John Milton (1608–1674)
Fly, envious Time, till thou run out thy race,
Call on the lazy leaden-stepping hours,
Whose speed is but the heavy plummet's pace;
And glut thyself with what thy womb devours,
Which is no more than what is false and vain,
And merely mortal dross;
So little is our loss,
So little is thy gain.
For when as each thing bad thou hast intombed,
And last of all thy greedy self consumed,
Then long Eternity shall greet our bliss
With an individual kiss,
And Joy shall overtake us as a flood;
When every thing that is sincerely good
And perfectly divine,
With truth, and peace, and love, shall ever shine
About the supreme throne
Of Him, t' whose happy-making sight alone
When once our heav'nly-guided soul shall climb,
Then, all this earthly grossness quit,
Attired with stars, we shall for ever sit,
Triumphing over Death, and Chance, and thee, O Time.
John Milton was an English historian and poet, best known for his poem Paradise Lost (1667), perhaps the greatest epic poem in the English language. It tells the story of Satan's rebellion and the fall of Adam and Eve. Its sequel, Paradise Regained, describes how one greater than Adam, Jesus, conquered Satan. Milton was born to a wealthy family, and after studies at Cambridge he returned to his father's home to write. In 1643 he married Mary Powell, a woman half his age. She left him that same year, but returned to him in 1645. She died in 1652, the same year that Milton went completely blind. In 1656 he married Catharine Woodstock, who died two years later. He then married Elizabeth Minshull in 1663, who survived him.