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 3
Scene 3.

SCENE: Westphalian ruins.

AT RISE: Maximilian is onstage alone. Candide, Cunegonde, Old Lady and Pangloss come in. They do not see Maximilian.

PANGLOSS (to Cunegonde, who looks around and then starts to cry). Now, now. The place doesn't look very nice, but there's always something homey about coming home.

MAXIMILIAN. Well, look who's come here, Cunegonde. My God, you're ugly.

CUNEGONDE. My own brother. Deserted me— you deserted me in Buenos Aires. What are you doing here?

MAXIMILIAN. Resting. I didn't desert you in Buenos Aires. (Points to Candide) He killed me.

OLD LADY (to Candide). What's the matter with you, you can't even kill this fool?

MAXIMILIAN (to Cunegonde). Your lover killed me­—

CUNEGONDE. He's not my lover. How dare you talk such filth? Never been my lover­—

OLD LADY. Once they were going to give a medal to a man who hadn't been your lover. They looked and looked­—

(Cunegonde swipes at the Old Lady.)

CUNEGONDE (Peers at Maximilian). What did you do with your teeth?

MAXIMILIAN. Sold them. I had many an adventure, I can tell you­—

CUNEGONDE. Don't tell me. A man who would sell his teeth would sell his sister. (Shouts to Heaven) Our sainted mother knows that you sold your own sister. (Shrieks) Mother, look down at your son and make him give me the money­—

MAXIMILIAN (to Pangloss, pointing to Cunegonde and Can­dide). Have they both gone crazy?

PANGLOSS. Candide has not spoken these many weeks. I think he's upset.

CUNEGONDE. I've come home to die. (Nobody answers) I'm dying.

OLD LADY. So die.

MAXIMILIAN. Dig me a little grave, sister. I'm so tired.

CUNEGONDE. I'll make you curses. You stole my fortune, tore the pearls from our mother's breast and gave them to women—

­OLD LADY. Really? I never would have guessed that.

CUNEGONDE. Bring me a winding sheet.

OLD LADY. Don't be so modest.

PANGLOSS. I want only to cover my head. A head that was hon­ored by Heidelberg should not be injured by the damp. I should, of course, like a stone over my grave, and one word— teacher— carved thereon. Then, in smaller letters, add that the deceased had nine degrees, three of them doctorates in­—

CANDIDE (quietly). In lies. You were my master, and I loved you, and you taught me lies. I was a stupid boy, and you must have known it. (With great force) A man should be jailed for telling lies to the young.

PANGLOSS (shocked). Candide.

CANDIDE. Go away and lie to the trees.

PANGLOSS. Candide.

CANDIDE. You are a useless old man. Go away from here. (Pangloss goes slowly off.)

MAXIMILIAN (to Candide). You are ill-born. Nobody but the ill-born would speak that way to a man older than himself.

CANDIDE. I killed you once. A man could grow to like killing you. So get out before I do it again. (Frightened, Maximilian moves off.)

OLD LADY. Glad he's gone. Never did a day's work in his life.

CANDIDE. And did you? (He begins to make a fire.)

OLD LADY. Are you making a fire?


OLD LADY. What are you going to cook?

CANDIDE. Nothing for you. You'll get along, you always have. But not here. Get out.

OLD LADY. I've told you what happened to me. I've told you of my past—

CANDIDE. Yes, you had trouble. And so you lived on the world. I'm sick of your past— and mine. Get out. (She goes slowly off.)

CUNEGONDE. I'm hungry.


CUNEGONDE. I'm a woman­—

CANDIDE. Do they get hungrier than men? Yes they do. In that fairy tale we lived in.

CUNEGONDE. I feel so tired—

CANDIDE. I followed you around the world, believing every fool­ish tale you told me, killing men for something called your honor.

CUNEGONDE. I was alone, I was frightened. I—

CANDIDE. Yes, I think that's true. I don't blame you, Cunegonde. My head was full of nonsense. But now I am tired of non­sense. I want to live. So go away and let me live.

(Cunegonde rises and goes slowly off. Pangloss comes in. He is holding up a fish.)

