The grief that Patmore felt on the loss of Emily Patmore, and his more general meditations on marriage and its relation to divine love, had created The Unknown Eros, but they had also given quite a different turn to his thought. The more limited happiness of his second marriage and domestic life at Heron's Ghyll, together with the isolation caused both by his conversion and his withdrawal into the country, had thrown him back on himself. He was a more lonely man, and when marriage no longer filled his life as before, he was also forced to recognise its limitations as a philosophy of life. He began to realise that there were people in the world leading full and useful lives in which marriage played no part. Yet, so fundamental was marriage and the analogy between divine and human love to his whole outlook, he rebelled against this implication.
It was a problem that he had faced before, but earlier he had been content to claim for the married the virtues of the unmarried state. It is of interest that in the first draft of The Angel in the House he wrote that "wedded lives" were "fountains of virginity," and all his life he was anxious to affirm that the married had virtues on a level with the virginal. But later this more often took the form of asserting that virginity was a sort of sublimated marriage, an integrated personality with both its halves joined, or recalling the Platonic myth of difference of three sexes in