Cyrano de Bergerac
A Play in Five Acts: Act One
‘Portrait of Cyrano de Bergerac’
Laurens Scherm (ca. 1689 - 1701), The Rijksmuseum
Translated by A. S. Kline © Copyright 2003 All Rights Reserved
This work may be freely reproduced, stored and transmitted, electronically or otherwise, for any non-commercial purpose. Conditions and Exceptions apply. Permission to perform this version of the play, on stage or film, by amateur or professional companies, and for commercial purposes, should be requested from the translator.
- The Characters
- Act I Scene I
- Act I Scene II
- Act I Scene III
- Act I Scene IV
- Act I Scene V
- Act I Scene VI
- Act I Scene VII
‘Coquelin dans la rôle de Cyrano de Bergerac’
L'ILLUSTRATION, 8 January 1898, Wikimedia Commons
Cyrano de Bergerac
Christian de Neuvillette
Comte De Guiche
Carbon De Castel-Jaloux
A Second Servant
A Spanish Officer
Bertrand The Piper
The Pastry Cooks
The Orange Seller
The Shop Girl
The Crowd, troopers, citizens (male and female), marquises, musketeers, pickpockets, pastry-cooks, poets, Gascon cadets, actors (male and female), violinists, pages, children, soldiers, Spaniards, spectators (male and female), précieuses (intellectuals), nuns, etc.
A Theatrical Production at the Burgundy Hotel
The hall of the Hotel Burgundy, in 1640. A sort of tennis-court arranged and decorated for a theatrical production.
The hall is oblong and we see it obliquely, so that one of its sides forms the back scene and runs from the right foreground, to meet the left background where it makes a right angle with the stage prepared for the production, which is partially visible.
On both sides of the stage along the wings are benches. The curtain is composed of two tapestries that can be drawn apart. Above a harlequin’s cloak are the royal arms. Broad steps lead from the stage to the hall; on either side of these steps are places for the violinists. Footlights.
There are two tiers of side galleries: the highest divided into boxes. There are no seats in the pit, which is the real stage of our theatre: at the back of the pit, on the right foreground, some benches form steps, and underneath a stairway which leads to the upper galleries an improvised buffet is ornamented with little tapers, flower vases, crystal glasses, plates of cakes, bottles, etc.
The entrance to the theatre is centre-back, under the gallery of boxes. A large double door is half open to let in the audience. On the panels of this door, and in several corners, and over the buffet, red placards bear the name of the play being performed, ‘La Clorise.’
As the curtain rises the hall is in semi-darkness, and still empty. The chandeliers have been lowered into the middle of the pit ready for lighting.
‘Aerial View of Theatre’
Stefano Della Bella (Italian, 1610 - 1664), The National Gallery of Art
The public, arrive gradually. Troopers, citizens, servants, pages, a pickpocket, the doorkeeper, etc., followed by the Marquises Cuigy, Brissaille, the orange-seller, the violinists, etc.
(A tumult of loud voices is heard outside the door and a trooper enters hastily.)
The Doorkeeper (following him)
Hey! It costs fifteen!
The Trooper I go in free.
The Doorkeeper And why?
The Trooper I’m the King’s Household Cavalry passing by!
The Doorkeeper (to another trooper, entering)
Second Trooper I don’t pay.
The Doorkeeper But...
Second Trooper I’m a musketeer.
First Trooper (to the second)
The play doesn’t start till two. The floor’s clear.
Let’s try a round with the foils, then.
(They fence with the foils they have brought.)
A Servant (entering)
Another (already arrived)
The First (showing him cards and dice which he takes from his doublet)
(He sits on the floor.)
The Second (doing the same)
Fine. I’m your man!
First Servant (taking from his pocket a candle-end, which he lights, and sets on the floor)
I’ve a little light here stolen from my master!
A Guardsman (to a flower-girl who appears)
It’s sweet to come before the lights are lit, not after!
(He seizes her round the waist.)
One of the Fencers (receiving a thrust)
One of the Card-Players A club!
The Guardsman (following the girl)
The Shop Girl (freeing herself)
The Guardsman (drawing her to a dark corner)
A Man (sitting on the floor with others who’ve brought provisions)
When you come early there’s no problem eating here.
A Citizen (leading his son)
Let’s sit here, my boy.
A Card Player Three aces!
A Man (taking a bottle from under his cloak, and also sitting down.):
A drinker may as well
sip his Burgundy in the Burgundy Hotel!
The Citizen (to his son)
Wouldn’t you think we were in some den of vice!
(He points with his cane to the drunkard.)
(One of the fencers, stepping back, jostles him.)
(He stumbles into the card-players.)
The Guardsman (behind him, still teasing the shop-girl)
The Citizen (hurriedly pulling his son away)
- To think that’s it in this theatre that they play
Rotrou, my son!
The Young Man Yes, and Corneille!
A Troop of Pages (enter hand-in-hand, dancing the farandole, and singing)
Tra la, la, la, la, la, la, lalere ...
The Doorkeeper (sternly, to the pages)
You pages, there, no nonsense! ...
First Page (his dignity wounded)
Oh, sir! - Such suspicion! ...
(Quickly, to the second page, the moment the doorkeeper’s back is turned)
Have you a bit of string?
The Second Here, with a fish-hook on.
First Page We can fish for wigs, from up in the gallery.
A Pickpocket (gathering some evil-looking youths round him)
Now then, young rascals, take a lesson from me
before you start on your first real thieveries.
Second Page (calling up to others in the top galleries)
Hey! Have you brought peashooters?
Third Page (from above)
And some peas.
(He blows, and showers them with peas.)
The Young Man (to his father)
What play are they doing?
The Citizen ‘Clorise.’
The Young Man Who wrote that?
The Citizen It’s by Balthazar Baro. It’s a play and a half!...
(He goes upstage arm-in-arm with his son.)
The PickPocket (to his pupils)
Lace on their knee-ruffles - cut them off shear!
A Spectator (to another, showing him a corner of the gallery)
Look, the first night of ‘Le Cid’,I was sitting there.
The PickPocket (making stealthy movements with his fingers)
The Citizen (coming downstage again with his son)
You’ll see some famous actors tonight...
The PickPocket (as if pulling at something furtively, with little tugs.):
The Citizen Montfleury ...
Someone (shouting from the upper gallery)!
Come on: let’s have some light!
The Citizen ... Bellerose, l’Épy, la Beaupré, Jodelet!
