Poem: Sonnet 19 – When I Consider How My Light is Spent

 

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From the Spring 2020 issue of Knowing & Doing:

Poem: Sonnet 19 – When I Consider
How My Light is Spent

by John Milton, (1608 – 1674)
English Poet

 

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
   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.”

John Milton was an English poet, who served as a civil servant for the Commonwealth of England under its Council of State and later under Oliver Cromwell. He wrote at a time of religious flux and political upheaval, and is best known for his epic poem Paradise Lost, written in blank verse. His career as a writer of prose and poetry spans three distinct eras: Stuart England; the Civil War (1642-1648) and Interregnum, including the Commonwealth (1649-1653) and Protectorate (1654-1660); and the Restoration. John Milton died in England in November 1674. There is a monument dedicated to him in Poet’s Corner in Westminster Abbey in London.

 


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