Excerpt from "Cyrano de Bergerac"

on the theme of his big nose….

Aggressive: "Sir, if I had such a nose,
I'd cut it off, so much 'twould cut me up."
Friendly: "It oft must plunge, sir, in your cup;--
Best make a goblet of a special shape."
Descriptive: " 'Tis a rock, --a cliff, --a cape.
A cape, quotha? Surely a promontory."
Curious: "What is that thing, --let's have the story,--
A tool box, or, perhaps, a writing case?"
Gracious: "You must love birds to have a place
Paternally prepared, --I call it sweet,--
To make a safe perch for their tiny feet."
Truculent: "Sir, be careful when you smoke,
Lest you make trouble for all honest folk,--
Lest neighbors run and cry, 'A chimney fire!'"
Careful: "Pray hold your head a little higher,
Else such a weight will surely make you fall."
Solicitous: "Sir, take a parasol,
Lest its bright hue be faded by the sun."
Pedantic: "Aristophanes knew one,--
Was made to carry, certes, such a nose."
Lightly: "Why, friend, a most commodious rack
To hang one's hat,--where space will never lack."
Emphatic: "Fierce Euroclydon, behold,
Needs all his power to give that nose a cold."
Dramatic: " 'Tis the Red Sea when it bleeds."
Admiring: " 'Tis the sign the chemist needs."
Lyric: "A conche and you a triton, say?"
Simple: "A monument. When's visiting day?"
Respectful: "Come, the landed gentry greet.
Here's one who has a gable on the street."
Rustic: "Why look-a-here. A nose? I tell 'un
'Tis a prize turnip, --or a stunted melon."
Soldierly: "Charge, heavy artillery."
Practical: "Put it in the lottery.
Assuredly 'twould be, sir, the Grand Prize."
Or, last, like Pyramus, with streaming eyes:
"No wonder that nose blushes; --wicked traitor
Who mars his master, shaming his Creator."
Here are a few things, sir, you might have said,
Had you or wit or learning. But instead,
You wretched fop who trifle with your betters,
You have no spark of wit; and as for letters,
You have just four, to write you down a fool.
Had you one grain, from nature or from school,
Before these galleries you might have played
With some such fancies as myself displayed;--
--But not the fourth part of them all have spoke,
Nay, nor the half of one,--for I may joke,
Jest, as my mood or mockery may nerve me,--
But as I serve myself let no man serve me.

  Click here to hear a modernized version of this scene (requires RealPlayer).

Return to Main Page | Biography | Principal Works