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About this Poem 

Composed sometime between 1652 and 1655, John Milton's "Sonnet 19 [When I consider how my light is spent]" grapples with the subject of the poet's blindness later in life, as well as his changing relationship with God. Many of Milton's best-known poems, including the epic work Paradise Lost, were composed through dictation, transcribed by others, including the poet's daughters and the English metaphysical poet Andrew Marvell.

When I Consider How My Light Is Spent

John Milton, 1608 - 1674
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-labor, 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."

This poem is in the public domain.
 

This poem is in the public domain.
 

John Milton

John Milton

John Milton was born in London on December 9, 1608, into a

by this poet

poem
I

This is the month, and this the happy morn,  
Wherein the Son of Heaven’s eternal King,  
Of wedded maid and Virgin Mother born,  
Our great redemption from above did bring;  
For so the holy sages once did sing,
  That he our deadly forfeit should release,  
And with his Father work us a perpetual peace
poem
What needs my Shakespeare for his honour'd Bones,
The labour of an age in pilèd Stones,
Or that his hallow'd reliques should be hid
Under a stary pointing Pyramid?
Dear son of Memory, great heir of Fame,
What need'st thou such weak witnes of thy name?
Thou in our wonder and astonishment
Hast built thy self a
poem

THE ARGUMENT

Satan, now in prospect of Eden, and nigh the place where he must now attempt the bold enterprise which he undertook alone against God and Man, falls into many doubts with himself, and many passions—fear, envy, and despair; but at length confirms himself in evil; journeys on to Paradise, whose