The 1956 Libretto

Original Broadway Production (1956)
Published in 1971 by Little, Brown in "The Collected Plays" by Lillian Hellman

Credits | Excerpts


A Comic Operetta based on Voltaire's satire
Book by Lillian Hellman
Score by Leonard Bernstein
Lyrics by Richard Wilbur
Other lyrics by John Latouche and Dorothy Parker

Act One
Scene 2 [Original Version]
Scene 2.

THE SCENE: The market square of Lisbon. The day of the famous earthquake.

AT RISE: There are a variety of booths, a bear on a chain, and an animal cage presided over by a Man in Arab costume. A few of the Boothkeepers are eating their breakfast, getting ready for the Crowd.
Candide comes wandering in and stares at those who are eating. He does not see Pangloss who, in beggar's rags, is sitting in a corner.

    TWO GIRLS (with a dog, sing).
    What a day, what a day,
    For an auto-da-fe!
    What a sunny summer sky!

    TWO BARKERS (sing).
    Big and small, one and all
    Will be itching to buy,
    Everyone in town
    Is coming down
    So raise the prices high!
    Hurry hurry hurry
    Hurry hurry hurry, right this way!

    (Candide joins the Crowd.)

    Hurry hurry hurry
    Hurry hurry hurry
    Hurry hurry hurry, don't delay!

    Pots and pans!
    Metal cans!

    Bought or traded or sold!

    I can turn them into gold!

    Fans and pots
    And whatnots

    Trading new ones for old!

    For a tiny fee
    My alchemy
    Can turn them into gold!

    Here be powders and pills
    For your fevers and chills.
    I've a cure safe and sure
    For whatever your ills.
    For a fit of migraine,
    Or a pox on the brain
    Here's an herb that will curb any pain!

    Here be bags full of wine.
    Here be nectars divine
    From the Volga, the Po,
    And the Rhone and the Rhine.
    Sherry sweet, sherry dry,
    And a golden Tokay,
    And a pale British ale you must try.

    See the great Russian bear
    In his elegant lair,
    As he trots a gavotte
    With his nose in the air!
    Then he does a pliee,
    And a series of gay
    Somersaults as he waltzes away!

    CROWD (running to bear booth).
    Can a great Russian bear
    Have an elegant lair?
    Can he trot a gavotte
    With his nose in the air?
    Can he do a pliee
    And a series of gay
    Somersaults as he waltzes away?

    (The bear dances.)

    Any kind of metal
    Any kind of metal
    Any kind of metal bought and sold!

    Any kind of metal
    Any kind of metal
    Any kind of metal turned to gold!

    MAN and WIFE (with funk cart).
    Silken hose, furbelows,
    Ribbons, laces, and bows!
    Buy a bonnet for your spouse!

    TWO WHORES (in Crowd).
    Sailor boy, sailor boy,
    If you're looking for joy,
    Step along before the crowd arrives
    And have one on the house!

    LETTERWRITER (in Crowd).
    Here be paper and quill.
    Let me draw up your will.
    If a debt isn't met
    I will write you a bill.
    Every letter is planned
    So that all understand
    Every line of my fine flowing hand!

    FISHWIVES (in Crowd; sing in turn).
    Here be shrimp, here be fish,
    Caviar by the dish!
    I have garfish and starfish
    And squid if you wish!
    Here be mussels and ray!
    And an octopus they
    Caught today in the Bay of Biscay!

    MAN (carrying a box of fighting cocks).
    Here be fierce fighting cocks
    Trammeled up in a box!
    Every bird has a murderous
    Spur on its hocks!
    You will crow with delight
    'Til a bird wins the fight­
    Bet me which, and get rich if you're right!

    (Two toy cocks fight with each other.)

    Hurry hurry hurry
    Hurry hurry hurry
    Hurry hurry hurry, come and buyl

    Hurry hurry hurry
    Hurry hurry hurry
    Hurry hurry hurry, come and try!

    What a day, what a day
    For an auto-da-fe!
    There's a gleam in every eye!

    What a day, what a day
    For an auto-da-fe!
    There's a bee in every bonnet
    And a thumb in every pie!
CONJURER (as he raises curtain on cage). AAAAAAAYYYYYYY have an announcement!

(The Crowd stops singing, moves toward him. In the animal cage we see the Infant. She is about twenty-five, but is very small and is dressed in child's costume. She is drinking from a glass which she hastily puts aside.)
    Come look on the Infant Casmira.
    Deep in a trance that has lasted for three days.
    Only six years old, she has powers to see underground.
    She will tell you the future, she never is wrong,
    She never has made a mistake, and all for
    Two real. Two shilling. Two kopeck Two lira.
    Awaken her with the sound of silver­—

    (Crowd throws coins. The Infant Casmira begins to whirl about.)

