Introduction. A conventional, even shop-worn, poetic address to time personified, in the Trinity Manuscript this poem includes the crosseed-out subtitle: "To be set on a clock case." Thematically, "On Time" invites comparison with Sonnet 7. Critics have been unable to give the poem an exact date of composition. Most suggest the early 1630s, but some speculate as early as 1626 or as late as 1637. The copytext here is Poems (1645).

envious Time. According to ancient mythology, Cronos devoured each of his children at birth, out of jealousy. See Hesiod's Theogony 453-467.

run out thy race. See Revelations 10:6 and Paradise Lost 12. 554-556.

Plummets. A lead weight whose slow descent activates the ticking mechanism in a clock.

womb. Not, in every case, a gender specific term, possibly a male or female abdomen or bowels. See also Paradise Lost 2.911.

mortal dross. Dregs or worthless leftover material following the the removal of something good. For more of the metaphysics of "dregs" and "dross," see Paradise Lost 7.237-239.

self consum'd. See A Mask 593-597.

an individual kiss. An everlasting, inseparable, kiss or embrace. The more modern sense of "peculiar to a particular person" may also be implied. For similar uses, see Paradise Lost 4. 486 and 5. 610.

sincerely good. See A Mask 454.

happy-making sight. Beatific or blessed vision. See Paradise Lost 1.684, 3.61-62, and 5.613.

Attir'd with Stars. See Revelations 12:1.