| Quote #1
Ere half my days, in this dark world and wide, (line 2)
The poem does not start out on optimistic footing. The world is "wide" and full of possibility, but its "darkness" means that there is no way to distinguish between good and bad. The speaker is left to grope through this darkness without either his literal vision or the metaphorical vision of truth.
| Quote #2
And that one Talent which is death to hide
The talent has not gone away – it is merely hidden or "buried" out of reach. It cannot be used, but its potential remains. The speaker worries that he will suffer a metaphorical "death" because of a condition he cannot control.
| Quote #3
lest he returning chide (line 6)
In the "Parable of the Talents," a lord scolds his third servant after returning from a trip, and in this poem, the speaker believes that the lord is a stand-in for God. What trip would God be returning from? Maybe the speaker means that life is a brief separation from God, who will "return" after one's death.