Cyrano de Bergerac
Versions of Reality Quotes Page 5
How we cite our quotes:
I have made rimes for you –
Not now – Shall we insult Nature, this night,
These flowers, this moment – shall we set all these
To phrases from a letter by Voiture?
Look once at the high stars that shine in heaven,
And put off artificiality!
Have you not seen great gaudy hothouse flowers,
Barren, without fragrance? – Souls are like that:
Forced to show all, they soon become all show –
The means to Nature’s end ends meaningless!
Love hates that game of words!
It is a crime to fence with life – I tell you,
There comes one moment, once – and God help those
Who pass that moment by! – when Beauty stands
Looking into the soul with grave, sweet eyes
That sicken at pretty words! (III. 282 – 296)
Words, according to Cyrano, are not as true as emotion or action. This statement brings consequences on two scales: the first is that Cyrano lives by and is defined by his voice, his wit, his language; the second and grander scale is that Cyrano de Bergerac is a play, and therefore driven solely by the speech of characters. The entire work of literature itself, then, operates within its own falsity.
Frequently! Then I drooped my eyes and said:
"I have a lover…" Whereupon, the Spaniard
With an air of ferocious dignity
Would close the carriage door – with such a gesture
As any king might envy, wave aside
The muskets that were leveled at my breast,
Fall back three paces, equally superb
In grace and gloom, draw himself up, thrust forth
A spur under his cloak, sweeping the air
With his long plumes, bow very low, and say:
"Pass, Senorita!" (IV. 262-272)
Roxane’s narrative sounds like something out of a chivalrous romance novel; again, Cyrano mocks the very genre it purports to take part in.
CARBON (Having, like the others, tightened his belt, dusted himself, brushed off his
hat, smoothed out his plume and put on his lace cuffs, advances to Roxane ceremoniously)
In that case, may I not present to you
Some of these gentlemen who are to have
The honor of dying in your presence?
(She waits, standing on the arm of Christian, while)
CARBON (- presents)
Baron de Peyrescous de Colignac!
THE CADETS (Salutes)
CARBON (Continues) Baron de Casterac
De Cahuzac – Vidame de Malgouyre
Estressac Lésbas d’Escarabiot –
Chevalier d’Antignac-Juzet –
Baron Hillot de Blagnac-Saléchan
De Castel-Crabioules (IV. 300-309)
This is another instance of a scene so overblown and pretentious that it seems to have come from a romance novel.