On His Blindness by John Milton (2023)

For thedr. Vishwanath Bisse

On his blindness: John Milton

(Video) Sonnet 19/ On His Blindness/ When I Consider by John Milton - Summary and Line by Line Explanation

The first seven and a half lines of this poem are one big, long, confusing sentence. Here is our summary: “Reflecting on the fact that I lost my eyesight before middle age and am unable to use my best talents to serve God, I wonder if God requires his servants to work for him, even if they have no eyesight. . 🇧🇷

But before he can say anything, a figure named Patience answers his question. Patience is like, "You think of GodneedYour work? No man. His best servants are the best bearers of life's burdens. He already has thousands of people walking over land and sea to serve him. You can just sit there and wait for it and that's enough."

lines 1-2

When I consider how my light is consumed,
Half my days ago, in this dark and distant world,

(Video) Full Explanation of John Milton's sonnet "On his Blindness"

  • The speaker contemplates how all of his light will be depleted ("used up") before half of his life is gone. A man without light now lives in a world that is "dark and wide".
  • The first word of the poem, "When", gives us an idea of ​​the sentence structure that follows. The structure is: "If this happens, this happens" As in: "When I broke the glass, I had to find a broom to sweep up."
  • But be careful: the second part of the sentence doesn't go until lines 7 and 8. Milton's audience was more used to reading dense and complicated sentences, so take the first seven lines slowly. (Okay, we also thought Milton's audience would have plenty of time to decipher the text messages.)
  • Most readers believe that the poem is clearly about Milton's blindness, but the poem never directly refers to blindness or even sight. Instead, we think of "light" as a metaphor for seeing.
  • The metaphor is complicated. The speaker says that his light can "fade out", and that word suggests that he is thinking of something like an oil lamp. The light is "used" when the oil in the lamp runs out. To use a contemporary analogy, it would be like comparing someone's eyesight to a flashlight that runs out of power sooner than expected. Milton implies that he got a bad deal.
  • The word "spend" also makes us think of money. Milton reflects on how he has used or "used up" his vision now that it is gone. Did you use it wisely or did you waste it thinking it would never end?
  • The word "ere" means "before". How does Milton know that he went blind before midlife? For it to be true, wouldn't it have to be some kind of medium so he knew when he was going to die? The usual explanation for this line is that Milton roughly estimates how long he will live. Milton became completely blind at the age of 42.
  • After all, when you call the world "dark and wide", it sounds like a scary place, doesn't it? Interestingly, Milton makes it seem as if the world has gone dark instead of going dark due to his blindness.

Lines 3-4

And this talent that is death to hide
Uselessly lodged with me, [...]

  • These lines are the most complicated in the whole poem because they sound easier than they are.
  • The keyword is "talent". You're probably reading "talent" and thinking of skills like throwing a perfect spiral or being a piano prodigy. But there is a double meaning for people who know the biblical history or writings. In ancient times, a "talent" was also a standard of weight used to measure money, just as a "pound" is as much a measure of weight as a coin.
  • You can read Matthew 25 (it's short), but here's our brief synopsis of the Parable of the Talents. A lord gives three of his servants some money ("talents") to keep when he travels. Two of the servants use the money to earn more money for their master. (In today's parlance, we would call this "investment".) But the third servant simply buries the money, the ancient equivalent of hiding it under a mattress. When the master returns, he is pleased with the first two servants and gives them more responsibility, but he is angry with the third servant. He banishes the third minion to "darkness", which is equivalent to "death".
  • In the biblical story, when Milton says that talent is "death to hide", he is referring to money as well as his own "talent" as a skill or craft.
  • There is no way of knowing what specific talent he refers to, but we suspect his intelligence and literacy, which he employed in the service of Oliver Cromwell's government. That "talent" is "built-in" or buried in the speaker, just as money is in the story. It cannot be used for higher profits.

Lines 4-6

[...] though my soul is more inclined
To serve and gift my Maker with her
My real account, not to scold me;

(Video) On His Blindness | Sonnet 16 | Sonnet 19 | John Milton | world's great poem | English poem | 존 밀턴

  • The narrator has just told us that his talent is as worthless as money buried in the desert, but now he says that its worthlessness has nothing to do with lack of will. Rather, his soul desires (is "inclined") to use his abilities in the service of his "Creator", God.
  • When you face God, you want to have a record to show him.
  • God is compared in Matthew 25 to the Lord in the parable of the talents. When God "returns" to him as the master of the parable, the speaker wants to show that he has put his talents to good use.
  • As used in this document, the word "account" means both "history" and "record of activity involving money".
  • If it so happens that the speaker has squandered his earnings, he fears that God will rebuke or "rebuke" him. And if God is anything like the Lord of the parable, the speaker may find himself thrown into a darkness even more terrible than that created by his blindness.