A Page (in the pit)
Here comes the girl, selling oranges!
The Orange Seller (taking her place behind the buffet)
milk, oranges, raspberry-water....
(An outcry at the door)
A Falsetto Voice Make way, you brute!
A Servant (astonished)
Marquises! - in the pit? ...
Another Servant Oh! For a moment or two!
(A group of young marquises enter.)
A Marquis (seeing that the hall’s half empty)
What now! Are we arriving like a pack of tradesmen,
Not crowding people? Not even stamping on them!
- Oh, fie! Fie! Fie!
(Recognizing some other gentlemen who have entered a little before him)
Cuigy The faithful!
Why yes, we’re here even before the candles.
The Marquis Ah! Don’t speak of it! I’m in an awful temper.
Another Console yourself, Marquis! Here’s the lamplighter.
All the Audience (welcoming the arrival of the lamplighter)
(They form in groups round the chandeliers as they are lit. Some people have taken their seats in the galleries. Lignière enters: a distinguished-looking roué, with disordered shirtfront, arm-in-arm with Christian de Neuvillette. Christian, who is dressed elegantly, but rather behind the fashion, appears preoccupied, and keeps looking up at the boxes.)
The same. Christian, Lignière, then Ragueneau and Le Bret.
Not drunk as yet?
Lignière (aside to Christian)
May I introduce you?
(Christian nods his assent.)
Baron de Neuvillette.
The Audience (applauding as the first lighted chandelier is raised.)
Cuigy (to Brissaille, looking at Christian)
A fine fellow!
First Marquis (who has overheard)
Lignière (introducing them to Christian)
My lords De Cuigy, De Brissaille ...
First Marquis (to second)
He looks well enough, but it seems he’s not quite yet
au fait with the latest fashion.
Lignière (to Cuigy)
You’re from Touraine.
Christian Yes, I’ve scarcely been here in Paris twenty days.
I join the Guards, tomorrow: the Cadets.
First Marquis (watching the people entering the boxes)
here’s Justice Aubry’s wife.
The Orange Seller Oranges, milk ...
The Violinists (tuning up)
La .. la...
Cuigy (to Christian, drawing his attention to the hall, which is filling fast)
Christian Ah, yes: a crowd.
First Marquis All the world’s here!
(They name the different elegantly dressed ladies who enter the boxes, and bow to them, receiving smiles in reply.)
Second Marquis Madame de Guéméné.
Cuigy Madame de Bois-Dauphin.
First Marquis Of whom we despair!
Brissaille Madame de Chavigny ...
Second Marquis Who leaves our hearts a ruin!...
Lignière Why, Monsieur de Corneille’s returned from Rouen!
The Young Man (to his father)
Are the Academy here?
The Citizen Yes I see quite a number:
there’s Boudu, Boissat, and Cureau de la Chambre,
Porchères, Colomby, Bourzeys, Bourdon, Arbaud.
Ah, how fine... all the deathless names we know!
First Marquis Look! Our précieuses are taking their seats:
Urimédonte, Cassandace, Barthénoïde,
Second Marquis Ah! My God, their names, so sweet!
Marquis, you know every one?
First Marquis I know every one, Marquis!
Lignière (drawing Christian aside)
Dear friend, I came here to do you some service:
but the lady’s not coming. I’ll slip back to my vice.
No, no! You, who sing of Court and City, stay:
who is that lady I die of love for? You can say.
The First Violin(tapping on his desk with his bow)
(He raises his bow.)
The Orange Seller Almond-biscuits, lemonade ...
(The violins begin to play.)
Christian I fear she’s too fashionable, too fastidious in her ways!
I’ve no wit, I don’t dare: I won’t know how to reply.
This language that they speak, today, that they write,
confuses me; I’m just a soldier, honest, shy.
- She’s always there: the empty box on the right!
Lignière (making as if to go)
Christian (detaining him)
Oh no! Stay.
Lignière I can’t. D’Assoucy
waits for me at the inn, and my thirst’s killing me.
The Orange Seller (passing before him with a tray)
The Orange Seller Milk?
The Orange Seller Muscadet!
I’ll stay a little while. Let’s try this Muscadet.
(He sits near the buffet; the girl pours some Muscadet for him.)
(SHOUTS from the whole audience, at the entry of a plump little man, excited and joyful.)
Lignière (to Christian)
It’s the pastry-cook Ragueneau.
Ragueneau (dressed like a pastry-cook in his Sunday best, approaching Lignière, hastily.)
Sir, have you chanced to see Monsieur de Cyrano?
Lignière (introducing him to Christian.)
The pastry-cook of actors and of poets!
You do me too much honour...
Lignière Peace, a Maecenas yet!
Ragueneau Yes, those gentlemen help themselves ...
Lignière On credit!
A poet of talent himself...
Ragueneau So they have it.
Lignière - Mad for verse!
Ragueneau It’s true, for the tiniest couplet...
Lignière You give them a tart...
Ragueneau Oh! - Just a little tartlet!
Lignière Ah! Such modesty!
- And for a sonnet instead,
didn’t you give in return ...
- The theatre! You love that?
Ragueneau I idolise the stage!
Lignière You pay for your theatre tickets - with your cakes!
Your place, to-night, come tell me, entre nous,
what did it cost?
Ragueneau Four flans, and fifteen choux.
(He looks to both sides.)
Monsieur de Cyrano’s not here? I’m surprised.
Lignière Why so?
Ragueneau Montfleury acts!
Lignière Yes, you’re right,
that barrel of wine takes Phédon’s part to-night:
what’s that to Cyrano?
Ragueneau You’re not current, quite?
He’s put Montfleury on guard: he’s filled with rage,
the actor can’t show his face for a month on stage.
Lignière (drinking his fourth glass.)
Ragueneau Montfleury acts!
Cuigy He can’t stop him.
Ragueneau Oh no?
That’s what I’ve come to see!
First Marquis Who’s this Cyrano?
Cuigy A fellow well-versed in fencing etiquette.
Second Marquis Noble?
Cuigy Noble enough. He’s a Guards’ cadet.
(Pointing to a gentleman who is going up and down the hall as if searching for some one.)
But his friend Le Bret, can tell you.
(He calls him.)
(Le Bret comes towards them.)
You’re seeking Bergerac?
Le Bret I’m troubled. Yes!...
Cuigy Isn’t it true he sings to a different tune?
