Orphée aux Enfers (1868)
Ludovic Halévy & Hector Crémieux
2579313Orphée aux Enfers1868Ludovic Halévy & Hector Crémieux








108 and 110 Dearborn Street.

TABLEAUX: (not listed in original)


Gods, Godesses, Etc.




Country in the suburbs of Thebes.


Eurydicea, gathering flowers.


Woman that dreams
Sleeps not;
She rises
With the dawn.
Early flowers appear finer;
The meadows are embroidered;
But these flowers, who are they for?
You wish to know
For whom?
Say nothing of it to my spouse,
They are for the pretty shepherd
Who dwells there.

She goes near Aristee's cabin, and ornaments it with flowers.


Every day thus I bring
To the gallant shepherd
Flowers which to his door
I place trembling,
And my poor heart palpitates
With tremulous bounds.
For whom does it thus beat?
For whom?
Say it not to my spouse,
They are for the pretty shepherd
Who dwells there.

She peeps through the door; in the meanwhile Orpheus appears; has a violin in his hand.



Eu. He is out. When he returns, he will find his house covered with flowers. Throws the rest of the flowers into the cabin.

Or. What do I see? Is it not the nymph, Maquilla, the beautiful nymph that I adore? . . . . Alone! Let us reveal my presence with the tune she loves so much. Plays a passionate tune.

Eu. My husband!

Or. My wife! Blockhead! I must scold, else she will scold before me. Ah! ah! I catch you, madam.

Eu. Catch me! how?

Or. How? To whom were you throwing those flowers, if you please?

Eu. Flowers? . . . . to the winds! And you, my tender friend, to whom were you throwing the passionate strains of your fiddle?

Or. To the moon.

Eu. All right. Do you know what I conclude from all this, my darling? That, if I have my shepherd, you have your shepherdess. Well, I leave her to you; leave me my shepherd.

Or. Madame, it is very bad taste on your part.

Eu. Why, please?

Or. Because, because . . . . you make me blush!

Eu. Well, it is high time we should come to an understanding, and I must give you a piece of my mind. Know then that I detest you; that I thought I was wedding an artist, and I have wedded the greatest bore in creation. You think that you are an eagle, because you have invented hexameters; but in my eyes it is your greatest crime. Do you believe that I will pass my young days listening to your classical dreams, and fiddling away on that tin pan of yours?

Or. My violin. Do not touch that chord, Madame.

Eu. Your violin is a bore, like your verses. Go and charm with them third class shepherdesses, whom you love. I am the daughter of a nymph, and a demi-god. I need liberty and fancy—to-day I love that shepherd—he loves me. Nothing can sever Aristee and me.


Or.Ah! is it thus?

Eu.It is thus, my friend.

Or.As a husband you deceive me.

Eu.Yes, my friend.

Or.As an artist, you despise me.

Eu.Yes, my dear friend,
The violinist
Is very trist.
The instrumentist
Is a great bore,
And the instrument
Displeases me mightily.

Or.I shall take revenge
On thy insolence.

Eu.Tell me how, please.

Or.I will, my darling friend,
Play for thee, instanter,
A great master-piece,
My last concerto.

Eu.Have pity on me.

Or.No, I shall not tarry,
It is the climax of art,
And only lasts one hour and a quarter.

Eu.One hour and a quarter!

Or.At least.

Eu.I shall not listen.

Or.Thou shalt listen! (Plays on the violin.)


Or.It is adorable,
It is delectable,
It is ravishing,
It is astounding.

Eu.It is deplorable,
It is miserable,
It is abominable,
It is irritating.

Or.What a charming concerto.

Eu.It is horrible,
It is terrible.

Or.What a tremolo! rinforzando,
Presto, presto, pianissimo,

Eu. Venus, beautiful goddess, rid me from the aimable Orpheus, and I will sacrifice ten lambs whiter than milk.

Or. Jupiter, my lord, rid me from my tender Eurydicea, and I will sing for thee forever on my lyre. Madam, I am a slave to public opinion, but I have sworn to kill all your admirers.

Eu. All right then. Let us separate.

Or. Madam, I am a slave to public opinion, but I have sworn to kill all your admirers—

Eu. With your bow?

