Time never shows his face ’til time is wasted,
Heaving from breath to breath; burnt up its air
That once inspired the life it never tasted,
Only to find meaning in our lost despair.
What cunning trick has time performed for me,
To fuel my need for greatness, poke my ambitions,
Shun love for labours, speak pretentiously,
And guild my sorry-self for a glowing reputation?
I’m at the mercy of his pendulum.
Time’s swing did catch me in his hypnotic charm,
Mislead me with a coin of gold to dance for him,
As, tick-by-tock, my neck fitted his arm.

All this he conjures though he’s not to blame.
I am to blame; my folly fits my name.

Distilled in glass three men who look like me:
An actor, a musician, and a philosopher.
Each bear my weary eyes, my face, my body,
But each in trade before my eyes now differ.
The first, connected to a childhood dream,
Speaks wonders with a thousand masks on stage.
The second, conceived as a teenager it would seem,
Rocked strings to songs self-inked upon a page.
The third, however, by the time a beard
Could thickly grow to sculpt my face a mane,
Discovered me in ancient books and cleared
Vain, desperate follies aching for bright fame.
Still beams this prophesy I can’t refuse;
Am I all three or must I stand to choose?