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“There is a Garden in her face” by Thomas Campion

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Thomas Campion describes the woman’s beautiful perfections in his poem. He uses similes and metaphors throughout to describe the beauty that beholds this magnificent woman. But the woman cannot be as perfect and as beautiful as the speaker makes her out to be so it gives it a sense of falseness and makes the reader think that he is just dreaming of this woman.

In There is a Garden in Her Face, the subject of the speaker’s affection is idolized beyond reality and is placed so high upon a pedestal that she is virtually unattainable. He speaks of her as if she is a goddess, and that no woman can match her beauty. He compares her to the most beautiful objects, and even forbidden fruits, as if she were a forbidden creature that no one shall speak to unless she grants them the pleasure of conversation.

Campion uses one main symbol throughout the poem which can be thought of as forbidden, similar to those of the Garden of Eden. He also uses similes and metaphors to compare her looks to the objects to which she mirrors. Many of which are associated with wealth or romanticism. For instance, the pearls to which he compares her teeth to. Pearls are usually thought of when you think of a wealthy person. And he uses roses and lilies as a comparison to her face to further show how stunning she is.

Campion uses metaphors and similes to compare the lady to the splendors of nature. Roses and cherries are repeatedly used to describe various parts of the lady, like her rosy cheeks and luscious lips. Her teeth are said to be made “of orient pearl a double row” . The white of the pearl, the lilies and the snow build the image of a woman of purity and good quality. This perception of the lady as a divine creature is emphasized by the many references to heaven. Her face is seen as “a heavenly paradise”, her eyes are “like angels”, and her lips are called “sacred cherries”. They are a forbidden fruit, similar to those of the Garden of Eden, that no one may touch or even look at “till ‘Cherry ripe!’ themselves do cry”. The lady is viewed to be unapproachable unless she gives her permission to be approached. She seems cold and unfeeling when her brows are described as “bended bows” ready to kill with “piercing frowns”, so it is likely that she does not give her permission easily. This woman cannot possibly be as godlike and perfect as the speaker makes her out to be, which causes this poem to feel strained and false.

The false admiration in this poem shows the reader that society has a specific idea of beauty which is impossible for any woman or man to match. Campion’s poem reflects this impossible ideal that society inflicts on us. This woman in There is a Garden in Her Face could never really live up to the image that the speaker has created of her. The image is false, and so is his love because he is only focusing on her outward appearance.

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