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 Two
Scene 1
Scene 1.

SCENE: Same as Buenos Aires, Act One. But now we see into a room of the palace. Sailors are loading a boat. There is a group of miserable-looking Peons sitting downstage.

AT RISE: The Old Lady is sitting on the steps. Off the balcony, in the room, the Governor and Cunegonde are playing chess. The Governor is waiting for Cunegonde to move her chess piece. The room is filled with fine pictures and fine books.

CUNEGONDE (at chess table). Hot, isn't it?


CUNEGONDE. It was cold yesterday, wasn't it?


CUNEGONDE. It will rain tonight, won't it?

GOVERNOR. Wherever, you are, it's raining all the time.

OLD LADY. Hoihh!

SAILOR. What's the matter, lady?

OLD LADY. I'm homesick for everywhere but here. (She sings)
    No, doubt you'll think I'm giving in
    To petulance and malice,
    But in candor I am forced to say
    That I'm sick of gracious living in
    This stuffy little palace.
    And I wish that could leave today.
    I have suffered a lot
    And I'm certainly not
    Unaware that this life has its black side.
    I have starved in a ditch,
    I've been burned for a witch,
    And I'm missing the half of my backside.
    I've been beaten and whipped
    And repeatedly stripped,
    I've been forced into all kinds of whoredom;
    But I'm finding of late
    That the very worst fate
    Is to perish of comfort and boredom.

    GOVERNOR (speaking). Quiet.

    CUNEGONDE (sings to Governor).
    It was three years ago
    As you very well know
    That you said we would soon have a wedding;
    Every day you forget
    What you promised, and yet
    You continue to rumple my bedding.
    I'll no longer bring shame
    On my family name.
    I had rather lie down and be buried;
    No, I'll not lead the life
    Of an unwedded wife.
    Tell me, when are we going to be married?

    GOVERN0R (speaking). Quiet.

    OLD LADY (sings).
    I was once, what is more,
    Nearly sawed in four
    By a specially clumsy magician;
    And you'd think I would feel
    After such an ordeal
    That there's charm in my present position.
    But I'd far rather be
    In a tempest at sea,
    Or a bloody North African riot,
    Than to sit in this dump
    On what's left of my rump
    And put up with this terrible

    Comfort and boredom and

    CUNEGONDE (joining in).
    When are we going to be
    When are we going to be...

    GOVERNOR (sings).
CUNEGONDE (speaking to the Governor). I had a dream.

GOVERNOR. Great mistake.

CUNEGONDE. And in my dream, my dear mother, the Baroness, came to me. She is now a princess of Heaven. And you know what she told me? She told me that you must marry me.

GOVERNOR (rings a bell. In a minute, two Officers will appear in answer to. the bell). Tell your mother to. go. back where she came from and to take you with her.

CUNEGONDE. My mother said that if you do not marry me this week, I must leave you.

OLD LADY. I have told you over and over again that such talk does not lead to marriage. Why don't you learn to cook?

CUNEGONDE (softly to Old Lady). He adores me. He will never allow me to leave. (To Governor) And so I will pack the few miserable clothes that you have bought me, and take passage an the boat that leaves next week.

GOVERNOR (who has been whispering to the Officers). No need to wait, sweetheart. The cotton boat goes immediately.

(The Officers, with great speed, put heavy sacks over Cunegonde and the Old Lady and bundle them off. A Peon rises suddenly and begins pointing. The others rise in great excitement. Martin comes in to join the crowd. Candide enters. He is bowed down with gold and jewels.)

CANDIDE. Good evening, good folk. (To Martin) My dear good friend. How glad I am to see you.

A WOMAN (in crowd). Look at that. A rich man kisses a beggar.

A PEON (frightened). Where does such a man came from?

ANOTHER WOMAN. Look at the jewels on him. Maybe he ain't human.

A PEON. What's in the bags, stranger?

CANDIDE. Gold. And I'd like to. share it with you.

A WOMAN. I told you he wasn't human.

