Poems » edmond rostand » twenty ways to insult a nose

DE GUICHE: Will no one put him down?. . .
THE VISCOUNT: No one? But wait!
  I'll treat him to ... one of my quips! ... See here! ...
(He goes up to Cyrano, who is watching him. With a conceited air):
  Sir, your nose is ... hmm ... it is ... very big!
CYRANO (gravely): Very!
THE VISCOUNT (laughing): Ha!
CYRANO (imperturbably): Is that all?
THE VISCOUNT: What do you mean?
CYRANO: Ah no! young blade!  That was a trifle short!
You might have said at least a hundred things
By varying the tone ... like this, suppose, ...
Aggressive:  'Sir, if I had such a nose
I'd amputate it!'  Friendly:  'When you sup
It must annoy you, dipping in your cup;
You need a drinking-bowl of special shape!'
Descriptive:  ''Tis a rock! ... a peak! ... a cape!
--A cape, forsooth!  'Tis a peninsular!'
Curious:  'How serves that oblong capsular?
For scissor-sheath?  Or pot to hold your ink?'
Gracious:  'You love the little birds, I think?
I see you've managed with a fond research
To find their tiny claws a roomy perch!'
Truculent:  'When you smoke your pipe ... suppose
That the tobacco-smoke spouts from your nose--
Do not the neighbors, as the fumes rise higher,
Cry terror-struck:  "The chimney is afire"?'
Considerate:  'Take care, ... your head bowed low
By such a weight ... lest head o'er heels you go!'
Tender:  'Pray get a small umbrella made,
Lest its bright color in the sun should fade!'
Pedantic:  'That beast Aristophanes
Names Hippocamelelephantoles
Must have possessed just such a solid lump
Of flesh and bone, beneath his forehead's bump!'
Cavalier:  'The last fashion, friend, that hook?
To hang your hat on?  'Tis a useful crook!'
Emphatic:  'No wind, O majestic nose,
Can give THEE cold!--save when the mistral blows!'
Dramatic:  'When it bleeds, what a Red Sea!'
Admiring:  'Sign for a perfumery!'
Lyric:  'Is this a conch? ... a Triton you?'
Simple:  'When is the monument on view?'
Rustic:  'That thing a nose?  Marry-come-up!
'Tis a dwarf pumpkin, or a prize turnip!'
Military:  'Point against cavalry!'
Practical:  'Put it in a lottery!
Assuredly 'twould be the biggest prize!'
Or ... parodying Pyramus' sighs ...
'Behold the nose that mars the harmony
Of its master's phiz! blushing its treachery!'
--Such, my dear sir, is what you might have said,
Had you of wit or letters the least jot:
But, O most lamentable man!--of wit
You never had an atom, and of letters
You have three letters only!--they spell Ass!
And--had you had the necessary wit,
To serve me all the pleasantries I quote
Before this noble audience ... e'en so,
You would not have been let to utter one--
Nay, not the half or quarter of such jest!
I take them from myself all in good part,
But not from any other man that breathes!