Ha, ha! keep time: how sour sweet music is,
When time is broke and no proportion kept!
So is it in the music of men’s lives.
45And here have I the daintiness of ear
To cheque time broke in a disorder’d string;
But for the concord of my state and time
Had not an ear to hear my true time broke.
I wasted time, and now doth time waste me;
50For now hath time made me his numbering clock:
My thoughts are minutes; and with sighs they jar
Their watches on unto mine eyes, the outward watch,
Whereto my finger, like a dial’s point,
Is pointing still, in cleansing them from tears.
55Now sir, the sound that tells what hour it is
Are clamorous groans, which strike upon my heart,
Which is the bell: so sighs and tears and groans
Show minutes, times, and hours: but my time
Runs posting on in Bolingbroke’s proud joy,
60While I stand fooling here, his Jack o’ the clock.
This music mads me; let it sound no more;
For though it have holp madmen to their wits,
In me it seems it will make wise men mad.
Yet blessing on his heart that gives it me!
65For ’tis a sign of love; and love to Richard
Is a strange brooch in this all-hating world.
Ha! Keep time. How awful music is when they don’t keep time and the notes’ proportions are ruined. It’s the same thing in men’s lives. And here I can chastise the poor time kept on an out-of-tune instrument, when in the harmony of my government and life I couldn’t hear my own time breaking. I wasted time then, and now time wastes me. Time has made me his clock: my thoughts have become minutes that turn the clock hands in my eyes, and my finger is the dial that wipes away my tears. Now, sir, my groans are like the sounds that toll the hours, and they’re made by striking my heart, which is the bell. Thus my sighs, tears, and groans signify minutes and hours. Meanwhile, my time speeds on as Bolingbroke has his joy, and I’m left here playing the clock for him. This music makes me crazy. Let it stop. It might make madmen sane, but for me, it makes a wise man mad. Yet bless the heart that plays it for me! It’s a sign of love, and I am seldom given love in this hateful world.