When I Consider How My Light is Spent

During the March 29 sermon on endurance, I quoted the last line from John Milton’s autobiographical sonnet “When I Consider How My Light is Spent.”  Milton wrote the poem after losing his eyesight while still in his early 40s. The poem addresses his feeling of uselessness and considers what God actually requires of him. Following is the poem in its entirety.



Sonnet 19: When I Consider How My Light is Spent

By John Milton

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.”


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