Verse > Anthologies > Hunt and Lee, eds. > The Book of the Sonnet
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Hunt and Lee, comps.  The Book of the Sonnet.  1867.
 
IV. On His Blindness
By 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, 1 though my soul more bent
To serve therewith my Maker, and present        5
  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        10
  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.”
 
Note 1. An allusion to the parable of the talents, Matthew xxv. 14–30. “And he speaks,” adds Bishop Newton, “with great modesty of himself, as if he had not five, or two, but only one talent.” [back]
 
 
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