John Milton

(9 December 1608 – 8 November 1674 / London, England)

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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
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."

Submitted: Friday, January 03, 2003

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  • Krishnakumar Chandrasekar Nair (2/25/2014 9:40:00 AM)

    To the blind, He provides inner light
    Double their gifts to match their sight denied
    And in the after world that is pure and white
    They will see missed colours with bright new eyes...........

    I welcome all ye poets reading this to my page too (Report) Reply

  • Soulful Heart (2/25/2014 3:04:00 AM)

    Patience -a virtue that has made man the resilient one........thy blessings i welcome as thy strife.....a poem of guidance for the ones that lose hope soon... (Report) Reply

  • Jerome Brown (8/25/2013 5:54:00 AM)

    Lovely poem, showing Milton's appreciation of the greatness of God! Not that I agree with him, but from an agnostic point of view (not necessarily mine) , God (should he exist) , is so supernatural (magic even!) , that he does not require anything from anybody. (Report) Reply

  • Robert Schroll (6/11/2013 12:09:00 PM)

    Harry Reasoner, the late, great, ABC News anchorman, once ended a news broadcast by describing the gift Richard Nixon's daughters were giving him for Christmas - a surfboard! Reasoner explained that Nixon had decided he would be content to let others use the board while he would watch from shore. Which proves only one thing, said Reasoner. They also surf who only stand and wade. (Report) Reply

  • Harish Kumar (5/17/2013 11:41:00 AM)

    When Indian Astrophysicist Chandrashekar (after whom the Chandra X-Ray observatory is named) , received his Nobel Prize in Physics at the age of 70, for the work he completed at the age of 18, a lady asked him how he could wait that long. He replied, quoting the last line of the above poem, They also serve only those who stand and wait.) (Report) Reply

  • Adi Adnan S (11/25/2012 9:20:00 AM)

    She was crying becaus she had no new shoes but when she came across to man who has no feet¿ ¿ ¿ Just the last line sruck my deep feelings, what the lament over we have not! just thank God what we have! (Report) Reply

  • Sankaran Ayya (2/25/2012 11:09:00 PM)

    Milton's classic poem Each word in this poem is golden advice particularly
    the last line They also serve who only stand and wait is the line with poet's
    classic touch, a sparkling diamond on golden jewel.I INVITE EVERYBODY TO
    READ THIS POEM AND FEEL THE MILTONIC TOUCH who justified the ways of
    men to God.
    --KAVIN CHARALAN Marks10+10+10+10+10.......... (Report) Reply

  • Shahzia Batool (2/25/2012 9:30:00 AM)

    the sestet offers a universally accepted religious belief...n if only stand n wait...means to serve the Almighty, then it means there is a deep philosophy of patience, tolerance and hope... (Report) Reply

  • Ramesh T A (2/25/2010 1:21:00 AM)

    There is no point in lamenting or complaining about our short comings in life! For, God does not need any of our service or want anything from us as He is infinitely self-sufficient and self-reliant ever! Talented or not, bright or blind it is our duty to the best we can to prove our mettle before Him being worthy of ourselves being His creations! It is Milton's best example of his intellectual analysis and resolution that made him noble and great ever! (Report) Reply

  • Joseph Poewhit (2/25/2010 1:20:00 AM)

    Deep words on the state of mortal man and GOD. PURPOSE, in life seems to be Milton's contemplations. What is man's purpose before GOD? From talents to stoic mortals waiting, upon purpose before GOD. (Report) Reply

  • Indira Renganathan (2/25/2010 12:36:00 AM)

    Written true to real and natural human thinking...of what size each one of us in this vast macrocosm...everything is godly under His disposal...so better to wait...and I like these lines
    ' 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, '...excellent (Report) Reply

  • Glenn11 Austria (7/21/2009 6:54:00 AM)

    was dat really our purpose? wat a pity, , we lived this short, painful, tiring, never ending it seems sometimes, , , but its the best ive got, , and i dont think living an endless life after that would be this GREAT! , , even if its wid the so called saviuor, , ide rather live wid my mother hu sacrificed part of her life for me, or my friends hus always there for me, , if it is really 1 of my purpose it wud be the least id do (Report) Reply

  • Kainwo Moses (6/17/2009 6:17:00 PM)

    I cannot agree more with Ian. This 'blind' poet has sharper eyes that those who rate him less than 10. Any line from this poet at all times will send me to sleep well anywhere any time. There is a message here for both the abled and the differently abled. John Milton has taught me to stand and wait. May his sould find peace with his Maker upon whom he now waits... (Report) Reply

  • Ian Fraser (2/25/2009 9:12:00 PM)

    Of all the poets in the English language none had greater literary ambition than John Milton. In his massive 12 book epic 'Paradise Lost' he sought to depict both the Creation and Man's fall, with the aim, as he put it, 'to justify God's work to Man'. That he he did not entirely succeed in doing so is part of the history of Western civilization. Most modern readers see this 'little' piece as being rather a poignant reaction to a great personal tragedy, but it is much more than that. It is typical of Milton that it is a perfect Petrarchan sonnet, a form little used in English verse (Shakespeare's sonnets use a different form) . The Petrarchan sonnet was traditionally associated with love poetry and it is entirely appropriate that Milton should express his love of, and submission to God in this form. This immaculate piece of verse perfectly illustrates the difference between classical and romantic (and modern) literature. The final line has entered the language in the way that few other than Shakespeare's have. (Report) Reply

  • Abigail Willemse (2/25/2009 6:47:00 PM)

    A profound poem on his blindness. It shows his complaint, but also the way out; to serve God the best he can with his disability, and to wait on God's timing. This beautiful poem demonstrates his faith. and shows how that faith gives him purpose and light, even in his darkness. (Report) Reply

  • Prerak Bhatnagar (12/15/2008 11:07:00 AM)

    This poem is personal and contains incredible thought that God who is omnipotent omnipresent gives strength to bear the situations. (Report) Reply

Read all 22 comments »

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