Moved by Christian’s words, Roxane asks why he speaks so haltingly. Impatient, Cyrano thrusts Christian under the balcony and takes his place, still hidden in darkness. Speaking in a low voice, he confides in Roxane the things he has always longed to tell her. As Roxane becomes more and more hypnotized by Cyrano’s poetry, Christian cries out from beneath the balcony that he wants one kiss. “What?” says Roxane!
ACT 3 SCENE VII
Come to my aid!
But I shall die,
Unless at once I win back her fair favour.
CHRISTIAN (seizing his arm):
Oh, she is there!
(The window of the balcony is now lighted up.)
Oh! I shall die!
CHRISTIAN (in a whisper):
I shall die!
The night is dark . . .
All can be repaired.
Stand there, poor wretch!
Fronting the balcony! I’ll go beneath
And prompt your words to you.
But. . .
Hold your tongue!
ROXANE (half-opening the casement):
Who calls me?
I would speak with you.
CYRANO (under the balcony—to Christian):
Good. Speak soft and low.
No, you speak stupidly!
Oh, pity me!
No! You love me no more!
CHRISTIAN (prompted by Cyrano):
You say—Great Heaven!
I love no more?—when—I—love more and more!
Hold! ‘Tis a trifle better!
CHRISTIAN (same play):
Love grew apace, rocked by the anxious beating
Of this poor heart, which the cruel wanton boy
Took for a cradle!
ROXANE (coming out on to the balcony):
That is better! But
An if you deem that Cupid be so cruel
You should have stifled baby-love in’s cradle!
CHRISTIAN (same play):
Ah, Madame, I assayed, but all in vain
This newborn babe is a young . . .Hercules!
CHRISTIAN (same play):
Thus he strangled in my heart
The serpents twain, of . . .Pride. . .and Doubt!
ROXANE (leaning over the balcony):
But your words are hesitating.
CYRANO (imitating Christian—in a whisper):
Night has come. . .
In the dusk they grope their way to find your ear.
But my words find no such impediment.
They find their way at once? Small wonder that!
For ‘tis within my heart they find their home;
Bethink how large my heart, how small your ear!
And from fair heights descending, words fall fast,
But mine must mount, Madame, and that takes time!
It seems that your last words have learned to climb.
With practice such gymnastic grows less hard!
I will come down. . .
How, you will not?
CYRANO (more and more moved):
Stay awhile! Tis sweet ...
The rare occasion, when our hearts can speak
Ourselves unseen, unseeing!
Ay, it is sweet! Half hidden — half revealed —
You see the dark folds of my shrouding cloak,
And I, the glimmering whiteness of your dress:
I but a shadow—you a radiance fair!
Know you what such a moment holds for me?
If ever I were eloquent. . .
Yet never till to-night my speech has sprung
Straight from my heart as now it springs.
Till now I spoke haphazard. . .
Have beams that turn men dizzy!—But to-night
Methinks I shall find speech for the first time!
Till now, my chilled heart, fearing to be mocked.
Mocked, and for what?
For its mad beating!—Ay,
My heart has clothed itself with witty words,
To shroud itself from curious eyes:—impelled
At times to aim at a star, I stay my hand,
And, fearing ridicule,—cull a wild flower!
A wild flower’s sweet.
Ay, but to night—the star!
Oh! never have you spoken thus before!
If, leaving Cupid’s arrows, quivers, torches,
We turned to seek for sweeter—fresher things!
Instead of sipping in a pygmy glass
Dull fashionable waters,—did we try
How the soul slakes its thirst in fearless draught
By drinking from the river’s flooding brim!
But wit?. . .
In love ‘tis crime,—’tis hateful!
Turning frank loving into subtle fencing!
At last the moment comes, inevitable,—
Well, if that moment’s come for us—suppose it!
What words would serve you?
All, all, all, whatever
That came to me, e’en as they came, I’d fling them
In a wild cluster, not a careful bouquet.
I love thee! I am mad! I love, I stifle!
Thy name is in my heart as in a sheep-bell,
And as I ever tremble, thinking of thee,
Ever the bell shakes, ever thy name ringeth!
All things of thine I mind, for I love all things;
I know that last year on the twelfth of May-month,
To walk abroad, one day you changed your hair-plaits!
I am so used to take your hair for daylight
That,—like as when the eye stares on the sun’s disk,
One sees long after a red blot on all things—
So, when I quit thy beams, my dazzled vision
Sees upon all things a blonde stain imprinted.
Why, this is love indeed!. . .
Ay, true, the feeling
Which fills me, terrible and jealous, truly
Love,—which is ever sad amid its transports!
Love,—and yet, strangely, not a selfish passion!
I for your joy would gladly lay mine own down,
—E’en though you never were to know it,—never!
—If but at times I might—far off and lonely,—
Hear some gay echo of the joy I bought you!
Each glance of thine awakes in me a virtue,—
A novel, unknown valour. Dost begin, sweet,
To understand? So late, dost understand me?
Feel’st thou my soul, here, through the darkness mounting?
Too fair the night! Too fair, too fair the moment!
That I should speak thus, and that you should hearken!
Too fair! In moments when my hopes rose proudest,
I never hoped such guerdon. Naught is left me
But to die now! Have words of mine the power
To make you tremble,—throned there in the branches?
Ay, like a leaf among the leaves, you tremble!
You tremble! For I feel,—an if you will it,
Or will it not,—your hand’s beloved trembling
Thrill through the branches, down your sprays of jasmine!
(He kisses passionately one of the hanging tendrils.)
Ay! I am trembling, weeping!—I am thine!
Thou hast conquered all of me!
Then let death come!
‘Tis I, ‘tis I myself, who conquered thee!
One thing, but one, I dare to ask—
CHRISTIAN (under the balcony):
ROXANE (drawing back):