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S.A. Bent, comp. Familiar Short Sayings of Great Men. 1887.

Abbé Vertot

  • [Réné Aubert de Vertot, a French historian and ecclesiastic; born in Normandy, 1655; the author of several popular historical works; died 1735.]
  • My siege is finished.

  • Being commissioned to write the history of the Order of Malta, he sent to a knight for facts concerning the siege of Rhodes: not receiving them, he set about his composition, which he had completed when the documents arrived. He acknowledged their receipt, coolly adding, “I am sorry, but my siege is finished” (J’en suis fâché, mais mon siège est fait). This became a proverb for work done without the necessary authorities.
  • The abbé was by turns a Capuchin, a regular canon, a Mathurin, and a member of the Order of Cluny; having written histories of the revolutions of Portugal, Sweden, and Rome, the different offices he held in the Church were called “the Revolutions of the Abbé Vertot.”