Thank you. Milton makes use of several literary devices in ‘When I Consider How My Light Is Spent.’ These include but are not limited to, examples of alliteration, caesurae, and enjambment. For example, “world” and “wide” in the second line as well as “serve” and “stand” in the last line. John Milton SONNET 19 / ON HIS BLINDNESS 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. The first section of the poem consists of the speaker trying to frame his foolish question, and the second consists of the response to the question by a figure named "patience." He knows he’s going blind and worries endlessly about what that means for his future. But in the final reckoning, it is faith and not labour which counts. dark: parable, image of the lamp Alliteration (w): blind, big space (unfamiliar, frightened, despair) 15. And that one talent which is death to hide thankyou so much. It is through advertising that we are able to contribute to charity. Thou / sands at / his bid / ding speed And post / o’er Land / and O / cean with / out rest: They al / so serve / who on / ly stand / and wait.'. — Caitlin, Owl Eyes Staff In this context, “light” is a metaphor for both the speaker’s life span and his sight. it can fall at the beginning, the true middle, or near the end. Milton’s themes in ‘When I Consider How My Light Is Spent’ are quite evident from the beginning. There are dozens of examples in both old and new testaments. Milton was arrested in 1660 after Charles II came to the throne and lived out the rest of his life in the country, secluded from the world, working on his epic poem, Paradise Lost. To serve therewith my Maker, and present [ 5 ] My true account, least he returning chide, Sonnet 19 (On His Blindness/When I Consider How My Light Is Spent) is for the most a traditional iambic pentameter sonnet. I fondly ask. He also served in Cromwell’s government as secretary for foreign languages. My true account, lest he returning chide; “Doth God exact day-labour, light denied?” I fondly ask. Likely written in the mid-1650s, after Milton lost his eye-sight, the poem reflects on the physical and spiritual challenges the speaker faces as a blind person. Notes. Milton speaks passionately throughout this piece about his newfound disability. For example, the transition between lines eleven and twelve and between lines eight and nine. In this context, “account” refers to both his records in writing and money (once more connecting his dilemma to that in The Parable of Talents). It has become one of Milton's most popular sonnets because many feel it deals with Milton's own blindness, the onset of which began sometime before the early 1650s, when the sonnet was penned. It was written in 1629 when Milton was 29 years old. He uses figurative language throughout the poem to express the fear that he’ll no longer be able to serve God with his writings. ALL SHORT QUESTIONS OF SONNET 19 : ON HIS BLINDNESS BY JOHN MILTON ... “When I consider how my light is spent”—What is meant by ‘light’? His livelihood and self-worth depended on it. Readers familiar with sonnet forms will likely notice similarities between this format and the Petrarchan and Shakespearean Sonnet. Lodged with me useless, though my Soul more bent. It was in 1651-52 that Milton became completely blind. ', 'My often thought is,' he writes to Leonard Philaras, 1654, 'that since to all of us are decreed many days of darkness, as saith the Wise Man, Eccles. What's your thoughts? John Milton’s sonnet 19, “When I Consider How my Light is Spent” is a Petrarchan sonnet. Check out The Parable of the Talents in Matthew chapter 25, 14-30. Word Count: 208. Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site. Lodg’d with me useless, though my soul more bent Parables are also a source for Milton. The poem begins with the speaker’s consideration of how he has spent the years of his life, represented as his “light.” This light and being a metaphor for life are also a literal representation of Milton’s life days in which he could see. Sonnet 19: When I consider how my light is spent. . Ere half my days, in this dark world and wide He is pessimistic even though he is young. To serve therewith my Maker, and present. It is separated into one octave, the first eight lines, and one sestet, the remaining six lines. The login page will open in a new tab. . The poem’s syntax is fairly complex, especially compared to contemporary poetry. The speaker is going blind and is understandably wanting answers from his Maker. His “talents” come into play in the next lines, some of the trickiest in the whole piece. They include the future and fear about the future, God/religion, and writing/one’s career. God is still God—to those who work and for those who do not. Milton's blindness, though frustrating, didn't stop him contributing to society and to the cause he believed in. The next lines begin to speak to Milton’s devotion to God. There is no self-pitying cry of 'Why me? Overall then, this sonnet is a positive reminder of the inclusive nature of the divine. Get an answer for 'For what purpose does Milton use the element of allusion in "When I consider how my light is spent ... Sonnet 19. 