Or. No, madam. I deem it unnecessary to let you know the way I intend to catch the marauder. Suffice it for you to know this: I advise him not to gambol in yonder meadows.

Eu. Who will hinder him?

Or. Who? Some nic-nacks I have strewn in the corn-fields.

Eu. What mean you?

Or. Nothing more. I hasten to my lessons. Adieu, darling duck. Nic-nacks for the little fellow! Take care. Adieu! (Exit.)


Eu. What does he mean with his nic-nacks for the little fellow! That awful man is capable of doing any thing. Some wolf traps, I suppose. He is so jealous; and Aristee just comes through the meadow to gambol with me. Let us hasten to meet him. The poor fellow is sure to be caught. Let us run! (Exit, right side; at the same moment Aristee appears on the left.)



Ar. (Recitatif.) I am Aristee, a shepherd of Arcadia,
Owner of beehives;
I live contented with the rustic pleasures
Which the gods give to the country people.


To see through the vines,
Between heaven and earth
My swarm of bees
Distilling their honey;
To see the dawn of the day,
And each morn
To say, I hope
To see thee again,—

That is the fete
Of an honest mind,
The true happiness
Of the heart.

(Spoken very naif.) Just so!


To see through the plains
The little lambs
Getting their woolen robes
Scratched by the wicked bushes;
To see the slumbering shepherdess,
Whilst with slow steps
The shepherd she prefers
Comes and startles her,—

That is the fete
Of an honest mind,
The true happiness
Of the heart!

Just so! That's what I generally say to everybody, to inspire confidence. But could you but know who I am; what infernal project I am brewing! Ha! here comes the tender Eurydicea; she must not believe I have been through the meadow.

Eu. Impossible to meet him! Ah! here he is. Aristee, my beautiful shepherd, take care; one step more and you are dead.

Ar. How?

Eu. My husband knows all; he has spied us, and laid traps through the field for you.

Ar. Look how much I care about his snares. Look, please look. (Steps into the corn fields.)

Eu. You will die sure; then I will die with you.

Ar. (Aside.) Come on. (They walk through the field. Eurydicea stops suddenly on one foot, and screams.)

Ar. (Aside.) She is caught.

Eu. I am caught.

Ar. Graver than you imagine. (Music.)

Eu. Ah! my lord, what do I feel?

Ar. Pluto, be thyself again! One, two, three, (throws off the shepherd's costume and appears as god of the infernal regions,) and now let us disorganize the elements, (a sign and and thunderbolt. Night ensues suddenly—a tempest.) At home that is the way elements are disorganized.

Eu. Mighty gods—am I going to die?

Ar. Entirely—lasciate ogni speranza—(strident laugh.)

Eu. And nevertheless I suffer not a bit . . . .

Ar. I will explain why . . . .

Eu. Ah! it is strange . . . .

Ar. It is logic . . . .


Eu.Death to me comes smiling
When it strikes me near thee;
It attracts, it tempts me—
Death! I call thee, take me with thee.


Death! thy charm penetrates me;
Thy cold brings me no suffering.
It seems as if I were to be born again,
Yes, born again, instead of dying.

Adieu! adieu! (she falls senseless.)

Ar. Zest—all right, one tear, one tear only and let us go. But before going let us take advantage of our divinity and defy the husband. (Eurydicea awakes and arises under Pluto's influence. Pluto snatches a quill and gives it to her and shows Orpheus' cabin. She writes the following four verses which appear in letters of fire:)

I leave this shanty,
For I am dead,
Aristee is Pluto;
And the D. . .l takes me.

The poetry is not rich, but riches do not make men happy! and now to the sombre shores. (Exeunt through a trap door.)



Who the dickens has been disturbing everything up there? By Jove! what means this? It is my wife's writing. (He reads:)

I leave this shanty,
For I am dead;
Aristee is Pluto,
And the D. . .l takes me.

(Enters the cabin and returns instantly.)

How is it that she is dead? It is not possible. But it is indeed so. She must be dead when she says so herself. Thanks. Thanks, Jupe! who is that? But, no, it is a mistake. I can testify all my joy! Let us inform her whom I love of the happiness which befals me. (Thunder and lightning.)


