- Writer: John Milton (1608-1674)
- About the Author: The English Puritan poet, Milton was named secretary for foreign tongues to the Council of State in March 1649. His government career, primarily in foreign policy, has been recorded via official correspondence, the Letters of State, which were first published in 1694. He is most famous for his epic poetry such as ‘Paradise Lost’.
- Full Title: “When I Consider How My Light is Spent” (Also known as “On His Blindness”)
- Written Date: 1650s
- Publication Date: 1673.
- Tone: Doubt and frustration.
- Genre: Petrarchan sonnet that follows the rhyme scheme ABBAABBA CDECDE.
- Total Words/ Lines: 84 words and 14 lines.
- Setting: The poem does not take any physical place as its setting. Rather, it is set entirely within the poet’s mind. He expresses his doubts to himself and also finds consolation within himself.
Background: On His Blindness is an autobiographical sonnet in which he conveys his sentiments about being blind. The poet initially believes that he will be unable to serve God because his sight has been taken away. As the poem progresses, he comes to feel that God wants him to continue working, despite the fact that his employment has led him to lose his sight. Finally, he is certain that he is serving God like the angels, who simply wait for God’s orders. Milton’s steadfast faith in God is shown in the poem’s numerous Biblical associations.
Metaphor: By using the word ‘light’, the poet metaphorically represents both his eyesight and his creative abilities. The loss of physical sight is paralleled with the idea of losing the ability to serve God through his talents.
Alliteration: It means the repetition of consonant sounds at the beginning of words in certain lines, such as “one Talent,” “best,” and “Stand,” which adds a musical quality to the verse.
Personification: The concept of “Patience” is personified in the poem as a character or force,
Rhetorical Question: The poem includes several rhetorical questions, such as “Doth God exact day-labor, light denied?”
Symbolism: The “Talent” mentioned in the poem is a symbolic representation of the gifts and abilities that the poet possesses.
Irony: The poem is ironic in that the speaker initially sees his blindness as a barrier to serving God, but at the end of the poem, he realizes that God does not require continual action and that prolonged suffering is also a form of service.
Imagery: Imagery is used to make readers perceive things involving their five senses. The poet has used imagery in this poem such as “To serve therewith my Maker, and present”, “Bear his mild yoke, they serve him best” and “They also serve who only stand and wait.”
Loss and Adversity: The poem mainly deals with the theme of Milton’s personal loss of eyesight.
Faith and Patience: Despite being blind, the poet has not lost his faith in God. He thinks himself incapable of serving God, but this idea gets changed soon. Patience replies to him that God does not need anyone to pray.
Spiritual Purpose: Though the poet is blind, he still possesses faith in God and in himself. He does not consider any physical limitation a barrier to serving mankind and God.
Internal Conflict: The speaker experiences an internal conflict between his desire to serve God and his feelings of inadequacy due to his blindness.
Self-Reflection: The poem involves the speaker contemplating his situation and the choices he must make. This theme encourages introspection and the consideration of one’s values, beliefs, and priorities.
Acceptance: The poem also touches on the theme of acceptance. The speaker eventually comes to terms with his blindness and seeks to serve God according to his abilities.
Metaphorical Language: Here, the poet uses metaphorical language and imagery to convey his thoughts and emotions. The use of light and darkness as symbols for sight and blindness, as well as the imagery of talents and service, adds depth to the themes explored in the poem.
Read Also: How Do I Love Thee Bangla Summary
“When I consider how my light is spent
Ere half my days in this dark world and wide,”
John Milton becomes blind at age 42. He compares his eyesight to light and his blindness to darkness. That’s why he complains that, before passing his half of life, he had lost his eyesight.
“Doth God exact day-labour, light denied?”
I fondly ask.”
The speaker here questions whether God needs service from a man like him or not.
“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.”
Patience is personified by the poet. Patience soon replies to his question by saying that God does not need or expect any service from mankind. He loves those who follow His faith and keep faith in Him.
Is kingly; thousands at his bidding speed
And post o’er land and ocean without rest:
They also serve who only stand and wait.”
God is compared to a king. The poem concludes with the response to the speaker’s unresolved question: those who, like Milton, cannot rush across land and sea also serve God.
On his Blindness Bangla Summary
এই কবিতায় কবি তার দৃষ্টি শক্তি হারিয়ে যাওয়ার জন্য দুঃখ প্রকাশ করেছেন এবং শেষে সান্তনা অর্জন করে কবিতা শেষ করেছেন। তিনি বলেছেন তার অর্ধেক জীবন কেটেছে মানবসেবা করে আর এখন অন্ধ হয়ে যওয়ায় তার বাকিজীবন অন্ধকারাচ্ছন্ন হয়ে পড়েছে। তার একটি মাত্র গুন্ রয়েছে (লেখার) যা এখন মূল্যহীন। কেননা, দৃষ্টি শক্তি হারানোতে তিনি আর লিখতে পারছেন না. তার প্রতি অন্ধত্ব প্রদান স্রষ্টার একটি আশীর্বাদ হিসেবে নিয়েছেন তিনি। এর পর তিনি বলেছেন তিনি স্রষ্টাকে তার লেখনীর মাদ্ধমে পূজা করতে চেন কিন্তু তার শারীরিক অক্ষমতা তা করতে দেয় না. তার এই চিন্তা তাকে সর্বদা তারা করতে থাকে।
খুবদ্রুতই তার দুশ্চিন্তা দূর হয়েছে। তিনি তার প্রশ্নের জবাব পেয়ে গেছেন। তাকে বলা হয়েছে স্রষ্টার কোনো মানুষের সেবার প্রয়োজন নেই. বরং যারা স্রষ্টার বিধিবিধার ঠিকমতো মেনে চলে তারাই তার সর্বোচ্চ সেবা করে. বলা হয়েছে স্রষ্টার রাজত্ব সুবিশাল এবং সেখানে সহস্র এঞ্জেল তার প্রার্থনায় মগ্ন থাকে। শেষাংশে, আরেকপ্রকার এঞ্জেলদের দেখানো হয়েছে যার শুধু স্রষ্টার সামনে নত হয়ে থেকেই তার সেবা করে যায়. কবি নিজেকে এই দ্বিতীয় শ্রেণীর সাথে তুলনা করেছেন।