Shakespeare's Sonnets Translation Sonnet 77
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 wears away,
Your clock how your precious minutes are wasted;
Blank sheets will bear your mind's imprint,
And from this book you may taste learning.
The wrinkles which your mirror shows
Will remind you of graves gaping open;
From your watch's slow-moving shadow you may know
How time is stealing everything from eternity.
Look, whatever your memory cannot contain,
Write on these empty sheets, and you will find
These children of your brain nurtured here,
To take on a new appearance of your mind.
These duties, as often as you like,
Will benefit you and enrich your book a lot.