— Edmond Rostand French writer 1868 - 1918
Act IV, scene 1, as translated by Getrude Hall
Cyrano de Bergerac (1897)
Contexto: Valvert: Villain, clod-poll, flat-foot, refuse of the earth!
Cyrano: [taking off his hat and bowing as if the Vicomte had been introducing himself] Ah? … And mine, Cyrano-Savinien-Hercule of Bergerac!
Valvert: [exasperated] Buffoon!
Cyrano: [giving a sudden cry, as if seized with a cramp] Aï! …
Valvert: [who had started toward the back, turning] What is he saying now?
Cyrano: [screwing his face as if in pain] It must have leave to stir … it has a cramp! It is bad for it to be kept still so long!
Valvert: What is the matter?
Cyrano: My rapier prickles like a foot asleep!
Valvert: [drawing] So be it!
Cyrano: I shall give you a charming little hurt!
Valvert: [contemptous] Poet!
Cyrano: Yes, a poet, … and, to such an extent, that while we fence, I will, hop!, extempore, compose you a ballade!
Valvert: A ballade?
Cyrano: I fear you do not know what that is.
Valvert: But …
Cyrano: [as if saying a lesson] The ballade is composed of three stanzas of eight lines each …
Valvert: [stamps with his feet] Oh!
Cyrano: [continuing] And an envoi of four.
Valvert: You …
Cyrano: I will with the same breath fight you and compose one. And, at the last line, I will hit you. Valvert: Indeed you will not!
Cyrano: No? … [Declaiming]
Ballade of the duel which in Burgundy house
Monsieur de Bergerac fought with a jackanape …
Valvert: And what is that, if you please?
Cyrano: That is the title.
[ … ]
Cyrano: [closing his eyes a second] Wait. I am settling upon the rhymes. There. I have them. [in declaiming, he suits the action to the word]
Of my broad felt made lighter,
I cast my mantle broad,
And stand, poet and fighter,
To do and to record.
I bow, I draw my sword …
En garde! With steel and wit
I play you at first abord …
At the last line, I hit! [They begin fencing] You should have been politer;
Where had you best be gored?
The left side or the right — ah?
Or next your azure cord?
Or where the spleen is stored?
Or in the stomach pit?
Come we to quick accord …
At the last line, I hit! You falter, you turn whiter?
You do so to afford
Your foe a rhyme in "iter"? …
You thrust at me — I ward —
And balance is restored.
Laridon! Look to your spit! …
No, you shall not be floored
Before my cue to hit! [He announces solemnly] Envoi Prince, call upon the Lord! …
I skirmish … feint a bit …
I lunge! … I keep my word!
[The Vicomte staggers, Cyrano bows. ]
At the last line, I hit!