Time is of the Essence: Milton and His Convictions on Time
Milton often used the concept of time when speaking about his life through poetry. Two works where this is particularly evident is in “Sonnet 7” and “Lycidas.” In both of these poems, John Milton displays the idea that an individual’s lives are spent getting ready for a greater purpose. While one may question his or her own particular position in life, ultimately, a person must always be prepared to surrender to God’s plan.
In both Sonnet 7 and in Lycidas, John Milton instructs his readers on how one should live religiously throughout the course of his or her life. In these two poems, Milton examines the importance of maintaining virtue throughout life in order to perform God’s will. According to Milton, time is something of which humans have no control; God maintains control on the amount of time a person has on Earth. Therefore, it is necessary for a person to be willing to fulfill the will of God at every stage in life.
John Milton was raised to believe in the Lord as the Supreme Being in the Universe. As the Lord Supreme, God can grant salvation on the grounds of faith alone. His Puritan background preaches that people are saved by the “grace of God” as opposed to their “works,” which the Roman Catholic Church believes is necessary to enter the Kingdom of Heaven. God knows the salvation of every soul, and, as a result, knows the precise time of every event that happens in an individual’s life. God has a plan for everyone’s life, and fate will eventually lead one to his or her purpose. Whether or not one chooses to follow the particular path that God has ordained is up to that individual. A person must realize when the time is right to act on the path that God has chosen.
John Milton’s speaker in “Sonnet 7” begins by wondering whether his time, up to that point, has been wasted. This poem has Milton “contemplating the end of an apparently unpromising youth” (Kerrigan 137). He...