Le Bret (tenderly)
Ah! He’s the choicest being under the moon!
Le Bret Musician!
Lignière And such a varied physiognomy he’s been given!
Ragueneau True, I don’t think even Philippe de Champaigne’s
grave hand could paint that likeness for us again:
bizarre, extravagant, wild, a one-man show,
he’d have eclipsed that madman Jacques Callot,
the maddest fighter of all performing faces -
his three-plumed hat, his doublet with six laces,
his sword sticking up behind, under his cloak
proudly, like the cheeky tail of a cock,
fiercer than all the fierce D’Artagnans ever
Gascony produced, or shall, that kindly mother!
He wears, above his Punchinello ruff,
a nose!...Ah! My lords, indeed he’s nose enough!....
You can’t see a nose like that go by, in state
without crying out: ‘Ah no, they exaggerate!’
Then you smile: ‘He’ll soon take it off.’ But never,
Monsieur de Bergerac doesn’t remove it, ever.
Le Bret (throwing back his head.)
He dangles it - God help whoever takes the bait!
His sword’s one half of the blind shears of Fate!
First Marquis (shrugging his shoulders.):
He won’t come!
Ragueneau Yes, he will!...I’ll bet you a dish
- à la Ragueneau.
The Marquis (laughing.)
(Murmurs of admiration in the hall. Roxane has just appeared in her box. She seats herself in front, the duenna at the back. Christian, who is paying the orange-seller, doesn’t see her entrance.)
Second Marquis (with little cries of joy.):
Ah, gentlemen! She is
First Marquis One thinks of a peach
with smiling strawberry blushes!
Second Marquis And so fresh! If you reached
for her you’d easily catch a fever in your heart!
Christian (raises his head, sees Roxane, and catches Lignière by the arm.):
Lignière (looking at her.)
Ah! That’s her?....
Christian Yes. Say who. I fear her art.
Lignière (tasting his wine, in little sips.):
Magdaleine Robin, called Roxane. - A subtle woman.
Lignière Free. Orphan. Cousin
to Cyrano - of whom we spoke.
(At this moment an elegant nobleman, blue ribbon on his chest, enters the box, and stands there talking to Roxane.)
Lignière (who is becoming tipsy, winking at him.):
- Comte de Guiche. Taken with her. He’s married, though,
to the niece of Armand de Richelieu. Desires
to marry Roxane to a certain sad man, aspires
to use Monsieur de Valvert, viscomte...agreeable.
She won’t agree, but then De Guiche is powerful:
He can persecute the plain bourgeoisie.
But I’ve exposed his sly machinery,
in a song, that ... Ha! I need to sing it, right!
- The ending’s wicked...Listen, here!
(He staggers up, and lifts his glass, ready to sing.)
Christian No. Good-night.
Lignière You’re going?
Christian To Monsieur de Valvert!
Lignière Have a care!
It’s he who’ll kill you.
(Showing him Roxane, by a sideways glance)
Stay. She’s watching you, there.
Christian It’s true!
(He stands looking at her. The group of pickpockets seeing him, head in air and open-mouthed, draw close to him.)
Lignière It’s me that’s going. I’m thirsty! My name
is awaited - in the inns!
(He goes out, reeling.)
Le Bret (who has been all round the hall, coming back to Ragueneau reassured.)
All the same ...
Le Bret Ah! I do hope he hasn’t seen the notice!
The Audience Begin, begin!
The same, all but Lignière. De Guiche, Valvert, then Montfleury
A Marquis (watching De Guiche, who comes down from Roxane’s box, and crosses the pit surrounded by obsequious noblemen, among them the Viscomte de Valvert.)
What spirit, this De Guiche!
Another Bah! ... Another Gascon!
The First A Gascon, subtle, cold, now
- that’s the kind of man succeeds!...Trust me, let’s bow.
(They go toward De Guiche.)
Second Marquis Beautiful ribbons! What colour’s that, Comte de Guiche?
‘Doe’s-belly’ or is it ‘Sweetheart-give-me-a-kiss?’
De Guiche It’s the colour called ‘Queasy Spaniard.’
First Marquis That colour
doesn’t lie, since soon now, thanks to your valour,
Spain will suffer badly in Flanders.
De Guiche I’ll climb up!
Will you come?
(He goes toward the stage, followed by the marquises and gentlemen. He turns and calls.)
Come on, Valvert!
Christian (who is watching and listening, starts on hearing the name.):
Ah, the Viscomte!
I’ll throw it in his face, where is it, my ...
(He puts his hand in his pocket, and discovers the hand of a pickpocket who is about to rob him. He turns round.)
The PickPocket Oh!
Christian (holding him tightly.)
I was looking for a glove.
The PickPocket (smiling piteously.)
You found a hand.
(Changing his tone, quickly and in a whisper.)
Let go. I’ll tell you a secret.
Christian (still holding him.)
The PickPocket Lignière...
who’s just left you ...
Christian (as before)
The PickPocket It’s his last hour, beware.
A song he’s made has injured a man of might -
a hundred men - I’m one - are gathered, for tonight...
Christian By whom?
The PickPocket Discretion ...
Christian (shrugging his shoulders)
The PickPocket (with great dignity)
Christian Where are they posted, then?
The PickPocket At the Porte de Nesle.
On his way home. Warn him!
Christian (letting go of his wrists.)
But where will he be?
The PickPocket Run round to all the inns: The Golden Rookery,
The Fir Cone, The Tightened Belt, The Double Flame,
The Three Funnels, at each one leave his name,
and a little line of writing to tell him their plan.
Christian Yes – I’ll run! The scum! A hundred against one man!
(Looking lovingly at Roxane.)
Ah, to leave her...her!
(looking with rage at Valvert.)
And him! ... I must save him,
(He hurries out. De Guiche, the Viscomte, the Marquises, have all disappeared behind the curtain to take their places on the benches placed on stage. The pit is quite full; the galleries and boxes are also crowded.)
The Audience Begin!
A Citizen (whose wig is drawn up on the end of a string by a page in the upper gallery)
Cries of Delight Bravo, you pages!
He’s bald! - Ha! Ha! Ha! ...
The Citizen (furious, shaking his fist)
Oh you, young villain!
Laughter And Cries (beginning very loud, and dying away)
Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha!
Le Bret (astonished)
This silence is sudden ...
(A spectator says something to him in a low voice.)
The Spectator I heard it just now on good authority.
