"pleasure girdled about with pain"
A sketch of Swinburne by Dante Gabriel Rossetti
Public DomainA sketch of Swinburne by Dante Gabriel Rossetti

The line comes from "Atalanta in Calydon", a poem by the 19th century poet Algernon Swinburne. He, like Hardy and Tess, tended towards pessimistic ideas about the universe.