Cyrano de Bergerac By Edmond Rostand Act III — Scenes 5-7

ROXANE (agitated): Why, this is love indeed! . . .

CYRANO: Ay, true, the feeling Which fills me, terrible and jealous, truly Love, — which is ever sad amid its transports! Love, — and yet, strangely, not a selfish passion! I for your joy would gladly lay mine own down, — E'en though you never were to know it, — never! — If but at times I might — far off and lonely, — Hear some gay echo of the joy I bought you! Each glance of thine awakes in me a virtue, — A novel, unknown valor. Dost begin, sweet, To understand? So late, dost understand me? Feel'st thou my soul, here, through the darkness mounting? Too fair the night! Too fair, too fair the moment! That I should speak thus, and that you should hearken! Too fair! In moments when my hopes rose proudest, I never hoped such guerdon. Naught is left me But to die now! Have words of mine the power To make you tremble, — throned there in the branches? Ay, like a leaf among the leaves, you tremble! You tremble! For I feel, — an if you will it, Or will it not, — your hand's beloved trembling Thrill through the branches, down your sprays of jasmine!

(He kisses passionately one of the hanging tendrils.)

ROXANE: Ay! I am trembling, weeping! — I am thine! Thou hast conquered all of me!

CYRANO: Then let death come! 'Tis I, 'tis I myself, who conquered thee! One thing, but one, I dare to ask —

CHRISTIAN (under the balcony): A kiss!

ROXANE (drawing back): What?


ROXANE: You ask . . . ?

CYRANO: I . . . (To Christian, whispering): Fool! you go too quick!

CHRISTIAN: Since she is moved thus — I will profit by it!

CYRANO (to Roxane): My words sprang thoughtlessly, but now I see — Shame on me! — I was too presumptuous.

ROXANE (a little chilled): How quickly you withdraw.

CYRANO: Yes, I withdraw Without withdrawing! Hurt I modesty? If so — the kiss I asked — oh, grant it not.

CHRISTIAN (to Cyrano, pulling him by his cloak): Why?

CYRANO: Silence, Christian! Hush!

ROXANE (leaning over): What whisper you?

CYRANO: I chid myself for my too bold advances; Said, 'Silence, Christian!' (The lutes begin to play): Hark! Wait awhile, . . . Steps come! (Roxane shuts the window. Cyrano listens to the lutes, one of which plays a merry, the other a melancholy, tune): Why, they play sad — then gay — then sad! What? Neither man nor woman? — oh! a monk!

(Enter a capuchin friar, with a lantern. He goes from house to house, looking at every door.)

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