“Loss in Delays”

The following poem titled “Loss in Delays” was written by Robert Southwell (1561 – 1595), an English poet and priest during the Elizabethan era:

Shun delays, they breed remorse,
Take thy time, while time is lent thee;
Creeping snails have weakest force,
Fly their fault, lest thou repent thee;
Good is best when soonest wrought,
Lingering labour comes to nought.

Hoist up sail while gale doth last,
Tide and wind stay no man’s pleasure;
Seek not time when time is past,
Sober speed is wisdom’s leisure;
After-wits are dearly bought,
Let thy fore-wit guide thy thought.

Time wears all his locks before,
Take thou hold upon his forehead;
When he flies he turns no more,
And behind, his scalp is naked;
Works adjourned have many stays,
Long demurs breed new delays.

Seek thy salve while sore is green,
Fester’d wounds ask deeper lancing;
After cures are seldom seen,
Often sought, scarce ever chancing;
Time and place give best advice.
Out of season, out of price.

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