ORPHEUS, PUBLIC OPINION, (with torch and whip.)

Op. Stop! this can't go on this way.

Or. Heavens! Public opinion persecutes me already.

Op. Yes. Public opinion which knows everything, and which comes to snatch thee to that indecent joy.

Or. What mean you?

Op. Thou shalt follow me into Olympia—at Jupiter's feet thou shalt claim thy adored wife.

Or. I claim Eurydicea? The gods forbid!

Op. For the edification of posterity, we must have at least the example of one husband who did care about his wife.

Or. But I don't love her.

Op. So much more striking will be the example.

Or. But I don't want . . . .

Op. You refuse; you prefer my revenge . . Well . .You shall lose all your lessons—they will know all . . . .

Or. Ah! pardon me.

Op. Then come with me.


Op.Come, for honor claims thee,
Honor goes before love.
I will be thy faithful guide
During that trying voyage.
Or.I go, honor calls me,
Honor goes before love.
I curse the faithful guide
During this trying voyage.




Jupiter, Juno, Mars, Minerva, Hebe, Neptune, etc., asleep in the skies, Morpheus alone is awake.

The Gods.Let us sleep;
Let our sleep never end,
As the only happiness after all
In Olympia is to sleep.
Ron, ron.

Mo. Ron! ron! ron! ron!

Cu. (stepping gently.) I am Cupido, my love
Has played truant.
I just came this morn
From a voyage to Cythera.
A profound mystery
Covers my return.
They all sleep,
Let us sleep also. (Falls asleep.)

Ve. (enters mysteriously.) I am Venus, my love
Has played truant.
I just came this morn
From a voyage to Cythera.
A profound mystery
Covers my return.
They all sleep,
Let us sleep also. (Falls asleep.)


Ron! ron! ron! ron!

Ju. (awakes suddenly.). By Saturn! what means this noise
That awakes us during the night?
It is Diana, my darling daughter,
Who blows the horn of joy.
Hallo! let every one awake!

(The Gods awake yawning, the clouds disappear—Olympia.)

Ju.Above all, no yawning;
With joy and gaiety
Salute the goddess.
Let us obey the constitution.
(Enters Diana.)
Hail to Diana the huntress.

Ve. Why so sad?

Di. Nothing can equal my torments.



When Diana comes down the plain,
Tontain, tontain,
It is to seek Acteon,
Tontain, tonton!
It is near the clear fountain,
Tontain, tontain,
That Diana met Acteon,
Tontain, tonton.


This morning, down in the plain,
Tontain, tontain,
I went seeking Acteon,
Tontain, tonton!
But alas! near the fountain,
Tontain, tontain,
He has not come, my Acteon,
Tontain, tonton!

Poor Acteon! what has become of him? He was there every morning, hidden behind the willows, whilst I . . . . Ah! I used to see him right well!

Ju. What has become of him? I can tell you. The whole affair was immoral. You were getting compromised with the young man. I got rid of him.

Di. And how?

Ju. I changed him into a stag; and in order to keep your name fair, I spread among the mortals the rumor that it was through your request that I had thus disorganized Acteon. I said that you deemed his curiosity indiscreet . . . .

Di. But I did not!

Jup. I said so for the honor of mythology. By heavens! children, the feeble mortals are wide awake. Let us save appearances, at least. All is there.

Di. Do you save them, yourself?

Jun. Has he been playing more pranks?

Jup. No, no, dear Juno. Slanders, nothing but slanders. It is newspaper men who spread all this, in order to injure my reputation. Enough of this. Let every one do their work before savoring of nectar and ambrosia—(murmurs)—and let nobody miss the breakfast. Go! Methinks I heard some of you murmuring. It is not the first time it has occurred . . . .

Cup. Say, maman, do you think this can go on this way!

Ven. He is getting to be a real bore.

Di. Firstly, I am waning. Olympia smothers me with its implacable azure.

Ven. Suppose we riot a little.

Cup. I have an idea. We refuse to . . . .

Jup. What are these murmurs in the corner! Have you not heard what I said? The gods exeunt.



