On His Being Arrived At The Age of Twenty- three

The poem On His Being Arrived at the Age of Twenty- three is a devotional sonnet written in an autobiographical form and contains the poet’s reflections on his late maturing. The dominating passion of his life is ‘ to justify the ways of God to man’ and write in praise of God.

In this poem, the poet blames Time for stealing away his youth without ripening his poetic talent. He regrets that time is a thief which has stolen his twenty three years in a hurry. He has not got enough opportunity to ripen his poetic talent. He feels that he has not attended maturity yet. Though his outer appearance shows that he has arrived at manhood yet there is inward immaturity in him. He feels that if he had got some more time to bring maturity in himself he would have been very happy. But then he realises that it is the discussion of God for him and he ought not to have any regrets against it. He believes that whatever God does is only justified for us. There is no conflict between man’s desire and God’s will. He asserts his complete faith in God and wishes to be guided by the divine will.

On His Having Arrived At the Age of Twenty- Three

Analysis of the Poem

John Milton is one of the most celebrated writers of the English language. Despite the fact that his works are very few, he is viewed as the best essayist in English writing. In John Milton’ s works we can see the issues of the English society and his own as well. Such a sonnet is ” On His Having Arrived At the Age of Twenty- Three” since it shows the worries that Milton had about his career when he was young and still hadn’t choosen his own way in life. In this beautiful work of his we don’t see a celebration of a birthday but a problem that the young gentleman faces as time passes by. The poet uses various metaphors and images so as to give a progressively clear picture of his problem, and at the end he gives an answer for this problem.

This poem is an example of the true Petrarchan form of sonnet. A sonnet is a short poem of fourteen lines expressing one single thought or emotion at time. It is also called an Italian or Petrarchan sonnet because it was Originated in Italy in the 14th century by the poet Francesco Petrarch. This form of sonnet is divided into two parts i.e. the octave ( Stanza of 8 lines ) and the sestet ( Stanza of 6 lines ). The first part makes a statement or raise a quest. While the second part shows an answer to it. The rhyme scheme of Petrarchan sonnet is ( abba abba cde dce). John Milton’s poem is a true example of this Petrarchan form of a sonnet. In the first part the poet questions the decision of God to bring his manhood so hastily but in the second part, he realizes that he should not have any doubt or regret in the decision of God.

Thus, John Milton introduces a problem and gives a solution to this same problem. In fact, this problem is relevant even today, when young people have to decide on a career. Also as time goes by people ask them more often what they have done in their life. The figurative language that the author uses contributes a lot for the building of the image of the problem in the poem. The metaphors and the symbol of time make the poem a really good piece of literature, which discuses problems that we have even today.

Milton uses the sonnet form to produces a personal utterance that combines divinity of tone, flexibility of movement and mystery of structure. This poem has been written as the true Petrarchan form of a sonnet. It is a striking example of the Renaissance ethos and Reformation zeal. It is an assertion of faith in God and wish to be guided by the divine will.

Questions and Answers of On His Being Arrived at the Age of Twenty- three

Q.1 What has time stolen from the poet?
Ans. In this poem, the poet John Milton expresses his regrets on attending his man-hood. He blames time for stealing away his youth. He says that time has stolen his youth without giving him ample opportunity to ripen his poetic talent. He says that time has stolen on his wings the youth of life.

Q.2 What deceives the truth?
Ans. The poet is disappointed that he did not get enough time to bring maturity in himself. He says that time has stolen his youth & now he stands at his manhood but he says that his appearance deceives the truth. He is apparently out worthy shows that he is matured now, which is not true. He admits that he is still immature in terms of his poetic talent, there is no flower of maturity in his late spring.

Q.3 What will be the strictest measure?
Ans. The poet buts up a question against the decision of god of giving him his manhood so early. He says that he would have been very happy if he had got some more time to ripen his poetic talent. But then he realises that it is the ultimate decision of god which can not be questioned in any way. It does not matter whether he considers it less or more or sooner slow, but the decision of god will be in the strictest measure.

Q.4 How does the poet console himself?
Ans. When the poet attends his manhood, he regrets against god’s decision of not giving him enough time to attend maturity. But then he realises that whatever God does is only good for us. We should have firm faith in his decision & should never object against it. He consoles himself that it is the will of heaven & he should obey it without any regret or doubt.

Q.5 What passes by in a hurry in the poet’s life?

Ans. The poet blames time in his poem because it is the unnoticed thief which has stolen his 23 years in a hurried way. He is disappointed that time has taken away his youth on its wings and now he stands at the ages of maturity. The twenty three years of his life pass by in a hurry.

Q.6 What is approaching the poet fast?
Ans. The poet considers him a thief which has stolen the time in a hurry. The twenty three years of the poet’s life have gone and now his manhood is approaching him fast. His outer appearance shows that the sign of maturity come but he is not happy with that because he feels that he has not attended inward maturity yet.

Q.7 Explain ‘That some more.…. Spirits endueth.
Ans. This poem by John Milton is written in an autobiographical mode and contains his reflections on his late maturing. Initially, he regrets that he has not enough time to attend an inward maturity. He utters the line ( that some more timely happy spirits endueth). Here he wishes that he would have been very happy if he had got some more time to ripen his poetic talent which was stolen in the process of attending maturity.


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