A Summary and Analysis of Thomas Campion's 'Cherry-Ripe'

A Summary and Analysis of Thomas Campion's 'Cherry-Ripe'
How well can you define the person you admire? Thomas Campion calls her face a beautiful garden and her lips cherry in the poem 'Cherry-ripe'. The summary and analysis will enfold the hidden meaning of this poem.
Penlighten Staff
Last Updated: Dec 9, 2017
A literary delight!
The woman in this poem is described with a garden full of metaphors and similes!!
Have you ever read a poem so beautiful, that makes you imagine every detail as you slowly scan through each word. If you have, then let me tell you, Cherry-ripe is one such poem that imprints the face of this woman in your mind, Thomas Campion talks about.

A garden being one of the most peaceful, refreshing and replenishing bunch of colorful flowers and fruits, is what the lady is compared to. What a privilege for the woman to have a poet like Thomas Campion write a few lines admiring her.

We give you a summary of 'Cherry-ripe' and analyze its meaning.
Edmund Campion
The poem 'Cherry-Ripe' by Thomas Campion
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.
Summary
Thomas Campion describes a woman in the poem comparing her with a garden full of beautiful flowers and fruits, growing roses, white lilies and cherries. Roses and white lilies compose her face and 'cherry' refers to her lips, which enclose within them a set of teeth that look like a double row of orient pearl. And when she laughs, these pearls look like snow filled in rose buds. And no man can touch or even dare to come close to her cherry, until she allows. She is a beautiful lady with dignity that cannot be bought by a prince or a peer, who is saving herself for the man she chooses to say 'Cherry-ripe' to. 'Cherry-ripe' here is her consent to that man who will savor the taste of her lips.
Analysis
There are several assumptions regarding the meaning of this poem. It's definitely a mysterious one, making people think in different directions as they try to analyze this poem.

Our understanding

The pretty lady Thomas talks about is a girl that hasn't yet flowered into a lady. She is beautiful like the garden he describes, angelic, as he uses the words heaven, angel and sacred comparing her innocence (virginity). She is not yet ready for her first kiss, and wouldn't allow any random guy to take away her chastity. It doesn't matter to her if the guy approaching her is a prince, because it all depends on her choice which cannot be bought. She can be very defensive and protective of herself if someone tries to get to her, because she is waiting for the one man to whom she would say 'cherry-ripe', who she feels is the perfect person for her.

The rhyme scheme of the poem is ababcc.

Take a look at 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.