Jup. By my thunder! it is quite troublesome to get along with these chaps. It is you, my dear; what is the matter?

Jun. The matter is, I can't live this way.

Jup. What have I done again?

Jun. Don't try and deceive me any more . . . .

Jup. But, still . . . .

Jun. Well, there is a rumor of the elopement of a fair mortal, who has been abducted by a god. The woman's name is Eurydicea, and you are the god.

Jup. I see, my dear, what passion and prejudice lead you to say. This elopement, I know of it as well as you do. I know I whom I must suspect, and we will soon see . . . .


Mer., enters, Mylord Pluto.

Jup. I shall treat him as he deserves. Let me see him.

Jun. You don't deceive me, say, Ernest?

Jup. No, darling pet.

Jun, Well, I feel better. I am going to eat something. Exit.

Jup. Leach! (To Mercury.) Go and see if they corne. (Dreaming.) Is that little Eurydice, indeed, so pretty?

Mer. Mylord, here she comes.



Plu. Knocks at the door. Madam is well?

Jup. She is eating.

Plu. Hail to the master of heaven and earth!

Jup. Enough, enough! I dispense with the formula.

Plu. How he looks at me. Has he any suspicions? Let us flatter him. I must find his residence agreeable.

Jup. What have you been doing for the last two weeks?

Plut. I have been inhabiting the sombre lower regions. There we do not inhale, as here, odors of—

Jup. Not so, sir! You have been residing in the suburbs of Thebes.

Plu. What!

Jup. And you have taken advantage of your power to abduct, through death, a woman from her husband.

Plu. I, my lord?

Jup. Dont deny! I know all.

Plu. It is not true.

Jup. Silence! When I speak, you must keep silent!

Plu. My lord!

Jup. I am not used to discussion. Before me all tremble! (Murmurs.) What is this?

Plu. It don't seem as if these were cries of obedience or enthusiasm.




To arms, gods and demi-gods!
Put down that tyranny!
This government is fastidious?
No, more nectar: no more ambrosia!

Di.No more nectar!

Cu.That beverage
Sickens my stomach.

Ve.No ambrosia! Let these victuals
Be no more served to us.

Pl.A revolution among the gods!
On my soul. No better could occur.
They are right: it is fastidious!
(Showing genuine eatables.)
That's the right stuff, comrades.

Jup.A sedition! Obedience is refused?

All.Yes, yes!

Jup.You loose the respect you owe to
Papa Piter! You refuse to savor of nectar and ambrosia?

All.No, no, no more netar, nor ambrosia!

Ven.We are all getting preserved!

Cup.We have sweet barley water in our veins!

Plu.They are right. They are right.

Jup.Then it is a revolution, and you don't blush to be headed by that bandit? who has just eloped with the wife of the fiddler Orpheus—the charming Eurydicea.

Plu.It is not true.

Ven.Well, and what of it?

Jup.What of it? and moralists and the opinions of mortals?

Plu.You have done a good deal more yourself, my little daddy!

Jup.I, never, good father, good husband, good . . . .

Plu.That is right. Let us talk about your domestic quality. You rebuke me for what I have done! Suppose they would remind you of that which you have done . . . .

Dia.I know lots of things about you.

Ven.So do I.

Cup.So do I.

All.So do we!

Cup.We have composed a song about it.

Jup.What . . . . I have an appointment with my architect.

Plu.You shall hear it.

All.You shall hear it.

Ju.It will be thy punishment!


Mi.To seduce proud Alcmena
You disguised as her husband.
With many women on earth
It would have been barely successful.
Ah! ah! ah!
Do not be so smooth-faced,
We know of thy pranks, Jupe.

Chorus.Ah! ah! ah! etc.

Di.Was it under the same cover
That you acted the day
When to elope with Europe
You wore the horns of a Taurus.
Ah! ah! ah!

Cu.To your beloved Danae,
As a shower you appeared,
But it was a golden shower,
That pleased her and she adored you.
Ah, ah, ah!

Ve.That swan pursued by the eagle,
That Leda saved in her arms,
It was still you—fat mischievous god;
I was the eagle don't deny it.

