Cyrano de Bergerac By Edmond Rostand Act II — Scenes 7-8

CYRANO (whose face stiffens at once): Impossible! My blood congeals to think That other hand should change a comma's dot.

DE GUICHE: But when a verse approves itself to him He pays it dear, good friend.

CYRANO: He pays less dear Than I myself; when a verse pleases me I pay myself, and sing it to myself!

DE GUICHE: You are proud.

CYRANO: Really? You have noticed that?

A CADET (entering, with a string of old battered plumed beaver hats, full of holes, slung on his sword): See, Cyrano, — this morning, on the quay What strange bright-feathered game we caught! The hats O' the fugitives . . .

CARBON: 'Spolia opima!'

ALL (laughing): Ah! ah! ah!

CUIGY: He who laid that ambush, 'faith! Must curse and swear!

BRISSAILLE: Who was it?

DE GUICHE: I myself. (The laughter stops): I charged them — work too dirty for my sword, To punish and chastise a rhymster sot.

(Constrained silence.)

The CADET (in a low voice, to Cyrano, showing him the beavers): What do with them? They're full of grease! — a stew?

CYRANO (taking the sword and, with a salute, dropping the hats at De Guiche's feet): Sir, pray be good enough to render them Back to your friends.

DE GUICHE (rising, sharply): My chair there — quick! — I go! (To Cyrano passionately): As to you, sirrah! . . .

VOICE (in the street): Porters for my lord De Guiche!

DE GUICHE (who has controlled himself — smiling): Have you read 'Don Quixote'?

CYRANO: I have! And doff my hat at th' mad knight-errant's name.

DE GUICHE: I counsel you to study . . .

A PORTER (appearing at back): My lord's chair!

DE GUICHE: . . . The windmill chapter!

CYRANO (bowing): Chapter the Thirteenth.

DE GUICHE: For when one tilts 'gainst windmills — it may chance . . .

CYRANO: Tilt I 'gainst those who change with every breeze?

DE GUICHE: . . . That windmill sails may sweep you with their arm Down — in the mire! . . .

CYRANO: Or upward — to the stars!

(De Guiche goes out, and mounts into his chair. The other lords go away whispering together. Le Bret goes to the door with them. The crowd disperses.)

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