Cyrano, De Guiche.
DE GUICHE (who enters, masked, feeling his way in the dark):
What can that cursed Friar be about?
The devil!. . .If he knows my voice!
(Letting go with one hand, he pretends to turn an invisible key. Solemnly):
Assume thou, Cyrano, to serve the turn,
The accent of thy native Bergerac!. . .
DE GUICHE (looking at the house):
'Tis there. I see dim,--this mask hinders me!
(He is about to enter, when Cyrano leaps from the balcony, holding on to the branch, which bends, dropping him between the door and De Guiche; he pretends to fall heavily, as from a great height, and lies flat on the ground, motionless, as if stunned. De Guiche starts back):
(When he looks up, the branch has sprung back into its place. He sees only the sky, and is lost in amazement):
Where fell that man from?
CYRANO (sitting up, and speaking with a Gascon accent):
From the moon!
From?. . .
CYRANO (in a dreamy voice):
He's lost his mind, for sure!
What hour? What country this? What month? What day?
But. . .
I am stupefied!
Like a bomb
I fell from the moon!
DE GUICHE (impatiently):
CYRANO (rising, in a terrible voice):
I say,--the moon!
DE GUICHE (recoiling):
Good, good! let it be so!. . .He's raving mad!
CYRANO (walking up to him):
I say from the moon! I mean no metaphor!. . .
But. . .
Was't a hundred years--a minute, since?
--I cannot guess what time that fall embraced!--
That I was in that saffron-colored ball?
DE GUICHE (shrugging his shoulders):
Good! let me pass!
CYRANO (intercepting him):
Where am I? Tell the truth!
Fear not to tell! Oh, spare me not! Where? where?
Have I fallen like a shooting star?
The fall was lightning-quick! no time to choose
Where I should fall--I know not where it be!
Oh, tell me! Is it on a moon or earth,
that my posterior weight has landed me?
I tell you, Sir. . .
CYRANO (with a screech of terror, which makes De Guiche start back):
No? Can it be? I'm on
A planet where men have black faces?
DE GUICHE (putting a hand to his face):
CYRANO (feigning great alarm):
Am I in Africa? A native you?
DE GUICHE (who has remembered his mask):
This mask of mine. . .
CYRANO (pretending to be reassured):
In Venice? ha!--or Rome?
DE GUICHE (trying to pass):
A lady waits. .
CYRANO (quite reassured):
Oh-ho! I am in Paris!
DE GUICHE (smiling in spite of himself):
The fool is comical!
But would get by!
CYRANO (beaming with joy):
I have shot back to Paris!
(Quite at ease, laughing, dusting himself, bowing):
Come--pardon me--by the last water-spout,
Covered with ether,--accident of travel!
My eyes still full of star-dust, and my spurs
Encumbered by the planets' filaments!
(Picking something off his sleeve):
Ha! on my doublet?--ah, a comet's hair!. . .
(He puffs as if to blow it away.)
DE GUICHE (beside himself):
Sir!. . .
CYRANO (just as he is about to pass, holds out his leg as if to show him something and stops him):
In my leg--the calf--there is a tooth
Of the Great Bear, and, passing Neptune close,
I would avoid his trident's point, and fell,
Thus sitting, plump, right in the Scales! My weight
Is marked, still registered, up there in heaven!
(Hurriedly preventing De Guiche from passing, and detaining him by the button of his doublet):
I swear to you that if you squeezed my nose
It would spout milk!
From the Milky Way!
Oh, go to hell!
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!
The other Bear is still too small to bite.
I went through the Lyre, but I snapped a cord;
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!
Come, make an end! I want. . .
Oh-ho! You are sly!
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):
I want. . .
Ha, ha!--to know how I got up?
Hark, it was by a method all my own.
DE GUICHE (wearied):
No! not for me the stupid eagle
Of Regiomontanus, nor the timid
Pigeon of Archytas--neither of those!
Ay, 'tis a fool! But 'tis a learned fool!
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):
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):
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):
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!
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):
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!
Here are six excellent expedients!
Which of the six chose you?
Why, none!--a seventh!
Astonishing! What was it?
This wild eccentric becomes interesting!
CYRANO (making a noise like the waves, with weird gestures):
You have guessed?
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):
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?
(The house-door opens. Lackeys appear carrying lighted candelabra. Light. Cyrano gracefully uncovers):
While we were chatting, they have plighted troth.
(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):
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