"Milk-soup Men Call Domestic Bliss"

(Magill's Quotations in Context)

Context: One of the few poets who was not only happily married but who also dedicated his career to the singing of domestic bliss, Patmore is unique; while his verse has been scorned by twentieth century cynics and has been called neurotic by modern arm-chair psychologists, his poetic world, narrowed to the confines of the Victorian home, draws upon social, philosophical, and theological sources to exalt its simple, unpretentious joys. In this short poem Patmore shows the gracious wife who understands the custom of the husband's night on the town; in fact, she provides everything necessary for him to "get away" from the home and spend an evening with his literary friends at the local coffeehouse. But the husband very quickly discovers that such freedom is painful; as soon as he realizes that true happiness consists of the companionship of his wife and a quiet evening at home, he excuses himself from his friend's "Olympian feast" and returns to his wife, appreciating her more after his short absence than he had before.

And I,
Who inly murmur'd, "I will try
Some dish more sharply spiced than this
Milk-soup men call domestic bliss,"
Took, as she, laughing, bade me take,
Our eldest boy's brown wide-awake
And straw box of cigars, and went
Where, like a careless parliament
Of gods olympic, six or eight
Author and else, reputed great,
Were met in council jocular. . . .