They also serve who only stand and wait

Possible interpretation: We all have a place in this world and we all perform a function, regardless of our ability or disability. The word order of this sentence may make it more difficult to understand. In normal English it would be something like: "They (those people) who only stand and wait, also serve."

Origin: Quotation from the great English poet John Milton (1608-74). After going blind, Milton wrote the poem "On His Blindness". In the sonnet's last line, he reflects that even with his disability he has a place in the world:

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-labour, 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.

serve (verb): do duties or services for other people
stand (verb): have an upright position on one's feet
wait (verb): do nothing until something happens

Quick Quiz:

"They also serve who only stand and wait" suggests that we all have a place in this world whether or not we have

a. any disabilities

b. waited a long time

c. served a long time

Saying of the Day

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Contributor: Josef Essberger