But you are not limiting yourself to sonnets, as is on the weekend. True. But there are good sonnets, and this one of the widower dreaming of his dead wife is good.

Milton had a precocious talent. His early work is clever, witty, and brilliant. But it is in his smaller, older works that I find more beauty. Perhaps it is age: perhaps it is a painful empathy with loss.

Photo by Nathan Peterson / Unsplash

Sonnet 23

Methought I saw my late espoused saint
Brought to me, like Alcestis, from the grave,
Whom Jove's great son to her glad husband gave,
Rescu'd from death by force, though pale and faint.
Mine, as whom wash'd from spot of child-bed taint
Purification in the old Law did save,
And such as yet once more I trust to have
Full sight of her in Heaven without restraint,
Came vested all in white, pure as her mind;
Her face was veil'd, yet to my fancied sight
Love, sweetness, goodness, in her person shin'd
So clear as in no face with more delight.
But Oh! as to embrace me she inclin'd,
I wak'd, she fled, and day brought back my night.

John Milton