Monday, January 26, 2009

On His Blindness

The Authoress is going to write a book "on demand", to fit in with a series of other books her publisher is coordinating. The main character of this book is an RAF pilot who will, over the course of the story, lose his sight and become completely blind. On hearing the idea, I mentioned with some excitement that the Authoress could work into the story a reference to one of her favourite poems, John Milton's "On Blindness". I realised that I had not read it in a very long time, and did so.

It took awhile for this Bear of Very Little Brain to work out quite what Milton meant. But I think I have it. What do you think Milton intends as he reflects on his own blindness? And what is your favourite line? In the hubbub of our modern lives, the Authoress selects "they also serve who stand and wait."

John Milton. 1608–1674

318. On His Blindness

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 5
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 10
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.