When I Consider How My Life is Spent

John Milton
By: Annie, Jayla, and Maria
Biographical Information
 dedicated Puritan
 allied himself with the Roundheads
 one of Cromwell’s secretaries
 In 1652, Milton lost his wife, infant son, and eyesight.
 (p. 480)
“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.”
Style of Poem
 This is a Petrarchan, or Italian, sonnet
 Divided into an octave of eight lines and a sestet of six.
 Octave: rhyme scheme of abbaabba and raises a question
Sestet: has a variable rhyme scheme and resolves or
comments on the problem
 Tone is somber and reflective
 Theme: guilt and blame
 (p.483-484)
Other Information
 Milton went blind before he wrote his best works
 Unlike a classic Italian sonnet, this poem does not
divide cleanly into eight lines and six lines.
 Milton influenced the writing of J.R.R. Tolkien, author
of The Lord of the Rings trilogy
Works Cited
“John Milton.” Literature. Janet Allen. Evanston,
Illinois: McDougal Littell, 2008. Pages 480484. Print.
Shmoop Editorial Team. "When I Consider How My
Light is Spent (On His Blindness)."
Shmoop.com. Shmoop University, Inc., 11 Nov.
2008. Web. 30 Sep. 2014.

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