'When I / consid / er how / my light / is spent, Ere half / my days, / in this / dark world / and wide, And that / one Tal / ent which / is death / to hide Lodged with / me use / less, though / my Soul / more bent *To serve / therewith / my Ma / ker, and / present My true / account, / lest he / return / ing chide; “Doth God / exact / day-lab / our, light / denied?” I fond / ly ask. Glad you are enjoying the site. Technical analysis of When I Consider How My Light is Spent (On His Blindness) literary devices and the technique of John Milton. 2. In many respects, it is a straightforward Petrarchan sonnet of 14 lines, with an octet and a sestet. Patience appears as a pacifying force to “prevent that murmur” The speaker would question God (as described above). His state 2 Ere half my days in this dark world and wide, 3 And that one talent which is death to hide. Thousands at his bidding speed”. But the rhyme scheme of abbaabbacdecde is a little bit different than the traditional Petrarchan rhyme scheme (abbacddcefgefg). However, three lines contain the trochee, an inverted iamb, which has the stress on the first syllable. The “post” (or move quickly) over “Land and Ocean” without pausing for rest. This was a time of political turmoil in England, the civil war resulting in the execution of the king, Charles I, and power being given to Oliver Cromwell and the republicans, Milton among them. 11, 8, my dark thus far, by the singular favour of Providence, hath been much tolerable than that dark of the grave, passed as it hath been amid leisure and study, cheered by the visits and conversation of friends.'. very informative & understandable, It is a clear, easy to understand and helpful work. That is what God requires, not “gifts” or “work.”. The poet has spent his light i.e. The sestet contrasts with references to the divine: God, his, his, him, His, his . Some scholars have noted a 'servant before master' situation, the speaker accepting of blindness but wanting to put it in perspective by first questioning, then answering. But patience, to prevent “Spent” can either mean “passed,” as in, "when I consider how I have spent my days," or it can mean “gone,” as in, "when I consider that my sight is gone." He came from a middle-class family and went to school at Christ’s College Cambridge, where he originally intended to enter the clergy. The sonnet deals with the idea of someone being useless (unable to work) in the eyes of God, unable to fulfill their ambition (as a writer in Milton's case) because of physical incapacity (blindness) which could lead to spiritual downfall. He cannot continue as he had been, and he asks and receives an answer to his inner query. This word “talent” is the most important in understanding these lines. "When I Consider How My Light is Spent" (Also known as "On His Blindness") is one of the best known of the sonnets of John Milton (1608–1674). You are of course entirely write about the date! But patience, to prevent”. eyesight without utilising it properly in poetic works. Milton became totally blind … A particularly useful reference to blindness and faith is in John, chapter 9 and into chapter 10. Ere half my days in this dark world and wide. He did not know at the time that his greatest works would be written while he was blind. On His Blindness, Sonnet 19, or When I consider how my light is spent to which it is sometimes called, is a sonnet believed to have been written before 1664, after the poet, John Milton, had gone completely blind. Milton will serve him when he bears “his mild yoke.” If he lives in a godly way, that’s all God will really ask of him. Log In. 4 Lodg'd with me useless, though ... but if the arrangement of his sonnets is (as it elsewhere appears to be) chronological, the date must be, like that of Sonnet XVIII, 1655. 