| Respectfully Quoted: A Dictionary of Quotations. 1989.|
|AUTHOR:||Edmond Rostand (18681918)|
|QUOTATION:||What would you have me do?|
Search out some powerful patronage, and be
Like crawling ivy clinging to a tree?
No thank you. Dedicate, like all the others,
Verses to plutocrats, while caution smothers
Whatever might offend my lord and master?
No thank you. Kneel until my knee-caps fester,
Bend my back until I crack my spine,
And scratch anothers back if hell scratch mine?
No thank you. Dining out to curry favour,
Meeting the influential till I slaver,
Suiting my style to what the critics want
With slavish copy of the latest cant?
No thanks! Ready to jump through any hoop
To be the great man of a little group?
Be blown off course, with madrigals for sails,
By the old women sighing through their veils?
Labouring to write a line of such good breeding
Its only fault isthat its not worth reading?
To ingratiate myself, abject with fear,
And fawn and flatter to avoid a sneer?
No thanks, no thanks, no thanks! But
just to sing,
Dream, laugh, and take my tilt of wing,
To cock a snook whenever I shall choose,
To fight for yes and no, come win or lose,
To travel without thought of fame or fortune
Wherever I care to go to under the moon!
Never to write a line that hasnt come
Directly from my heart: and so, with some
Modesty, to tell myself: My boy,
Be satisfied with a flower, a fruit, the joy
Of a single leaf, so long as it was grown
In your own garden. Then, if success is won
By any chance, you have nothing to render to
A hollow Caesar: the merit belongs to you.
In short, I wont be a parasite; Ill be
My own intention, stand alone and free,
And suit my voice to what my own eyes see!
|ATTRIBUTION:||EDMOND ROSTAND, Cyrano de Bergerac, act II, trans. Christopher Fry, pp. 5657 (1975). Originally published in 1897.|
This is Cyranos declaration of independence.