Cyrano de Bergerac
How we cite our quotes:
Watching you other people making friends
Everywhere – as a dog makes friends! I mark
The manner of these canine courtesies
And think: "My friends are of a cleaner breed;
Here comes – thank God – another enemy!"
But this is madness!
Method, let us say.
It is my pleasure to displease. I love
Hatred. Imagine how it feels to face
The volley of a thousand angry eyes –
The bile of envy and the froth of fear
Spattering little drops about me – You –
Good nature all around you, soft and warm –
You are like those Italians, in great cowls
Comfortable and loose – Your chin sinks down
In to the folds, you shoulders droop. But I –
The Spanish ruff I wear around my throat
Is like a ring of enemies; hard, proud,
Each point another pride, another thorn –
So that I hold myself erect perforce.
Wearing the hatred of the common herd
Haughtily, the harsh collar of Old Spain,
At once a fetter and – a halo! (II. 438-459)
Cyrano despises most people for being so sycophantic. He wants only to state the truth, as bold and insulting as it might be. This kind of openness is a reflection of Cyrano’s brazen courage.
It grew dark,
You could not see your hand before your eyes.
I marched on, thinking how, all for the sake
Of one old souse
(They slowly sit down, watching him.)
who wrote a bawdy song
Whenever he took –
A noseful –
(Everyone rises. CHRISTIAN balances himself
on two legs of his chair.)
- Took a notion.
Whenever he took a notion – For his sake,
I might antagonize some dangerous man,
One powerful enough to make me pay –
Through the nose –
CYRANO (wipes the sweat from his forehead.)
- Pay the Piper. After all,
I thought, why am I putting in my –
- My oar…Why am I putting in my oar?
The quarrel’s none of mine. However – now
I am here, I may as well go through with it.
Come Gascon – do your duty! – Suddenly
A sword flashed in the dark. I caught it fair –
On the nose –
On my blade. Before I knew it,
There I was –
Rubbing noses –
CYRANO (pale and smiling)
With half a score at once. I handed one –
A nosegay – (II. 494-512)
Christian tries to show bravery by insulting Cyrano’s nose, an act we’ve seen is a big no-no, to say the least.
You have courage!
You are brave –
That pleases me. (II. 525-526)
The fact that Christian had the courage to purposefully insult Cyrano’s nose makes Cyrano like him, since he has the same honest tongue that Cyrano does. This is one of the foundations of their friendship.