Friday, December 01, 2006

Outlasting Mortal Flesh

CYRANO: You noseless skullhead, stare
Out of those empty sockets, if you dare,
Directly at my nose! - Eh? What's that?
Resistance useless? Well, I know it, Cat!
A man doesn't fight thinking that he'll succeed.
The hopeless battle is the best indeed!
- Who are these with you? - a hundred against one!
I recognize some old enemies of mine!
Falsehood? [He duels with the air.]
Come on, then! Ha! and Compromise,
Prejudice, Corruption! [He strikes.] Damn your eyes,
Capitulate? Never! - And you, Stupidity!
- I know in the end you'll get the better of me:
It doesn't matter, I'll fight, I'll fight, I'll fight!
[He swings his sword in great circles, then stops, out of breath.]
Yes, the last of the laurel is cut all right,
And the rose is withered. Nevertheless, tonight
When I make my sweeping bow at heaven's gate,
One thing I shall still possess, at any rate,
Unscathed, something outlasting mortal flesh,
And that is... [He holds the sword aloft.]
[The sword falls from his hands, he staggers and falls into the arms of LE BRET and RAGUENEAU.]

ROXANE [Leaning over to kiss his brow]: That... that is?

CYRANO [Opening his eyes and smiling at her]: My panache.

Edmond Rostand, Cyrano Der Bergerac, Christopher Fry translation, 145-46.

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