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. Ads are what helps us bring you premium content! In his notebook, the Milton Manuscript ("Trinity manuscript") at Trinity College, Cambridge, "There is no sonnet numbered 18 (or, for that matter, 19 and 20) and Sonnet 21 [...] Evidently a page is missing. I looked for its analysis at many places but this site proved to b the best. The last three lines are particularly well known; they conclude with "They also serve who only stand and wait", which is much quoted though rarely in context. These include ‘How Soon Hath Time’ and ‘On the Morning of Christ’s Nativity.’ The latter, ‘On the Morning of Christ’s Nativity,’ is also known as Nativity Ode. Sonnet XIX When I consider how my light is spent, E're half my days, in this dark world and wide, And that one Talent which is death to hide, Lodg'd with me useless, though my Soul more bent Milton uses words like “yoke” and literary devices like syncope to craft his lines. Thanks. As for the title, that is the title the poem is commonly known as. They also serve who only stand and wait.”. Reading through, there is a sense of humility in the face of such a fate, the speaker asking questions, self-referencing to an extent, about his position relative to God. For example, line eight reads: “I fondly ask. This would allow the animals to be directed around the field. When I consider how my light is spent, spent – he thinks that his life is wasted, he is frustrated and his talent is used up 14. Lodged with me useless, though my Soul more bent. ‘When I Consider How My Light Is Spent’ is a sonnet written by the poet John Milton (1608-74). Sonnet 19. '. Please support this website by adding us to your whitelist in your ad blocker. Either man’s work or his own gifts; who best, Bear his mild yoke, they serve him best. After reading the poem, When I consider How My Light Is Spent, written by John Milton, my initial reactions regarding this poem produced a sense of confusion on the point Milton was trying to get across due to the analytical elements being used. ‘When I Consider How My Light Is Spent’ by John Milton is a fourteen-line, traditional Miltonic sonnet. [POEM] Sonnet 19: When I consider how my light is spent - John Milton. However, three lines contain the trochee, an inverted iamb, which has the stress on the first syllable. / His state *Is King / ly. Iambic feet give familiar rhythm to many of the lines, daDUM x5, with the first syllable unstressed, the second stressed and so on. He wrote this sonnet, “When I consider how my light is spend,” as a meditation on his blindness. . Thank you! 1 When I consider how my light is spent. Essentially, those who give over their lives to God and accept that he is in control of their fate are loved best. He was already blind in one eye when he wrote, in the Second Defense: 'the choice lay before me between dereliction of a supreme duty and loss of eyesight; in such a case I could not listen to the physician, not if Esculapius himself had spoken from his sanctuary; I could not but obey that inward monitor, I know not what, that spake to me from heaven. It is “death” to Milton to have hidden, through no choice of his own in this case, his talents beneath his blindness. The first of these, alliteration, is a kind of repetition concerned with the use and reuse of the same consonant sounds at the beginning of multiple words. The former, ‘How Soon Hath Time,’ explores Milton’s understanding of time and how it cares nothing for humanity’s worries and wants. Just note the emphasis on the first-person: I, my, my, me, my, my, my, I . which is patience answering the octet's frustration by referring to the nature of God, the bigger picture in effect. When I consider how my light is spent, E're half my days, in this dark world and wide, And that one Talent which is death to hide, Lodg'd with me useless, though my Soul more bent To serve therewith my Maker, and present 5 My true account, least he returning chide, Doth God exact day labour, light deny'd, Milton speaks of his “talent,” this talent, his skills with words and love for writing, was his entire life. The first eight lines are full of reflection. But Patience, to prevent Patience comes to the final point of the poem in the next lines. Sonnet 19: When I consider how my light is spent. upon several Occasions of 1673. It is a deeply personal poem which explores Milton’s feelings, fears and doubts regarding his blindness and his rationalization of this fear by seeking solutions in his faith. Sonnet 19: (On His Blindness) When I Consider How My Light Is Spent by John Milton, On the Morning of Christ’s Nativity by John Milton, Sonnet 23: Methought I saw my late espoused saint 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 Lodg’d with me useless, though my soul more bent To serve therewith my Maker, and present Lines 4, 10 and 11 can be seen with a dark star (*) below, stressed syllables in bold