First edition, of great rarity.
Certainly printed in a small number, it is decorated with a very beautiful allegorical title-frontispiece engraved by Pierre Daret, representing in the centre, kneeling, Charlotte des Ursins offering her book to the Virgin, and a portrait of Saint Paul by the same artist engraved on the verso of the last introductory leaf.
Charlotte des Ursins, viscountess of Auchy (or Ochy) (1570-1646), ran a literary salon in the 1630s in Paris, rue des Vieux-Augustins, in imitation of those of Madame des Loges and the Marquise de Rambouillet. Known as the Academy of the Viscountess of Auchy, this cenacle included Malberbe (whose lover she was), the theologian Pierre Maucors, Claude de l'Estoile and Jacques Forton, a religious of the Capuchin order who was known as Brother Saint-Ange.
According to Tallemant des Réaux, his meetings, where theology was the main topic of discussion, were later forbidden by the archbishop of Paris.
These Homilies consist of a paraphrase of the epistle addressed by the apostle to the Hebrews, a text recognized as one of the most delicate to comment on, as the viscountess herself points out in her preface. Even if she fully claimed her status as a woman of letters, some, like Jean Chapelain, suspected her of having appropriated a text that was not her own, and Tallemant des Réaux, in his Historiettes, painted this less than glorious portrait of her: "Not content with being sung by others, she wanted to sing herself, and to pass in the centuries to come for a wise person. In this beautiful design, she bought from a doctor of theology, named Maucors, homilies on the epistles of Saint Paul, which she had carefully printed with her portrait. She was so pleased that she gave almost all the copies to the bookseller for nothing...
Only three copies of this edition are known to exist in French public libraries: two in Paris (BnF, Réserve des livres rares; Institut de France), and one in Toulouse.
Small halo at the head of the first six leaves, small repairs and traces of worms on the margins of some leaves.