Two Sonnets

Song Cycle by Gerald Finzi (1901 - 1956)

1. When I consider how my life is spent [sung text checked 1 time]

When I consider how my [light]1 is spent,
Ere half my days, in this dark world and wide,
And that one talent which is death to hide
Lodged with me useless, though my soul more bent
To serve therewith my Maker, and present
My true account, lest He returning chide,
"Doth God exact day-labour, light denied?"
I fondly ask; But patience, to prevent
That murmur, soon replies "God doth not need
Either man's work or his own gifts. Who best
Bear His mild yoke, they serve Him best. His state
Is kingly: thousands at His bidding speed
And post o'er land and ocean without rest;
They also serve who only stand and wait."

Authorship:

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Available translations, adaptations or excerpts, and transliterations (if applicable):

  • GER German (Deutsch) [singable] (Walter A. Aue) , "Sonett XIX: Wenn ich bedenke, wie mein Licht verblich", copyright © 2010, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • HUN Hungarian (Magyar) (Árpád Tóth) , "A vak szonettje"
  • ITA Italian (Italiano) (Ferdinando Albeggiani) , copyright © 2010, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

View original text (without footnotes)
1 Finzi: "life"

Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

2. How soon hath Time [sung text checked 1 time]

How soon hath Time, the subtle thief of youth,
    Stol'n on his wing my three-and-twentieth year!
    My hasting days fly 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 arrived so near;
    And inward ripeness doth much less appear,
    That some more timely-happy spirits endu'th.
Yet it be less or more, or soon or slow,
    It shall be still in strictest measure even
    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.

Authorship:

Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]
Total word count: 227