The Poet's Princess

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History records that...

Sarasin’s contemporaries side mostly with the poet. Madeleine de Scudéry, minding Condés’ interests more than her own, puts those bitter words condemning Conti’s behaviour into the mouth of the hero of her novel Amilcar, Sarasin’s alter ego:

“Most of human labour meets nothing but ingratitude in the heart of those for whom we work day and night and, from Kings to slaves, every one must meet at least one ungrateful person in the course of one’s existence.”

“Most Kings, born masters of others, imagine that they do not owe their subjects anything and that tyranny is the right of sovereignty.”

“Masters believe that their slaves are born to serve them without reward.”

“Finally, ungratefulness is so general that I conclude that it would be better to do nothing for anybody. Out of fear of doing something for somebody who might prove ungrateful, one should not do anything at all but take the decision to live for oneself and not paying attention to anything else.”

The moralist Jean de La Bruyère, preceptor at the Condés’, evokes the same experience:

“The Great are privileged enough not to feel even the slightest need to regret the loss of their most devoted servant or of a famous person who tried to please them as best they could.”

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