    Is that a child?
    She's rather wild to be a child!

    Ha ha ha ha
    Ha ha ha ha ha ha
    Ha ha ha ha
    Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!

    What does she say? What does she say?
    What does she say?

    Hoo hoo hoo hoo
    Hoo hoo hoo hoo hoo hoo
    Ho hoo hoo hoo
    Hoo hoo hoo hoo hoo hoo hoo!

    She say:
    There is terrible trouble.
    Pretty soon there is gonna be terrible trouble.
    Ay ay ay, such a terrible trouble.
    Ay ay ay ay!

    What can it be? What can it be?
    What can it be?

    Ho ho ho ho
    Ho ho ho ho ho ho
    Ho ho ho ho
    Ho ho ho ho ho ho ho!

    What does it mean? What does it mean?
    What does it mean?

    Hee hee hee hee
    Hee hee hee hee hee hee
    Hee hee hee hee
    Hee hee hee hee hee hee hee!

    She say:
    She cannot see the trouble.
    Because her eyesight is not enough dearly.
    The only cure is to place two gold coins on her eyelids.
    (Somebody in Crowd throws coins.)
    Thank you. Now she will tell.

    What does she see? What does she see?
    What does she see?

    Heh heh heh heh
    Heh heh heh heh heh heh
    Heh heh heh heh
    Heh heh heh heh heh heh heh!

    What is it now? What is it now?
    What is it now?

    Ha ha ha ha
    Ha ha ha ha ha ha
    Ha ha ha ha
    Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!

    She say:
    That the earth gonna quake
    And the ground gonna shake
    All the town falling down
    All the buildings will break
    Is a terrible sound
    Coming up from the ground
    But she don't say the name of the town!

    We have to know! We have to know!
    We have to know!

    Hoo hoo hoo hoo
    Hoo hoo hoo hoo hoo hoo
    Hoo hoo hoo hoo
    Hoo hoo hoo hoo hoo hoo hoo!

    She say:
    Spirit voices are fading.
    Two more gold coins placed against her eardrums
    Will bring back her hearing.
    (Coins are thrown.)
    Thank you.
    (Infant passes out.)
    Thousand apologies. She is in trance again.
    Come back tomorrow!
    Another revelation tomorrow!

    Ha ha ha ha, ha ha ha ha,
    Wonderful child!
    What a hoo hoo hoo hoo, hoo hoohoo hoo
    Wonderful child!
    What a wonderful child! Wonderful child! Wonderful child!
    What a child!
(Crowd moves away from the Infant.)

DOCTOR (calling to people in the square). I have philosophic aurate. I have mercury, the cure for many affairs of the heart. (At the mention of the word "mercury," Pangloss lying on the gibbet steps, rises and shuffles toward the Doctor.) I have a new stock of charmed nutmegs for the unloved, and fresh minted vinegar for ladies who have loved too well.

BEAR MAN. This bear is two hundred and ten years old, and a husband still.

SAILOR. Where's his wife?

BEARMAN. Where is yours?

(A Sailor is having his teeth examined by the Doctor. Pangloss stands watching.)

DOCTOR. Here be a new salt sea solution to increase the duties of the male. For males who have over-increased their duties here be a mercury solution. Moral instructions enclosed. (The Doctor offers bottle to Pangloss.) Sir?

PANGLOSS. How much, good doctor?

DOCTOR. Five reis.

PANGLOSS. I have only one coin. But, perhaps, in the kindness of your heart, from one philosopher to another, for that is what I am, you would like to give me­—

(The Doctor tries to bat him with a broom. Candide gets in the way and is shoved against Pangloss.)

CANDIDE. Excuse me, sir. I stumbled.

PANGLOSS. And if you had not stumbled against my head, I would no longer know that I had a head, so weak am I from hunger.

CANDIDE. And I hurt you because I am weak from hunger. The weak kick the weak. That's sad, isn't it?

PANGLOSS. Not at all. If the weak didn't kick the weak, then the strong would kick the weak and certainly that would hurt far more. Things are for the best in this best of all possible worlds.

CANDIDE (Picks up Pangloss, stares at him). It cannot be. It cannot be. I have seen a miracle: What is your name? Who are you?

PANGLOSS. Candide! My boy­—

CANDIDE. But I left you dead in Westphalia­—

PANGLOSS. Three days after my death, I woke up. But no stone was left in the castle, no tree left standing- (Softly) All were dead around me.

CANDIDE. Dear, good master. You bear the marks of brave battle.

PANGLOSS (shakes his head). The marks I bear are the marks of love.

CANDIDE (he cries). But, dear master, how can anything so noble as love produce, forgive me, so disgusting an effect upon the human body?

