Verse > Anthologies > Edmund Clarence Stedman, ed. > An American Anthology, 1787–1900
Edmund Clarence Stedman, ed. (1833–1908).  An American Anthology, 1787–1900.  1900.
1610. Ballade of Dead Friends
By Edwin Arlington Robinson
AS we the withered ferns
    By the roadway lying,
Time, the jester, spurns
    All our prayers and prying—
    All our tears and sighing,        5
Sorrow, change, and woe—
    All our where-and-whying
For friends that come and go.
Life awakes and burns.
  Age and death defying,        10
Till at last it learns
    All but Love is dying;
    Love’s the trade we’re plying,
God has willed it so;
    Shrouds are what we’re buying        15
    For friends that come and go.
Man forever yearns
    For the thing that ’s flying.
Everywhere he turns,
    Men to dust are drying,—        20
    Dust that wanders, eyeing
(With eyes that hardly glow)
    New faces, dimly spying
For friends that come and go.

And thus we all are nighing
    The truth we fear to know:
Death will end our crying
    For friends that come and go.


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