(Candide smiles, dips into. a bag and gives out large gold coins. The crowd draws back as if frightened. Then they pick up the gold with cries of pleasure.)

A WOMAN. Kind stranger.

A MAN. Blessings from the poor.

A WOMAN. A man of charity.

(The noise has brought the Governor to the balcony.)

A WOMAN. This ain't gold. Ain't got no picture of a king. Ain't got no picture of a big-nosed general.

MARTIN. They don't need a king or a big-nosed general in Eldorado. They've never been at war, nor pronounced its name.

A WOMAN (to Candide). You left such a place? To come back here?

CANDIDE. Yes. I came back to find the woman I love.

A WOMAN. My God. He's crazy.

A MAN. There's no such place where they don't have soldiers and war.

CANDIDE. There is such a place. (He sings)
    Up a seashell mountain,
    Across a primrose sea,
    To a jungle fountain
    High up in a tree;
    Then down a primrose mountain,
    Across a seashell sea,
    To a land of happy people,
    Just and kind and bold and free.

    CHORUS (sings).
    To Eldorado . . .

    CANDIDE (sings).
    They bathe each dawn in a golden lake,
    Emeralds hang upon the vine.
    All is there far all to take,
    Food and God and books and wine.
    They have no words for fear and greed,
    For lies and war, revenge and rage.
    They sing and dance and think and read.
    They live in peace, and die of age.

    CHORUS (sings).
    In Eldorado . . .

    CANDIDE (sings).
    They gave me home, they called me friend,
    They taught me how to live in grace.
    Seasons passed without an end
    In that sweetly blessed place.
    But I grew sad and could not stay;
    Without my love my heart was cold.
    So they sadly sent me on my way
    With gracious gifts of gems and gold.

    CHORUS (sings).
    From Eldorado . . .

    CANDIDE (sings).
    Good-bye, they said, we pray you
    May safely cross the sea.
    Go, they said, and may you
    Find your bride-to-be.
    Then past the jungle fountain,
    Along a silver shore,
    I've come by sea and mountain
    To be with my love once more.

    CHORUS (sings).
    From Eldorado . . .

    CANDIDE (sings).
    To be with my love once more.
(The crowd exits as the two Officers cross stage carrying Cune­gonde and the Old Lady, who are covered up completely and wrapped as bundles. There are muffled cries from within the bundles.)

CANDIDE. What was that? It was a woman's voice.

GOVERNOR (appears on balcony). There are no female bales of cotton, sir. Perhaps the sun has tired you.

CANDIDE (bows to Governor). I wish to ask audience of Your Excellency. I have come to find the Baroness Cunegonde.

GOVERNOR. Oh, yes. . . Allow me the honor of joining you.

(He disappears.)

CANDIDE. That's funny talk. It's no honor to join me.

MART1N. That's the way the rich talk to the rich.

CANDIDE. The people of Eldorado made me very rich with gold and jewels. But I won't ever talk like that. I am a simple man­...

MARTIN. Yes, you are. But His Excellency is not simple. I advise you to take care.

CANDIDE. Nothing to take care about. As soon as Cunegonde joins me, we will all take ship for home. Life will be good for us now­...

MARTIN (softly). You mean to take me with you?

CANDIDE. You are my friend and my benefactor. What I have is yours, now and always.

MARTIN (deeply upset. His voice rising). Are you a man who remembers those who helped you? Are you a kind man, are you a just man? (Screams in pain) If you are a good man, I don't want it know you. It's too late, I am too old. I don't want to start thinking all over again­

CANDIDE. I am not a good man. So please don't cry.

GOVERNOR (reappears, with Officer, who is carrying a wine tray). Now, sir, a glass of wine. It's a modest wine because it has nothing to be immodest about.

CANDIDE. Thank you. I have come only to fetch the Baroness Cunegonde­.

GOVERNOR. What lovely emeralds. I like emeralds.

(At a signal, two more Officers appear.)

CANDIDE. Would you bring me to the Baroness Cunegonde?

