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ON HIS BEING [OR, HAVING] ARRIVED AT THE AGE OF TWENTY-THREE, by             Poem Explanation     Poet Analysis     Poet's Biography
First Line: How soon hath time, the subtle thief of youth
Last Line: As ever in my great task-master's eye.
Variant Title(s): Sonnet: 7;on Reaching Twenty-three;on His Birthday;on Reaching Age 23;how Soon Hath Time
Subject(s): Aging; Ambition; Holidays; New Year


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,
By 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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