Cyrano de Bergerac
Art and Culture Quotes
How we cite our quotes:
ANOTHER COMEDIENNE (Jumps down, speaks to a Comedian
costumed as an old man.)
CYRANO Come all of you – the Doctor, Isabelle,
Léandre – the whole company – a swarm
Of murmuring, golden bees – we’ll parody
Italian farce and Tragedy-of-Blood;
Ribbons for banners, masks for blazonry,
And tambourines to be our rolling drums! (I. 654-660)
These references to stock characters in Italian comedy places the time period of Rostand’s play firmly in seventeenth century France and also give us insight into cultural differences.
RAGUENEAU (Raises his head; returns to mere earth.)
Over the coppers of my kitchen flows
The frosted-silver dawn. Silence awhile
The god who sings within thee, Ragueneau!
Lay down the lute – the oven calls for thee!
(Rises; goes to one of the cooks.)
Here’s a hiatus in your sauce; fill up
RAGUENEAU (Measures on his finger.)
One more dactyl.
RAGUENEAU (Before the fireplace)
Veil, O Muse, thy virgin eyes
From the lewd gleam of these terrestrial fires!
(To First Pastrycook)
Your rolls lack balance. Here’s the proper form –
An equal hemistich on either side,
And the caesura in between.
(To another, pointing out an unfinished pie)
Of crust should have a roof upon it.
(To another, who is seated on the hearth, placing poultry on a spit)
And you –
Along the interminable spit, arrange
The modest pullet and the lordly Turk
Alternately, my son – as great Malherbe
Alternates male and female rimes. Remember,
A couplet, or a roast, should be well turned. (II. 3-19)
Ragueneau reminds us that seventeenth century French writers had a great respect for the Greco-Roman classics and often drew from them to inform and enrich their own works.
LE BRET (Astounded)
The devil? –
A MAN OF LETTERS (With a portfolio)
May I have the details?...
CYRANO You may not.
LE BRET (Plucking Cyrano’s sleeve)
Theophraste Renaudot! – Editor
Of the Gazette – your reputation!...
A POET (advances)
Your full name? I will compose
A pentacrostic –
That will do!
(Movement. The crowd arranges itself. De Guiche appears, escorted by Cuigy, Brissaille, and the other officers who were with Cyrano at the close of the First Act.)
CUIGY (Goes to Cyrano.)
Monsieur de Guiche! –
(Murmur. Everyone moves.)
A message from the Marshal
De Gassion –
DE GUICHE (Saluting Cyrano)
Who wishes to express
Through me his admiration. He has heard
Of your affair –
he Marshal speaks
As an authority. (II. 275-285)
Rostand inserts the name of two well-known figures during seventeenth century France – Renaudot and Marshal de Gassion – both highly respected individuals in their fields. By having such celebrated names acclaim his fictional Cyrano, Rostand boosts Cyrano’s image in the audience’s eyes.