Chantecler eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 104 pages of information about Chantecler.

CHANTECLER [To the NIGHTINGALE, in a discouraged voice.] To sing!  To sing!  But how, after hearing the faultless crystal of your note, can I ever be satisfied again with the crude, brazen blare of mine?

THE NIGHTINGALE
But you must!

CHANTECLER
Shall I find it possible ever again to sing?  My song, alas, must seem to
me always after this too brutal and too red!

THE NIGHTINGALE
I have sometimes thought that mine was too facile, perhaps, and too blue!

CHANTECLER
Oh, how can you humble yourself to make such a confession to me?

THE NIGHTINGALE You fought for a friend of mine, the Rose!  Learn, comrade, this sorrowful and reassuring fact, that no one, Cock of the morning or evening Nightingale, has quite the song of his dreams!

CHANTECLER
[With passionate desire.] Oh, to be a sound that soothes and lulls!

THE NIGHTINGALE
To be a splendid call to duty!

CHANTECLER
I make nobody weep!

THE NIGHTINGALE I awaken nobody! [But after the expression of this regret, he continues in an ever higher and more lyrical voice.] What matter?  One must sing on!  Sing on, even while knowing that there are songs which he prefers to his own song.  One must sing,—­sing,—­sing,—­until—­[A shot.  A flash from the thicket.  Brief silence, then a small, tawny body drops at CHANTECLER’S feet.]

CHANTECLER [Bending and looking.] The Nightingale!—­The brutes! [And without noticing the vague, earliest tremour of daylight spreading through the air, he cries in a sob.] Killed!  And he had sung such a little, little while! [One or two feathers slowly flutter down.]

THE PHEASANT-HEN
His feathers!

CHANTECLER [Bending over the body which is shaken by a last throe.] Peace, little poet!

[Rustling of leaves and snapping of twigs; from a thicket projects PATOU’S shaggy head.]

SCENE SEVENTH

The same, PATOU, emerging for a moment from the brush.

CHANTECLER
[To PATOU.] You! [Reproachfully.] You have come to get him?

PATOU
[Ashamed.] Forgive me!  The poacher compels me—­

CHANTECLER
[Who had sprung before the body, to protect it, uncovers it.] A
Nightingale!

PATOU [Hanging his head.] Yes.  The evil race of man loves to shower lead into a singing tree.

CHANTECLER
See, the burying beetle has already come.

PATOU
[Gently withdrawing.] I will make believe I found nothing.

THE PHEASANT-HEN
[Watching the day break.] He has not noticed that night is nearly over.

CHANTECLER [Bending over the grasses which begin to stir about the dead bird.] Insect, where the body has fallen, be swift to come and open the earth.  The funereal necrophaga are the only grave-diggers who never carry the dead elsewhere, believing that the least sad, and the most fitting tomb, is the very clay whereon one fell into the final sleep. [To the funeral insects, while the NIGHTINGALE begins gently to sink into the ground.] Piously dig his grave!  Light lie the earth upon him!

Copyrights
Project Gutenberg
Chantecler from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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