In this sonnet, the speaker meditates on the fact that he has become blind (Milton himself was blind when he wrote this). He expresses his frustration at being prevented by his disability from serving God as well as he desires to. He is answered by “Patience,” who tells him that God has many who hurry to do his bidding, and does not really need man’s work. Rather, what is valued is the ability to bear God’s “mild yoke,” to tolerate whatever God asks faithfully and without complaint.
As the famous last line sums it up, “They also serve who only stand and wait. ” This poem presents a carefully reasoned argument, on the basis of Christian faith, for the acceptance of physical impairment. The speaker learns that, rather than being an obstacle to his fulfillment of God’s work for him, his blindness is a part of that work, and that his achievement lies in living patiently with it. (Milton himself went on to write his twelve-book epic poem, “Paradise Lost,” after becoming blind.
The first line reflects on the way that Milton conceives his blindness: “When I consider how my light is spent” He seems to place special care in the word spent. I see this as how he portrays the nature of how his light is gone and gives it a likeness to the way in which money is spent because there is the choice to spend and retain money for longer or to spend it all at once and never be able to get the money spent back. s influence are an important part of the history of English literature, culture, and libertarian thought. He is best known for Paradise Lost, which is generally regarded as the greatest epic poem in the English language. Milton’s prose works, however, are also important as a valuable interpretation of the Puritan revolution, and they have their place in modern histories of political and religious thought.