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John Milton: When I Consider How My Light Is Spent

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When I Consider How My Light Is Spent

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 bent

To serve therewith my Maker, and present

   My true account, lest he returning chide;

   "Doth God exact day-labor, 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."