Cyrano de Bergerac By Edmond Rostand Act V — Scene 5

CYRANO (whose face changes more and more): Tuesday, the Court repaired to Fontainebleau. Wednesday, the Montglat said to Comte de Fiesque . . . No! Thursday — Mancini, Queen of France! (almost!) Friday, the Monglat to Count Fiesque said — 'Yes!' And Saturday the twenty-sixth . . .

(He closes his eyes. His head falls forward. Silence.)

ROXANE (surprised at his voice ceasing, turns round, looks at him, and rising, terrified): He swoons! (She runs toward him crying): Cyrano!

CYRANO (opening his eyes, in an unconcerned voice): What is this? (He sees Roxane bending over him, and, hastily pressing his hat on his head, and shrinking back in his chair): Nay, on my word 'Tis nothing! Let me be!

ROXANE: But . . .

CYRANO: That old wound Of Arras, sometimes, — as you know . . .

ROXANE: Dear friend!

CYRANO: 'Tis nothing, 'twill pass soon; (He smiles with an effort): See! — it has passed!

ROXANE: Each of us has his wound; ay, I have mine, — Never healed up — not healed yet, my old wound! (She puts her hand on her breast): 'Tis here, beneath this letter brown with age, All stained with tear-drops, and still stained with blood.

(Twilight begins to fall.)

CYRANO: His letter! Ah! you promised me one day That I should read it.

ROXANE: What would you? — His letter?

CYRANO: Yes, I would fain, — to-day . . .

ROXANE (giving the bag hung at her neck): See! here it is!

CYRANO (taking it): Have I your leave to open?

ROXANE: Open — read!

(She comes back to her tapestry frame, folds it up, sorts her wools.)

CYRANO (reading): 'Roxane, adieu! I soon must die! This very night, beloved; and I Feel my soul heavy with love untold. I die! No more, as in days of old, My loving, longing eyes will feast On your least gesture — ay, the least! I mind me the way you touch your cheek With your finger, softly, as you speak! Ah me! I know that gesture well! My heart cries out! — I cry "Farewell"!'

ROXANE: But how you read that letter! One would think . . .

CYRANO (continuing to read): 'My life, my love, my jewel, my sweet, My heart has been yours in every beat!'

(The shades of evening fall imperceptibly.)

ROXANE: You read in such a voice — so strange — and yet — It is not the first time I hear that voice!

(She comes nearer very softly, without his perceiving it, passes behind his chair, and, noiselessly leaning over him, looks at the letter. The darkness deepens.)

CYRANO: 'Here, dying, and there, in the land on high, I am he who loved, who loves you, — I . . . '

ROXANE (putting her hand on his shoulder): How can you read? It is too dark to see! (He starts, turns, sees her close to him. Suddenly alarmed, he holds his head down. Then in the dusk, which has now completely enfolded them, she says, very slowly, with clasped hands): And, fourteen years long, he has played this part Of the kind old friend who comes to laugh and chat.

CYRANO: Roxane!

ROXANE: 'Twas you!

CYRANO: No, never; Roxane, no!

ROXANE: I should have guessed, each time he said my name!

CYRANO: No, it was not I!

ROXANE: It was you!

CYRANO: I swear!

ROXANE: I see through all the generous counterfeit — The letters — you!


ROXANE: The sweet, mad love-words! You!


ROXANE: The voice that thrilled the night — you, you!

CYRANO: I swear you err.

ROXANE: The soul — it was your soul!

CYRANO: I loved you not.

ROXANE: You loved me not?

CYRANO: 'Twas he!

ROXANE: You loved me!


ROXANE: See! how you falter now!

CYRANO: No, my sweet love, I never loved you!

ROXANE: Ah! Things dead, long dead, see! how they rise again! — Why, why keep silence all these fourteen years, When, on this letter, which he never wrote, The tears were your tears?

CYRANO (holding out the letter to her): The bloodstains were his.

ROXANE: Why, then, that noble silence, — kept so long — Broken to-day for the first time — why?

CYRANO: Why? . . .

(Le Bret and Ragueneau enter running.)

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