When I Consider How My Light Is Spent (On His Blindness)

John Milton, read by Helen Dunmore


When I Consider How My Light Is Spent (On His Blindness)

John Milton, read by Helen Dunmore


Poem introduction

In this Petrarchan sonnet Milton talks about his blindness and refers to the Parable of the Talents, as he does in Paradise Lost, the sense of the unknowable-ness of God’s will, the lack of a full revelation and the need for submission but nevertheless it remains an achingly personal poem.

When I Consider How My Light Is Spent (On His Blindness)

 

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."