Verse > Anthologies > William Stanley Braithwaite, ed. > The Book of Restoration Verse
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William Stanley Braithwaite, ed.  The Book of Restoration Verse.  1910.
 
On His Being Arrived to the Age of Twenty-three
By John Milton (1608–1674)
 
HOW 1 soon hath Time the suttle theef of youth,
  Stoln on his wing my three and twentith yeer!
  My hasting dayes flie on with full career,
But my late spring no bud or blossom show’th.
Perhaps my semblance 2 might deceive the truth,        5
  That I to manhood am arriv’d so near,
  And inward ripeness doth much less appear,
That som more timely-happy spirits indu’th.
  It shall be still in strictest measure eev’n, 3
  To that same lot, however mean, or high,        10
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 Masters eye.
 
Note 1. Written on his birthday Dec. 9, 1631. See Masson’s Life of Milton, vol. I, p. 289. [back]
Note 2. Perhaps my semblance: an allusion to his youthful appearance in manhood. [back]
Note 3. It shall be still in strictest measure eev’n: Milton’s assurance of his intention to be a great poet. “Here we have a solemn record of self-dedication, without specification of the nature of the performance.” (Pattison, Milton’s Sonnets, p. 98). [back]
 
 
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