Welcome to Event A at the Appositions 2009 conference, where we invite your annotations, questions, comments, and collaborative postings on Milton’s sonnet, “When I consider how my light is spent.”
If you would like to participate in this E-Variorum, simply add your contribution here via the “post a comment” link at the bottom of this page.
“When I consider how my light is spent,” Poems, &c. upon several occasions by Mr. John Milton; both English and Latin, &c.; composed at several times; with a small tractate of education to Mr. Hartlib (London: Printed for Tho. Dring, 1673), p. 59.
In Poems (1673) the text appears numbered as XVI; however, scholars customarily refer to this poem as sonnet XIX, which reflects a chronological placement within the complete arc of all of Milton’s sonnets.
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,
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 milde yoak, they serve him best, his State
Is Kingly. Thousands at his bidding speed
And post o’re Land and Ocean without rest:
They also serve who only stand and waite.
Source: Early English Books Online. Wing / 643:01. Henry E. Huntington Library and Art Gallery. 165 pp.
APPOSITIONS: Studies in Renaissance / Early Modern Literature & Culture, http://appositions.blogspot.com/, ISSN: 1946-1992, Volume Two (2009): Dialogues & Exchanges