Murmurs (spreading through the hall)
No! Yes, I say! In the box with the grill! Hush! Is it he?
The Cardinal! - The Cardinal? - The Cardinal!
A Page Ah! The devil! We’ll have to behave ourselves...
(Someone raps on the stage. Every one is motionless. A pause.)
The Voice Of A Marquis (in the silence, behind the curtain)
Snuff out that candle!
Another Marquis (putting his head through the opening in the curtain)
(A chair is passed from hand to hand, over the heads of the spectators. The marquis takes it and disappears, after blowing some kisses to the boxes.)
A Spectator Silence!
(Someone gives three raps again. The curtain opens. Tableau. The marquises in insolent attitudes seated on each side of the stage. The scene represents a pastoral landscape. Four little chandeliers light the stage; the violins play softly.)
Le Bret (in a low voice to Ragueneau)
Montfleury enters now?
Ragueneau (also in a low voice)
Yes, he’s the first one on.
Le Bret Cyrano isn’t here.
Ragueneau I’ve lost my bet, you’ll see.
Le Bret Better that way!
(An air on the pipes is heard, and Montfleury enters, enormously fat, in an Arcadian shepherd’s dress, a hat wreathed with roses drooping over one ear, blowing into a beribboned flute.)
The Pit (applauding)
Bravo, Montfleury! Montfleury!
Montfleury (after bowing low, begins the part of Phédon)
‘Happy he who, far from courts, in haunts alone,
creates, for himself, an exile of his own,
and who, while Zephyr whispers in the trees..’
A Voice (from the middle of the pit)
Fool! Didn’t I say a month without these mummeries?
(General stupor. Every one turns round. Murmurs.)
Different Voices What? - Who’s that? ...
(The people stand up in the boxes to get a view.)
Cuigy It’s him!
Le Bret (terrified)
The Voices King of clowns!
Leave the stage!
All the Audience (indignantly)
Montfleury But ...
The Voices You defy me! Down!
Different Voices (from the pit and the boxes)
Peace! Enough! - Play on, Montfleury - don’t be afraid!
Montfleury (in a trembling voice)
‘Happy he who, far from courts, in haunts...’
The Voice (more fiercely)
Down, I said!
O Monarch of jesters, must I attack
and plant this clump of fir-trees on your back?
(A hand holding a cane starts up over the heads of the spectators.)
Montfleury (in a voice that trembles more and more)
‘Happy he who...’
(The cane is shaken.)
The Voices Off!
The Pit Oh!
‘Happy he who, far from courts...’
Cyrano (appearing suddenly in the pit, standing on a chair, his arms crossed, his hat cocked fiercely, his moustache bristling, his nose terrible to see)
Ah! I’m going to get angry! ...
The same. Cyrano, then Bellerose, Jodelet.
Montfleury (to the marquises)
Help me, my lords!
A Marquis (carelessly)
Go on! Go on, then!
Cyrano Fat man! Beware, if you do,
I’ll be obliged to fan your cheeks for you!
The Marquis Enough!
Cyrano These lords better sit quietly on their seats,
or truly my cane and their fine ribbons’ll meet!
All The Marquises (rising)
Too much! ... Montfleury ...
Cyrano Montfleury had best take wing,
or I’ll slit his gizzard and disembowel him!
A Voice Yet ...
Cyrano Out he goes!
Another Voice But...
Cyrano What, he’s here still?
(He makes the gesture of turning up his cuffs.)
Fine! I’ll mount the stage now, like a table,
to dissect this fat sausage from Italy!
Montfleury (trying to be dignified)
You insult the Muse by insulting me!
Cyrano (very politely)
If the Muse, to whom you’re nothing, Sir, if she,
had the honour to know you - Sir, then, believe me,
seeing you, so gross a Grecian urn, appear,
her tragic foot would take you in the rear!
The Pit Let’s have Baro’s play! Montfleury! Montfleury!
Cyrano (to those who are calling out)
For my scabbard, I beg you, show some pity
if you go on, it’ll have to shed its blade!
(The circle round him widens.)
The Crowd (drawing back)
Cyrano (to Montfleury)
Leave the stage!
The Crowd (coming near and grumbling)
Cyrano What do you say?
(They draw back again.)
A Voice (singing at the back)
Monsieur de Cyrano,
these are pure tyrannies:
despite the tyrant though
we will have ‘La Clorise!’
All the Pit (singing)
‘La Clorise!’ ‘La Clorise!’...
Cyrano If I hear that song again from anyone,
I’ll pole-axe the lot of you.
A Citizen What, you’re no Samson!
Cyrano Your jawbone, Sir, if you’d kindly lend me that thing?
A Lady (in the boxes)
A Lord It’s scandalous!
A Citizen It’s so annoying!
A Page What fun!
The Pit Hiss! - Montfleury! - Cyrano!
The Pit (wildly excited)
Hee-haw! Baaa! Quack, quack! Cock-a-doodle-doo!
Cyrano I command -
A Page Meow!
Cyrano I order you to cease!
And I challenge the whole pit: you lot, if you please!
I’ll write the names! - Young heroes, round about!
Each of you in turn! I’ll call the numbers out! -
So, which of you now will come and start the list?
You, Sir? No! You? No! The first duellist
will be despatched by me with all due honour!
Let all who wish for death just lift a finger!
You’ll see my naked blade? Modesty prevents you?
Not one name? - Not one hand? - Well, I’ll continue!
(Turning toward the stage, where Montfleury waits anxiously)
Now, I wish to see the theatre intact,
free of this boil. If not ...
(Puts his hand on his sword.)
The blade must act!
Montfleury I ...
Cyrano (leaves his chair, sits down in the middle of the circle which has formed, and makes himself at home.)
I’ll clap my hands three times at you, full moon!
At the third clap, eclipse yourself!
The Pit (amused)
Cyrano (clapping his hands)
Montfleury I ...
A Voice (in the boxes)
The Pit He goes ... he stays ...
Montfleury Gentlemen, ...I believe
Montfleury I think it might be better if ...
(Montfleury disappears as through a trapdoor. Tempests of laughter, whistles, shouts, etc.)
The Whole House Ah!.... Coward ... come back!
Cyrano (delighted, sits back in his chair, arms crossed)
Come back if you dare!
A Citizen Call for the Manager!
(Bellerose comes forward and bows.)
The Boxes Ah! Bellerose is there!
