When a comparison is made between There is a Garden in Her Face by Thomas Campion and Sonnet 130 by William Shakespeare, the difference between lustful adoration and true love becomes evident. Both poems involve descriptions of a beloved lady seen through the eyes of the speaker, but the speaker in Campion's poem discusses the woman's beautiful perfections, while the speaker in Shakespeare's poem shows that it is the woman's faults which make her beautiful.
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. 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 "[o]f orient pearl a double row" (line 8). The white of the pearl, the lilies and the snow build the image of a woman of purity and virtue. This notion of the lady as a divine creature is further emphasized by the many references to heaven. Her face is seen as "[a] heavenly paradise"(3), her eyes are "like angels"(13), and her lips are called "sacred cherries"(17). They are a forbidden fruit, similar to those of the garden of Eden, that no one may touch or even look at "[t]ill 'Cherry ripe!' themselves do cry" (5). 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" (14) ready to kill with "piercing frowns"(15), so it is likely that she does not give her permission easi...
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...uty 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. The speaker in Shakespeare's sonnet clearly is not in love with his mistress' looks. Everything about her is contrary to society's standards, but he understands the absurdity of these standards and rejects them. There is more to his mistress than meets the eye, and that is why he truly loves her.
Abrams, M.H., ed. The Norton Anthology of English Literature. New York: Norton, 1993.
Campion, Thomas. "There is a Garden in Her Face." Abrams 1044.
Shakespeare, William. "Sonnet 130." Abrams 820.
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