John Milton

1608 - 1674


Sonnet 19 (16)





John Milton, Complete Poems and Major Prose

ed. Merritt Y. Hughes, New York: The Odyssey Press 1957






Sonnet XIX


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

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.»