Pl.What proves these metamorphoses,
That you are so ugly,
That to please you do not dare
Show yourself as nature made you.
Ah, ah, ah.

Jun. I can't stand it any longer, traitor, fickle man. (Jupiter endeavors to soothe her.) Go away! I hate you! I want a separation. (She falls into the arms of Pluto.)

Ju. I could not avoid it!

Pl. Why don't you rid me of your wife?

Ju. (Tapping her hands.) I swear it was before we were wedded.

Jun. Ah!

Pl. Why don't you take your wife.

Ju. All this is nothing but pure slander. I never loved any one but you. (To Pluto.) You are nothing but a slanderer.

Pl. Say no more—but why don't you take your wife. She bothers me.



Me. My lord.

Ju. Well, what is it again?

Me. My lord, two strangers request a hearing.

Ju. Their names?

Me. Orpheus. (Juno fixes her curls.)

Pl. Orpheus! See here, why don't you take your wife . . Well, she is there no more.

Ju. Orpheus, I'll catch him!

Me. Also a young fellow who styles himself Public Opinion!

Ju. Public Opinion! Mortals! Children, let us abandon intestine dissensions.

Pl. Don't receive them!

All the gods. Do receive them!

Ju. I shall receive them. I am Jupe, and justice is due to all! Ah, you tremble!

Pl. I, my lord! I tremble never! I am strong! (Aside.) I must be plucky. Let them in.

Ju. You dare give orders here! . . . . Let them penetrate! Let us be nicely grouped. Public Opinion is there. All for and by decorum. Where is my throne? Where is my thunder? I want my Sunday thunder, to appear in all my glory. (Great flutter. Throne and thunder are handed to him.) Venus, here to my right. Diana, to my left.

Pl. And I.

Ju. You stay there on the prisoner's dock!

Jun. And I.

Ju. You . . . . where you like . . . . in the arms of Mars. You will make a fine tableau. Perfect! It is well grouped thus.

Pl. Let them penetrate!

Ju. No. Let them in!

Pl. How peevish! (Mercury exit and returns with Orpheus and Public Opinion.)





He approaches! he advances!
There he is; it is he!
I shall defend you,
Unfortunate husband!

Pl.He approaches! he advances!
There he is; it is he!
Ah! indeed I commence
To find time rather tedious here.

Or.(to Public Opinion.) Against my will I advance;
I feel really all in a flutter;
And indeed I commence
To find time rather tedious here.

Op.Approach! advance, advance!
You must obey me,
Else fear my vengeance;
It is threatening thy head.

Ju.,(to Orpheus.) What would thou, feeble mortal?

Op.,(to Orpheus.) Now is the solemn moment!
Thou shalt with melting voice
Implore great Jupiter
For the right of snatching from below
Thy beloved and tender wife!

Or.,(to Opinion.) I don't want to; she is a bore to me!

Op.,(threatening with the whip.) Go ahead . . . obey me.

Or.,(in passionate strains.) Great King of heavens and earth,
See my sadness and misery,
My grief and my solitude—
I come to demand justice.

Diana,(Gluck's music.) "They have seduced his Eurydicea . . . .

Or.,(continues the tune on his violin.) "And the seducer is Pluto."
(Jupiter assumes a meditative attitude.)

Ju.Be all silent!
I will pronounce the sentence!
Ye all that hear me,
Gods and Divinities,
Punishing justly crime and injustice,
I sentence Pluto to give up Eurydicea!

Or.,(aside.) Heavens! I get her back!

Pl.(aside.) Heavens! he gets her back!

Ju.And in order to enforce my supreme will
Below, I shall, Pluto, go myself.

Diana, Venus, Cupido. (kneeling.) Jupe, do take us along.
Ju.,(with kindness.) Well, all Olympia will go with me.


Glory! glory to Jupiter!
Glory to the merciful Deity,
He consents to take us along
To sweet infernal regions!

Ju.Let us go.


Let us go!
No more nectar, no more blue skies,
Are we not going to laugh a bit?
Thanks, Jupe! thanks, Jupe!

Or. and Pl.It is shameful! it is revolting!
Right is triumphant!
Adieu to happiness! Love, adieu!

