What is the tone of the poem "How Soon Hath Time" by John Milton? Also what type of words does Milton use-- e.g. unusual, striking etc?  and are the sounds of the words soft, brilliant, harsh etc?

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There is an element of frustration in Milton's tone in this poem. He is certainly not happy that, though his "hasting days fly on with full career," his "semblance might deceive the truth." Milton is not pleased that, although "Time" is stealing his youth from him, this may not be evident to those who look at him—he is getting older and yet his "manhood" is not evident.

Stronger than this frustration, however, is the speaker's tone of acceptance. While he would prefer to have his "inward ripeness" appear on his features, Milton's tone is ultimately one of trust in "the will of Heaven." Milton uses the conclusion of his poem to emphasize this resignation to God's plan: provided that he has "grace to use it so," everything within him will express itself "as ever in my great Taskmaster's eye." Milton's description of God as a "great Taskmaster" underscores his trust in the fact that everything about which he may feel frustrated is ultimately part of God's plan.

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In addition to the excellent answer above, in defining tone as the speaker's attitude toward the subject, I suggest the tone of Milton's "How Soon Hath Time," is one of reverence. 

In the octave, the speaker is reverent toward Time, toward what he wants to be or could be, and toward those who are showing more promise than he is.  The reverence here is tinted with impatience toward himself.

In the sestet, the speaker is reverent toward Time and Heaven, who have his fate in their hands.  Here the reverence is tinted with patience. 

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In John Milton's "How Soon Hath Time," the tone of the speaker in the octave seems somewhat chagrined.  The speaker regrets that he has lost his twenty-third year to the "thief" of Time.  In addition, he bemoans that he is not yet "blossomed" and has a "semblance" that belies his age; that is, he wishes that he were more manly in appearance. His youthfulness is spoken of with a regretfulness.

However, in the sestet, the speaker's tone changes as he becomes resigned to the will of the heavens and places his trust in the "great Taskmaster." In this sestet, the speakers word choice differs from the octave, as well.  For, more poetic words are used in the octave--e.g. the "Time, the subtle thief of youth,"--while words with religious overtones are employed in the sestet--"will of heaven," "the great Taskmaster."

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