How soon hath Time, the subtle thief of youth
Stol’n on his wing my [two] and [thir]tieth year!
My hasting days fly on with full career,
But my late spring no bud or blossom show’th.
Perhaps my semblance might deceive the truth,
That I to [adult]hood am arrived so near,
And inward ripeness doth much less appear,
Than 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.
(Milton, Sonnet VII)
Flavia at age four.