Thomas Campion: Poems

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 advantage of her virginity. As indicated in the title, Campion uses words associated with gardens to describe the girl’s beauty; upon closer examination, it is clear that Campion is really describing the girl’s virginity. He informs us that she is not yet ready to lose her virginity and will “[threaten] with piercing frowns to kill” (15) anyone who tries to take it with “eye or hand” (16), by looking at her lustfully or by physically having sex with her. She is not yet “ripe” (6), and until 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 picture of a young girl guarding her forbidden fruit and effectively communicates why any young lady would want to protect her virginity and innocence.

The structure of the poem lays the foundation for the story being told. This poem is a lyric, meaning that it is short and specific, and the narrator is a persona of the poet. The poem is written in sestets...

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