Sonnet VII: How soon hath Time, the Subtle Thief of Youth

By John Milton 1608–1674 John Milton
How soon hath Time, the subtle thief of youth,
       Stol'n on his wing my three-and-twentieth year!
       My hasting days fly on with full career,
       But my late spring no bud or blossom shew'th.
Perhaps my semblance might deceive the truth
       That I to manhood am arriv'd so near;
       And inward ripeness doth much less appear,
       That some more timely-happy spirits endu'th.
Yet be it less or more, or soon or slow,
       It shall be still in strictest measure ev'n
       To that same lot, however mean or high,
Toward which Time leads me, and the will of Heav'n:
       All is, if I have grace to use it so
       As ever in my great Task-Master's eye.

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Poet John Milton 1608–1674

POET’S REGION England

Subjects Time & Brevity, Living, Coming of Age

Poetic Terms Sonnet

 John  Milton

Biography

John Milton’s career as a writer of prose and poetry spans three distinct eras: Stuart England; the Civil War (1642-1648) and Interregnum, including the Commonwealth (1649-1653) and Protectorate (1654-1660); and the Restoration. When Elizabeth I, the so-called Virgin Queen and the last of the Tudors, died, James VI, King of Scots, was enthroned as Britain’s king. Titled James I, he inaugurated the House of Stuart. His son and . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Time & Brevity, Living, Coming of Age

POET’S REGION England

Poetic Terms Sonnet

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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