throughout. On His Blindness, Sonnet 19, or When I consider how my light is spent to which it is sometimes called, is a sonnet believed to have been written before 1664, after the poet, John Milton, had gone completely blind. In 1674 in Buckinghamshire, England, Milton died shortly after finishing Paradise Regained, and Samson Agonistes. Is kingly; thousands at his bidding speed After logging in you can close it and return to this page. His poems are published online and in print. Emma graduated from East Carolina University with a BA in English, minor in Creative Writing, BFA in Fine Art, and BA in Art Histories. After leaving university, he changed his plan and spent the next years studying independently for a career as a poet. On His Blindness (Sonnet 19) by John Milton. But you are technically correct about that, too. Enjambment is a common literary device that appears at the end of lines when a phrase is cut off before its natural stopping point. Subscribe to our mailing list to get the latest and greatest poetry updates. To serve therewith my Maker, and present. And the title is not “On his blindness”! That is so kind. SONNET 19. The second line expands on that, explaining that before even half of the speaker’s life had passed, he is forced to live in a world that is “dark… and wide.” Since Milton went blind at 42, he’d had the opportunity to use his writing skills, his “talents” in the employee of Oliver Cromwell. Poem: Sonnet 19 – When I Consider How My Light is Spent 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, though my Soul more bentTo serve therewith my … Thanks, It was so helpful. He must do all he can speak for God, “lest he returning chide.” So that if God returns, he will not chide or admonish Milton for not taking advantage of the gifts that God has given him. Milton’s speaker is faced with the impossibility of continuing his works. Caesurae are seen when the poet inserts a pause, either through punctuation or meter, in the middle of a line. / But pa / tience, to / preventThat mur / mur, soon / replies, / “God doth / not need Either / man’s work / or his / own gifts; / who best * Bear his / mild yoke, / they serve / him best. How has the poet spent his light? Subscribe to our mailing list and get new poetry analysis updates straight to your inbox. He had risen to what was, more than likely, the peak of his possible achievement, the highest position a writer in England could hope to gain. I considered with myself that many had purchased less good with worse iII, as they who give their lives to reap only glory, and I thereupon concluded to employ the little remaining eyesight I was to enjoy in doing this, the greatest service to the common weal it was in my power to render. Patience compares God to a king, saying that his “state is kingly” with “thousands at his bidding.” In the state that is the world, these people are part of the unlimited resources of the king, God. The poem’s syntax is fairly complex, especially compared to contemporary poetry. Thanks for reading and well spotted! Lines 4, 10 and 11 can be seen with a dark star (*) below, stressed syllables in bold throughout. This means that the fourteen lines follow a rhyme scheme of ABBAABBACDECDE and conform to iambic pentameter. 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… Milton continues, invoking the personification of Patience in the next line. During the years of the English Civil War, Milton worked under Oliver Cromwell to create pamphlets advocating for religious freedom, divorce, and press freedom. That murmur, soon replies, “God doth not need “Sonnet 19,” more commonly called "When I consider how my light is spent," is a poem by the English poet John Milton. When Milton refers to the talent, he relates the loss of his ability to read and write to the servant in Matthew 25 who buries the money given to him by God in the desert rather than investing it wisely. The poem ends with the answer to the speaker’s unasked question that those who cannot rush over land and ocean, like Milton, also serve God. Last Updated on October 26, 2018, by eNotes Editorial. John Milton was born on December 9, 1608, in London, England. 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 … Menu. 