Lines 7-8

"Does God require laborers without light?"
I ask fondly. 🇧🇷

  • It took the speaker six lines to understand the part of the sentence that begins with "When". Now he goes on to say what happens "when" he thinks about all the things he described above. He wonders if God requires people to do heavy manual labor or "hired work" when there is no light.
  • The speaker has no light because he is blind, but in Milton's metaphor he compares this condition to having to work at night what would normally be done during the day, like building a house or plowing a field.
  • The word "exact" means something like "billing", "claim" or "claim". For example, you can "impose" a toll or fee. Then the speaker wants to know if God requires work as payment due to him.
  • The first section of the poem ends with the words "I beg you with all my heart". The word affectionate means foolish, not affectionate. The speaker blames himself for being an idiot for even thinking about the question.
  • Fortunately, "Patience" steps in to prevent his stupidity. More on that in the next section.

Lines 8-10

[...] But patience to avoid
This murmur is soon answered: "God needs nothing
Man's work or his own gifts; who better

(Video) "On His Blindness" by John Milton (read by Tom O'Bedlam)

  • "Patience" to the rescue! Patience is personified as someone who can reason with the speaker. Patience is often incorporated into Christian art because it helps to gain important virtues like courage and wisdom.
  • The speaker is about to "mumble" his stupid question about whether God would be cruel enough to make impossible demands of work, but then his patience kicks in to stop him. The rest of the poem is patience's answer.
  • First, patience indicates that God does notneedanything. God is complete and perfect. He doesn't need any work or talent ("gifts").

line 11

Take your yoke light, they serve you best. 🇧🇷

  • Patience now marks the second point in the speaker's refutation. Patience argues that the best servants of God are those who allow their fate to be bound and controlled by God as if they were under the yoke.
  • In essence, this means accepting things as they come, especially suffering and adversity.
  • A "yoke" is a wooden frame that is placed around the necks of cattle, such as oxen, so that they can be led.
  • God doesn't want patience to sound like a slave driver, so God's yoke is called "easy" or not so bad. What matters is not how much you have to show for your time on earth, but how you handle your submission to God.

Lines 11-14

[…] Your status
are actual miles at your bid speed
And he posts tirelessly over land and sea:
They also serve those who simply stand and wait."

(Video) On his Blindness || Poem by John Milton | Explanation

  • The final point of patience is that God is like a king, not a lord, so the "parable of the talents" doesn't exactly apply.
  • Lords need everyone on their estates to work for them; They often don't have the resources to dedicate to keeping minions waiting for them. Kings, on the other hand, have unlimited resources, especially when they control a "state" the size of the entire earth.
  • With His royal status, God has many servants who will fulfill His “commandment” by running from place to place, that is, doing things that require light and vision. It doesn't matter if someone else takes the role or not.
  • But kings also have people "waiting" for them, waiting until their action is called for.
  • In summary, we believe that the phrase "His state is real" should be contrasted with the Master's "glorious" state from the biblical parable in Matthew 25.
  • Of course, when it comes to Milton, "waiting" can also mean waiting for something to happen, as in "I'm waiting for the bus".
  • What would the speaker be waiting for? The second coming of Jesus? The end of the story? We don't know because the poem vaguely hints at this meaning.
  • The word "post" here simply means "fast travel". For this reason, mail is often referred to as "mail" because it must travel fast to be delivered.
  • The poem ends with a justification for the speaker's passivity imposed by his blindness.

Those ones:http://www.shmoop.com/consider-light-spent-blindness/

Published in:poems,study notes🇧🇷 Marked:literature,Comments,study guide,Vishwanath Biss


What is the answer given in the poem On His Blindness? ›

Answer: The lesson 'On His Blindness' the poet teaches us that we must bear with our misfortunes and sorrows without complaining about them or losing faith in God and His justice. We must understand that whatever condition we are in. it is according to God's will.

What is the reply given by his own patient self On His Blindness? ›

He says that he desired to serve his Maker but because of this blindness he cannot do so.

How does Milton regret the loss of his light? ›

Solution : Milton had become completely blind in the middle of his life. God had given him one precious talent, the talent of writing poetry. But this talent is now lying useless with him.

