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John Milton (1608–1674)

Faith and Love

When Faith and Love which parted from thee never,
Had ripened thy just soul to dwell with God,
Meekly thou didst resign this earthly load
Of death, called life, which us from life doth sever.
Thy works and alms and all thy good endeavor
Stayed not behind, nor in the grave were trod;
But as Faith pointed with her golden rod,
Followed thee up to joy and bliss forever.

Love led them on, and Faith who knew them best
Thy handmaids, clad them o'er with purple beams
And azure wings, that up they flew so dressed,
And spake the truth of thee on glorious themes
Before the Judge, who thenceforth bid thee rest
And drink thy fill of pure immortal streams.

The Puritan poet John Milton is the author of great English epic of the Creation and Fall, Paradise Lost, a poem which he largely composed after losing his eyesight. The above sonnet was written in memory of a deceased Christian friend of his, Catharine Thomason, who had died in December of 1646, amidst the English civil war. Milton was a prolific religious writer; a posthumous work of systematic theology entitled On Christian Doctrine was discovered after his death.

Michael Fitzpatrick

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