John Milton


John Milton’s chief polemical prose was written in the decades of the 1640s and 1650s, during the strife between the Church of England and various reformist groups such as the Puritans and between the monarch and Parliament. These works advocate a freedom of conscience and a high degree of civil liberty for humankind against the various forms of tyranny and oppression, both religious and governmental. In line with his libertarian outlook, Milton wrote Areopagitica (1644), often cited as one of the most compelling arguments on the freedom of the press.  Up to the Restoration, Milton continued to write in defense of the Protectorate government despite going blind by 1652. After Charles II was crowned, Milton was dismissed from governmental service, apprehended, and imprisoned. Payment of fines and the intercession of friends and family, including Andrew Marvell, Sir William Davenant, and perhaps Christopher Milton, his younger brother and a Royalist lawyer, brought about Milton’s release. In the troubled period at and after the Restoration he was forced to depart his home which he had occupied for eight years in Petty-France, Westminster. He took up residence elsewhere, including the house of a friend in Bartholomew Close; eventually, he settled in a home at Artillery Walk toward Bunhill Fields. On or about 8 November 1674, when he was almost sixty-six years old, Milton died of complications from gout. Source

Sonnet 19: When I consider how my light is spent

When I consider how my light is spent,

   Ere half my days, in this dark world and wide,

   And that one Talent which is death to hide

   Lodged with me useless, though my Soul more bent

To serve therewith my Maker, and present

   My true account, lest he returning chide;

   “Doth God exact day-labour, light denied?”

   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

   Bear his mild yoke, they serve him best. His state

Is Kingly. Thousands at his bidding speed

   And post o’er Land and Ocean without rest:

   They also serve who only stand and wait.”





Literary Movements:

English Renaissance

Anthology Years:




Doubt & Fear

Faith & Hope

Health & Illness

Strength & Resilience

Literary Devices:


conversation between two or more people as a feature of a book, play, or movie

End Rhyme

when a poem has lines ending with words that sound the same

Iambic Pentameter

a line of verse composed of five iambs– an unstressed syllable followed by a stressed syllable (u / u / u / u / u /) commonly used in the Renaissance period


A poem with fourteen lines that traditionally uses a fixed rhyme scheme and meter.