What moral do you draw from the poem On His Blindness? ›

The sonnet "On His Blindness" teaches us a moral lesson. It teaches about the mighty weapon of success. That is patience. The human life is full of ups and downs.

What is the poem the answer about? ›

The poem, 'Answer' by Carol Ann Duffy gives an answer to an implied, rather enigmatic question: “Will I always love you?”; “Will you marry me?”; “Would I still love you if …?” And to give an answer to these questions; the poet makes use of the traditional idea of the four elements; earth, water, fire, and air, with ...

What lesson do you learn from the poem? ›

Although we commit mistakes and face failures there is always a hope for a next chance in our lives. We must have a strong desire to try and make our life and our world better.

Why is the poet unhappy with God in On His Blindness? ›

This sonnet is marked by a brooding sense of despondency arising out of his blindness. He feels sad that he will not be able to serve the God with his talent of writing poetry. In this poem Milton is very unhappy and feels sad because he became completely blind when he was in his forty-fourth year.

Why does the poet feel guilty in the poem On His Blindness? ›

Analysis of John Milton's On His Blindness

Milton feels guilty that, due to the loss of his eye sight, he is not able to write poems in praise of God. He thinks that on the Day of Judgement, God might perhaps chide him for wasting the “Talents” given to him.

Why is patience personified in On His Blindness? ›

Patience is often personified in Christian art because of its role in helping one to achieve important virtues like courage and wisdom. The speaker is about to "murmur" his foolish question about whether God would be so cruel as to make impossible demands of work, but then his patience steps in to stop him.

Does Milton blame Eve for the fall? ›

In the 17th Century, John Milton rewrites the story of creation in epic form to flesh out the characters and actions leading to the Fall. In both the Bible and in Paradise Lost, Eve is to blame from humankind's exile for the Garden of Eden and for giving into Satan's temptation.

What does the last line mean On His Blindness? ›

In these lines, the poet says that God has given him the talent of poetic composition, and if he cannot produce something worthwhile using that talent, he deserves to die. However, his talent has been rendered useless by losing his eyesight. Even so, he wishes to serve God by using his talent.

How does Milton justify God? ›

In the opening of Paradise Lost, Milton invokes his Muse, the Holy Spirit, to grant him “Eternal Providence” that he may achieve his goal for the epic: to “justify the ways of God to men” (PL I. 25- 26). Milton believed in a God that was infinite, eternal, omnipresent, omnipotent, and omniscient (Fallon 33).

What is the main theme of the poem answers? ›

Theme is the lesson about life or statement about human nature that the poem expresses. To determine theme, start by figuring out the main idea. Then keep looking around the poem for details such as the structure, sounds, word choice, and any poetic devices.

What is the message of blindness? ›

Saramago uses blindness as a metaphor for both personal misfortune and social catastrophe. The story begins when the first blind man loses his vision in his car while waiting for a traffic light to change. The man who helps him get safely home goes back and steals his car.

What is the moral or message of the poem? ›

A moral is the meaning or message conveyed through a story. The moral is the meaning that the author wants the reader to walk away with. They can be found in every type of literature, from poetry to fiction and non-fiction prose. Usually, the moral is not stated clearly.

What is the poet trying to teach us answer? ›

The poet is trying to teach us that we should do only one thing at a time if we do not do so then none of our work will be Done properly..

What is the general meaning of the poem? ›

The general meaning is a kind of summary of what the author expresses in the poem. Thus, it is based on a reading of the whole poem. It should be expressed simply in one, or at the most two sentences.

What does I refer to in the poem answer? ›

"I" is referred to the rain in the poem.

What is the message of the story or the lesson you learn? ›

A theme is the message, or lesson, that the reader learns by reading the story. Sometimes a story has a particular kind of message, known as a moral. A moral is a type of message that teaches a reader a life lesson, such as what is right or wrong, how to make decisions, or how to treat other people.

What is the most important thing that the poem has Learnt? ›

Answer: The most important thing that the poet has learnt is that children should be kept away from the television set or not to install the television set at all.

What lesson do you learn from this story? ›

A story's message, or theme, is what the author wants to teach you through his or her writing. Some stories have a specific kind of message called a moral, or a life lesson. You can find the message of a story by looking at the characters' actions and focusing on what is repeated throughout the story.

Why does the poet fell sorry? ›

Answer: The poet is feeling sorry because he could not travel both the roads.

What does the poet suffer from? ›

Ans: The poet is pained at the ageing and decaying of her mother.

