Cherry Ripe (song)

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The Graphic's chromolithograph of Cherry Ripe (1879) by John Everett Millais (1829–96)

Cherry Ripe is an English song with words by poet Robert Herrick (1591–1674) and music by Charles Edward Horn (1786–1849) which contains the refrain,

Cherry ripe, cherry ripe,

Ripe I cry,
Full and fair ones
Come and buy.
Cherry ripe, cherry ripe,
Ripe I cry,
Full and fair ones

Come and buy.[1]

An earlier poem[2] by Thomas Campion (1567–1620) used the same title Cherry Ripe, and has other similarities. It is thought that the refrain originated as a trader's street cry.

The song's title has been used in other contexts on a number of occasions since and its tune has also been appropriated for other uses. The song was popular in the 19th century and at the time of World War I.

In popular culture[edit]


Penelope Boothby by Joshua Reynolds
  • In 1879 it was adopted by John Everett Millais as the title of his immensely popular painting depicting a young girl with cherries. It was based loosely on Joshua Reynolds's portrait of Penelope Boothby. The painting was reproduced in colour as a chromolithograph by the newspaper The Graphic as a gift with its Christmas edition. The image vastly increased the newspaper's sales.
  • A painting by Walter Osborne (1859–1903) of a cherry seller in Ulster also used the title.[3]