Cyrano de Bergerac By Edmond Rostand Act III — Scenes 11-12


CYRANO (crossing his arms): I fall, Sir, out of heaven! Now, would you credit it, that as I fell I saw that Sirius wears a nightcap? True! (Confidentially): The other Bear is still too small to bite. (Laughing): I went through the Lyre, but I snapped a cord; (Grandiloquent): I mean to write the whole thing in a book; The small gold stars, that, wrapped up in my cloak, I carried safe away at no small risks, Will serve for asterisks i' the printed page!

DE GUICHE: Come, make an end! I want . . .

CYRANO: Oh-ho! You are sly!


CYRANO: You would worm all out of me! — the way The moon is made, and if men breathe and live In its rotund cucurbita?

DE GUICHE (angrily): No, no! I want . . .

CYRANO: Ha, ha! — to know how I got up? Hark, it was by a method all my own.

DE GUICHE (wearied): He's mad!

CYRANO(contemptuously): No! not for me the stupid eagle Of Regiomontanus, nor the timid Pigeon of Archytas — neither of those!

DE GUICHE: Ay, 'tis a fool! But 'tis a learned fool!

CYRANO: No imitator I of other men! (De Guiche has succeeded in getting by, and goes toward Roxane's door. Cyrano follows him, ready to stop him by force): Six novel methods, all, this brain invented!

DE GUICHE (turning round): Six?

CYRANO (volubly): First, with body naked as your hand, Festooned about with crystal flacons, full O' th' tears the early morning dew distils; My body to the sun's fierce rays exposed To let it suck me up, as 't sucks the dew!

DE GUICHE (surprised, making one step toward Cyrano): Ah! that makes one!

CYRANO (stepping back, and enticing him further away): And then, the second way, To generate wind — for my impetus — To rarefy air, in a cedar case, By mirrors placed icosahedron-wise.

DE GUICHE (making another step): Two!

CYRANO (still stepping backward): Or — for I have some mechanic skill — To make a grasshopper, with springs of steel, And launch myself by quick succeeding fires Saltpeter-fed to the stars' pastures blue!

DE GUICHE (unconsciously following him and counting on his fingers): Three!

CYRANO: Or (since fumes have property to mount) — To charge a globe with fumes, sufficiently To carry me aloft!

DE GUICHE (same play, more and more astonished): Well, that makes four!

CYRANO: Or smear myself with marrow from a bull, Since, at the lowest point of Zodiac, Phoebus well loves to suck that marrow up!

DE GUICHE (amazed): Five!

CYRANO (who, while speaking, had drawn him to the other side of the square near a bench): Sitting on an iron platform — thence To throw a magnet in the air. This is A method well conceived — the magnet flown, Infallibly the iron will pursue: Then quick! relaunch your magnet, and you thus Can mount and mount unmeasured distances!

DE GUICHE: Here are six excellent expedients! Which of the six chose you?

CYRANO: Why, none! — a seventh!

DE GUICHE: Astonishing! What was it?

CYRANO: I'll recount.

DE GUICHE: This wild eccentric becomes interesting!

CYRANO (making a noise like the waves, with weird gestures): Houuh! Houuh!


CYRANO: You have guessed?


CYRANO: The tide! I' th' witching hour when the moon woos the wave, I laid me, fresh from a sea-bath, on the shore — And, failing not to put head foremost — for The hair holds the sea-water in its mesh — I rose in air, straight! straight! like angel's flight, And mounted, mounted, gently, effortless, . . . When lo! a sudden shock! Then . . .

DE GUICHE (overcome by curiosity, sitting down on the bench): Then?

CYRANO: Oh! then . . . (Suddenly returning to his natural voice): The quarter's gone — I'll hinder you no more: The marriage-vows are made.

DE GUICHE (springing up): What? Am I mad? That voice? (The house-door opens. Lackeys appear carrying lighted candelabra. Light. Cyrano gracefully uncovers): That nose — Cyrano?

CYRANO (bowing): Cyrano. While we were chatting, they have plighted troth.

DE GUICHE: Who? (He turns round. Tableau. Behind the lackeys appear Roxane and Christian, holding each other by the hand. The friar follows them, smiling. Ragueneau also holds a candlestick. The duenna closes the rear, bewildered, having made a hasty toilet): Heavens!

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