Cyrano de Bergerac
How we cite our quotes:
At least this latest pose of yours –
Ruining every chance that comes your way –
Becomes exaggerated –
Then I exaggerate!
LE BRET (Triumphantly)
Oh, you do!
On principle. There are things in this world
A man does well to carry to extremes. (II. 371-376)
Cyrano admits to the overblown nature of his principles, but doesn’t apologize for it.
So, when I win some triumph, by some chance,
Render no share to Caesar – in a word,
I am too proud to be a parasite,
And if my nature wants the germ that grows
Towering to heaven like the mountain pine,
Or like the oak, sheltering multitudes –
I stand, not high it may be – but alone! (II. 428-434)
These lines are particularly interesting when we consider them in the light of Cyrano’s later action in cahoots with Christian; he stands not alone, in this case, and arguably takes a parasitic approach to winning Roxane’s love.
I leave to-night – but – let you through my hands
Now, when I feel you trembling? – Listen – Close by,
In the Rue d’Orleans, the Capuchins
Have their new convent. By their law, no layman
May pass inside those walls. I’ll see to that –
Their sleeves are wide enough to cover me –
The servants of my Uncle-Cardinal
Will fear his nephew. So – I’ll come to you
Masked, after everyone knows I have gone –
Oh, let me wait one day! –
If this be known,
Your honor –
The war – your duty –
DE GUICHE (Blows away an imaginary feather.)
Only say yes! (III. 119-130)
De Guiche, in sharp contrast to Cyrano, has no problem throwing away his reputation for lust. His action of waiting inside a convent (a place for God’s virgin daughters) to fornicate with Roxane has not the least wisp of honor or duty in it.