Cyrano sits, writing a love-letter in verse for Roxane. As he writes, a group of poets, dressed in black, enters the shop. The poets greet Ragueneau warmly, and Ragueneau notes that he always feels comfortable with poets right away. As Cyrano writes, the poets comment that they’ve recently witnessed a spectacular fight. A single man fought off an enormous mob using only his sword. None of the poets know who the man was.
As seems only natural, Cyrano and Ragueneau get along well because they see art and poetry in the same way: as the most valuable and noble aspects of humanity. Rostand still doesn’t confirm that Cyrano was the one who fought the large battle last night, but the fact that his hand is cut suggests as much. This creates strong dramatic irony, as the poets don’t know who fought the men, but we do.
Ragueneau shows the poets something he’s been working on: a recipe in verse. He explains how to make almond tartlets, and the poets applaud his elegant rhymes. As they listen, the poets eat Ragueneau’s pastries and tarts—when Ragueneau is finished, they sit down. Cyrano asks Ragueneau how he can give the poets so much free food. Ragueneau replies that he is happy to support young artists—he genuinely enjoys doing so. Cyrano tells Ragueneau that he admires this attitude.
Interestingly, Ragueneau unites art and food with his poetry about making tarts. This is a symbolic way for Rostand to suggest that, at least for the time being, Ragueneau’s love for art isn’t costing him money: he can have both poetry and food. The same is true for Cyrano: for the time being, Cyrano can both be wealthy and be extravagant. Naturally, this state can’t last forever for either man.
Cyrano and Ragueneau notice that Lise is speaking “tenderly” to a shop patron, a young Musketeer. Cyrano points this out to Lise, and Lise replies that no man can “conquer her,” a claim that Cyrano finds questionable. Cyrano warns Lise not to make Ragueneau a “laughingstock.”
Cyrano is fiercely loyal to his friends. It’s very telling to consider the way in which Cyrano expresses his warning to Lise: rather than warning Lise not to flirt, he warns Lise not to make other people laugh at Ragueneau. Cyrano is more concerned with other people’s perception than with reality.
Ragueneau motions for the poets to follow him into a separate room, where they can read and discuss more verse. The poets get up from their table and follow him to the room, scooping up a few more cakes on the way.
The scene ends with a tragicomic reminder that Ragueneau’s prosperity can’t last forever: there’s something self-negating about his form of generosity, and others can easily take advantage of him (even if they don’t mean to).