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'Cyrano,' Gaining in the Translation

What would you have me do?

Seek for the patronage of some great man,

And like a creeping vine on a tall tree


Jose Ferrer's stirring speeches in the 1950 film came from Brian Hooker's translation of "Cyrano de Bergerac." (File Photo)

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Crawl upward, where I cannot stand alone?

No thank you! Dedicate, as others do,

Poems to pawnbrokers? Be a buffoon

In the vile hope of teasing out a smile

On some cold face? No thank you! Eat a toad

For breakfast every morning? Make my knees

Callous, and cultivate a supple spine, --

Wear out my belly grovelling in the dust?

No thank you! . . . Shall I labor night and day

To build a reputation on one song,

And never write another? Shall I find


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