things stay though a world lies
    broken,
    I keep some things that were dear of
    old
    That first kiss spared and that last word
    spoken
    And the glint of your hair s dark gold.

    Do you mind that hour in the soft sweet
    morning
    When I held you fast in divine alarms,
    When my soul stood up like a god adorning
    His body with bright arms?

    Forget it not till the crowns are crumbled
    And the swords of the kings are rent
    with rust-
    Forget it not till the hills lie humbled,
    And the springs of the seas run dust.

    II

    What was I back in the world s first
    wonder?
    An elf-child found on an ocean-reef,
    A sea-child nursed by the surge and
    thunder,
    And marked for the lyric grief.

    I mind me well how the waves edge whitened
    As the shapes of the storm went whirling by
    How I laughed and ran when the loud
    void lightened,
    And tempest shook the sky.

    So I will go down by the way of the willows,
    And whisper it out to the mother Sea,
    To the soft sweet shores and the long
    bright billows,
    The dream that cannot be.

    There will be help for the soul's great
    trouble
    Where the sea's heart sings to the listening ear,
    Where the high gray cliff in the pool
    hangs double,
    And the moon is misting the mere.

    Twas down in the sea that your soul took
    fashion,
    O strange Love born of the white sea-wave!
    And only the sea and her lyric passion
    Can ease the wound you gave.

    I will go down to the wide wild places,
    Where the calm cliffs look on the shores
    around;
    I will rest in the power of their great grave
    faces
    And the gray hush of the ground.



    On a cliff s high head a gray gull clamors,
    But down at the base is the Devil's brew,
    And the swing of arms and the heave of
    hammers,
    And the white flood roaring through.

    There on the cliff is the sea-bird's tavern,
    And there with the wild things I'll find
    a home,
    Laugh with the lightning, shout with the
    cavern,
    Run with the feathering foam.

    I will climb down where the nests are
    hanging,
    And the young birds scream to the
    swinging deep,
    Where the rocks and the iron winds are
    clanging,
    And the long waves lift and leap.

    I will thread the shores to the cavern
    hollows,
    Where the edge of the wave runs white
    and thin;
    I will sing to the surge and the foam that
    follows
    When the dark tides thunder in.

    I will go out where the sea-birds travel,
    And mix my soul with the wind and sea;
    Let the green waves weave and the gray
    rains ravel,
    And the tides go over me.

    The Sea is the mother of songs and sorrows,
    And out of her wonder our wild loves
    come;
    And so it will be through the long to-morrows,
    Till all our lips are dumb.

    She knows all sighs and she knows all sinning,
    And they whisper out in her breaking
    wave:
    She has known it all since the far beginning,
    Since the grief of that first grave.

    She shakes the heart with her stars and
    thunder
    And her soft low word when the winds
    are late;
    For the sea is Woman, the sea is Wonder
    Her other name is Fate!

    There is daring and dream in her billows
    breaking
    In the power of her beauty our griefs
    forget:
    She can ease the heart of the long, long
    aching,
    And bury old regret.



    III

    Will you find rest as our ways dissever?
    Will the gladness grow as the days in
    crease?
    Howbeit, I leave on your soul forever
    The word of the eternal peace.

    I will go the road and my song shall save
    me,
    Though grief may stay as the heart's old
    guest:
    I will finish the work that the strange
    God gave me,
    And then pass on to rest.

    I will go back to the great world-sorrow,
    To the millions bearing the double
    load
    The fate of to-day and the fear of to
    morrow:
    I will taste the dust of the road.

    I will go back to the pains and the pities
    That break the heart of the world with
    moan;
    I will forget in the grief of the cities
    The burden of my own.

    There in the world-grief my own grief
    humbles,
    My wild hour melts in the days to be,
    As the wild white foam of a river crumbles,
    Forgotten in the sea.

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