The 1956 Libretto

Original Broadway Production (1956)
Published in 1957 by Random House

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 [Revised Version]
Scene 2.

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

AT RISE: The sound of morning church bells. The Infant Casmira, her cage covered, is watched over by the Arab, who is eating his breakfast. The booth keepers are eating their breakfast, getting ready for the Crowd. During the following scene the stage will fill with people.
Candide comes wandering on, staring at those who are eating. He does not see Pangloss who, in beggar's rags, is sitting in a corner.

BOOTH KEEPER (To Candide). Fresh sausage? Breakfast coffee? Cheese?

CANDIDE (Touches sausage). Looks nice.

BOOTH KEEPER. Is nice. Three real.

CANDIDE (Shakes his head). I have no money. Where am I?

BOOTH KEEPER. I don't know where you are. I'm in Lisbon.

ARAB (As Candide passes Infant's cage). Fortune told be wonderful child?

CANDIDE. No, thank you.

ARAB. You got heavy accent.

CANDIDE. So have you.

(An arm comes out of cage, grabs Candide. As he is pulled down, he is able to see into cage. He cries out in fear.)

ARAB. She don't like you. She say you go away.

CANDIDE (Horrified). She? Is is a woman?

(Infant growls)

ARAB. The Infant Casmira is child. Imported greatest fortuneteller in Europe. (Arab leans down to angry sound from Infant) Go away, she say. She don't like you. She say you are force for good: a god little foolish man. Worries her. She say you make her angry. You be careful. Move.

(Candide moves on to bear and Bear Keeper. He stands watching them eat breakfast. The bear breaks off a piece of his meat and throws it to Candide.)

CANDIDE Touched). Thank you. Thank you very much.
BEAR KEEPER (To bear). Damon old soft-hearted fool. (To Candide) Move on. We don't like foreigners.

(The Bear Keeper shoves Candide into Pangloss.)

CANDIDE. Nobody likes me.

PANGLOSS. Is that any reason for falling on my poor head? When I was young we did not kick philosophers.

CANDIDE. Excuse me, sir. I stumbled.

PANGLOSS. And if you had not stumbled, I would not have this bruise on my head. And if I did not have this bruise on my head,I would no longer know that I had a head, so weak am I from hunger.

CANDIDE. And I kicked 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. You understand?

CANDIDE. No, sir.

PANGLOSS. Obviously, you are not equipped to think. Therefore, leave the thinking to wise men, and paste upon your heart this motto: All is for the best in this best of all possible worlds.

CANDIDE. It cannot be. It cannot be. What is your name? Who are you? (The bundle of rags look at him> Pangloss! Dear master!

PANGLOSS. Candide. My boy, my boy . . .
(They fall into each other's arms, crying.)

CANDIDE. But I thought you were dead.

PANGLOSS. Yes I thought I was dead. But a few hours after my death. I awoke unharmed. There was not a stone left in the castle, not a tree left standing. The Baron was dead, Maximillian was dead, Cunegonde was dead. . . . (Candide buries his head) I know. But you must be brave. It is a great thing that we have found each other again, happy and well. . . .

CANDIDE. But, dear sir, you are not looking well. You must have been wounded during the battle of Westphalia. . . .

PANGLOSS. No. I fainted during the battle. I don't like battles. You will remember that I believe intellectuals should fight only among themselves. How have you fared in the great, kind world, my dear boy?

CANDIDE. Badly, sir. The great, kind world is a cold place.

PANGLOSS. It pains me to hear you speak that way.

CANDIDE. I have seen the death of the woman I love, the destruction of my home and my friends. And along this miserable journey I hae known little charity. I have begun to have doubts. . . .

PANGLOSS. Doubt, my boy, is a word like death. Once a man begins to doubt, he begins to think for himself and upsets his stomach.

CANDIDE. My stomach is not upset . . . it's empty.

