EXCESS, n. In morals, an indulgence that enforces by appropriate penalties the law of moderation.
Hail, high Excess — especially in wine,
To thee in worship do I bend the knee
Who preach abstemiousness unto me —
My skull thy pulpit, as my paunch thy shrine.
Precept on precept, aye, and line on line,
Could ne'er persuade so sweetly to agree
With reason as thy touch, exact and free,
Upon my forehead and along my spine.
At thy command eschewing pleasure's cup,
With the hot grape I warm no more my wit;
When on thy stool of penitence I sit
I'm quite converted, for I can't get up.
Ungrateful he who afterward would falter
To make new sacrifices at thine altar!
2009 Update: A large quantity of something best enjoyed in smaller quantities or not at all. Examples include whiskey by the gallon and temperance by the drop. The threshold of excess increases when the measured substance is quantified in two or more portions and stretches beyond the horizon when gauged locally.