PANGLOSS. You remember our pretty maid servant, Paquette?

CANDIDE. Indeed, master. You were very kind to her.

PANGLOSS. Yes I was. Some men, not philosophers, would think she repaid my kindness in an odd fashion. But I—
    PANGLOSS (sings).
    Dear boy, you will not hear me speak
    With sorrow or with rancor
    Of what has paled my rosy cheek
    And blasted it with canker;
    'Twas Love, great Love, that did the deed
    Through Nature's gentle laws,
    And how should ill effects proceed
    From so divine a cause?

    Sweet honey comes from bees that sting,
    As you are well aware;
    To one adept in reasoning,
    Whatever pains disease may bring
    Are but the tangy seasoning
    To Love's delicious fare.

    Columbus and his men, they say,
    Conveyed the virus hither
    Whereby my features rot away
    And vital powers wither;
    Yet had they not traversed the seas
    And come infected back,
    Why, think of all the luxuries
    That modern life would lack!

    All bitter things conduce to sweet,
    As this example shows;
    Without the little spirochete
    We'd have no chocolate to eat,
    Nor would tobacco's fragrance greet
    The European nose.

    Each nation guards its native land
    With cannon and with sentry,
    Inspectors look for contraband
    At every port of entry,
    Yet nothing can prevent the spread
    Of Love's divine disease:
    It rounds the world from bed to bed
    As pretty as you please.

    Men worship Venus everywhere,
    As plainly may be seen;
    The decorations which I bear
    Are nobler than the Croix de Guerre,
    And gained in service of our fair
    And universal Queen.
CANDIDE. But, Master, you look so awful­—

(There is a grotesque fanfare of rams' horns as the Grand In­quisitor, in fine robes, followed by two small Inquisitors, who are followed by two smaller Professors, march onstage. Two Guards bring on three Prisoners — two men and a woman — and push them into a corner.)

CANDIDE. What is happening?

PANGLOSS. The men of the Inquisition. I have always wished to visit with the educated gentlemen.

(He starts toward them but the Infant Casmira, lying on the floor of her cage, lets out a series of shrieks.)

FIRST SMALL INQUISITOR. There is that terrible child again.

GRAND INQUISITOR (frightened). What does she say?

CONJURER (leans down, listens). She says the earth will shake.


(The earth begins to shake. People are thrown off balance, and fall to the ground. There are screams and angry, threatening shouts to the Inquisitor.)

GRAND INQUISITOR (shouting). Quiet! Have faith. We have taken council. We have found an unfailing remedy for earthquakes. Witches and wizards have moved among us: we will bring them to tria1.

SECOND SMALL INQUISITOR (calling to the Guard). Bring on the prisoners. (The Guard pushes forward a Middle-aged Man. The fanfare is repeated.) What is the charge?

FIRST PROFESSOR. Eating ham and eggs and throwing away the ham, as his people did before him.

GRAND INQUISITOR. Most certainly such a deed contributes to the formation of an earthquake, as can be demonstrated sub codici Papae Marcelli.

    THE THREE INQUISITORS (sings, to Crowd).
    Shall we let the sinner go or try him?

    Try him!

    Is the culprit innocent or guilty?


    Shall we pardon him or hang him?

    Hang him!

    (Bell rings.)

    What a lovely day, what a jolly day,
    What a day for a holiday!
    (Repeat words.)
    He don't mix meat and dairy:
    He won't eat humble pie:
    So sing a miserere
    And hang the bastards high!
(The Guards drag off the Middle-aged Man, as the Inquisitors mumble among themselves. An Old Man is pushed forward by a Guard.)

GRAND INQUISITOR. What is the charge?

FIRST PROFESSOR. The overbuying of candles for the overreading of books in subversive association with associates.

OLD MAN. Great judge, I learned to read as a very young man. I can see now that I was a tool and a fool. I was poor, I was lonely­—

FIRST PROFESSOR. Who are your associates? Be quick.

OLD MAN. Yes, sir. Well, there was Emmanuel, Lilybelle, Lionel, and Dolly and Molly and Polly, of course. And my Ma and my Pa and my littlest child. A priest, deceased, and my uncle and my aunt. The president, his resident, and the sister of my wife­—

GRAND INQUISITOR. All right. All right. Thank you for your splendid cooperation.

(There is a fanfare.)
    Shall we doubt the charges or approve them?

    Approve them!

    Shall we show this helpful witness mercy?


    Shall we give him five or ten years?

    Ten years!

    At first he lied and tricked us,
    But now he's sung his tale.
    So bid him Benedictus
    And let him sing in jail!
(A Woman is pushed forward by the Guards.)

