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-labor, 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 XIX—John Milton
the choice lay before me between dereliction of a supreme duty and loss of eyesight; in such a case I could not listen to the physician, not if Æsculapius himself had spoken from his sanctuary; I could not but obey that inward monitor, I know not what, that spake to me from heaven. I considered with myself that many had purchased less good with worse ill, as they who give their lives to reap only glory, and I thereupon concluded to employ the little remaining eyesight I was to enjoy in doing this, the greatest service to the common weal it was in my power to render.
Cyriack, this three years' day these eyes, though clear
To outward view of blemish or of spot,
Bereft of light their seeing have forgot;
Nor to their idle orbs doth sight appear
Of sun or moon or star throughout the year,
Or man or woman. Yet I argue not
Against Heav'n's hand or will, nor bate a jot
Of heart or hope, but still bear up and steer
Right onward. What supports me, dost thou ask?
The conscience, friend, to have lost them overplied
In liberty's defense, my noble task,
Of which all Europe talks from side to side.
This thought might lead me through the world's vain masque,
Content though blind, had I no better guide.
Thee I revisit safe,
And feel thy sovran vital lamp; but thou
Revisit'st not these eyes, that roll in vain
To find thy piercing ray, and find no dawn;
So thick a drop serene hath quenched their orbs,
Or dim suffusion veiled.
It is ten years, I think, more or less, since I noticed my sight becoming weak and growing dim, and at the same time my spleen and all my viscera burdened and shaken with flatulence. And even in the morning, if I began as usual to read, I noticed that my eyes felt immediate pain deep within and turned from reading, though later refreshed after moderate bodily exercise; as often as I looked at a lamp, a sort of rainbow seemed to obscure it. Soon a mist appearing in the left part of the left eye (for that eye became clouded several years before the other) removed from my sight everything on that side. Objects further forward too seemed smaller, if I chanced to close my right eye. The other eye also failing slowly and gradually over a period of almost three years, some months before my sight was completely destroyed, everything which I distinguished when I myself was still seemed to swim, now to the right, now to the left. Certain permanent vapours seem to have settled upon my entire forehead and temples, which press and oppress my eyes with a sort of sleepy heavyness, especially from dinner time to evening…. But I must not omit that, while considerable sight still remained, when I would first go to bed and lie on one side or the other, abundant light would dart from my closed eyes; then, as sight daily diminished, colours proportionately darker would burst forth with violence and a sort of crash from within. But now, pure black, marked as if with extinguished or ashy light, and as if interwoven with it, pours forth. Yet the mist which always hovers before my eyes both night and day seems always to be approaching white rather than black; and upon the eyes turning, it admits a minute quantity of light as if through a crack.
part and parcel of a theory…that Milton was a physical and moral degenerate, and that all his life and work was only a striving after power, that he was a potential criminal and kept out of criminal activities by his cowardice, and so on and so forth…. Mutschmann has…reared a colossal superstructure of albinism—and as if it were a natural corollary—of physical and moral degeneracy….there is no disproving Mutschmann's evidence as to Milton's albinism, for there is no evidence to consider.
Such a belief certainly lacks nothing in boldness…. In a world where everything is possible, this of course cannot be ruled out, though most oculists expect a different type of clinical picture for congenital syphilis….A rather less painfully laboured case could be made out for acquired syphilis—less painfully laboured but no less obviously impossible.
(1) a dimness of the visual field coming on first on the left side and then at the top; the sensation of steam before the eyes, showing the well-known picture of the narrowing of the visual field from above (or from the top). (2) The deformed character and mobility of the objects. (3) The subjective sensations of light, which persist even after the loss of sight.His assessment was as follows: “These symptoms lead undoubtedly to the conclusion of a detached retina…” Dr. Wood
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