GOV„RNOR. What lovely emeralds. I like emeralds.

MARTIIN (carefully to Governor). My friend would like to con­tribute to your favorite charity. (To Candide) You never pay the rich. You endow a favorite charity.

(He gives a bag of gold to the Governor.)

GOVERNOR. Thank you. This gold will go the Royal Insane Asylum. Now. The Baroness Cunegonde would not consent to stay here. I begged her to remain in my care—although I am a Governor and not a governess, as a rule—but when she found you were gone, she demanded to follow you to Eu­rope.

CANDIDE (deeply upset). To Europe! We must find a ship! (Spanish Ladies and Officers enter) We must find a ship! Immediately.

GOVERNOR. The last ship sailed a few minutes ago. But be pa­tient. In a few months—

CANDIDE No, sir. I can't be patient. I will buy a boat. I will buy ten boats­—

FIRST OFFICER. A boat, sir?

GOVERNOR. There is no boat in this harbor, except my pleasure schooner, the Santa Rosalia.

FIRST OFFICER., But Your Excellency, the Santa Rosalia is a shell. It has not been used for many years. . .

GOVERNOR. Nonsense! The Santa Rosalia is entirely seaworthy.

FIRST LADY. A fine boat.

SECOND LADY. A famous boat.

CANDIDE. I will buy your boat. Here are ten thousand pieces of gold.

GOVERNOR. Who can refuse a lover? But I am not a merchant and I do not sell boats.

CANDIDE. Oh, I could not accept so large a gift, sir.

GOVERNOR. I understand your feelings. Put twenty thousand pieces of gold on the steps. Buenos Aires needs two insane asylums.

(Puzzled, Candide puts down two bags of gold.)

SECOND OFFICER. Have a pleasant trip.

THIRD OFFICER. The wind and tide are favorable.

LADIES. Bon voyage.

GOVERNOR. My regards to the Baroness Cunegonde.

(Martin and Candide exit.)
    GOVERNOR (sings).
    Bon voyage, dear fellow,
    Dear benefactor of your fellowman!
    May good luck attend you.
    Do come again and see us when you can.

    CHORUS (sings).
    Bon voyage, dear fellow,
    Dear benefactor of your fellowman!
    May good luck attend you.
    Do come again and see us when you can.

    GOVERNOR (sings).
    Oh, but I'm bad. Oh, but I'm bad.
    Playing such a very dirty trick on such a fine lad!
    I'm a low cad, I'm a low cad:
    Always when I do this sort of thing it makes me so sad,
    Ever so sad!
    Oh, but I'm bad!
    Ever so bad!

    ALL (sing).
    Bon voyage!

    MEN OF CHORUS (sing).
    Bon voyage, we'll see ya.
    Do have a jolly trip across the foam.

    WOMEN OF CHORUS (sing).
    Santa Rosalia,
    Do have a safe and pleasant journey home.

    FULL CHORUS (sings).
    Bon voyage!

    GOVERNOR (sings).
    I'm so rich that my life is an utter bore:
    There is just not a thing that I need.
    My desires are as dry as an applecore,
    And my only emotion is greed.
    Which is why, though I've nothing to spend it for,
    I have swindled this gold from Candidi-di-di-di-dide,
    Poor Candide!
GOVERNOR (looks out to sea, speaks). Oh, dear, the water's up to his neck—well, there goes his head. (He sings)
    But I never would swindle the humble poor,
    For you can't get a turnip to bleed.
    When you swindle the rich you get so much more,
    Which is why I have swindled Candide.
    Oh, dear, I fear.
    He's going down, he's going to drown!
    Ah, poor Candide!

    ALL (sing).
    Bon voyage, best wishes.
    Seems to have been a bit of sabotage.
    Things don't look propitious,
    Still from the heart we wish you bon voyage.
    Bon voyage!!!!
(The song ends as the scene at Buenos Aires blacks out and the lights come up on a raft in the middle of the ocean.)

Scene lA.

SCENE: Travels from Buenos Aires to Venice.

