Cyrano de Bergerac By Edmond Rostand Act II — Scenes 3-4

Act II. Scene 4

Ragueneau, Lise, the musketeer. Cyrano at the little table writing. The poets, dressed in black, their stockings ungartered, and covered with mud.

LISE (entering, to Ragueneau): Here they come, your mud-bespattered friends!

FIRST POET (entering, to Ragueneau): Brother in art! . . .

SECOND POET (to Ragueneau, shaking his hands): Dear brother!

THIRD POET: High soaring eagle among pastry-cooks! (He sniffs): Marry! it smells good here in your eyrie!

FOURTH POET: 'Tis at Phoebus' own rays that thy roasts turn!

FIFTH POET: Apollo among master-cooks —

RAGUENEAU (whom they surround and embrace): Ah! how quick a man feels at his ease with them! . . .

FIRST POET: We were stayed by the mob; they are crowded all round the Porte de Nesle! . . .

SECOND POET: Eight bleeding brigand carcasses strew the pavements there — all slit open with sword-gashes!

CYRANO (raising his head a minute): Eight? . . . hold, methought seven.

(He goes on writing.)

RAGUENEAU (to Cyrano): Know you who might be the hero of the fray?

CYRANO (carelessly): Not I.

LISE (to the musketeer): And you? Know you?

THE MUSKETEER (twirling his mustache): Maybe!

CYRANO (writing a little way off: — he is heard murmuring a word from time to time): 'I love thee!'

FIRST POET: 'Twas one man, say they all, ay, swear to it, one man who, single-handed, put the whole band to the rout!

SECOND POET: 'Twas a strange sight! — pikes and cudgels strewed thick upon the ground.

CYRANO (writing): . . . 'Thine eyes' . . .

THIRD POET: And they were picking up hats all the way to the Quai d'Orfevres!

FIRST POET: Sapristi! but he must have been a ferocious . . .

CYRANO (same play): . . . 'Thy lips' . . .

FIRST POET: 'Twas a parlous fearsome giant that was the author of such exploits!

CYRANO (same play): . . . 'And when I see thee come, I faint for fear.'

SECOND POET (filching a cake): What hast rhymed of late, Ragueneau?

CYRANO (same play): . . . 'Who worships thee' . . . (He stops, just as he is about to sign, and gets up, slipping the letter into his doublet): No need I sign, since I give it her myself.

RAGUENEAU (to second poet): I have put a recipe into verse.

THIRD POET (seating himself by a plate of cream-puffs): Go to! Let us hear these verses!

FOURTH POET (looking at a cake which he has taken): Its cap is all a' one side!

(He makes one bite of the top.)

FIRST POET: See how this gingerbread woos the famished rhymer with its almond eyes, and its eyebrows of angelica!

(He takes it.)

SECOND POET: We listen.

THIRD POET (squeezing a cream-puff gently): How it laughs! Till its very cream runs over!

SECOND POET (biting a bit off the great lyre of pastry): This is the first time in my life that ever I drew any means of nourishing me from the lyre!

RAGUENEAU (who has put himself ready for reciting, cleared his throat, settled his cap, struck an attitude): A recipe in verse! . . .

SECOND POET (to first, nudging him): You are breakfasting?

FIRST POET (to second): And you dining, methinks.

RAGUENEAU: How almond tartlets are made.

Beat your eggs up, light and quick; Froth them thick; Mingle with them while you beat Juice of lemon, essence fine; Then combine The burst milk of almonds sweet.

Circle with a custard paste The slim waist Of your tartlet-molds; the top With a skillful finger print, Nick and dint, Round their edge, then, drop by drop, In its little dainty bed Your cream shed: In the oven place each mold: Reappearing, softly browned, The renowned Almond tartlets you behold!

THE POETS (with mouths crammed full): Exquisite! Delicious!

A POET (choking): Homph!

(They go up, eating.)

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As Cyrano writes a love letter to Roxane, he does not sign it because