Op.I feel happy; I feel content!
Right is triumphant!
Thanks, Jupe! thanks, Jupe!




(Pluto's drawing-room.)


Eu. Nobody—no tidings. It is intolerable. I feel the time awful tedious. I have been here two days all alone, no recreation but the company of the boorish servant who is my jailor. Ah, Pluto, take care; you have no idea what a capricious woman can do. If it be thus he love me, I shall regret my husband. Some one— He again!



Jo. She is indeed beautiful, very beautiful. Did I but dare—

Eu. You again, what would you—

Jo. Did not madame ring?

Eu. I did not.

Jo. So much the worse.

Eu. Why?

Jo. Because, if madame had rang, it would have been that madame needed something (sighs and roars), and as madam has not rang, it is that madam needs nothing! (Goes toward the door.) Madam, I am the best natured fellow in the world. I have a sensitive heart and a weak head—woman that would love me would be very happy—

Eu. He is crazy. Is he not going to relate his love matters to me?

Jo. I have but one fault, madam, and it were better to acknowledge it at once, so that you do not rebuke me in future. I sometimes get inebriated!—

Eu. Ah! the miserable! he is not crazy, he is tight!

Jo. Now, madam, that you know me as well as if you were my mother—

Eu. Not one step more! He is frightful!

Jo. Ah, madame, when I inhabited the earth, I was the son of a great Beotian Prince!

Eu. Well, you have indeed retained something of your former country.



Jo.When I was King of Beotia
I had subjects and soldiers;
But on losing my life
I lost all these worldly goods.
But it is not that which I regret.
What I regret on this day,
It is that I did not select thee
To bestow on thee my love
When I was King of Beotia!


Were I but King of Beotia,
Thou wouldst be my queen indeed;
But I can but imagine now
That I have offered my royal power.
The mightiest ghost, my darling,
Can only give what he possesses.
Accept then, I pray thee,
Under this present envelope,
The heart of a king of Beotia.

Eu. Go away, you smell of wine.

Jo. Oh, that's but an idea of yours, because I just told you I inebriate sometimes.

Eu. Ah, what a tedious time. My life to him who will snatch me from that prison life!



Ju., disguised as a large fly. Is it not mighty cunning? Under that costume one can go every where. It is she. How beautiful! Let us be bewitching.


Jupiter buzzing around Eurydicea.

Eu., rising. By a soft quivering
My shoulders are caressed.

Ju.I must play my part well.
Not a word; from this time
My rights are limited to buzzing.

Eu.What a beautiful fly!
How beautiful it hums!

Ju., aside. My song touches her.
Let us sing my song.

Eu.How beautifully it hums!


Beautiful insect, with golden wings,
Wilt thou my companion be?
Thou came here without leave
To meet me in my prison.
Do not leave, I pray thee!
Remain; I will care for thee,
Will love thee. Darling fly,
Remain with me.

Ju.When one seeks to be adored
He must not show willingness.

Eu., hastening. I catch him by his golden wings.

Ju.Not yet.
Escapes and jumps on a sofa.


Eu.Ah, wicked one,
All he cares is to fly away.
Still, I will catch him
By his brilliant wings.

Ju.I have wings, my darling;
Why should I not use them?
You must use patience
Until I allow you to catch me.

Eu.It is vain for you try
And evade my pursuit.

Ju.If I have to be caught,
Still, I must appear to fly.

Eu.I will catch thee, cruel one.

Ju.That's what I expect.

Eu.Where is it now?
On the sofa? Attention!
Takes off her gauze veil.
From this light gauze,
Without danger, I can make
A butterfly's net.
Approaches on the tips of her feet.

Ju.Attention! Attention!

Eu.It is caught! Resistance is futile.

Ju., under the veil. The most caught of us is not whom she thinks.


Eu.I catch thee, wicked one.
Thou cared but to fly away;
But I knew, charming fly,
I would, in the end, catch thee.

Ju. I wanted you to long for me
Before I were caught.
Fear no more, oh, my charmer,
I care no more to fly away.

