see a man hanged, we assemble outside the jail to see the black

flag run up. That is our duller method of enjoying ourselves in

the old Roman spirit. And if the Government decided to throw

persons of unpopular or eccentric views to the lions in the

Albert Hall or the Earl's Court stadium tomorrow, can you doubt

that all the seats would be crammed, mostly by people who could

not give you the most superficial account of the views in question.

Much less unlikely things have happened. It is true that if such a

revival does take place soon, the martyrs will not be members of

heretical religious sects: they will be Peculiars, Anti-Vivisectionists,

Flat-Earth men, scoffers at the laboratories, or infidels who refuse

to kneel down when a procession of doctors goes by. But the lions

will hurt them just as much, and the spectators will enjoy themselves

just as much, as the Roman lions and spectators used to do.

It was currently reported in the Berlin newspapers that when

Androcles was first performed in Berlin, the Crown Prince rose

and left the house, unable to endure the (I hope) very clear and

fair exposition of autocratic Imperialism given by the Roman

captain to his Christian prisoners. No English Imperialist was

intelligent and earnest enough to do the same in London. If the

report is correct, I confirm the logic of the Crown Prince, and

am glad to find myself so well understood. But I can assure him

that the Empire which served for my model when I wrote Androcles

was, as he is now finding to his cost, much nearer my home than

the German one.

End of Project Gutenberg's Androcles and the Lion, by George Bernard Shaw


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