PANGLOSS. The emptier the stomach, the more power in the brain. Starved, I am at my very best. . . .
(He stumbles and falls as the market people begin to sing.)
    TWO GIRLS (sing).
    Look at this, look at that,

    What a pretty new hat!

    But the price is much too high.

    Here be wine!

    Here be spice!

    Worth at least twice the price.

    But we haven't any money
    So there's nothing we can buy!

    ALL MEN.
    Hurry hurry hurry
    Hurry hurry hurry
    Hurry hurry hurry
    Come and buy!

    Hurry hurry hurry
    Hurry hurry hurry
    Hurry hurry hurry
    Come and try!

    See the great Russian bear!

    Buy a comb for your hair!

    But the price is much too high.

    Here be potions and pills
    For you fevers and chills!

    But we haven't any money
    So there's nothing we can buy!

    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!

    Pots and pans,
    Metal cans,

    Bought or traded or sold!

    I can turn them into gold!

    Pans and pots and what-nots

    Trading new ones for old!

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

    ALL (sing, in canon).
    Hurry hurry hurry,
    Hurry hurry hurry,
    Hurry hurry hurry,
    Come and buy!

    Hurry hurry hurry,
    Hurry hurry hurry,
    Hurry hurry hurry,
    Come and try!

    What a fair, what a fair!
    Things to buy everywhere,
    But the prices are too high!
    It's not fair, it's not fair!
    Things to buy everywhere;
    But we haven't any money
    So there's nothing we can buy!
ARAB (Calls out). AAAAAAAYYYYYYY have an announcement! Come look on the Infant Casmira.

(Crowd stops singing, moves toward him. In the cage we see the Infant Casmira. She is very small and is dressed in child's costume. But she is not a child and she is drunk.)
    ARAB (sings).
    Deep in a trance that has lasted for three days.
    Only six years old, she has powers to see underground.
    Though she don't speak no language, she'll tell you the future,
    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.)

    CROWD (sings).
    Is that a child?
    She's rather wild to be a child!

    INFANT CASMIRA (sings).
    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?

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

    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?

    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.

    I say:
    Spirit voices have spoken.
    They say that th ground gonna open.
    That the earth gonna open and swallow the city of Lisbon

    Ha, ha, ha—
    The little fake.
    (The earth does shake and the Crowd draws back in fear.)

    The towers of Lisbon are trembling
    I say the sky will be covered with dark wings
    I say the sea will turn to blood
    The earth will rise, shake, heave, roar—listen. . .

    Fly from the city of Lisbon
    Fly from the city of Lisbon!

    Oh, oh
    Oh, oh

    Pray for us, pray for us
    Fons pietatis,
    Pray for us!
    Davidis turris,
    Pray for us!

    Rex majestatis,
    Pray for us!
    Davidis turris,
    Pray for us!
    (The Crowd panics)

    Pray for us, pray for us!
    Fons pietatis,
    Pray for us!
    Davidis turris,
    Pray for us!

    Rex majestatis,
    Pray for us!
    Davidis turris,
    Pray for us!

    Fons pietatis,
    Pray for us!
    Davidis turris,
    Pray for us!

    Rex majestatis,
    Pray for us!
    Davidis turris,
    Pray for us!


CANDIDE (To Pangloss). What is happening?

PANGLOSS. The Inquisition, assisted by great lawyers from the university.

CANDIDE. What is an inquisition?

PANGLOSS (Points to old men). A group of wise men who settle public problems with justice to all. It will be a pleasure to watch them.

LAWYER (To Crowd). The earth has shaken. Be calm. We have come to settle the shaking of the earth. Put your faith in these wise men. They, and they alone, know the cause. They, and they alone, will banish the danger. What causes the earth to tremble, sires?

VERY, VERY OLD INQUISITIONER. Witches and wizards have moved among you. Send them forth for judgment.

VERY OLD INQUISITIONER (Yawns). The witch and wizard stuff again?

