I have a hypothesis guaranteed to make the current infernal denizens of social media nauseous.
The Victorians had more fun.
Because they had restrictions, standards, and were taught virtue, modesty, chivalry and honour.
They were allowed to have tragedy and disaster. But they were also allowed to have redemption and joy. The moderns see the disaster, but have forgotten the joy.
Era gia l’ora che volge il desio. – Dante
Ricorro al tempo ch’io vi vidi prima. – Petrarca
I wish I could remember that first day,
First hour, first moment of your meeting me,
If bright or dim the season, it might be
Summer or Winter for aught I can say;
So unrecorded did it slip away,
So blind was I to see and to foresee,
So dull to mark the budding of my tree
That would not blossom yet for many a May.
If only I could recollect it, such
A day of days! I let it come and go
As traceless as a thaw of bygone snow;
It seemed to mean so little, meant so much;
If only now I could recall that touch,
First touch of hand in hand – Did one but know!
Your hands lie open in the long fresh grass,–
The finger-points look through like rosy blooms:
Your eyes smile peace. The pasture gleams and glooms
‘Neath billowing skies that scatter and amass.
All round our nest, far as the eye can pass,
Are golden kingcup-fields with silver edge
Where the cow-parsley skirts the hawthorn-hedge.
‘Tis visible silence, still as the hour-glass.
Deep in the sun-searched growths the dragon-fly
Hangs like a blue thread loosened from the sky:–
So this wing’d hour is dropt to us from above.
Oh! clasp we to our hearts, for deathless dower,
This close-companioned inarticulate hour
When twofold silence was the song of love.
The Victorians knew sexual love. They made much of romance, and they were the first generation to consider that love was a reason to marry. Their forebears, such as Austen, considered infatuation a vice to be discouraged, and romantic feelings no firm foundation for anything but a disaster.
They did not consider that love would lead to the acceptance of all variations and perversions, and Obergfell, and that there would ever need to be a #NashvilleStatement.