Why did the poet suffer from a doubt? ›

(b) The poet doubts his coming back because one path would lead to another path.

What does the narrator regret answer? ›

(d) What does the narrator regret? Answer: The narrator regrets the fact that he cannot travel on both the paths. He also regrets the fact that he cannot come back to the start once he makes a choice.

Which question troubles the poets mind in On His Blindness? ›

At first, he is not sure whether God has acted justly in making him blind at the crucial moment of his life. Milton is not proud of his poetic talent as he knows that he is obliged to God for his oft. But the problem is how he will use that gift when he has lost his gift. He is indeed deeply troubled.

What does light represent in On His Blindness? ›

Ere half my days in this dark world and wide, The poem begins with the speaker's consideration of how he has spent the years of his life, represented as his “light.” This light and being a metaphor for life are also a literal representation of Milton's life days in which he could see.

What does yoke mean in On His Blindness? ›

“Who best / bear his mild yoke” means the people who are most obedient to God's will (which is mild, not difficult). These people are the ones who serve God best. The image of the yoke is also Biblical; a yoke was a kind of harness put on oxen but in Matthew 11:29-30 it is an image for God's will.

What does light denied mean? ›

“Light denied” in this context means blindness. Notice that there is an undercurrent of blame in this metaphor. “Denied” suggests that someone took his sight. This reveals both the speaker's anger over losing his sight and his inability to express this anger at God.

Why is death personified throughout the poem? ›

Dickinson uses personification to convey how death is like a person in her poem “Because I could Not Stop for Death.” This is shown when she conveys how death waits for her.

Why did Milton lose his sight? ›

Milton's vision had been declining over the years, but in 1652, he went completely blind. The exact cause is unknown, though he claimed it was because 'I never extinguished my lamp before midnight' in his youth. The most likely cause was glaucoma.

Did Milton lose his sight? ›

John Milton (1608–1674) has often been regarded as the greatest poet of his time, yet he did not compose his most famous work, Paradise Lost, until after he had become blind in both eyes.

What is Eve's tragic flaw? ›

As Aristotle states, the tragic hero's misfortunes must be a result of an error of judgment rather than a flaw in character, and Eve, though ambitious, remains a perfect being before the Fall. Her mistake occurs when she considers Satan's argument, finally giving in to her ambitious desire to become like a god.

What is the message given in the last two lines of the poem? ›

The last two lines of the poem mean the acceptance of reality. The poet made a choice and accepted the challenging path. He took and unexplored path in his life. He wanted to do something different in his life so he chooses the less travelled road.

What does the last two lines of the poem? ›

The last two lines of the poem mean that the poet accepts reality. The poet made a choice and took the challenging path. He wanted do something different in his life so he choose the less travelled road.

What do you think the last two lines of the poem mean looking back do? ›

The last two lines have the quintessence of the poem. The poet expresses his opinion that it becomes difficult for a normal human being to change his/her decision. The poet intends to walk on the first road but he couldn't do so because life does not offer multiple chances to choose.

Why does Milton invoke the Holy Spirit? ›

Then he invokes the Holy Spirit, asking it to fill him with knowledge of the beginning of the world, because the Holy Spirit was the active force in creating the universe.

Does Milton believe in God? ›

Milton's God is Trinitarian – Father, Son and Holy Spirit, three Persons in one God – and so his conversation expresses relationship within and between himself. God the Father takes upon him the facet of justice, God the Son that of mercy.

What did Milton say about truth? ›

To censor truth is to all but compel it to mingle itself with error, to hide itself even further from our view. Rather than try to suppress it, we must allow it to follow its own winding course; then only will we be able to seek it out in all its forms.

What is the central message or theme of the poem? ›

The central theme of a poem represents its controlling idea. This idea is crafted and developed throughout the poem and can be identified by assessing the poem's rhythm, setting, tone, mood, diction and, occasionally, title.

What is the story blindness about? ›

An ophthalmologist tries to diagnose his distinctive white blindness, but is affected before he can read the textbooks. It becomes a contagion, spreading throughout the city. Trying to stem the epidemic, the authorities herd the afflicted into a mental asylum where the wards are terrorised by blind thugs.

How is blindness a metaphor? ›

Blindness is also used as an analogy to moral deficiency. The doctor's wife, who uses her sight to kill one of the hoodlums lamented, "Perhaps I'm the blindest of all, I've already killed and I'll kill again if I have to" (p. 172). And blindness was understood to be caused by fear.

