On his blindness

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The primary theme of the sonnet is the blindness of the poet. He became blind in the third period of his production. In the first line there is a metaphor, LIGHT, that stands for SIGHT and for LIFE.
Spent has two different meaning:
- used up (consumata);
- for consonance with Italian is SPENTA.
The second line remembers the first line of Dante’s Divina Commedia. Here there is a sound device: the alliteration of “D” and “W”.
With the phrase “DARK WORLD” the poet expresses the world in which he lives that is full of sins. The contrast between LIGHT and DARK underline the inferiority of the poet because of he can’t see.
The word TALENT, in the third line has two different meaning:
- For consonance with Italian (talento) it means ABILITY, GIFT;
- Literary it means COIN, connected with puritan theory and importance of work.
By analyzing this line (3), the poet want to express an important concept, that is everyone receives gift that must be exploited. By referring to the parable of three servants, the poet identify himself in the third one because God asks him why he isn’t exploited the poetic talent he has received.
The poet answers that even though he is sure to serve God, he doesn’t exploit his talent at best because he can’t see.
TALENT is a specific word connected with trade together with ACCOUNT and DAY-LABOUR (this is also a metaphor for WORK). He uses these words to suggest a transaction between God and man. ACCOUNT in this context means the total value of Milton’s life and work.
Then the poet asks the Patience (there is a personification) if God measures actual work done by people with a disability.
YOKE is a device worn by some animals by which their master can direct them, so it stands for BONDAGE. In this case this word symbolizes the complex relationship between God and Man; in fact for the puritans God is seen as a master of men whose purpose in life is to serve him. If people don’t oppose God’s directions but follows them, their yoke becomes mild and they serve him best, and so got the salvation.
The sonnet is divided into:
- an octave, which theme is the blindness and at the same time there is a sort of complain;
- a sestet which theme is the resignation.


Quando considero come la mia vista si sia spenta,
Prima della metà dei miei giorni, su questo mondo oscuro e ampio,
E quel talento che è morte nascondere
Alloggiato in me senza utilità, nonostante la mia anima sia incline.

Per servire il creatore con esso, e presentare il
Mio vero conto,per timore che egli, tornando, mi rimproveri,
“Dio esige la vita di ogni giorno, dopo che ho perso la vista?”
Chiedo stoltamente, ma la Pazienza, per prevenire

Quella lamentela, subito replica:”Dio non ha bisogno
Né del lavoro degli uomini né dei loro regali, coloro che meglio
Sopportano il delicato giogo lo servono al meglio, la sua condizione

È regale – migliaia di angeli al suo ordine veloci
Attraversano la terra e l’oceano senza sosta:
Lo servono solo coloro che rimangono e aspettano”