How 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 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 som more timely-happy spirits indu’th.
Yet be it less or more, or soon or slow,
It shall be still in strictest measure eev’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 Masters eye.
He revisited this theme with greater power in On His Blindness.