waiting faithfully

I’ve been re-reading the works of John Milton (1608-74) lately, and was struck yet again by what is probably my favorite sonnet of his–the last line of which is particularly poignant. Here it is:

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.


–Sonnet XVI

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