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The Romancers A Comedy in Three Acts   By: (1868-1918)

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THE ROMANCERS (Les Romanesques)

Comedy in Three Acts by EDMOND ROSTAND

Translated by Barrett H. Clark 1915

[[ Untitled INTRODUCTORY NOTES from 1915 publication by Samuel French: Publisher, New York:


Edmond Rostand was born at Marseilles in 1868. Rostand is undoubtedly one of the most brilliant dramatic poets of modern times. "Les Romanesques" "The Romancers" was performed for the first time in Paris, at the Comedie Francaise, in 1894, and achieved considerable success. Its delicacy and charm revealed the true poet, and the deftness with which the plot was handled left little doubt as to the author's ability to construct an interesting and moving drama. But not until the production of "Cyrano de Bergerac" in 1897 did Rostand become known to the world at large. "L'Aiglon" (1900) was something of a disappointment after the brilliant "Cyrano." Ten years later came "Chantecler," the poet's deepest and in many ways most masterly play.

"The Romancers" is best played in the romantic atmosphere of the late Eighteenth century; the costumes should be Louis XVI. The stage directions are sufficiently detailed. ]]

[Transcriber's note: "The Romancers" is the basis for the plot of the 1960 musical "The Fantasticks," with music by Harvey Schmidt, book and lyrics by Tom Jones.]


Persons in the Play

SYLVETTE PERCINET STRAFOREL BERGAMIN (Percinet's father) PASQUINOT (Sylvette's father) BLAISE (A gardener) A WALL (Not a speaking part) Swordsmen, musicians, negroes, torch bearers, a notary, four witnesses, and other supernumeraries.

The action takes place anywhere, provided the costumes are pretty.


SCENE: The stage is divided by an old wall, covered with vines and flowers. At the right, a corner of BERGAMIN's private park; at the left, a corner of PASQUINOT's. On each side of the wall, and against it, is a rustic bench. As the curtain rises, PERCINET is seated on the top of the wall. On his knee is a book, out of which he is reading to SYLVETTE, who stands attentively listening on the bench which is on the other side of the wall.

SYLVETTE. Monsieur Percinet, how divinely beautiful!

PERCINET. Is it not? Listen to what Romeo answers: [Reading] "It was the lark, the herald of the morn, No nightingale: look, love, what envious streaks Do lace the severing clouds in yonder east. Night's candles are burnt out, and jocund day Stands tiptoe on the misty mountain tops: I must be gone"

SYLVETTE. [Interrupts him, as she listens.] Sh!

PERCINET. [Listens a moment, then] No one! And, Mademoiselle, you must not take fright like a startled bird. Hear the immortal lovers:

" Juliet. Yon light is not the daylight, I know it, I, It is some meteor that the sun exhales, To be to thee this night a torch bearer, And light thee on thy way to Mantua: Therefore stay yet, thou need'st not to be gone.

Romeo. Let me be ta'en, let me be put to death; I am content, so thou will have it so. I'll say, yon gray is not the morning's eye, 'Tis but the pale reflex of Cynthia's brow; Nor that is not the lark, whose notes do beat The vaulty heaven so high above our heads: I have more care to stay than will to go: Come, death and welcome"

SYLVETTE. No, he must not say such things, or I shall cry.

PERCINET. Then let us stop and read no further until to morrow. We shall let Romeo live! [He closes the book and looks about him.] This charming spot seems expressly made, it seems to me, to cradle the words of the Divine Will!

SYLVETTE. The verses are divine, and the soft air here is a divine accompaniment. And see, these green shades! But, Monsieur Percinet, what makes them divine to me is the way you read!

PERCINET. Flatterer!

SYLVETTE. [Sighing] Poor lovers! Their fate was cruel! [Another sigh] I think

PERCINET... Continue reading book >>

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