This sonnet seems to have been written to accompany the gift of a blank notebook. The poet encourages the beloved to write down the thoughts that arise from observing a mirror and a sundial and the lessons they teach about the brevity of life.
Thy glass will show thee how thy beauties wear, Thy dial how thy precious minutes waste; The vacant leaves thy mind’s imprint will bear, 4And 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 8Time’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, 12To take a new acquaintance of thy mind. These offices, so oft as thou wilt look, Shall profit thee and much enrich thy book.