How do we respond to the disdain of the one that we love? This is the topic of this sonnet, as the speaker imagines that the eyes of his beloved, knowing how sad it makes the speaker when the beloved treats him with disdain, have dressed themselves in black as a sign of mourning and pity for what the speaker is enduring. The speaker argues that these black eyes, as a symbol of mourning, are particularly fitting on the face of his beloved, more so than the sun is on the "pale cheek" of the East. However, this leads the speaker to desire that this attitude of mourning would extend from the eyes to his beloved's heart, so that he may be loved by his beloved:
O, let it then as well beseem thy heart
To mourn for me, since mourning doth thee grace,
And suit thy pity like in every part.
If a mourning aspect so well suits his beloved's face, then just think how much more it would suit the beloved's heart, the speaker argues, obviously hoping that his beloved would respond favourably to his attentions. If this were to happen, the speaker argues, he would swear that beauty is to be found in the mourning colour of black.