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Milton, John

A seventeenth-century English poet. His greatest work is the epic Paradise Lost, which he dictated after he went blind. With Geoffrey Chaucer and William Shakespeare, Milton is considered one of the greatest of all English poets. A famous phrase from Milton's works is his statement of purpose in Paradise Lost: “to justify the ways of God to men.” Also well known is the last line of his poem “On His Blindness”: “They also serve who only stand and wait.”

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The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.