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Cyrano de Bergerac
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Act I, Scene iv

The same. Cyrano, then Bellerose, Jodelet.
MONTFLEURY (to the marquises):
Come to my help, my lords!
A MARQUIS (carelessly):
Go on! Go on!
CYRANO:
Fat man, take warning! If you go on, I
Shall feel myself constrained to cuff your face!
THE MARQUIS:
Have done!
CYRANO:
And if these lords hold not their tongue
Shall feel constrained to make them taste my cane!
ALL THE MARQUISES (rising):
Enough!. . .Montfleury. . .
CYRANO:
If he goes not quick
I will cut off his ears and slit him up!
A VOICE:
But. . .
CYRANO:
Out he goes!
ANOTHER VOICE:
Yet. . .
CYRANO:
Is he not gone yet?
(He makes the gesture of turning up his cuffs):
Good! I shall mount the stage now, buffet-wise,
To carve this fine Italian sausage—thus!
MONTFLEURY (trying to be dignified):
You outrage Thalia in insulting me!
CYRANO (very politely):
If that Muse, Sir, who knows you not at all,
Could claim acquaintance with you—oh, believe
(Seeing how urn-like, fat, and slow you are)
That she would make you taste her buskin's sole!
THE PIT:
Montfleury! Montfleury! Come—Baro's play!
CYRANO (to those who are calling out):
I pray you have a care! If you go on
My scabbard soon will render up its blade!
(The circle round him widens.)
THE CROWD (drawing back):
Take care!
CYRANO (to Montfleury):
Leave the stage!
THE CROWD (coming near and grumbling):
Oh!—
CYRANO:
Did some one speak?
(They draw back again.)
A VOICE (singing at the back):
Monsieur de Cyrano
Displays his tyrannies:
A fig for tyrants! What, ho!
Come! Play us 'La Clorise!'
ALL THE PIT (singing):
'La Clorise!' 'La Clorise!'. . .
CYRANO:
Let me but hear once more that foolish rhyme,
I slaughter every man of you.
A BURGHER:
Oh! Samson?
CYRANO:
Yes Samson! Will you lend your jawbone, Sir?
A LADY (in the boxes):
Outrageous!
A LORD:
Scandalous!
A BURGHER:
'Tis most annoying!
A PAGE:
Fair good sport!
THE PIT:
Kss!—Montfleury. . .Cyrano!
CYRANO:
Silence!
THE PIT (wildly excited):
Ho-o-o-o-h! Quack! Cock-a-doodle-doo!
CYRANO:
I order—
A PAGE:
Miow!
CYRANO:
I order silence, all!
And challenge the whole pit collectively!—
I write your names!—Approach, young heroes, here!
Each in his turn! I cry the numbers out!—
Now which of you will come to ope the lists?
You, Sir? No! You? No! The first duellist
Shall be dispatched by me with honors due!
Let all who long for death hold up their hands!
(A silence):
Modest? You fear to see my naked blade?
Not one name?—Not one hand?—Good, I proceed!
(Turning toward the stage, where Montfleury waits in an agony):
The theater's too full, congested,—I
Would clear it out. . .If not. . .
(Puts his hand on his sword):
The knife must act!
MONTFLEURY:
I. . .
CYRANO (leaves his chair, and settles himself in the middle of the circle
which has formed):
I will clap my hands thrice, thus—full moon! At the third clap, eclipse
yourself!
THE PIT (amused):
Ah!
CYRANO (clapping his hands):
One!
MONTFLEURY:
I. . .
A VOICE (in the boxes):
Stay!
THE PIT:
He stays. . .he goes. . .he stays. . .
MONTFLEURY:
I think. . .Gentlemen,. . .
CYRANO:
Two!
MONTFLEURY:
I think 'twere wisest. . .
CYRANO:
Three!
(Montfleury disappears as through a trap. Tempest of laughs, whistling cries,
etc.)
THE WHOLE HOUSE:
Coward. . .come back!
CYRANO (delighted, sits back in his chair, arms crossed):
Come back an if you dare!
A BURGHER:
Call for the orator!
(Bellerose comes forward and bows.)
