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Levy Newman Levy
1888-1966

"Bluebeard"
(Parody on the opera "Bluebeard's Castle"
by Bela Bartok – or perhaps the opera
"Bluebeard" by Jaques Offenbach)

From "Opera Guyed," 1923

 

A maiden from the Bosporus,
with eyes as bright as phosphorus,
once wed the mighty bailiff
of the caliph of Kelat.
Though diligent and zealous, he
was somewhat prone to jealousy;
(considering her beauty,
'twas his duty to be that!)

Cho: Yuazuram, oh yuazuram,
Glory hallelujah, yuazuram.

It might be mentioned, casually,
that blue as lapuz lazuli
he dyed his lips, his lashes,
his mustaches and his beard.
And, just because he did it, he
aroused his wife's timidity.
Her terror she dissembled,
yet she trembled when he neared.

This feeling insalubrious
soon made her most lugubrious,
and bitterly she missed her
elder sister, Marie Anne.
She asked if she might write her to
come down and spend a night or two,
And Bluebeard answered rightly
and politely, "yes, you can!"

When business would necessitate
a journey, he would hesitate,
But, fearing to mistrust her,
he would trust her with the keys,
While bidding her most prayerfully,
"I beg you'll use them carefully.
Don't look what I deposit
in the closet, if you please."

Bluebeard, the Monday following,
his jealous feeling swallowing,
packed all his clothes together
in a leather-bound valise.
And, feigning business, sensibly,
he started out, ostensibly
by traveling to learn a bit
of Smyrna and of Greece.

His wife made but a cursory
inspection of the nursery;
the kitchen and the airy
little dairy were a bore.
Likewise the large and scanty rooms,
the billiard, bath, and ante-rooms,
but not that interdicted
and restricted little door!

At last, her curiosity
awakened by the closet he
so carefully had hidden,
and forbidden her to see;
this damsel disobedient
did something inexpedient,
and in the keyhole tiny
turned the shiny little key.

She shrieked aloud convulsively
and started back repulsively:
Ten heads of girls he'd wedded
and beheaded met her eye!
And turning 'round, most terrified,
her darkest fears were verified,
for Bluebeard stood behind her,
come to find her on the sly!

Perceiving she was fated to
be soon decapitated, too,
she telegraphed her brothers
and some others what she feared.
And Sister Anne looked out for them,
in readiness to shout for them
whenever in the distance
with assistance they appeared.

But only from the battlement
she saw some dust that cattle meant.
The ordinary story
isn't gory, it's a jest!
For here's the truth unqualified:
Her husband wasn't mollified;
her head is in his bloody
little study with the rest!

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