But why do you go?" said the lady, while both sat under the yew...
When flirtatious banter follows, the young gentleman declares his respect for Lord Walter:
"Oh, that," she said "is no reason. You smell a rose through a fence:
If two should smell it, what matter? Who grumbles and where's the pretense?"
The response, several couplets later:
At which he rose up in his anger, Why, now, you no longer are fair?
Why, now, you no longer are fatal, but ugly and hateful, I swear."
Lord Walter's wife, understanding that she was never more than a sexual fantasy to her admirer, dismisses him:
I determined to prove to yourself that, whate'er you might dream or avowThackeray confesses that Mrs. Browning's "account of an unlawful passion, though you write pure doctrine" would offend "my squeamish public." Privately, Mrs. Browning professed amusement. She wrote a friend, with a hint of pride, "Thackeray has turned me out of the Cornhill for indecency." To Thackeray, however, after thanking him for his "gracious and conciliatory manner", she argues: "I am deeply convinced that the corruption of our society requires not shut doors and windows, but light and air; and that it is exactly because pure and prosperous women chose to ignore vice, that miserable women suffer wrong by it everywhere."
By illusion, you wanted precisely no more of me than you have now.