Eu. I knew right well I would catch you, my winged jewel. Do ail you please, you are mine, and forever. You will be the consolation to the poor prisoner. But see how graceful, what beautiful colors, what a fine waist, and those golden wings, (kisses him.)

Ju., (on his knees.) Well, all this is thine if you will, adored mortal! . . . .

Eu. Heavens! it has spoken! . . Help! help! . . . .

Ju. Hush! In reality I am not a fly. I have assumed that disguise in order to deceive the jealousy of a tyrant who will torture you . . . .

Eu. Is it possible? Who are you then?

Ju. I . . well I declare it before the face of the earth—I am thy lover. Bluebeard Jupiter . . no more, no less!—and had I known you before, Pluto would not have eloped with you. I would have taken you to Olympia.

Eu. Olympia!—I would have seen Olympia and have left this execrable house? Let us fly! Take me with you!

Ju. There is only one way not to throw off suspicion. I must return to the fete given by the idiot Pluto, meet me there under disguise, and when they will all be engrossed by the festivities, mix with my colleagues and I will fly with you.

Eu. The gods will what woman wills. Yours, Jupiter, forever! (Exit)

Ju. In one hour! . . Oh! I am a happy insect, (buzzing around.) (John enters with a flask in his hand.)


JOHN, afterwards PLUTO.

Jo. (Running after Jupiter as if trying to catch a fly.) Fly! fly! (Jupiter escapes—John comes to the footlights and sings with sentiment:)

Were I still king of Beotia!

Pl. (All excited enters from the back room.) Where is the fly? John have you seen the fly?

Jo., (wondering.) The fly; which fly?

Pl. Jupiter, whom smart little Cupido has recognized under the disguise of a fly!

Jo. Jupiter? (Sings)

Were I still king of Beotia!

Pl. What has become of Eurydicea?

Jo. Eurydicea? (Goes on singing:)

I had subjects and soldiers . . . .

Pl. Look at me a little . . ah! scoundrel, he has drank again . . and in the meanwhile he has allowed the other one here . . John, my dear John . . It is I, Pluto, thy good master . . Oh! the blackguard! . . Remember, remember—on thine own ashes . . the key of the park at least . . the key of the park . . . .

Jo., (singing:)

But some day losing my life . . . .

Pl. Perhaps were I to speak with him some other language he might remember . . Ricordati! . . memento . . Rappelle-toi . . myosotis! . . vergiss mein nicht! . . . .

Jo., (mechanically.) Vergiss mein nicht. . .

Pl. Nothing! nothing! (Voice of Eurydicea singing, Beautiful insect with golden wings.) Oh! that voice, it is the voice of Eurydicea. She has not gone yet. Cerberus! Caro! Double your watch! guard the entrances! Corne with me, John.

John, sings coolly, and mezzo voce the end of his song. When I was King of Beotia . . . .

Plu. Again! But this is not a man; it is a hurdy-gurdy. Away? I will see you no more! . . . . (Stamps his foot with impatience. John disappears through the floor, still singing. Pluto pushes him with rage, imitating the organ-grinders' movements.)


The Infernal RegionsThe Styx in the background.


All the Gods, Eurydicea in Bacchant's costume. All the Olympian Gods, united with the infernal deities, are banqueting.


Hail to the wine! Long live Pluto!
We pity him who sings not for that.
The divine phalanx,
Transported by the old wine,
Sings to the Deity
His dear abode
Will become our new home.
Friends, life is appreciated nowhere
So well as down below!
Hail to the wine! Long live Pluto!
We pity him who sings not for that.

Jup., to Eurydicea. Come, dearest Bacchant,
Mortal who rivals Venus,
Sing with thy charming voice;
Sing thy hymn to Bacchus!
All.Sing! Sing!
Beautiful Bacchant!


Eu.I have seen the god Bacchus on his fertile rock,
Teaching his subjects his joyful lessons.
The cloven-footed Satyre and the gentle nymph
Repeat his songs!

Evohe! Bacchus inspires me!
I feel in my heart
His sweet delirium!
Evohe! Bacchus is King!


Evohe! Bacchus inspires, etc.


Eu.Said Bacchus: Let the profane mortals
Be doomed to cares and troubles;
But you be crowned with the pampers and the roses
Which fall from my hands.