THE BOXES:
Ah! here's Bellerose!
BELLEROSE (elegantly):
My noble lords. . .
THE PIT:
No! no! Jodelet!
JODELET (advancing, speaking through his nose):
Calves!
THE PIT:
Ah! bravo! good! go on!
JODELET:
No bravos, Sirs!
The fat tragedian whom you all love
Felt. . .
THE PIT:
Coward!
JODELET:
. . .was obliged to go.
THE PIT:
Come back!
SOME:
No!
OTHERS:
Yes!
A YOUNG MAN (to Cyrano):
But pray, Sir, for what reason, say,
Hate you Montfleury?
CYRANO (graciously, still seated):
Youthful gander, know
I have two reasons—either will suffice.
Primo. An actor villainous! who mouths,
And heaves up like a bucket from a well
The verses that should, bird-like, fly! Secundo—
That is my secret. . .
THE OLD BURGHER (behind him):
Shameful! You deprive us
Of the 'Clorise!' I must insist. . .
CYRANO (turning his chair toward the burgher, respectfully):
Old mule!
The verses of old Baro are not worth
A doit! I'm glad to interrupt. . .
THE PRECIEUSES (in the boxes):
Our Baro!—
My dear! How dares he venture!. . .
CYRANO (turning his chair toward the boxes gallantly):
Fairest ones,
Radiate, bloom, hold to our lips the cup
Of dreams intoxicating, Hebe-like!
Or, when death strikes, charm death with your sweet smiles;
Inspire our verse, but—criticise it not!
BELLEROSE:
We must give back the entrance fees!
CYRANO (turning his chair toward the stage):
Bellerose,
You make the first intelligent remark!
Would I rend Thespis' sacred mantle? Nay!
(He rises and throws a bag on the stage):
Catch then the purse I throw, and hold your peace!
THE HOUSE (dazzled):
Ah! Oh!
JODELET (catching the purse dexterously and weighing it):
At this price, you've authority
To come each night, and stop 'Clorise,' Sir!
THE PIT:
Ho!. . .Ho! Ho!. . .
JODELET:
E'en if you chase us in a pack!. . .
BELLEROSE:
Clear out the hall!. . .
JODELET:
Get you all gone at once!
(The people begin to go out, while Cyrano looks on with satisfaction. But the
crowd soon stop on hearing the following scene, and remain where they are.
The women, who, with their mantles on, are already standing up in the boxes,
stop to listen, and finally reseat themselves.)
LE BRET (to Cyrano):
'Tis mad!. . .
A BORE (coming up to Cyrano):
The actor Montfleury! 'Tis shameful!
Why, he's protected by the Duke of Candal!
Have you a patron?
CYRANO:
No!
THE BORE:
No patron?. . .
CYRANO:
None!
THE BORE:
What! no great lord to shield you with his name?
CYRANO (irritated):
No, I have told you twice! Must I repeat?
No! no protector. . .
(His hand on his sword):
A protectress. . .here!
THE BORE:
But you must leave the town?
CYRANO:
Well, that depends!
THE BORE:
The Duke has a long arm!
CYRANO:
But not so long
As mine, when it is lengthened out. . .
(Shows his sword):
As thus!
THE BORE:
You think not to contend?
CYRANO:
'Tis my idea!
THE BORE:
But. . .
CYRANO:
Show your heels! now!
THE BORE:
But I. . .
CYRANO:
Or tell me why you stare so at my nose!
THE BORE (staggered):
I. . .
CYRANO (walking straight up to him):
Well, what is there strange?
THE BORE (drawing back):
Your Grace mistakes!
CYRANO:
How now? Is't soft and dangling, like a trunk?. . .
THE BORE (same play):
I never. . .
CYRANO:
Is it crook'd, like an owl's beak?
THE BORE:
I. . .
CYRANO:
Do you see a wart upon the tip?
THE BORE:
Nay. . .
CYRANO:
Or a fly, that takes the air there? What
Is there to stare at?
THE BORE:
Oh. . .
CYRANO:
What do you see?
THE BORE:
But I was careful not to look—knew better.
CYRANO:
And why not look at it, an if you please?
