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Cyrano de Bergerac
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Act I, Scene v

Cyrano, Le Bret.
CYRANO (to Le Bret):
Now talk—I listen.
(He stands at the buffet, and placing before him first the macaroon):
Dinner!. . .
(then the grapes):
Dessert!. . .
(then the glass of water):
Wine!. . .
(he seats himself):
So! And now to table!
Ah! I was hungry, friend, nay, ravenous!
(eating):
You said—?
LE BRET:
These fops, would-be belligerent,
Will, if you heed them only, turn your head!. . .
Ask people of good sense if you would know
The effect of your fine insolence—
CYRANO (finishing his macaroon):
Enormous!
LE BRET:
The Cardinal. . .
CYRANO (radiant):
The Cardinal—was there?
LE BRET:
Must have thought it. . .
CYRANO:
Original, i' faith!
LE BRET:
But. . .
CYRANO:
He's an author. 'Twill not fail to please him
That I should mar a brother-author's play.
LE BRET:
You make too many enemies by far!
CYRANO (eating his grapes):
How many think you I have made to-night?
LE BRET:
Forty, no less, not counting ladies.
CYRANO:
Count!
LE BRET:
Montfleury first, the bourgeois, then De Guiche,
The Viscount, Baro, the Academy. . .
CYRANO:
Enough! I am o'erjoyed!
LE BRET:
But these strange ways,
Where will they lead you, at the end? Explain
Your system—come!
CYRANO:
I in a labyrinth
Was lost—too many different paths to choose;
I took. . .
LE BRET:
Which?
CYRANO:
Oh! by far the simplest path. . .
Decided to be admirable in all!
LE BRET (shrugging his shoulders):
So be it! But the motive of your hate
To Montfleury—come, tell me!
CYRANO (rising):
This Silenus,
Big-bellied, coarse, still deems himself a peril—
A danger to the love of lovely ladies,
And, while he sputters out his actor's part,
Makes sheep's eyes at their boxes—goggling frog!
I hate him since the evening he presumed
To raise his eyes to hers. . .Meseemed I saw
A slug crawl slavering o'er a flower's petals!
LE BRET (stupefied):
How now? What? Can it be. . .?
CYRANO (laughing bitterly):
That I should love?. . .
(Changing his tone, gravely):
I love.
LE BRET:
And may I know?. . .You never said. . .
CYRANO:
Come now, bethink you!. . .The fond hope to be
Beloved, e'en by some poor graceless lady,
Is, by this nose of mine for aye bereft me;
—This lengthy nose which, go where'er I will,
Pokes yet a quarter-mile ahead of me;
But I may love—and who? 'Tis Fate's decree
I love the fairest—how were't otherwise?
LE BRET:
The fairest?. . .
CYRANO:
Ay, the fairest of the world,
Most brilliant—most refined—most golden-haired!
LE BRET:
Who is this lady?
CYRANO:
She's a danger mortal,
All unsuspicious—full of charms unconscious,
Like a sweet perfumed rose—a snare of nature,
Within whose petals Cupid lurks in ambush!
He who has seen her smile has known perfection,
—Instilling into trifles grace's essence,
Divinity in every careless gesture;
Not Venus' self can mount her conch blown sea-ward,
As she can step into her chaise a porteurs,
Nor Dian fleet across the woods spring-flowered,
Light as my Lady o'er the stones of Paris!. . .
LE BRET:
Sapristi! all is clear!
CYRANO:
As spiderwebs!
LE BRET:
Your cousin, Madeleine Robin?
CYRANO:
Roxane!
LE BRET:
Well, but so much the better! Tell her so!
She saw your triumph here this very night!
CYRANO:
Look well at me—then tell me, with what hope
This vile protuberance can inspire my heart!
I do not lull me with illusions—yet
At times I'm weak: in evening hours dim
I enter some fair pleasance, perfumed sweet;
With my poor ugly devil of a nose
I scent spring's essence—in the silver rays
I see some knight—a lady on his arm,
And think 'To saunter thus 'neath the moonshine,
I were fain to have my lady, too, beside!'
Thought soars to ecstasy. . .O sudden fall!
—The shadow of my profile on the wall!
LE BRET (tenderly):
My friend!. . .
CYRANO:
My friend, at times 'tis hard, 'tis bitter,
To feel my loneliness—my own ill-favor. . .
LE BRET (taking his hand):
You weep?
CYRANO:
No, never! Think, how vilely suited
Adown this nose a tear its passage tracing!
I never will, while of myself I'm master,
let the divinity of tears—their beauty
Be wedded to such common ugly grossness.
Nothing more solemn than a tear—sublimer;
And I would not by weeping turn to laughter
The grave emotion that a tear engenders!
LE BRET:
Never be sad! What's love?—a chance of Fortune!
CYRANO (shaking his head):
Look I a Caesar to woo Cleopatra?
A Tito to aspire to Berenice?
LE BRET:
Your courage and your wit!—The little maid
Who offered you refreshment even now,
Her eyes did not abhor you—you saw well!
CYRANO (impressed):
True!
LE BRET:
Well, how then?. . .I saw Roxane herself
Was death-pale as she watched the duel.
CYRANO:
Pale?
LE BRET:
Her heart, her fancy, are already caught!
Put it to th' touch!
CYRANO:
That she may mock my face?
That is the one thing on this earth I fear!
THE PORTER (introducing some one to Cyrano):
Sir, some one asks for you. . .
CYRANO (seeing the duenna):
God! her duenna!
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