Noble lords ...
The Pit No! No! Jodelet!
Jodelet (advancing, speaking through his nose)
Pile of veal!
The Pit Ah! Bravo! Great! Bravo!
Jodelet No bravos, I feel!
The fat tragedian whose stomach you all love so
The Pit He’s a coward!
Jodelet ... that he was obliged to go.
The Pit Come back!
A Young Man (to Cyrano)
Sir, what’s your reason for hating,
Cyrano (graciously, still seated)
I’ve two reasons - either one alone will do
Primo: he’s a quite deplorable actor who
mouths, and like a hod-carrier, with an Ohhh!
heaves up lines that he should let fly! - Secundo
That’s my secret ...
The Old Citizen (behind him)
But you deprive us without scruple
Of ‘La Clorise!’ I object to it ...
Cyrano (turning his chair toward the citizen, respectfully)
Old Baro’s versifying’s worth less than zero
I broke in without a thought ...
The Precieuses (in the boxes)
What! Our Baro!-
My dear! - Who ever? Goodness me!...
Cyrano (turning his chair toward the boxes gallantly)
shine on us, bloom like flowers, be custodians
of dreams, with a smile enchant our failing eyes,
inspire our poetry...............but don’t criticise!
Bellerose And the monies we must return!
Cyrano (turning his chair toward the stage)
I’ll not make any hole in the Muse’s cloak.
You’ve made the only speech that shows intelligence!
(He rises and throws a bag on the stage.)
Catch this purse as it flies: it’s yours: now, silence!
The House (dazzled)
Jodelet (catching the purse dexterously and hefting it)
For this I grant permission, as you please,
to come every night, and disrupt ‘ La Clorise,’
The Pit Boo! ... Boo! ...
Jodelet Let’s be booed both together, then! ...
Bellerose The hall must be cleared now! ...
Jodelet All clear off, again!
(The people begin to go out, while Cyrano watches with an air of satisfaction. But the crowd soon halt on hearing the following scene, and their exit ceases. The women, who are already standing up in the boxes, with their cloaks on, stop to listen, and finally sit down again.)
Le Bret (to Cyrano)
You’re mad! ...
A Bore (coming up to Cyrano)
The actor Montfleury! What a scandal!
Why, he’s the protégé of the Duc de Candale!
Have you a patron?
The Bore You haven’t? ...
The Bore What! No great lord to protect you with his name?
No, I’ve told you twice! Must I repeat it? Yes?
No! No protector ...
(His hand on his sword)
But here...a protectress!
The Bore So, are you going to quit the city?
The Bore The Duc de Candale has a long arm!
Cyrano But not indeed
As long as mine, (Shows his sword.)
when it’s extended. There!
The Bore But you don’t dare to pretend.....?
Cyrano Ah yes, I dare!
The Bore But ...
Cyrano Show your heels! Instantly!
The Bore But I ...
- Or say why you go on at staring at my nose!
The Bore (staggered)
Cyrano (walking straight up to him)
What’s so strange about it?
The Bore (drawing back)
Your Grace has me wrong!
Cyrano Is it soft and dangling, like an elephant’s trunk? ...
The Bore (as before)
I never ...
Cyrano Is it hooked then, like the beak of an owl?
The Bore I ...
Cyrano Do you see something on the tip, a pimple?
The Bore But ...
Cyrano Or a fly, with little steps, walks up and down?
Has it variety?
The Bore Oh ...
Cyrano Is it a phenomenon?
The Bore But I was careful not to cast my eye there!
Cyrano And why not, if you please, why not stare?
The Bore I was ...
Cyrano It disgusts you?
The Bore Sir!
Cyrano Is it it’s hue
The Bore Sir!
Cyrano Or its shape’s obscene to you?
The Bore No, on the contrary! ...
Cyrano Why then that air, so disparaging?
- Perhaps Monsieur thinks it too grand a thing?
The Bore (stammering)
I find it little, quite little, miniscule!
Cyrano Eh? What? You insult with equal ridicule!
Little, my nose? Ha!
The Bore Heavens!
Cyrano It’s vast, my nose!
- Vile snubby, duck-headed, flat-face, let me disclose
I’m proud of such an appendage as this.
It’s well known a big nose is indicative
of a genial soul, kind, courteous, intelligent,
free, courageous, such as I am, and such I meant
as you’re forbidden from dreaming yourself to be,
Base rascal! That inglorious face I see
my hand is after, at the top of your neck,
is as empty...
(He cuffs him.)
The Bore Ow!
Cyrano Of any pride, address,
or lyricism, sparkle, or picturesque-ness,
or sumptuosity, or NOSE in fact, as this
(He turns him by the shoulders, suiting the action to the word.)
my boot finds at the bottom of your spine!
The Bore (running away)
Help! Call the Guard!
Cyrano Take care, audience of mine,
if you find the middle of my visage humorous,
for if the humorist’s noble it’s known for us
to show him, before we let him flee, and feel,
below and above, not leather, but naked steel!
De Guiche (who, with the marquises, has come down from the stage)
But in the end he bores us!
The Viscomte de Valvert (shrugging his shoulders)
Blows his own trumpet!
De Guiche Will no one answer him? ...
The Viscomte No one? But wait!
I’ll go and trade him one of these same blows!...
(He goes up to Cyrano, who is watching him, and stands in front of him, with a conceited air)
You...you have... hmm ......a very large nose!
The Viscomte (laughing)
That’s all? ...
The Viscomte But..
Cyrano Ah no! That’s too brief, young man!
You might have said...Oh!... a hundred things, to plan
by varying the tone ... for example just suppose...
Aggressive: ‘I, Sir, if I had such a nose,
I’d have it amputated on the spot!’
Friendly: ‘But it must drown itself a lot,
you need a drinking-bowl of a special shape!’
Descriptive: ‘It’s a rock! ... A peak! ... A cape!
What’s that, it’s a cape?..... It’s a peninsular!’
Curious: ‘That oblong bag what’s it serve you for?
A sheath for scissors? Or a writing case?’
Gracious: ‘Do you love the winged race
so much, that you benignly set yourself
to provide their little claws with a shelf!’
Insolent: ‘Sir, when that pipe of yours glows
does the tobacco smoke rise from your nose
and make the neighbours cry, your chimney’s on fire?’
Considerate: ‘Have a care, ... lest your head grow tired
of such a weight ... and it’s the ground you sit on!’
