John Milton, Sonnet 19, When I consider how my light is spent

John Milton wrote Sonnet #19 (“When I consider how my light is spent”) about his blindness several years after he became blind. The opening lines allude to Jesus’ parable of the talents found in Matthew 25:14-30. Milton feels that his talent for writing has been buried due to his blindness. In line 7 he is tempted to murmur against God when he comes to ask for an account, but Patience prevents him. Instead, he recognizes that God does not need man’s work or the gifts that God has given to him. God is a king with many servants, and we serve him best by bearing well whatever yoke he gives us. The poem ends with the well-known line: “They also serve who only stand and wait.”

SONNET 19: ON HIS BLINDNESS – by John Milton

When I consider how my light is spent
Ere half my days in this dark world and wide,
And that one talent which is death to hide
Lodg’d 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.”

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1 Comment

  1. rahul dhami says:

    thatzzz a gooodd one….. I like d way how eazily u hav expressed the feelinzzz of Milton’s poem.

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