Episode 16

John Milton, When I Consider How My Light is Spent


February 15th, 2021

15 mins 57 secs

Season 2

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About this Episode

The episode explores Milton's great sonnet spun from the difficulties of middle age and new disappointments. We consider how he pulls consolation from his sense of defeat and near despair. Faced with his coming blindness, he hears the voice of Patience giving him the strength to wait.


John Milton, "When I Consider How My Light is Spent"

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.”