Tender: ‘Have a small umbrella fashioned,
for fear lest in sunshine it lose all its colour!’
Pedantic: ‘That rare beast, Aristophanes, Sir,
must have on its head such flesh, such a solid boss!’
Familiar: ‘The latest fashion, my friend, that crook
for hanging your hat on? True, it’s a useful hook!’
Eloquent: ‘No winds at all, majestic nose
can give you colds! Except when the mistral blows!’
Dramatic: ‘When it bleeds it’s the Red Sea!’
Admiring: ‘What a sign for a perfumery!’
Lyric: ‘Is this a conch? ... are you a Triton?’
Simple: ‘This monument, when does it open?’
Respectful: ‘Sir, allow me to congratulate you
that’s what we call owning a gabled view!’
Rustic: ‘Nah! That thing a nose? No way, not it!
That’s a dwarf pumpkin, or a giant turnip!’
Military: ‘Point that thing towards the cavalry!’
Practical: ‘Do you want it entered in the lottery!
Certainly, sir, it would be the biggest prize!’
Or lastly ... parodying Pyramus’s sighs:
‘Behold the nose that mars its owner’s nature
destroying harmony! It blushes now, the traitor!’
- That’s an idea, sir, of what you might have said,
if you’d an ounce of wit or letters in your head:
but of wit, O most lamentable creature
you’ve never had an atom, and you feature
three letters only, and those three spell: Ass!
And were your wit of sufficient class,
to aim a single foolish pleasantry,
at me, in front of all this noble gallery,
you’d not have been allowed to speak a quarter
of the least beginning of a single one of them, for
though I aim them at myself, so wittily,
I don’t let any man aim them at me!
De Guiche (trying to draw the dismayed Viscomte away.)
Come away, Viscomte Valvert!
The Viscomte (choking with rage)
Such an arrogant air!
A country squire who ... who ... has no gloves to wear!
Who goes without knots on his sleeve, or lace, or ribbon!
Cyrano As for me: my elegance is all within.
I don’t dress myself like one of your popinjays,
but I’m smarter, if less fussy in my ways:
I wouldn’t go about, through negligence,
with an insult un-avenged, or a conscience
yellow with fear still, sleep in its eye-corner,
or scruples dressed in black, the rags of honour.
But there’s nothing I walk with that doesn’t shine,
plumed with that honest freedom that is mine.
It’s not some flattering fashion, but my soul
that stiffens my back, like your corseted beau:
with my exploits, instead of ribbons, attached
twirling my wit as one twirls a moustache,
I pass through the crowds, and the chatterers,
making Truth ring out to the clash of spurs!
The Viscomte But...
Cyrano You say I wear no gloves? So there!
I’ve only one of them left ...one of an old worn pair,
- which I left behind, quite an irritating waste,
as it seems to me I left it in someone’s face.
The Viscomte Scoundrel, rascal, stupid flat-footed fool!
Cyrano (taking off his hat, and bowing as if Valvert had introduced himself)
Ah? ... and I, Cyrano Savinien-Hercule
The Viscomte (angrily)
Cyrano (calling out as if he had been seized with the cramp)
The Viscomte (who was going away, turns back)
What on earth’s he saying now?
Cyrano (with grimaces of pain)
It must be eased - it’s getting stiff, and how....
- This comes of leaving it unused. Good Lord!
The Viscomte What’s wrong with you?
Cyrano I’ve got....cramp in my sword!
The Viscomte (drawing his sword)
Cyrano I’ll give you a charming little thrust!
The Viscomte (contemptuously)
Cyrano Yes poet, Sir! To prove that’s just,
While we fence – On guard! – I’ll improvise
I’ll compose a ballad.
The Viscomte A ballad?
Cyrano You show surprise,
you’re not unsure what a ballad is, I hope?
The Viscomte But ...
Cyrano (reciting, as if repeating a lesson)
Know then that the ballade should be composed
of three eight-line stanzas ...
The Viscomte (stamping)
Cyrano (still reciting)
An envoi of four.....
The Viscomte You ...
Cyrano I’ll make one all complete, while we’re at war,
and hit you, Sir, at the final line.
The Viscomte No!
‘Ballad of a duel in the Hotel Burgundy,
in which Monsieur de Bergerac fought a weasel!’
The Viscomte What’s that you say if you please?
Cyrano That’s the title.
The House (in great excitement)
Make room! – What great fun! - Spread out now! - Silence!
(Tableau. A circle of curious spectators in the pit; the marquises and the officers mixed in with the common people: pages climbing on each other’s shoulders to see better. All the women standing up in the boxes. To the right, De Guiche and his gentlemen. Left, Le Bret, Ragueneau, Cuigy, etc.)
Cyrano (closing his eyes for a moment)
Wait!....I’m choosing my rhymes ... There, I have them!
(He suits the actions to the rhythm of the words.)
I throw my hat away, lightly,
I, slow as you like, discard
the heavy cloak that warms me,
and I draw my shining sword:
elegant as Celadon,
agile as Scaramouch,
I warn you now, dear Myrmidon,
at the envoi’s end, I touch!
(They engage for the first time.)
You’d be better to have stayed neutral:
Where will I skewer you, my turkey?...
In the flank, beneath your medal?...
In the heart, beneath your finery?...
The little bells ring, ding dong!
My point swirls: flies do as much!
In the belly, I can’t be wrong,
at the envoi’s end, I touch.
You break off - while I find a word -
you’re whiter by far than snow,
and furnish me with the rhyme coward!
- Tac! I parry the point, so
that you had hopes of giving me;
I straighten my stance, not overmuch...
Hold your spit, Sir Scullion, please!
At the envoi’s end, I touch.
(He declaims solemnly.)
Prince, ask God for mercy now!
I turn a quarter - a flourish, and such!
I cut, I feint!
....Ah, then, I vow,
(The viscomte staggers. Cyrano salutes.)
at the envoi’s end, I touch!
(Acclamations. Applause in the boxes. Flowers and handkerchiefs shower down. The officers surround Cyrano, congratulating him. Ragueneau dances for joy. Le Bret is happy, but anxious. The Viscomte’s friends hold him up and carry him off.)
The Crowd (with one long shout)
A Trooper Superb!
A Woman Pretty!
A Marquis Novel, though!
Le Bret Madman!
The Crowd (presses round Cyrano. Chorus of)
Compliments to you!...Well done!..Bravo...
