· Blindness = cecità
· Ere = before
Quando considero come la mia luce si spegne,
prima della metà dei miei giorni, in questo mondo scuro e vasto,
e che quell’unico dono che è la morte da nascondere
ospitata in me inutile, penso alla mia anima più incline
a servire con ciò il mio creatore, e presento
il vero conto, per timore che lui, tornando, mi rimproveri.
“Esige Dio un lavoro quotidiano, anche da chi non ha più la vista?”
chiedo ingenuamente; ma la Pazienza, per prevenire
quel mormorio, presto risponde: “Dio non ha bisogno
né del lavoro dell’uomo né dei suoi particolari doni; coloro
che portano meglio il suo docile giogo, lo servono meglio; la sua
condizione è regale – migliaia (di angeli) ai suoi ordini corrono
per terra e per mare senza sosta:
servono Dio anche coloro che semplicemente stanno in piedi e aspettano.
· “spent” stands for “gone/finished forever”
· “talent” refers to Milton’s talent as a poet and writer. “Talent” also recalls the parable of the talents in Matthew’s gospel. This parable tells Christians that at the end of their life they will be required to give an account to God of how they used their gifts in serving him in this world.
Milton is afraid that he will be reproached by God if he doesn’t use his talent as a poet even though he is now blind.
· “useless”: Milton is blind so he can no long use his talent
· “account”: at the end of their lives Christians will be required to give an account of how they used their gifts
· “day-labour” echoes another parable, the one of the labourers in the vineyard of God. All the labourers, in this parable, receive the same wage at the end of the day no matter when they started to work.
The word “labour” obviously refers to work in the service of God because of this referents to the parable in the gospel
· “light” stands for “sight”
· “fondly” means “foolishly”
· “who best bear his mild yoke” refers to “those who follow God’s Commandments”. So the best way to serve God is to follow his Commandments.
· “thousands” (of angels): the idea is that God has thousands of angels who are ready to serve him, some act as messengers (they run all over the world to carry out his orders), others just stand by him and adore him.
This is a Petrarchan sonnet: it is composed of two quatrains and two tercets. “But” is the turning point / volta. In a Petrarchan sonnet it occurs at the beginning of line 9; here it occurs in the middle of line 8: the volta is anticipated here because it acts out the way in which Patience intervenes to stop the poet’s complaints. The turning point reflects the quickness with which Patience answers the question of the poet.
The poem begins with a secondary clause, while the main clause only appear in line 8. The overall syntax is “When I consider how my light is spent, I fondly ask”, in other words “When I think how blind I am, I foolishly ask”.
The poem begins with a secondary clause introduced by “when” and followed by a number of secondary clauses and it is not until the beginning of line 8 that we find the main clause: it is called suspended syntax.
There are latinate words such as “spent” that means “spento”, “talent”, “labour”. “Dark” and “wide” should be before the noun.
In this sonnet Milton uses many devices that he uses in Paradise Lost (for example Patience is personified). The sonnet is actually composed of a question and an answer: the octave is Milton’s question, while the sestet is the Patience’s answer which begins half way through line 6 and reflects the haste with which Patience stops the poet’s complaint with her answer.