What does it mean loving “too much”? Does Madame de Longueville love Monsieur de La Rochefoucauld too much? Does the Poet love the Princess too much? Is it because of this “too much” that they lovers get broken-hearted?
Does happiness rely on restraint, on avoidance of any excess in behaviour, character, sentiment or speech? Yes, indeed, words too are subjected to this rule. Words live in constant fear of being labelled as kitsch.
“Moderation is the state of a mind which is in total possession of itself,” proclaims another famous XVIIth century moralist, the Marquis de Vauvenargues.
“Well said and true,” Madeleine de Scudéry would undoubtedly approve.
Moderation, happiness, ... mediocrity.
How about you, my poet? You give me a disdainful glance. Your mouth twists as if you were about to spit. You contempt all those who are petty, mediocre. Second-raters make you sick. You tremble with disgust at the sight of this vermin which swarms towards you in a black ant-like line, crowding up against you in search for their kind of happiness. The comfort of fat, satisfied minds. You would do anything, even die of loving “too much”, to avoid becoming like them.
‘He who suffers may dare,’ you scribble in your notebook, turning your eyes onto the Princess, courting her Lord and Master with the devotion of a slave.