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Published: 20-12-2019

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Guarding the Forbidden Fruit: A Young Girl Clings to Her Virginity and Innocence

The narrator of Thomas Campion’s “There Is a Garden in Her Face” warns fellow admirers of a young girl’s beauty against taking benefit of her virginity. As indicated in the title, Campion uses words connected with gardens to describe the girl’s beauty upon closer examination, it is clear that Campion is truly describing the girl’s virginity. He informs us that she is not however prepared to shed her virginity and will “[threaten] with piercing frowns to kill” (15) any individual who tries to take it with “eye or hand” (16), by hunting at her lustfully or by physically obtaining sex with her. She is not but “ripe” (six), and till she reaches that stage, “nor peer nor prince can buy” (11) her maidenhead. The Garden of Eden visible in the young maiden’s face, which is created by Campion’s use of concrete diction, extended metaphor, other symbolism, personification, and structure creates a image of a young girl guarding her forbidden fruit and efficiently communicates why any young lady would want to defend her virginity and innocence.

The structure of the poem lays the foundation for the story getting told. This poem is a lyric, which means that it is quick and distinct, and the narrator is a persona of the poet. The poem is written in sestets which are in iambic tetrameter, and every single sestet has an ababcc rhyme scheme and utilizes precise masculine end rhyme. The abab rhymes in the 1st 4 lines of each stanza give the poem a sing-song top quality a lot like that of numerous nursery rhymes, which emphasizes the maiden’s innocence and youth. The abundance of finish-stopped lines also adds to the nursery rhyme really feel of the poem because it adds an air of simplicity. The finish-stops also reflect the girl’s attitude in the poem –she will not give in. The punctuation at the end of every line is similar to the way people say the word “period” at the finish of a statement that expresses their unwillingness to budge.

The meter highlights the girl’s youthfulness as well, as it enables one particular to read the poem much as one would study a story to a youngster. The rhyming couplets at the finish of each stanza give a sense of finality, again indicating the girl’s seriousness in holding on to her virginity. The line “Till ‘cherry-ripe!’ themselves do cry” (6,12,18) is a refrain throughout the poem. The refrain is the only line in the poem with a caesura, which causes readers to quit and actually notice the phrase “cherry ripe” (six,12,18). The repetition of this line emphasizes the principal point of the poem, that she is not yet “ripe.”

Campion uses myriad photos to represent the abstract idea of virginity: garden, angels, white lilies, roses, pearls, rosebuds filled with snow, laughter, fruits, cherries, bended bows, and heavenly paradise. All of these pictures bring to mind visions of nature, purity, sweetness, and innocence. A lot more specifically, the angels, flowers – specially the white lilies, pearls (usually white), and snow all symbolize purity. Snow also possesses the top quality of coldness which indicates the girl’s attitude toward those who want to seduce her. Nonetheless, not all of the pictures Campion employs are white. Rosebuds develop a strong symbol of the young girl’s stage in life since rosebuds come at the starting of a rose prior to it has bloomed they have not but grown totally, so they symbolize perfectly the maiden’s youth, along with the image of laughter which evokes images of the care cost-free, playful, and innocent days of childhood. In truth, the repetition of the “l” sound in line nine (“lovely laughter”) exemplifies alliteration and imitates the sound of laughter. An additional concrete image Campion utilizes is the image of cherries. Cherries serve as an implied metaphor for her virginity. Also, cherries are personified simply because Campion offers them the capacity to “cry out,” which reveals that the maiden has not yet turn out to be physically ready since her virginity itself cries out to wait. Part of the cherry metaphor is the simile “brows like bended bows” (14) indicate that her eyebrows represent the branches of the cherry tree. Line fourteen (“brows like bended bows”) also makes use of alliteration, and the repetition of the stopped “b” sound has a harsh feel and sends the message to back off, providing the branches a guard-like good quality. The image of her piercing frowns represents the abstract concept of her anger toward anybody who tries to take from her that which she values so drastically.

The greatest use of symbolism is the “garden in her face” (1), an extended metaphor for the Garden of Eden from the book of Genesis. The maiden’s face is referred to as a “heavenly paradise” (3) filled with flowers and fruits, just like the Garden of Eden. The young girl can stay in the garden simply because she nonetheless has the innocence of childhood. The “sacred cherries” (17) to which no one could “come nigh” (17) represent the girl’s maidenhead and are presented as the forbidden fruit such as that which grew in the Garden of Eden. Her eyebrows appear like “bended bows” (14), which represent the tree from which the forbidden fruit, in this case the cherries, develop. The loss of her forbidden fruit bears the identical consequences as eating from the tree of knowledge. If she suffers this loss, she will know also a lot of worldly items, and her innocence will no longer be a part of her. She will be banished from the garden. Line thirteen says that “her eyes like angels watch” more than her body, which suggests the angels who guarded the gate of the Garden of Eden so that Adam and Eve could not re-enter soon after they had grow to be impure. In a lot the exact same way, her eyes stand guard and do not let anyone in who has impure intentions. The girl’s eyes will also threaten to kill any individual who tries to come near the sacred fruit. These lines are the only ones in the poem that refer to death. In the book of Genesis, one of the consequences of Adam and Eve’s consumption of the forbidden fruit is death. They do not die immediately, but they will grow old and die someday since they eat the fruit. Similarly, if the young girl loses her innocence, her childhood ends, thus bringing her closer to old age and death.

The key theme of Thomas Campion’s poem is that love must not be forced prior to its due time, but guarded like forbidden fruit, because when one loses his or her innocence, he or she has come a single step closer to old age and death.

Functions Cited

Campion, Thomas. “There Is a Garden in Her Face”. Poetry: A Pocket Anthology. Fourth Edition. R.S. Gwynn. 71.


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