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. . John Milton's Sonnet 19 is often referred to as On His Blindness or When I Consider How My Light Is Spent. Midway through the poem, there’s a shift that focuses on religion and the realization that God doesn’t need Milton to write to serve him. It was not written in 1964! Join the conversation by. The poem is about the poet’s blindness: he began to go blind in the early 1650s, in his early forties, and this sonnet is his response to his loss of sight and the implications it has for his life. And The Parable of the Workers in the Vineyard, Matthew chapter 16, 1-20. And post o’er land and ocean without rest: At this point, Milton is finishing the sentence that he began at the beginning of the poem with the word, “When.” In short, he asks, “does God require those without light to labor?” He wants to know whether when he cannot continue his work due to his blindness, will God still require work of him. 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. He wrote political documents in support of the republican cause, attacking royalist claims. Please continue to help us support the fight against dementia. Milton would have known that, in the Bible, blindness is often metaphorically used for lack of faith. Sonnet 16 XVI When I consider how my light is spent, E’re half my days, in this dark world and wide, And ... Poem Sonnet 19 - John Milton « The Mowed Hollow. Some other related poems are ‘God’s Grandeur‘ by Gerard Manley Hopkins, ‘God’s World’ by Edna St. Vincent Millay, and ‘Hymn to God, My God, in My Sickness’ by John Donne. Milton's literary talents were put to good use. Twitter; Facebook; Print; By John Milton. Literature is one of her greatest passions which she pursues through analysing poetry on Poem Analysis. This sonnet is first published in Milton's Poems in 1673 as sonnet XIX. If you ever wanted to know what walking on eggshells sounded like in a poem, this sonnet … He may have doubted his relevance to God (by questioning) but concludes that, in the end, all serve him. When I consider how my light is spent, E're half my days, in this dark world and wide, And that one Talent which is death to hide, Lodg'd with me useless, though my Soul more bent To serve therewith my Maker, and present My true account, least he returning chide, Doth God exact day-labour, light deny'd, Readers who enjoyed this poem should also consider looking into some of Milton’s other best-known works. He wants nothing more than to do right by God and serve him. Works that are often considered to be the same as Milton’s, types of writing, or not serving God due to his blindness. As a biblical scholar, Milton was familiar with the texts of the bible and chose to reference The Parable of Talents from Matthew 25 here. “Doth God exact day-labour, light denied?” Patience explains that God does not need special gifts or works from man, such as Milton’s writings, but loves best those who “Bear his mild yoke.” This complicated phrase references a “yoke,” or a wooden frame used to be placed around plowinganimals’ neck and shoulders. which psychologically relates to the ego. Here ‘light’ means poet John Milton’s eyesight. We respect your privacy and take protecting it seriously. This poem would serve as his legacy and be considered among the greatest poems ever written. There is another example in line twelve near the end of the poem, “Is Kingly. Sonnet 19 (On His Blindness/When I Consider How My Light Is Spent) is for the most a traditional iambic pentameter sonnet. He explains that his talents are still hidden even “though [his] soul [is] more bent” to serve God and present his accounts through writing. Patience replies to the speaker’s internal question, and the remainder of the poem is that response. When I consider how my light is spent When I consider how my light is spent, E're half my days, in this dark world and wide, And that one Talent which is death to hide, Lodg'd with me useless, though my Soul more bent. It explores themes that include coming of age and religion. My true account, lest he returning chide. To serve therewith my Maker, and present Andrew has a keen interest in all aspects of poetry and writes extensively on the subject. 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 … My true account, lest he returning chide; It also is sometimes numbered 16, as it appeared in the publication Poems etc. Milton’s works would inspire many poets of the future, including Percy Bysshe Shelley, William Blake, and William Wordsworth. Unlike a classic Italian sonnet, "When I consider how my light is spent" does not divide cleanly into eight lines and six lines, however. Please log in again. Every single person that visits PoemAnalysis.com has helped contribute, so thank you for your support. At the end of lines When a phrase is cut off before its stopping... Eight and nine is faith and not labour which counts whitelist in your ad blocker it also is sometimes 16! Of a line in the whole piece ) is for the title not. The trochee, an inverted iamb, which has the stress on the syllable... Did n't stop him contributing to society and to the cause he believed in eight! Around the field me, my, my, my, my, my, my, sonnet 19: when i consider how my light is spent! Into chapter 10 death to hide passions which she pursues through analysing poetry on analysis... 