LAWYER (To Crowd). Search among yourselves. Send forth the sinful. One gold piece for a witch. Two for a wizard. And ten more for the brave men who come forward with information.
(Infant is pushed forward by Arab.)

LAWYER (To Infant). You confess to being a witch?

INFANT (Very drunk now). No, sir. I am a little child. (Very, Very Old Inquisitor, fright­ened, tries to get off throne) But I can point out the wizard. (She points to Candide) He creep here this morning. In his bag he carry earthquake germs. You open bag and you find germs. He bring the danger. (The police grab Candide. They push him forward, open his bag. In the meantime, Arab and Infant advance to Lawyer) Money, please.

LAWYER. It will be sent you.
(He motions to police. They grab the Infant and the Arab and haul them off.)

POLICEMAN (Who has been looking in Candide's bag). Yes, sir. Germs of earthquake have been found.

LAWYER (To Candide). You are charged with communication with the Devil.

VERY OLD INQUISITOR. Oh, come on. You always take too long. Guilty.

LAWYER. Just a minute, sir. We must observe certain legal, civil and moral laws as written into the code of Western liberalism. (To Candide) Death by hanging.

PANGLOSS (Pleasant, undisturbed, he comes forward). Certainly, sirs, this is a most interesting entertainment. How­ever, things must not go too far. How do you do. (To Very, Very Old Inquisitor) Haven't we met before? Did you have a brother at Heidelberg?

LAWYER. Who are you?
(Pangloss hands him his papers.)

PANGLOSS (To Very, Very Old Inquisitor). Could we dine together and, as educated men, tweak the tail of the cosmos over a bottle of cold wine?

LAWYER. These papers are in order. This man is a spy. (Pangloss is grabbed by the police.)

CANDIDE. I don't understand any of this, good sirs. But Professor Pan­gloss is a great scholar. A believer in . . . well . . . in many, many things. . . .

LAWYER. And do you believe in many, many things?

CANDIDE. No, sir, I have no beliefs.

PANGLOSS. No. Tell them what you do believe. Tell them the rules of a high-minded Westphalian man. Speak up, my boy.

CANDIDE. I believe that the heart of mankind is a generous heart. The honor of a man is all he needs on life's journey­—

VERY OLD INQUISITOR. Guilty. Take them away.
(The police grab them.)

PANGLOSS. Gentlemen, this joke is becoming oppressive. It is necessary to understand the scientific fact that if the earth did not quake from time to time, man would grow too confident of his sense of balance, and if man becomes too confident of his sense of balance he will forget how to fall without injury to his head bones. I will be happy to share with you all German scientific knowledge—

VERY, VERY OLD INQUISITOR. We condemn you to death.

PANGLOSS. Oh, you have a right to your opinion, sir. But that's a rather important opinion. Why do you disapprove of me?

VERY, VERY OLD INQUISITOR. You're a foreigner. You're a bore. You're a German scien­tist. You're a danger. Take him off.

CANDIDE. But we have done nothing.

VERY, VERY OLD INQUISITOR. That's the hardest way to die. The guilty die easier than the innocent. They have a normal sense of accomplishment. Take them away.
(Candide and Pangloss, bewildered, are made ready for the hanging.)

VERY OLD INQUISITOR (Addressing Crowd). I declare now an hour of private rqourning and meditation. Go and gather the proper donations.

VERY, VERY OLD INQUISITOR. In gold. All donations are tax-deductible.

VERY OLD INQUISITOR. See to it that you fast until dinnertime.

VERY, VERY OLD INQUISITOR. And remember to give thanks that you have been saved from an earthquake. The danger is over.

(The earth quakes. People are thrown to the ground, the buildings rock back and forth, and all is darkness. The earthquake is over. In the dim light we see Pangloss. He is on the gibbet, a rope around his neck.)

PANGLOSS. Candide . . . The world is beautiful, my son. Go forth and see it. There is some sweetness in every woe.

(He falls on the gibbet as the scene black outs.)

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