Thy glass will show thee how thy beauties wear,
Thy dial how thy precious minutes waste;
The vacant leaves thy mind’s impr'nt will bear,
And of this book this learning mayst thou taste:
The wrinkles which thy glass will truly show
Of mouthèd graves will give thee memory;
Thou by thy dial’s shady stealth mayst know
Time’s thievish progress to eternity.
Look what thy memory cannot contain,
Commit to these waste blanks, and thou shalt find
Those children nursed, delivered from thy brain,
To take a new acquaintance of thy mind.
These offices, so oft as thou wilt look,
Shall profit thee and much enrich thy book.
Your mirror will show you how your beauty is wearing away; your clock how your precious minutes are slipping away; the pages of this blank notebook will record your thoughts; and you may learn the following things from those thoughts: The wrinkles that your mirror will show you will remind you of open graves. By the hands of your clock, you’ll learn how time keeps stealing away to eternity. Write down whatever you can’t remember on these blank pages, and later, when you encounter those thoughts again, the children of your brain, they’ll have grown up, nourished by your continued reflection. They’ll be like a new acquaintance. Doing these things often—looking in the mirror and at the clock, and writing in the book—will benefit you and greatly enrich your book.