What does the story of the blind man teach us? ›

The story of blind Bartimaeus is a testimony of one man's determination to be healed. He refused to be silenced when others tried to shush him as he cried out to Jesus. As Jesus walked through Jericho, Bartimaeus, son of Timaeus heard that Jesus of Nazareth was passing by.

What is the poet of the poem answer? ›

Answer: poet is a person who creates poetry. Poets may describe themselves as such or be described as such by others. A poet may simply be a writer of poetry, or may perform their art to an audience.

What is the reply given by patience to the poet? ›

Expert-Verified Answer

He patiently explains to himself that since God is a king, he does not need human labour or gifts.

What is the name of the poet answer? ›

Solution : The name of the poem is 'The Laburnum Top' and the poet is Ted Hughes.
Name the poem and the poet.
QuestionName the poem and the poet.
Students Watched9.9 K +
Students Liked300 +
5 more rows

What is the message of the poem all but blind? ›

It is about the inner blindness of human beings. This simple poem describes three animals and their apparent blindness. Firstly, the poet talks about the mole that gropes for worms in its “chambered hole.” Secondly, there is the bat which twirls softly by, in the evening sky.

What do the last four lines of the poem means to you? ›

The last four lines convey the message that those who are not determined and lack confidence face defeat. And those who set their targets and make sincere efforts are not disturbed by any obstacle.

What is a theme of a poem? ›

The theme of a poem is the message an author wants to communicate through the piece. The theme differs from the main idea because the main idea describes what the text is mostly about.

Why does the poet feel sorry answer? ›

Answer: The poet is feeling sorry because he could not travel both the roads.

What promise did the poet have to make answer? ›

Q: What was the promise the poet had to make? Ans: The poet had to make the promise that whenever an oak-tree is felled, he must promise to plant two oak-trees. Q: By whom did the poet find himself surrounded?

What two meanings does talent have in On His Blindness? ›

When Milton says that talent is "death to hide," he is referring to the money in the Biblical story and also to his own "talent," in the sense of a skill or trade.

Why did the poet like the snake? ›

Answer: The poet sees the snake as a beautiful creation of Nature. Moreover, it is a green garden snake and not a harmful one. He wishes that it should not be assaulted with the stick. It should be allowed to go under the water into the reeds to hide without being hurt.

Who is the speaker in this poem answer? ›

The poet is the speaker of the poem.

Who is the speaker of the poem meaning? ›

The speaker of a poem is the voice of the poem, similar to a narrator in fiction. The poet might not necessarily be the speaker of the poem. Sometimes the poet will write from a different perspective, or use the voice of a specific person, as in a persona poem.

What is the message moral of the poem? ›

A moral is the meaning or message conveyed through a story. The moral is the meaning that the author wants the reader to walk away with. They can be found in every type of literature, from poetry to fiction and non-fiction prose. Usually, the moral is not stated clearly.

What is the purpose of the poem *? ›

The Purpose of Poetry: Connection

Form and content cannot be separated in a poem. A poem means exactly what it says in the form it is written. It can be shorthand to talk about the form and the content of a piece of writing, but in reality form and content cannot be separated; form is content and content is form.


1. On His Blindness by John Milton, English Literature, Poetry, Poem, English Lesson for Hon.1st Year
(Cloud School Pro)
2. On His Blindness by Jhon Milton in tamil
(Educationist Tamil)
3. When I Consider How My Light is Spent by John Milton (Sonnet 19) ANALYSIS ✒️
(Caitlin Jessica)
4. On his Blindness |John Milton | Taher Mansour
(Taher Mansour)
5. On His Blindness: Poem By John Milton in Hindi summary, Explanation and full analysis line by line
(Study Lovers)
6. English Poems for competitive exams - On His Blindness by John Milton- Explanation in Hindi
(StudyIQ IAS)
Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Francesca Jacobs Ret

Last Updated: 03/16/2023

Views: 5612

Rating: 4.8 / 5 (48 voted)

Reviews: 87% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Francesca Jacobs Ret

Birthday: 1996-12-09

Address: Apt. 141 1406 Mitch Summit, New Teganshire, UT 82655-0699

Phone: +2296092334654

Job: Technology Architect

Hobby: Snowboarding, Scouting, Foreign language learning, Dowsing, Baton twirling, Sculpting, Cabaret

Introduction: My name is Francesca Jacobs Ret, I am a innocent, super, beautiful, charming, lucky, gentle, clever person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.