Verse > Anthologies > William Stanley Braithwaite, ed. > The Book of Elizabethan Verse
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William Stanley Braithwaite, ed.  The Book of Elizabethan Verse.  1907.
 
Cherry-ripe
By Thomas Campion (1567–1620)
 
THERE 1 is a garden in her face
Where roses and white lilies blow;
A heavenly paradise is that place
Wherein all pleasant fruits do flow.
    There cherries grow that none may buy,        5
    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 filled with snow;        10
    Yet them nor peer nor prince may buy,
    Till “Cherry-ripe” themselves do cry.
 
Her eyes like angels watch them still;
Her brows like bended bows do stand,
Threatening with piercing frowns to kill        15
All that attempt with eye or hand
    Those sacred cherries to come nigh
    Till “Cherry-ripe” themselves do cry.
 
Note 1. From Campion’s Fourth Book of Airs, 1617. Also set to music in Alison’s Hour’s Recreation in Music, 1606, and Robert Jones’s Ultimum Vale, 1608. “Cherry Ripe” was a popular street cry of the age. Compare Herrick’s poem of the same title, and Jonson’s The New Cry. Mr. Erskine, in his study of The Elizabethan Lyric (2d. ed., 1905), says of this poem: “The unity of the poem is secured by the refrain describing her lips—‘cherry ripe.’ Each stanza pictures some feature of the lady’s beauty, but always in relation to her lips. In some respects the song represents the highest skill of the madrigal writers; its theme is extremely slight, but its effect is one of richness without superfluity and of sweetness without lack of force.” [back]
 
 
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