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“…God doth not need either man’s work or his own gifts…”

On His Blindness
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.’



  1. Sam
    This poem was on my Grade 10 English exam.
    We were a bunch of unread plebians – not one of us knew anything about Milton – including details of his physical blindness.
    Now I look at this and think, “what an amazing poem” and wish that I had been more curious about the right things when I had more brain cells :o)

  2. There’s danger in sharing too much on the InterWebz, but as someone who occasionally feels as though his life (professional, personal and all the other permutations) has stalled out, that final line cracks me open every time. Belief in active sovereignty even in the doldrums — that’s comfort.

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