THE BORE:
I was. . .
CYRANO:
Oh! it disgusts you!
THE BORE:
Sir!
CYRANO:
Its hue
Unwholesome seems to you?
THE BORE:
Sir!
CYRANO:
Or its shape?
THE BORE:
No, on the contrary!. . .
CYRANO:
Why then that air
Disparaging?—perchance you think it large?
THE BORE (stammering):
No, small, quite small—minute!
CYRANO:
Minute! What now?
Accuse me of a thing ridiculous!
Small—my nose?
THE BORE:
Heaven help me!
CYRANO:
'Tis enormous!
Old Flathead, empty-headed meddler, know
That I am proud possessing such appendice.
'Tis well known, a big nose is indicative
Of a soul affable, and kind, and courteous,
Liberal, brave, just like myself, and such
As you can never dare to dream yourself,
Rascal contemptible! For that witless face
That my hand soon will come to cuff—is all
As empty. . .
(He cuffs him.)
THE BORE:
Aie!
CYRANO:
—of pride, of aspiration,
Of feeling, poetry—of godlike spark
Of all that appertains to my big nose,
(He turns him by the shoulders, suiting the action to the word):
As. . .what my boot will shortly come and kick!
THE BORE (running away):
Help! Call the Guard!
CYRANO:
Take notice, boobies all,
Who find my visage's center ornament
A thing to jest at—that it is my wont—
An if the jester's noble—ere we part
To let him taste my steel, and not my boot!
DE GUICHE (who, with the marquises, has come down from the stage):
But he becomes a nuisance!
THE VISCOUNT DE VALVERT (shrugging his shoulders):
Swaggerer!
DE GUICHE:
Will no one put him down?. . .
THE VISCOUNT:
No one? But wait!
I'll treat him to. . .one of my quips!. . .See here!. . .
(He goes up to Cyrano, who is watching him, and with a conceited air):
Sir, your nose is. . .hmm. . .it is. . .very big!
CYRANO (gravely):
Very!
THE VISCOUNT (laughing):
Ha!
CYRANO (imperturbably):
Is that all?. . .
THE VISCOUNT:
What do you mean?
CYRANO:
Ah no! young blade! That was a trifle short!
You might have said at least a hundred things
By varying the tone. . .like this, suppose,. . .
Aggressive: 'Sir, if I had such a nose
I'd amputate it!' Friendly: 'When you sup
It must annoy you, dipping in your cup;
You need a drinking-bowl of special shape!'
Descriptive: ''Tis a rock!. . .a peak!. . .a cape!
—A cape, forsooth! 'Tis a peninsular!'
Curious: 'How serves that oblong capsular?
For scissor-sheath? Or pot to hold your ink?'
Gracious: 'You love the little birds, I think?
I see you've managed with a fond research
To find their tiny claws a roomy perch!'
Truculent: 'When you smoke your pipe. . .suppose
That the tobacco-smoke spouts from your nose—
Do not the neighbors, as the fumes rise higher,
Cry terror-struck: "The chimney is afire"?'
Considerate: 'Take care,. . .your head bowed low
By such a weight. . .lest head o'er heels you go!'
Tender: 'Pray get a small umbrella made,
Lest its bright color in the sun should fade!'
Pedantic: 'That beast Aristophanes
Names Hippocamelelephantoles
Must have possessed just such a solid lump
Of flesh and bone, beneath his forehead's bump!'
Cavalier: 'The last fashion, friend, that hook?
To hang your hat on? 'Tis a useful crook!'
Emphatic: 'No wind, O majestic nose,
Can give THEE cold!—save when the mistral blows!'
Dramatic: 'When it bleeds, what a Red Sea!'
Admiring: 'Sign for a perfumery!'
Lyric: 'Is this a conch?. . .a Triton you?'
Simple: 'When is the monument on view?'
Rustic: 'That thing a nose? Marry-come-up!
'Tis a dwarf pumpkin, or a prize turnip!'
Military: 'Point against cavalry!'
Practical: 'Put it in a lottery!
Assuredly 'twould be the biggest prize!'
Or. . .parodying Pyramus' sighs. . .