A Woman’s Voice That’s a hero!..
A Musketeer (advancing to Cyrano with outstretched hand)
Sir, if you will permit me?...
That was really fine - I’m an expert I believe:
Indeed I stamped to express my admiration!
(He goes away.)
Cyrano (to Cuigy)
What’s that gentleman’s name, then?
Cuigy That’s D’Artagnan.
Le Bret (to Cyrano, taking his arm)
Come, let’s speak! ...
Cyrano Wait a moment: let the crowd leave! ...
May I stay?
(Cries are heard outside.)
Jodelet (who has looked outside)
They’re hooting Montfleury!
Sic transit! ...
(Changes his tone and shouts to the porter and the lamplighters.)
Sweep. Close up. Don’t douse the lights.
We’ll be back again after our meal, tonight,
for a rehearsal of tomorrow’s newest farce.
(Jodelet and Bellerose go out, bowing low to Cyrano.)
The Porter (to Cyrano):
You’re not dining, then?
(The porter goes out.)
Le Bret Because?
(Changing his tone as the porter goes away)
I have no money! ...
Le Bret (with the action of throwing a bag)
But! The bag of coins? ...
Cyrano Paternal allowance... a day, and see they’re going!
Le Bret To live for a whole month on? ...
Cyrano I’ve nothing further.
Le Bret To throw that bag away, madness!
Cyrano But what a gesture!...
The Orange Seller (coughing, behind her counter)
(Cyrano and Le Bret turn. She comes timidly forward.)
Sir....you’ll be hungry...my heart is aching, while..
(showing the buffet)
I’ve everything you need, here.
Cyrano (taking off his hat)
though my Gascon pride forbids, you understand,
my taking the least sweetmeat from your hand,
I’m more afraid lest a refusal grieve you
so I’ll accept ...
(He goes to the buffet.)
Oh! Something! - A grape or two
from this bunch...
(She offers him the whole bunch. He takes one.)
Just one!...this glass of water..
(She tries to give him wine, but he stops her.)
- And half a macaroon!
(He gives back the other half.)
Le Bret That’s madness for sure!
The Orange Seller Oh! Take something more!
Cyrano Yes. Your hand to kiss.
(He kisses her hand as though she were a princess.)
The Orange Seller Thank you, Sir!
Cyrano, Le Bret, then the Porter.
Cyrano (to Le Bret)
Now talk - I’m all ears.
(He stands at the buffet, and placing before him first the macaroon.)
(then the glass of water)
(then the grape)
(he seats himself.)
So! I sit down to eat!
- Ah!... I was hungry, dear friend, starved as can be!
Le Bret How these conceited fops, with their warlike airs,
will pervert your spirit if you only listen to theirs! ...
Go and ask a man of sense if you want to see
how your quarrel impressed him.
Cyrano (finishing his macaroon)
Le Bret The Cardinal ...
He was there, the Cardinal?
Le Bret Must have thought the whole thing...
Cyrano Very original.
Le Bret But ...
Cyrano He’s an author too. It won’t displease him
that I’ve interfered with another of his brethren.
Le Bret You make too many enemies, up for a fight!
Cyrano (eating his grapes)
How many, roughly, do you think I’ve made to-night?
Le Bret Forty-eight. Not counting the women.
Cyrano Count, let’s hear!
Le Bret Montfleury, that old man, De Guiche, Valvert,
Baro, the Academy ...
Cyrano Enough! You ravish me!
Le Bret But what will these things lead to, don’t you see?
Where’s the method in it?
Cyrano I was wandering in a maze
I’d too many complicated paths to take:
I took ...
Le Bret Which?
Cyrano Oh! Of them all, the simplest one.
I decided to be brilliant at everything, with everyone!
Le Bret (shrugging his shoulders)
Fine! But the reason for your detestation
of Montfleury – give me the true explanation!
Silenus, so gross his hands won’t reach his navel
still thinks his charms place the girls in peril,
and, while he stammers through his little piece,
makes sheep’s eyes with his frog’s eyes, if you please!
I hate him since he allowed himself one night
to raise his eyes to her ... Oh! I thought it like
a fat slug sliding towards a flower above!
Le Bret (stupefied)
What? Is it possible...
Cyrano (laughing bitterly)
That I could be in love? ...
(Changing his tone, gravely)
I’m in love.
Le Bret And may one know? ... You’ve never told me...
Cyrano Whom I love?...Think, let’s see. The dream I might be
loved even by an ugly woman’s quite denied me: it’s,
this nose of mine that precedes me by fifteen minutes.
So, then, whom do I love?...It goes without saying
I love – it’s inevitable! – the most beautiful of beings!
Le Bret The loveliest? ...
Cyrano Simply, of all those in the world!
The most brilliant - the finest - the blondest curls!
Le Bret Ah! My God, who is this lady, then?
Cyrano A danger
mortal without knowing it, a snare of Nature’s,
exquisite without dreaming it, a damask rose
within which Love sets his traps for those
who’ve seen her smile, and known perfection.
She conjures grace from nothing, the creation
of everything divine’s in her smallest gesture,
and Diana, passing among woodland flowers,
or Venus, aboard your shell, you know not this,
how she aboard her chair passes through Paris!...
Le Bret Sapristi! I know. It’s clear!
Cyrano It’s transparent, man!
Le Bret Madeleine Robin, your cousin?
Cyrano Yes, Roxane!
Le Bret Well! So much the better! You love her? Tell her so!
You’ll be glorious to her, after this evening’s show!
Cyrano Look at me, my dear friend, then tell me
what hope this protuberance leaves me!
Oh! I’ve no illusions! - And yet, that’s right,
yes, sometimes, I grow tender, in the blue of night:
I enter some garden that the hour makes sweet,
with my poor ugly devil of a nose, I greet
the Spring – I’m watching, in a ray of silver
some lady on a soldier’s arm, dreaming ever
of walking with little footsteps under the moon,
I too delighting in having my lady on my arm,
I’m sublime, lose myself...wake suddenly, and all
that’s only my shadow on the garden wall!
Le Bret (tenderly)
My friend! ...
Cyrano My friend, the bitter hours I keep!
Thinking myself so ugly, sometimes, so alone...
Le Bret (taking his hand)
Cyrano Ah! Not that, never! No, it would be too gross
if a tear trickled down this length of nose!