PANGLOSS (timidly, to Candide). I just came back for a minute. I brought you a little fish. I took a short course in oceanography at Leipzig. I used to be good at such things. Did you ever know that?

CANDIDE. I never knew you were good at anything.

PANGLOSS. I think I could summon back a little knowledge of . . . er . . . of the common things of life, if I tried. . . .

CANDIDE. Try hard.

PANGt.OSS. You see . . . er . . . well . . . I was early taught that everything was for the best in this best of all possible worlds. I don't think I ever believed it, but it's most difficult to get rid of what you once thought, isn't it?

CANDIDE (puts a pot on the fire). Most difficult. But let's not philosophize about not philosophizing. Let's make a place to sleep.

(The Old Lady and Maximilan come in. She is bowed down under twigs and branches and looks like a moving forest. Maxi­milian is carrying a homemade broom.)

MAXIMILIAN. I never carried anything before.

CANDIDE (to Maximilian). What are you doing here?

OLD LADY. He's going to work hard. He's promised me. You can't put him out. He'll die. He's so silly. And anyway, I've always wanted a son. (Maximilian is sweeping the air with the broom. She hits him) The air ain't dirty. Sweep the ground. (Hastily, to Candide) I've got wood for a fire, and dandelions and fiddleheads for our dinner. (Points at Pangloss, who is having a bad time cleaning the fish) Look who is doing what all wrong.

CANDIDE. Go to work and mind your business.

OLD LADY. I'm going to make us all some sensible shoes. If you're born a princess as I was, of course, your feet always hurt. Even through war and rape and . . .

(Candide stares at her. She is silent. Cunegonde enters. There are leaves in her hair and she is clean. She has done her best to be pretty again.)

CUNEGONDE (she is carrying a giant mushroom, timidly). I brought something for our dinner. I'm clean. (Nobody answers. She throws the mushroom into the pot) Mushrooms are good in a stew.

OLD LADY (hauling the mushroom out of the stew, shrieking). It's a poison mushroom, you silly woman. This is not the last supper. Can't you dp anything in this world except get other people in trouble?

CUNEGONDE (timidly). Yes. I can cook. . . . (She goes to the stew pot, stirs it, knocks it over. She sinks on the ground in shame) She's right. There's nothing I can do. Nothing.

CANDIDE (smile ). Still boasting, aren't you? (He comes to her) Marry me, Cunegonde.

CUNEGONDE (sadly, softly). It's too late. I'm not young, I'm not good, I'm not pure.

CANDIDE. And I am not young, and not worth much. What we wanted, we will not have. The way we did love, we will not love again. Come now, let us take what we have and love as we are.

PANGLOSS. I'd love to do a ceremony. I had three weeks of di­vinity school in the Würzburg Gymnasium. Now you must say after me, "Love between men and women is the highest order of love between men and women. Thus we promise to think noble and do noble. . . ."

CANDIDE (with force). No. We will not think noble because we are not noble. We will not live in beautiful harmony because there is no such thing in this world, nor should there be. We promise only to do our best and live out our lives. Dear God, that's all we can promise in truth. Marry me, Cunegonde.
    (He sings.)
    You've been a fool and so have I,
    But come and be my wife,
    And let us try before we die
    To make some sense of life.
    We're neither pure nor wise nor good;
    We'll do the best we know;
    We'll build our house, and chop our wood,
    And make our garden grow.
    And make our garden grow.

    CUNEGONDE (sings).
    I thought the world was sugar-cake,
    For so our master said;
    But now I'll teach my hands to bake
    Our loaf of daily bread.

    CANDIDE and CUNEGONDE (sing).
    We're neither pure nor wise nor good;
    We'll do the best we know;
    We'll build our house, and chop our wood,
    And make our garden grow.
    And make our garden grow.
    (Cast begins slow entry.)

    Let dreamers dream what worlds they please;
    Those Edens can't be found.
    The sweetest flowers, the fairest trees
    Are grown in solid ground.

    ENTIRE COMPANY (sings).
    We're neither pure nor wise nor good;
    We'll do the best we know;
    We'll build our house, and chop our wood,
    And make our garden grow.
    And make our garden grow.


Compiled by Michael H. Hutchins