'Behold the nose that mars the harmony
Of its master's phiz! blushing its treachery!'
—Such, my dear sir, is what you might have said,
Had you of wit or letters the least jot:
But, O most lamentable man!—of wit
You never had an atom, and of letters
You have three letters only!—they spell Ass!
And—had you had the necessary wit,
To serve me all the pleasantries I quote
Before this noble audience. . .e'en so,
You would not have been let to utter one—
Nay, not the half or quarter of such jest!
I take them from myself all in good part,
But not from any other man that breathes!
DE GUICHE (trying to draw away the dismayed viscount):
Come away, Viscount!
THE VISCOUNT (choking with rage):
Hear his arrogance!
A country lout who. . .who. . .has got no gloves!
Who goes out without sleeve-knots, ribbons, lace!
CYRANO:
True; all my elegances are within.
I do not prank myself out, puppy-like;
My toilet is more thorough, if less gay;
I would not sally forth—a half-washed-out
Affront upon my cheek—a conscience
Yellow-eyed, bilious, from its sodden sleep,
A ruffled honor,. . .scruples grimed and dull!
I show no bravery of shining gems.
Truth, Independence, are my fluttering plumes.
'Tis not my form I lace to make me slim,
But brace my soul with efforts as with stays,
Covered with exploits, not with ribbon-knots,
My spirit bristling high like your mustaches,
I, traversing the crowds and chattering groups
Make Truth ring bravely out like clash of spurs!
THE VISCOUNT:
But, Sir. . .
CYRANO:
I wear no gloves? And what of that?
I had one,. . .remnant of an old worn pair,
And, knowing not what else to do with it,
I threw it in the face of. . .some young fool.
THE VISCOUNT:
Base scoundrel! Rascally flat-footed lout!
CYRANO (taking off his hat, and bowing as if the viscount had introduced
himself):
Ah?. . .and I, Cyrano Savinien
Hercule de Bergerac
(Laughter.)
THE VISCOUNT (angrily):
Buffoon!
CYRANO (calling out as if he had been seized with the cramp):
Aie! Aie!
THE VISCOUNT (who was going away, turns back):
What on earth is the fellow saying now?
CYRANO (with grimaces of pain):
It must be moved—it's getting stiff, I vow,
—This comes of leaving it in idleness!
Aie!. . .
THE VISCOUNT:
What ails you?
CYRANO:
The cramp! cramp in my sword!
THE VISCOUNT (drawing his sword):
Good!
CYRANO:
You shall feel a charming little stroke!
THE VISCOUNT (contemptuously):
Poet!. . .
CYRANO:
Ay, poet, Sir! In proof of which,
While we fence, presto! all extempore
I will compose a ballade.
THE VISCOUNT:
A ballade?
CYRANO:
Belike you know not what a ballade is.
THE VISCOUNT:
But. . .
CYRANO (reciting, as if repeating a lesson):
Know then that the ballade should contain
Three eight-versed couplets. . .
THE VISCOUNT (stamping):
Oh!
CYRANO (still reciting):
And an envoi
Of four lines. . .
THE VISCOUNT:
You. . .
CYRANO:
I'll make one while we fight;
And touch you at the final line.
THE VISCOUNT:
No!
CYRANO:
No?
(declaiming):
The duel in Hotel of Burgundy—fought
By De Bergerac and a good-for-naught!
THE VISCOUNT:
What may that be, an if you please?
CYRANO:
The title.
THE HOUSE (in great excitement):
Give room!—Good sport!—Make place!—Fair play!—No noise!
(Tableau. A circle of curious spectators in the pit; the marquises and
officers mingled with the common people; the pages climbing on each other's
shoulders to see better. All the women standing up in the boxes. To the
right, De Guiche and his retinue. Left, Le Bret, Ragueneau, Cyrano, etc.)
CYRANO (shutting his eyes for a second):
Wait while I choose my rhymes. . .I have them now!
(He suits the action to each word):
I gayly doff my beaver low,
And, freeing hand and heel,
My heavy mantle off I throw,
And I draw my polished steel;
Graceful as Phoebus, round I wheel,
Alert as Scaramouch,
A word in your ear, Sir Spark, I steal—
At the envoi's end, I touch!