Evohe! Bacchus inspires me!
I feel in my heart
His sweet delirium!
Evohe! Bacchus is King!


Evohe! Bacchus inspires, etc.

Plu.Woman, do you remember those violin strains?

Eu.That song which he considers so large, and I too long,
It is the song of the spouse I have . . . .

Plu.Thou hast spoken it, woman?
It is the spouse that comes to redeem thy soul!
Low and gnashing his teeth.
That soul I loved so well, but love no more.
I know of Jupe the absolute orders!
Thy spouse claims thee—to the earth thou must return.
It is a fine gift presented to the earth!

Eu., supplicating. Jupe! . . . .

Ju. (to Eurydicea.) Have no fear, poor angel, methinks of a plan,
You are not yet in the power of the tyrant.

(A galley in the distance, Public Opinion steers it, Orpheus is near him and plays on the violin.)


ORPHEUS (leaning on Opinion as is done in tragedies)

Yes, I am convinced, notwithstanding her faults,
'Tis my wife. I shall ignore her caprices—
Mighty king of . . . .

Ju.Enough . . I know the formula!
I know thy desire. Let us hurry matters—
Faithful to my promise; in accordance with thy wishes,
And in accord with Pluto, take thy Eurydicea.
Go . . . .

Or., (with philosophy.) Jupe is too kind and Pluto is too good!

(Pluto sneers at Jupiter and rubs his hands)

Ju. (stops Orpheus by a motion of the hand.)
But a condition is herewith added,
Condition as express as inexplicable, (getting excited,)
That in fact you need not try to explain.
(Orpheus nods that he is ready to obey.)

Towards the Styx gravely, go thou hence—
Precede thy wife, but look not back,
If too anxious to see thy Eurydicea
Thou shouldst disobey my little caprice,
Then she shall be lost to thee forever!

Pl.But that is cheating.
(General murmurs.)
Ju., (terrible and shaking his thunder.)
Who dares to murmur!
(Every one bows.)
Go! behind thee Eurydicea follows . . . .
Look not back! I have said—obey—


(Music. Eurydicea appears veiled, John Styx leads her by the hand.)

Op.(to Orpheus in front of the stage.)
Do not look back,
Let your eyes be fifteen paces ahead.
Friend, think of the earth,
It awaits us both! . . . .

(A march. Opinion heads it, Orpheus second, then Eurydicea with John Styx.)

The Gods.For a husband what troubles?
He will look back!
He won't look back!
Yes, back!
Not back!

Ju.(anxiously eyeing Orpheus, who has nearly reached the galley.)
I have, indeed, in vain
Reckoned on his curiosity.

Op. (he has entered the galley.) We triumph! what a joy!

Ju. He turns not back—can't help it. I'll fulminate him!

(Jupiter takes his thunder in his right hand, shakes it, but instead of striking him, gives a kick in the air and in Orpheus' direction, which traverses the stage under the shape of an electric spark—(gong) ! ! !—Orpheus turns back suddenly as if struck by it—Eurydicea disappears.)

Op.Wretch! what hast thou done?

Or.An involuntary movement.
(Enters the galley which moves.)

Pl.You have lost her and forever!

Or., (apart.) Like a book this denouement suits me.

Pl.Then she becomes mine.

Ju.Not any more than mine—
I change her into a Bacchant!
And now I order—
I that am thin and nimble—
That as in the days
Of the great king,
Ye all dance the minuet! !

Op., (coming out of the galley.) Dance, who talks about dancing here? Why my darlings, you don't understand what dancing is now-a-days. Down below is the only place where they understand it . . See, good country folks, that's the way we practice the thing. (Dances comically. The Olympian gods allow themselves to be carried away by his merry dances.)

(Tableau. A choregraphic irregularity.)

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This work was published before January 1, 1929, and is in the public domain worldwide because the author died at least 100 years ago.

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This work was published in 1868 and is anonymous or pseudonymous due to unknown authorship. It is in the public domain in the United States as well as countries and areas where the copyright terms of anonymous or pseudonymous works are 155 years or less since publication.

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