Friday, April 28, 2006

A Test for the Literate: This is Just a Test.

Let’s see if you remember your English poetry. Who wrote these lines that begin an immortal poem?

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 is bent

To serve therewith my Maker, and present

My true account, lest He returning chide

“Doth God exact day-labor, light denied?

It’s my favorite. Let’s see if you recall it. First, what it its title? Second who is the author? Third—and for an enormous collection of brownie points—what is the ringing conclusion which has been inscribed in sterling silver in English literature? You’re on your honor not to cheat and look up in anthologies that catalogue first lines. O.k, go and give the answers in Comments. Good luck. I will bet that either Cal Skinner or Michael Miner come in early—maybe tied.


  1. I know only one of the answers for sure. The poet is John Milton. It's a sonnet, so I'd say the title is Sonnet (some number in Roman numerals).

  2. Ok, I didn't want to hog all the answers, but the last line is "They also serve who only stand and wait".

  3. Tom, I'm not that well read and had to look it up.

    Please consider spending a moment plugging the poem, its "ringing conclusion," and your site on Sunday night.