AT RISE: Martin and Candide are on the raft. Candide is rowing, Martin is fishing with a strip of cloth.

CANDIDE. He sold us a boat that was nothing but a shell and sank immediately. Did he wish to kill us, and why? He was a rich man and yet he cheated us. What for? He was such a cultured fellow—it cannot be true.

MARTIN (wearily). It cannot be true, but it is true.

CANDIDE. I don't understand. When I was poor and people were mean and cruel to me, I told myself that the rags of the poor smell bad, and bad smells make people frightened, and fright makes people angry, and anger makes people­—

MARTIN. And that if ever you were rich you would smell sweet, and thus your troubles would be at an end. Well, you are still very rich and you will still have trouble because now you can­ not be ignored, and no man will rest until he has stripped you. Or he will wait, frightened, for you to strip him.

CANDIDE. But what is the use of money unless it buys happiness?

MARTIN. Even on a log, starving, in the middle of an ocean, you talk like a suntouched child. I'll make you into a pessimist before this voyage is over. Or nature will.

CANDIDE. I love nature, or I used to.

MARTIN. Then tell your love that we are starving and have not eaten for two days.

CANDIDE. We will survive.

MARTIN. Why do you wish to survive?

CANDIDE. Because I am convinced that there is as much good as there is evil in the world, and I am determined to find the good in others and in myself­—

MARTIN. As much good as there is evil. In a world where men march across continents to kill each other without even ask­ing why. Where the scientist strives to prolong life and at the same minute invents weapons to wipe it out. Where children are taught the rules of charity, and kindness until they grow to the age where they would be punished if they put the rules into practice. Where half the world starves and the other half diets—(A shark's head appears, and Martin looks at it with in­terest) A pretty fish. It has strange eyes.

CANDIDE (in doubt). Yes, much of what you say is true, and many of my dreams have faded. But I still believe in the essential goodness of the human heart—

MARTIN. The human heart is cowardly and hypocritical, and is not a heart at all: it is more vicious than the monsters of the sea that rise around us now. We would be safer in the arms of a shark than in the arms of a brother—

(The shark reappears and yanks Martin from the boat. Martin quietly disappears into the sea. Candide, not knowing that his friend has gone, continues to speak.)

CANDIDE. You've had a bad life, my friend, but I still have enough Eldorado gold and gems to put charity to the test. Sometimes I wonder if I should ever have left there—Ah, well, we'll never have to grovel or beg, you and I, and we'll give to those who need it and sit ourselves down to live and think in peace. There is much that worries me, I admit to you, and I am not the optimist I once was. But we'll live quietly when we find my Cunegonde, and you'll feel better when you hear the laughter of my babies— (He discovers Martin is not there and begins to shout) Martin! Martin! Where are you?

(Pangloss climbs aboard the raft.)

CANDIDE. Dr. Pangloss . . . I left you in Lisbon. I thought you were dead.

PANGLOSS. I was dead. But the wife of a doctor, a pretty woman—pretty for a doctor's wife—saved me. She was very much in love with. me, sweet girl, and we ran away together. But we were captured by pirates, and I have been a miserable galley slave for many years— (He starts to cry. Candide holds him in his arms) When you've swallowed a lot of water, you cry very easily. I am so hungry. (Bright as a scholar) Salt water is a purgative, my boy—for the body and for the mind.

CANDIDE. You'll be safe now. You'll have all you want to eat and a carriage to ride in— (As if to a child) What would you like most? I am a very rich man.

PANGLOSS. I would like most to hear you repeat the golden rules of a high-minded Westphalian man.

CANDIDE. Honor, the generous heart of all mankind— No, sir, I can't say those words anymore.

PANGLOSS (softly). You break the heart of an old man.

CANDIDE (struggling). The heart of mankind is a generous heart. The honor of a man is all he needs on life's journey. The poor must be respected—­

(Pangloss smiles with pleasure. The lights dim as the raft moves off and Venice comes into place.)

Continue to Act Two, Scene 2

Compiled by Michael H. Hutchins