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Older than history, as young as today, 
I was here before you, and I'm here to stay.

My fathers were high, my mother had might
I'm beloved of nobles, but never by right. 

Conceived in the garden, I walk in all weather
then disappear all black in a flutter of feather. 

I dally with dahlias, I rib with the rose,
I enter the forest surrounded by does. 

I'm awarded degrees, yet not educated, 
they judge me as worst among the related. 

You always see me but hope we don't meet
I never respect you, but if you scream, I will bleed. 

I'll arrive in a glass, or I'll arrive in a wave
and then my sad ballads will emerge from the cave. 

Who am I?

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A little grim, but I believe the answer is:

Murder

Older than history, as young as today, / I was here before you, and I'm here to stay.

People have been killing each other forever, and will likely continue doing so for a while yet.

My fathers were high, my mother had might

Murders are committed by the high and mighty.

I'm beloved of nobles, but never by right.

Nothing nobility likes more than a good old fashioned bit of murder (but that doesn't make it right).

Conceived in the garden, I walk in all weather / then disappear all black in a flutter of feather.

A murder of crows.

I dally with dahlias, I rib with the rose,

References to The Black Dahlia murder, and to serial killer Rose West.

I enter the forest surrounded by does.

Murderers often dump their victims (John/Jane Does) in forests.

I'm awarded degrees, yet not educated, / they judge me as worst among the related.

Generally considered the worst crime, and is graded in degrees (first/second degree murder, etc).

You always see me but hope we don't meet

Seen on the news/movies/etc.

I never respect you, but if you scream, I will bleed.

From the idiom, to scream bloody murder.

I'll arrive in a glass, or I'll arrive in a wave / and then my sad ballads will emerge from the cave.

Reference to musician Nick Cave, who has an album called Murder Ballads.

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  • $\begingroup$ Impressive! This is the right answer, and you got almost clues in the intended way. For those interested, here my original intention: "I exist for a reason" is a way of saying that if you don't intend to kill someone, it's manslaughter, not murder. "My fathers are high" is a reference to the assasins, whose name is derived from "hashish". "My mother" is Lucrecia Borgia, the first(?) woman famous specifically for being a murderer. "Conceived in the garden" is a somewhat stretched allusion to the story of Cain and Abel being rooted in the garden of Eden story. The fourth stanza lists (cont.) $\endgroup$ – rumtscho Mar 5 '16 at 19:48
  • $\begingroup$ (cont.) victims, so the rose is Rosa Luxemburg, a political activist who was murdered in the 20th century just like the black dahlia. "Worst among the related" was a gardenpath sentence meaning that murdering your close relatives is seen as even more horrible than murdering strangers. "I'll arrive in a glass" is about the classic poisoned drink, "I'll arrive in a wave" is connected to a crime wave. Having cleared up that, I'd like to ask you: which clue made you first come up with the solution? $\endgroup$ – rumtscho Mar 5 '16 at 19:51
  • $\begingroup$ @rumtscho - the word "dahlias" was my way in. Figured if it wasn't specifically important, you would have gone with something like daisies. Was aware of the murder, and a band of the same name, which ironically led me to Nick Cave, by way of music. But, then confirmation from black feathers and degrees (which I already assumed had some non-educational interpretation like temperature, angle or severity) got me to the intended solution. $\endgroup$ – Alconja Mar 5 '16 at 22:28
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I feel like the answer is:

Water, rain, storm, weather related... they all seem to kinda fit

Explanation:

Older than history, as young as today, I was here before you, and I'm here to stay.

The atoms have been here for a long time, and so has the water in one form or another.

My fathers were high, my mother had might I'm beloved of nobles, but never by right.

Father as in God or maybe Zeus if its about a storm. Could also be a cloud. Mother is Mother Earth. Jesus turned water into wine? Not sure about right...

Conceived in the garden, I walk in all weather then disappear all black in a flutter of feather.

Moisture in "gardens" (or forests) often condenses and brings rain or storms. Storm clouds are dark.

I enter the forest surrounded by does.

the forest again with the rain idea.

I'm awarded degrees, yet not educated, they judge me as worst among the related.

Degrees -- > Weather and judging as worst among the related, a storm cloud is "worse" than regular fluffy clouds.

I'll arrive in a glass, or I'll arrive in a wave

Water

Another guess I've got to fit into a few parts is:

money

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  • $\begingroup$ I like the guess. It's not the one I intended, but it's not too bad a fit. $\endgroup$ – rumtscho Mar 5 '16 at 19:52

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