Are there any similes, metaphors, alliteration etc. in the Poem "How soon Hath time" By John Milton ?1 How soon hath Time, the subtle thief of youth, 2 Stol'n on his wing my three-and-twentieth...

Are there any similes, metaphors, alliteration etc. in the Poem "How soon Hath time" By John Milton ?

1 How soon hath Time, the subtle thief of youth,
2 Stol'n on his wing my three-and-twentieth year!
3 My hasting days fly on with full career,
4 But my late spring no bud or blossom shew'th.
5 Perhaps my semblance might deceive the truth
6 That I to manhood am arriv'd so near;
7 And inward ripeness doth much less appear,
8 That some more timely-happy spirits endu'th.
9Yet be it less or more, or soon or slow,
10 It shall be still in strictest measure ev'n
11 To that same lot, however mean or high,
12Toward which Time leads me, and the will of Heav'n:
13 All is, if I have grace to use it so
14 As ever in my great Task-Master's eye.

Also are there any figurative language or imagery ?

Expert Answers
favoritethings eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In line 1, Time is personified as a thief that steals one's youth; in other words, it seems like time goes by so quickly and we age so fast.  In comparing Time to a thief, the poet employs a metaphor.  In line 3, the speaker describes his days as "hasting" because they seem to "fly"; this is figurative language—the days do not literally fly, but this verb draws attention to the speed of time.

At the age of 23, the speaker says he is in his "late spring"—a metaphor for the end of his youth—and "no bud or blossom" has begun to grow yet: this metaphor means that the speaker has not reached his "summer," (when a blossom would grow) because he is not yet mature.  The phrase, "bud or blossom" also provides an example of alliteration, with the repetition of the "b" sound.

The speaker describes "manhood" as some sort of destination at which he can "arrive": another metaphor.  He also describes emotional maturity as "inward ripeness," a metaphor that compares a person's inner maturity to a fruit's ripeness.

The phrase "soon or slow" in line 9 provides another example of alliteration, with a repetition of the "s" sound.  The speaker describes God as "the will of Heav'n," an example of metonymy, substituting something for the thing with which it is associated (God's will stands in for God).  The phrase "Toward which Time" provides another example of alliteration with the repetition of the "t" sound.

mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

John Milton's "How Soon Hath Time" is a Petrarchan sonnet that contains much figurative language, among which are metaphors.  Three such metaphors are contained in the octave in which the speaker bemoans the loss of his twenty-third year by the personified Time that has wings:  "My hasting days." The implication here is that time is a thief.

One metaphor is "my late spring" which is an implied comparison with his youth now in its latter part. 

In another metaphor, the speaker bemoans that "no bud or blossom shows"; that is, he still looks young and has not achieved manhood physically.  Nor, has he accomplished any manly act.

In the octave, the speaker is resigned to the fact that what will happen is in the hands of his Maker.  Here God is compared in the metaphor "the will of Heav'n" and the "Task-Master" whose "eye" is metonmy as the one part represents the whole of the "Master."

In figurative language, the speaker resolves to go "where Time leads me," meaning he will follow the directions of God in his life.  In this figurative phrase, Time is personified since it has the divine power to direct the speaker's life.