GRAND INQUISITOR. What is the charge?

FIRST PROFESSOR. Well, sir, the evidence is long­—

GRAND INQUISITOR (quickly). Death by hanging.

PANGLOSS. Oh, I say. (Advances) Really, gentlemen. (Bows) I am a guest from a distant land­—

GRAND INQUISITOR. Death by hanging.

(The Guard moves toward the astonished Pangloss.)

CANDIDE (steps forward). Good gentlemen! Professor Pangloss is a man of eminent standing, a mystic and a metaphysician­—

SECOND PROFESSOR. Who is this boy with the foreign accent?

CANDIDE. I am one who believes in the goodness of man in the best of all possible worlds.

GRAND INQUISITOR. Death by hanging.

PANGLOSS. Gentlemen. Your methods are not legal—

    Are our methods legal or illegal?


    Are we judges of the law, or laymen?


    Shall we hang them or forget them?

    Get them!

    When foreigners like this come
    To criticize and spy,
    We chant a Pax Vobiscum
    And hang the bastards high!
(The Guards come forward in sanbenitos and put a paper mitre on the head of each Prisoner. The mitres and sanbenitos are painted with flames, devils without claws and tails. The Prisoners go toward the gibbet steps.)

    ALL (sing).
    What a day, what a day,
    Oh, what a day, what a day,
    Oh, what a day,
    What a perfect day for hanging!
(Bells begin to peal as the Prisoners are lined up at the gibbet steps.)
    What a lovely day,
    What a jolly day,
    What a day for a holiday!
    (Repeat three times.)
    At last we can be cheery,
    The danger's passed us by.
    So chant a Dies Irae!
    We've hung the bastards high!
    Oh, what a day!
(Music ends.)

EXECUTIONER (to the Prisoners as they go up the gibbet steps). Three reis, please. And three more will grease your road to eternity.

PANGLOSS. I have two reis. Could I get a little bread for my friend and me? We are hungry.

EXECUTIONER. Bread is the heaviest thing you can eat. Gives you indigestion at a time like this.

CANDIDE (to Executioner). I have nothing. But then I have done nothing.

EXECUTIONER. That's the hardest way to die, boy. From my long experience I can tell you that the guilty die easier than the innocent. They have a decent sense of accomplishment.

(Pangloss and Candide disappear.)
    CROWD (singing).
    We've had a nice fiesta,
    The heretics are dead.
    It's time for our siesta,
    So let's go home to bed.
GRAND INQUISITOR (Picks up his papers, books, etc., and addresses the crowd). I declare now an hour of prayer. Go to your houses and make proper donations to the Inquisition — all dona­tions are tax deductible — and fast until the dinner hour. The danger is over.

(The earth quakes. People are thrown to the ground. The scenery falls apart.)

Scene 2A.

SCENE: Travels from Lisbon to Paris.

    CANDIDE (appears, singing to himself).
    My master told me
    That men are loving-kind;
    Yet now behold me
    Ill-used and sad of mind.
    Men must have kindness I cannot see.
    It must be me. It must be me.

    My master told me
    The world is warm and good;
    It deals more coldly
    Than I had dreamt it would.
    There must be sunlight I cannot see.
    It must be me. It must be me.
(He moves across stage toward a group of Beggars. The Beggars stare at him.)

FIRST BEGGAR. You didn't sound like a beggar coming down the road. Better learn to walk slower. boy. and save your feet.

CANDIDE. I'm not a beggar.

SECOND BEGGAR. You're a king?

FIRST BEGGAR. I don't think he's a king.

THIRD BEGGAR. You're a general?

FIRST BEGGAR. I don't think he's a general.

CANDIDE. I was a soldier—­

THIRD BEGGAR. You don't look it.

CANDIDE (with pain). I am not a beggar.

FIRST BEGGAR (gets up). Let's move on to Paris: it's the beggar's city. There's always a party in Paris. (They start off. Candide does not move. The First Beggar turns to Candide) Want to come with us, soldier?

(They move off. Slowly Candide follows them. The frame of a house is rolled on. A painted. elderly Lady is standing in the window.)

LADY. Bon soir, monsieur. You are bemused with wine?

CANDIDE. Oh, no, sir. I am bemused with weariness.

LADY. I am not a sir. I am a madame.

CANDIDE. Please excuse me. My head goes about from hunger.

LADY. Come in. Do. Cleaned. you would be handsome. At six o'clock, of course, you must disappear. My lover is very jealous. . . .

CANDIDE. Your lover? I am indeed in Paris.

LADY. The outskirts of Paris.

(The lights fade and come up on the ballroom of a fine Paris house.)

Continue to Act One, Scene 3

Compiled by Michael H. Hutchins