How Soon Hath Time by John Milton

How Soon Hath Time: The notes specially prepared for the BA English Students of Semester II BBMKU and VBU University. It may be possible this subject should be the same in your syllabus as well as in BBMKU and VBU University.

“Sonnet 7,” often referenced in the opening line of “How soon hath Time,” was written by the English poet John Milton. It was written in 1632 but published in 1645. The poem’s speaker reflects wistfully on his failure to accomplish anything great in his short life, and then consoles himself by turning to religion: it achieves exactly what God wants it to do – nothing more and nothing less. The poem thus takes the side of the religious debates that ravaged Europe in the 17th century. Milton clearly rejects the view that life gains meaning through work, a position widely associated with Catholicism. Instead, he takes a puritanical stance, promoting the idea that his own life will be made worthy only by faith—and by the grace God provides.

How Soon Hath Time by John Milton
How Soon Hath Time by John Milton

How Soon Hath Time by 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.

How Soon Hath Time Summary

“How soon Hath time” is a religious poem. It deals with Milton’s faith in god. It also depicts time’s powerfulness. Time is lively and active. It goes on moving without any break. It does not stay even for a while. The poet attained his young age very quickly. He has already become twenty-three years old. The poet is really surprised to find himself at this age. His days passed off but he was not aware of this major event. He has no limit about his being young. People may be deceived to a great extent to see him. His judgement may go wrong. He is about to attain his manhood in the coming years. But he lacks inward ripeness.

The poet says that every event has the sanction of God. Nothing will happen without His permission. Whether the maturity is slow or speedy, it matters a little God’s consent is the most important for an event to occur. His Grace is needed for the disposal of all works: He is a great Taskmaster.

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