The Blind Milton Dictating Paradise Lost to His
Daughters (1877) by Mihály Munkácsy.
The painting is in the New York Public Library.
No decent daughter was supposed to mind
Such daily service. How could she refuse
To write down all the lines her father’s muse
Had given him the night before? Inclined
Above a manuscript, she seems resigned
To duty as grand poetry ensues.
Her older sisters later would accuse
The man of tyranny, yet they were blind
In their own ways. Was any female then
The equal of a male? One sister stands
A little nervously, the other wields
Some sort of needle rather than a pen,
But it is head-bowed Milton who commands
Attention and whose focus never yields.
If you have any thoughts on this poem, Jane Blanchard
would be pleased to hear them.