John Milton’s Biography And a Note on His Blindness

This article provides a brief note about John Milton’s life- A small biography of John Milton and especially focuses on ‘His Blindness’, thereby linking to his greatest person lament (The sonnet ‘On His Blindness’). His life is a real inspiration for people of religious beliefs and for those who completely surrender to the will of God.

Milton wrote eighteen sonnets in English and five in Italian. These were his poetic achievements during his middle part of his career, that time he was more devoted to political hullabaloo and to writing his prose pamphlets. At that period of time he was active in politics, but was also losing his eye-sight rapidly and finally became totally blind. He put forth his heart and soul into these lines:

“In his hand
The thing became a trumpet, whence he blew
Soul-animating strains, alas! Too few.”

Milton’s Eye Sight and His Later Life:

Milton’s eye sight was weak from his early youth. In a prose pamphlet, he describes, “I never extinguished my lamp before midnight” and points his ultimate blindness to the strain put upon his eyes. In the verses of Wood who knew Milton very well: “It was unusual with him to sit up till midnight at his books, which was the first thing that brought his eyes into the danger of blindness.” As he returned from Italy in 1639, he was troubled with his eye-sight. By 1642 things became more strenuous with his eye-sight.
In 1649, he was made the Latin secretary to the Council of Cromwell’s Government. During that period of time he went on pouring forth pamphlet after pamphlet, against the warning of the doctors about his eye-sight. In the late months of 1649, Salmasius, who was a Leyden Professor, published a book ‘Defensio Regi’ in hold of monarchy against the Commonwealth. It was Milton who was called to write a suitable answer to that and ‘Defensio Populo Anglicano’ appeared. By that time his left eye was blind and at the age of 43, he was totally blind.
Milton regretted having lost his eye-sight before reaching his middle age in his own sonnet ‘On his Blindness’

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