Histoire amoureuse des Gaules

Roger de Rabutin, Comte de Bussy, Liège, 1660 (Google Books, 1868)

This was written by the Comte de Bussy (1618-1693) for this mistress, Madame de Montglas, and the work consisted of four witty yet fairly damning accounts of the intrigues of the chief ladies of the court.  The circulation of the work in manuscript, and then in print, resulted in Bussy’s imprisonment by Louis XIV in 1665 for 13 months, followed by his provincial exile to his estates in Burgundy until 1682. 1.

On 1 May 1666, Samuel Pepys recorded in his Diary, ‘Thence by water to Redriffe, reading a new French book my Lord Bruncker did give me to-day, ‘L’Histoire Amoureuse des Gaules’, being a pretty libel against the amours of the Court of France”.  Lord Bruncker was Lord Brouncker who was the first president of the Royal Society.

The work was apparently popular amongst the French and English virtuosi, containing such bon mots as:

Love comes from blindness,

Friendship from knowledge


Absence is to love what wind is to fire;

It extinguishes the small, it kindles the great

In 1697, Bussy also published posthumously the love letters between Heloise and Abelard.    Lister later donated a copy to Oxford.

  1. Roger de Bussy-Rabutin,” Encyclopedia Britannica

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