(They engage):
Better for you had you lain low;
Where skewer my cock? In the heel?—
In the heart, your ribbon blue below?—
In the hip, and make you kneel?
Ho for the music of clashing steel!
—What now?—A hit? Not much!
'Twill be in the paunch the stroke I steal,
When, at the envoi, I touch.
Oh, for a rhyme, a rhyme in o?—
You wriggle, starch-white, my eel?
A rhyme! a rhyme! The white feather you SHOW!
Tac! I parry the point of your steel;
—The point you hoped to make me feel;
I open the line, now clutch
Your spit, Sir Scullion—slow your zeal!
At the envoi's end, I touch.
(He declaims solemnly):
Envoi.
Prince, pray Heaven for your soul's weal!
I move a pace—lo, such! and such!
Cut over—feint!
(Thrusting):
What ho! You reel?
(The viscount staggers. Cyrano salutes):
At the envoi's end, I touch!
(Acclamations. Applause in the boxes. Flowers and handkerchiefs are thrown
down. The officers surround Cyrano, congratulating him. Ragueneau dances for
joy. Le Bret is happy, but anxious. The viscount's friends hold him up and
bear him away.)
THE CROWD (with one long shout):
Ah!
A TROOPER:
'Tis superb!
A WOMAN:
A pretty stroke!
RAGUENEAU:
A marvel!
A MARQUIS:
A novelty!
LE BRET:
O madman!
THE CROWD (presses round Cyrano. Chorus of):
Compliments!
Bravo! Let me congratulate!. . .Quite unsurpassed!. . .
A WOMAN'S VOICE:
There is a hero for you!. . .
A MUSKETEER (advancing to Cyrano with outstretched hand):
Sir, permit;
Naught could be finer—I'm a judge I think;
I stamped, i' faith!—to show my admiration!
(He goes away.)
CYRANO (to Cuigy):
Who is that gentleman?
CUIGY:
Why—D'Artagnan!
LE BRET (to Cyrano, taking his arm):
A word with you!. . .
CYRANO:
Wait; let the rabble go!. . .
(To Bellerose):
May I stay?
BELLEROSE (respectfully):
Without doubt!
(Cries are heard outside.)
JODELET (who has looked out):
They hoot Montfleury!
BELLEROSE (solemnly):
Sic transit!. . .
(To the porters):
Sweep—close all, but leave the lights.
We sup, but later on we must return,
For a rehearsal of to-morrow's farce.
(Jodelet and Bellerose go out, bowing low to Cyrano.)
THE PORTER (to Cyrano):
You do not dine, Sir?
CYRANO:
No.
(The porter goes out.)
LE BRET:
Because?
CYRANO (proudly):
Because. . .
(Changing his tone as the porter goes away):
I have no money!. . .
LE BRET (with the action of throwing a bag):
How! The bag of crowns?. . .
CYRANO:
Paternal bounty, in a day, thou'rt sped!
LE BRET:
How live the next month?. . .
CYRANO:
I have nothing left.
LE BRET:
Folly!
CYRANO:
But what a graceful action! Think!
THE BUFFET-GIRL (coughing, behind her counter):
Hum!
(Cyrano and Le Bret turn. She comes timidly forward):
Sir, my heart mislikes to know you fast.
(Showing the buffet):
See, all you need. Serve yourself!
CYRANO (taking off his hat):
Gentle child,
Although my Gascon pride would else forbid
To take the least bestowal from your hands,
My fear of wounding you outweighs that pride,
And bids accept. . .
(He goes to the buffet):
A trifle!. . .These few grapes.
(She offers him the whole bunch. He takes a few):
Nay, but this bunch!. . .
(She tries to give him wine, but he stops her):
A glass of water fair!. . .
And half a macaroon!
(He gives back the other half.)
LE BRET:
What foolery!
THE BUFFET-GIRL:
Take something else!
CYRANO:
I take your hand to kiss.
(He kisses her hand as though she were a princess.)
THE BUFFET-GIRL:
Thank you, kind Sir!
(She courtesies):
Good-night.
(She goes out.)
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