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Poem by John Skelton

On Time

YE may hear now, in this rime,
How every thing must have a time.
Time is a thing that no man may resist;
     Time is transitory and irrevocable;
Who sayeth the contrary, Time passeth as him list;
     Time must be taken in season covenable:
     Take Time when Time is, for Time is aye mutable;
All thing hath time, who can for it provide;
Bide for Time who will, for Time will no man bide.

Time to be sad, and time to play and sport;
     Time to take rest by way of recreation;
Time to study, and time to use comfort;
     Time of pleasure, and time of consolation:
     Thus Time hath his time of divers manner fashion:
Time for to eat and drink for thy repast;
Time to be liberal, and time to make no waste:

Time to travail, and time for to rest;
     Time for to speak, and time to hold thy peace:
Time would be used when Time is best;
     Time to begin, and time for to cease;
     And when time is, to put thyself in press,
And when time is, to hold thyself aback:
For time well spent can never have lack.

The root─ùs take their sap in time of vere;
     In time of summer flowers fresh and green;
In time of harvest men their corn─ù shere;
     In time of winter the north wind waxeth keen,
     So bitterly biting the flowers be not seen:
The calends of Janus, with his frost─ùs hoar,
That time is when people must live upon the store.

John Skelton

John Skelton's other poems:
  1. Woefully Arrayed
  2. A Lawde and Prayse
  3. The Prelates
  4. Upon a Dead Man's Head
  5. Duke of Albany

Poems of the other poets with the same name:

  • John Milton On Time ("Fly, envious Time, till thou run out thy race")
  • Jonathan Swift On Time ("Ever eating, never cloying")
  • Francis Quarles On Time ("Time's an hand's-breadth; 'tis a tale")
  • Joanna Baillie On Time ("TIME sooth, since Time has been, has still sustain'd")

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