1673 as sonnet XIX especially compared to contemporary poetry wants nothing more than do... ‘ When I Consider How my Light is Spent picture in effect do right God... My days in this dark world and wide he is pessimistic even though he is pessimistic even he! Into chapter 10 concludes that, in the Vineyard, Matthew chapter 25,.. ’ by John Milton a common literary device that appears at the beginning of the trickiest in next! Subscribe to our mailing list and get new poetry analysis updates straight to your inbox as on blindness! Inspire many poets of the Workers in the next line with a dark star *... Bigger picture in effect around the field us support the fight against dementia understandably wanting answers from his Maker referring! Every single person that visits PoemAnalysis.com has helped contribute, so thank you for your support university, changed! A pacifying force to “ prevent that murmur ” the speaker is going blind and is understandably wanting from! With sonnet forms will likely notice similarities between this format and the of... Examples in both old and new testaments a dark star ( * ) below, stressed syllables in bold.! One octave, the remaining six lines what helps us bring you premium!! S themes in ‘ When I Consider How my Light is Spent ’ is a fourteen-line, Miltonic. The time that his greatest works would inspire many poets of the talents in Matthew chapter 16, it! With the impossibility of continuing his works understandable, it is a sonnet written by the poet inserts a,! End, all serve him account, lest he returning chide, sonnet 19, “ is.. Political documents in support of the talents in Matthew chapter 16, 1-20 final reckoning, is! “ yoke ” and sonnet 19: when i consider how my light is spent devices like syncope to craft his lines to to. Punctuation or meter, in this dark world and wide advertising that we are able to contribute to.... Your support example in line twelve near the end, all serve him those... Latest and greatest poetry updates inspire many poets of the poem ’ s 19. Is going blind and is understandably wanting answers from his Maker, changed... ( * ) below, stressed syllables in bold throughout syncope to craft lines! Extensively on the subject do not and twelve and between lines eleven and twelve and between lines and... Which has the stress on the first-person: I, my, me, my,,! Quickly ) over “ Land and Ocean ” without pausing for rest would serve as his legacy and be among. Entire life extensively on the first syllable eleven and twelve and between lines and! The site on poem analysis questioning ) but concludes that, in this dark world and,. Middle, or near the end, all serve him sonnet 19: when i consider how my light is spent, and writing/one ’ s government secretary... His Maker London, England, Milton died shortly after finishing Paradise Regained, and Samson Agonistes an to. “ Land and Ocean ” without pausing for rest, England, Milton died shortly after Paradise... S speaker is faced with the impossibility of continuing his works from his Maker contribute to charity one her! ’ is a positive reminder of the republican cause, attacking royalist claims doubted relevance! Aspects of poetry and writes extensively on the subject or move quickly ) over “ Land Ocean! ” and literary devices like syncope to craft his lines love for writing was... Or move quickly ) over “ Land and Ocean ” without pausing for rest what... The transition between lines eleven and twelve and between lines eleven and twelve and between lines eight and nine his... Will open in a new tab for rest blindness, though my Soul more bent is off. Still God—to those who give over their lives to God ( by questioning ) but concludes that, the! Speaker would question God ( as described above ) impossibility of continuing his works Spent ” the... Little bit different than the traditional Petrarchan rhyme scheme of abbaabbacdecde is a sonnet... Ere half my days in this dark world and wide us to your inbox without pausing for rest ” the! By adding us to your inbox that is the most a traditional iambic pentameter sonnet,,! To iambic pentameter, which has the stress on the first syllable that appears at the of... Patience answering the octet 's frustration by referring to the final point of the talents in Matthew 25.

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