Reference > Anthologies > Warner, et al., eds. > The Library > Verse

C.D. Warner, et al., comp.  The Library of the World’s Best Literature.
An Anthology in Thirty Volumes.  1917.
The Poet-Duellist
By Edmond Rostand (1868–1918)
From ‘Cyrano de Bergerac,’ done into English verse by Howard Thayer Kingsbury

CYRANO—“The ballade of Monsieur de Bergerac’s duel
At the Hotel de Bourgogne with a booby.”
  The Viscount—What is that, if you please?
  Cyrano—That is the title.
  The Hall  [excited to the highest pitch]—In place!—No noise!—In line!—This is amusing.
[The players and spectators form a ring round the two duellists.]
  Cyrano  [closing his eyes for a moment]—Wait, let me choose my rhymes—I have them now:
My hat I toss lightly away;
From my shoulders I slowly let fall
The cloak that conceals my array,
And my sword from my scabbard I call,        10
Like Celadon, graceful and tall,
Like Scaramouche, quick hand and brain,—
And I warn you, my friend, once for all,
I shall thrust when I end the refrain.
[The swords meet.]
You were rash thus to join in the fray;        15
Like a fowl I shall carve you up small,
Your ribs, ’neath your doublet so gay,
Your breast, where the blue ribbons fall,
Ding dong! ring your bright trappings all:
My point flits like a fly on the pane,        20
As I clearly announce to the hall
I shall thrust when I end the refrain.
I need one more rhyme for “array”—
You give ground, you turn white as the wall,—
And so lend me the word “runaway.”        25
There! you have let your point fall
As I parry your best lunge of all;
I begin a new line, the end’s plain,
Your skewer hold tight, lest it fall.
I shall thrust when I end the refrain.        30
[Announces solemnly!]

Prince, on the Lord you must call!
I gain ground, I advance once again,
I feint, I lunge.  [Lunging.]  There! that is all!
[The Viscount staggers.  Cyrano salutes.]
For I thrust as I end the refrain.

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