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Cherry-Ripe
(Also Called "There Is a Garden in Her Face")
A Poem by Thomas Campion (1567-1620)
A Study Guide
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Type of Work
Summary
Meaning of "Cherry-Ripe"
Text of the Poem
Theme
End Rhyme
Meter
Metaphors, Similes
Other Figures of Speech
Study Questions
Writing Topics
Biography of Campion
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Study Guide Prepared by Michael J. Cummings... 2011
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Type of Work and Publication Year

......."Cherry-Ripe" (or "There is a Garden in Her Face") is a lyric poem with three six-line stanzas. The London firm of Thomas Snodham published it in 1617 in a collection entitled The Third and Fourth Booke of Ayres.

Summary
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.......The speaker says the face of a young woman he admires is like a garden. Her skin is the hue of lilies, save for her cheeks. There, roses bloom. And her lips are cherry red. They enclose a double row of pearls (her teeth). When she laughs, he sees these pearls contrasted with her lips. No man may kiss her until she says "Cherry ripe!" 

Meaning of "Cherry-Ripe"

.......London fruit vendors were famous for the cry "cherry ripe!" This verbal advertisement meant, of course, that the vendors were selling ripe cherries. Robert Herrick (1591-1674) also wrote a poem entitled "Cherry-Ripe." The phrase caught on in modern times, and food producers now make cherry-ripe cakes, candy bars, cupcakes, and similar products. 

Text of the Poem

There is a garden in her face 
Where roses and white lilies grow; 
A heav'nly paradise is that place 
Wherein all pleasant fruits do flow. 
There cherries grow which none may buy, 
Till "Cherry-ripe" themselves do cry.

Those cherries fairly do enclose 
Of orient pearl a double row, 
Which when her lovely laughter shows, 
They look like rose-buds fill'd with snow; 
Yet them nor peer nor prince can buy, 
Till "Cherry-ripe" themselves do cry. 

Her eyes like angels watch them still, 
Her brows like bended bows do stand, 
Threat'ning with piercing frowns to kill 
All that attempt with eye or hand 
Those sacred cherries to come nigh, 
Till "Cherry-ripe" themselves do cry.

Theme: Waiting for Mr. Right

.......The young lady stands fast against any man who dares to prevail upon her for a kiss. Only when she meets a man who pleases heru0097perhaps her future husbandu0097will she say "cherry-ripe," meaning he is allowed to court her and kiss her.

End Rhyme

.......The rhyme scheme of the poem is ababcc, as in the first stanza:

There is a garden in her face
Where roses and white lilies grow
A heav'nly paradise is that place
Wherein all pleasant fruits do flow
There cherries grow which none may buy
Till "Cherry ripe" themselves do cry.
Meter

.......The meter of the poem is iambic tetrameter, as in the first two lines.

.....1..............2.............3.............4
There IS..|..a GAR..|..den IN..|..her FACE

........1.................2...............3.................4
Where ROS..|..es AND..|..white LIL..|..ies GROW.

Line 3 is an exception. It contains four iambic feet and a catalectic foot (iambic pentameter).
........1.............2..............3...............4............5
A HEAV'..|..nly PAR..|..a DISE..|..is THAT..|..place

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Metaphors and Similes

.......Campion relies mostly on metaphors and similes to develop his imagery. For definitions of figures of speech, see Literary Terms.

Metaphors

The speaker uses metaphors to compare

  • the young lady's face to a garden
  • her cheeks to roses
  • her complexion to lilies
  • her face to paradise
  • her lips to cherries
  • her lips to street vendors shouting "cherry ripe" to sell their cherries
  • her teeth to pearls
  • her frowns to arrows
Similes

The speaker uses similes to compare

  • her lips and teeth to rosebuds filled with snow
  • her eyes to angels
  • her eyebrows to the bent bows of archers
Other Figures of Speech

.......Following are examples of other figures of speech in the poem. For definitions of figures of speech, see Literary Terms.

Alliteration

A heav'nly paradise is that place 
Wherein all pleasant fruits do flow. (lines 3-4)

Which when her lovely laughter shows (line 9)

Her brows like bended bows do stand (line 14)

Anaphora
Her eyes like angels watch them still, 
Her brows like bended bows do stand,
Synesthesia
when her lovely laughter shows (line 9)
Here, the poet uses an adjective of sight (lovely) to describe a noun of sound (laughter). 
Study Questions and Writing Topics
  • Write a poem that imitates the rhyme scheme and stanza pattern of "Cherry-Ripe." The topic is open.
  • Write a short essay explaining the difference between a lyric poem and a ballad.
  • What is the meaning of orient (line 8)? The word has more than one meaning.
  • What is the meaning of nigh (line 17)?

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