I won’t allow, while I’m still their master,
the divine beauty of tears to mingle there
with such monstrous ugliness!...considering
that tears, nothing’s more sublime, no not a thing,
and I wouldn’t wish, by inciting mockery,
a single one to be ridiculed, through me!
Le Bret Go on: don’t sadden yourself! Love’s a chance affair!
Cyrano (shaking his head)
No! I love Cleopatra: have I Caesar’s air?
I adore Juliet? Have I Romeo’s complexion.
Le Bret But your bravery! Your wit! - That little one,
who gave you that modest feast just now, her eye,
you understood it, clearly, showed no dislike!
Le Bret Well, then? ... I saw Roxane grow pale
as she followed your duel, herself.
Cyrano Quite pale?
Le Bret Her heart, her imagination, already glows!
Then dare to speak to her!
Cyrano So she’ll mock my nose?
No! – That’s the one thing in the world I fear!
The Porter (introducing someone to Cyrano)
Sir, someone’s asking for you ...
Cyrano (seeing the duenna)
My God! Her duenna!
Cyrano, Le Bret, the duenna.
The Duenna (with a low bow)
From her valiant cousin, one would desire to
know where to meet him - secretly.
The Duenna (courtesying)
One has something to tell you.
Cyrano Some? ...
The Duenna (still courtesying)
Ah, my God!
The DuennaOne goes, tomorrow, when the birds begin to sing,
at dawn, to mass at Saint-Roch.
Cyrano (leaning against Le Bret)
Ah! My God!
The Duenna On leaving – where might one go, to speak a word ?
Where? Ah! ... but ... Ah, my God! ...
The Duenna Say quickly!
Cyrano I’m thinking!
The Duenna Where?
Cyrano At...at...Ragueneau’s....the pastry-cook....
The Duenna Residing?
Cyrano In the Rue - Oh! My God, My God! - Saint Honoré!
The Duenna (going)
One goes. Be there. At seven.
Cyrano I’ll do as you say.
(The duenna goes out.)
Cyrano, Le Bret. Then actors, actresses, Cuigy, Brissaille, Lignière, the porter, the violinists.
Cyrano (falling into Le Bret’s arms)
I!...From her!....A meeting!...
Le Bret No longer a pessimist?
Cyrano Ah! Why would I be, she knows that I exist!
Le Bret Now perhaps, you’re going to act calmly?
Cyrano (beside himself with joy)
I’ll be furious, and glitter like lightning, so,
I need a whole army, to bring them to their knees!
I’ve ten hearts: twenty arms: it’s not enough for me
to split paltry dwarves in two...
(He shouts at the top of his voice)
I must have giants!
(For a few moments past the shadows of actors have been moving on the stage, whispers are heard - the rehearsal is beginning. The violinists are in their places.)
A Voice From the Stage Hey! Sssh! You there! Silence! We’re rehearsing our lines!
(He moves away. Cuigy, Brissaille, and some officers, enter by the main door, holding up Lignière, who is completely drunk.)
Cyrano What is it?
Cuigy A giant song-thrush,
they’re bringing it for you!
Cyrano (recognizing him)
Lignière! ... What’s up?
Cuigy He’s after you!
Brissaille He can’t go home!
Cyrano Why not?
Lignière (in a careful, drunken voice, showing him a ragged letter)
This letter warns me ... a hundred men they’ve got...
because of...that song....a great danger threatens me ...
the Porte de Nesle...I must, though, to get home you see..
allow me to sleep... under your roof instead.
Cyrano A hundred men, you say? You’ll sleep in your own bed!
Cyrano (in a terrible voice, showing him the lighted lantern held by the porter, who is listening, with curiosity)
Take that lantern.
(Lignière seizes it, hastily.)
Now, let’s go! – I swear
That I’ll make your bed to-night once we’re there!...
(To the officers)
You, follow behind me, and witness this!
Cuigy A hundred! ...
Cyrano Tonight I couldn’t manage with less!
(The actors and actresses, in their costumes, have come down from the stage, and are listening.)
Le Bret But why protect?...
Cyrano Behold! Le Bret the grumbler!
Le Bret That useless drunkard! -
Cyrano (slapping Lignière on the shoulder)
Because, this drinker,
this cask of ale, this barrel of Burgundy,
did something once that was extremely pretty:
as he was leaving mass, he saw the one he loved,
taking holy water, as the sacred rites approve,
he, who runs from water, ran towards it
tipped it towards him, and drank every bit!...
An Actress (dressed as a comedienne)
Well! That’s nice!
Cyrano Was it not, my comedienne?
The Actress (to the others)
But why face a poor poet with a hundred men?
Cyrano Let’s go!
(To the officers)
And you, sirs, seeing me charge in anger,
don’t second me, however great the danger!
Another Actress (jumping from the stage)
Oh! But I’ll come to see!
Cyrano Come, then!
Another (jumping down - to an old actor)
And you, Cassandre? ...
Cyrano All of you come, the Doctor, Isabel, Léander,
come, and you’ll add, you fine, mad swarm a
farce from Italy to this Spanish drama!
All the Women (dancing for joy)
Bravo! - a cloak, quickly!- My hood!
Jodelet Come on!
Cyrano Play us a march, you gentlemen of the band!
(The violinists etc. join the procession, which is forming. They take the footlights, and share them out as torches.)
Bravo! The officers! The women in costume,
And, twenty paces in front
(He takes his place.)
I all alone, beneath this plume
that Glory herself lends to adorn my hat,
proud as a Scipio, and triply-nosed at that! ...
- You understand? It’s forbidden to interfere! -
One, two three! Porter, open the doors! We’re here!
(The porter opens the doors: a view of old picturesque Paris is seen in the moonlight.)
Ah! ... Paris there, nocturnal, nebulous almost:
over blue sloping roofs where moonlight flows:
a set prepared, exquisitely, for this scene:
there, beneath veils of vapour, is the Seine,
a magic mirror filled full with mystery,
that trembles...And you’ll see what you will see!
All To the Porte de Nesle!
Cyrano (standing on the threshold)
To the Porte de Nesle!
(Turning, before going on, to the comedienne)
Didn’t you ask why they’ve sent, mademoiselle,
a hundred men against one maker of rhyme?
(He draws his sword; then, calmly)
That’s because they know he’s a friend of mine!
(He goes out. Lignière staggers first after him, then the actresses on the officers’ arms – then the comedians, leaping about. The procession marches into the night to the sound of violins, in the faint light of the candles.)