A slave named Androcles once escaped from his master and fled to the forest. As he was wandering about there he came upon a Lion lying down moaning and. PDF version of Androcles and the Lion by George Bernard Shaw. tells the consequences that follow the meeting of Androcles, the slave, and a wounded lion. This etext was produced by Eve Sobol, South Bend, Indiana, USA ANDROCLES AND THE LION BERNARD SHAW PROLOGUE Overture; forest sounds.
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ANDROCLES AND. THE LION. By Rob John. Once there was a slave called. Androcles who belonged to a very cruel master. Androcles worked all day long in . Free kindle book and epub digitized and proofread by Project Gutenberg. ANDROCLES AND THE LION fied Christ on a stick, he somehow managed to get hold of the right end of it, and that if we were better men we might try his plan.
With an air of indifference he strolls with Metellus to the east side of the square, where they stand watching the return of the Centurion through the western arch with his men, escorting three prisoners: I was nursed on goat's milk. Just to show how the brave big lion can bear pain, not like the little crybaby Christian man. Mind you behave yourselves. As the Court ascends the steps, Secutor and the Retiarius return from the arena through the passage; Secutor covered with dust and very angry: Well, need you excite yourself about it?
Don't touch me, do you hear? The law will throw me to the lions tomorrow: Pray for strength; and it shall be given to you. Let me go. Your religion forbids you to strike me. On the contrary, it commands me to strike you. How can you turn the other cheek, if you are not first struck on the one cheek? I apologize for striking you. Has the good seed fallen in a fruitful place?
Are your feet turning towards a better path? There's a great deal in what you say. Come to the lions. Come to suffering and death. These tears will water your soul and make it bring forth good fruit, my son.
God has greatly blessed my efforts at conversion. Shall I tell you a miracle--yes, a miracle--wrought by me in Cappadocia? A young man--just such a one as you, with golden hair like yours--scoffed at and struck me as you scoffed at and struck me.
I sat up all night with that youth wrestling for his soul; and in the morning not only was he a Christian, but his hair was as white as snow. Lentulus falls in a dead faint. There, there: The spirit has overwrought him, poor lad. Carry him gently to his house; and leave the rest to heaven. Take him home. The servants, intimidated, hastily carry him out. Metellus is about to follow when Ferrovius lays his hand on his shoulder.
You are his friend, young man. You will see that he is taken safely home. I shall do whatever you think best. Most happy to have made your acquaintance, I'm sure. You may depend on me. Good evening, sir. Metellus follows Lentulus. The Centurion returns to his seat to resume his interrupted nap.
The deepest awe has settled on the spectators. Ferrovius, with a long sigh of happiness, goes to Lavinia, and offers her his hand. She knows you mean me.
How I wish I were weak like our brother here! And yet there seems to be a special providence that makes my trials less than his. I hear tales of the crowd scoffing and casting stones and reviling the brethren; but when I come, all this stops: Every day I feel happier, more confident. Every day lightens the load of the great terror. The great terror? What is that? Ferrovius shakes his head and does not answer. He sits down beside her on her left, and buries his face in his hands in gloomy meditation.
Well, you see, sister, he's never quite sure of himself. Suppose at the last moment in the arena, with the gladiators there to fight him, one of them was to say anything to annoy him, he might forget himself and lay that gladiator out.
That would be splendid. Oh, sister! Splendid to betray my master, like Peter! Splendid to act like any common blackguard in the day of my proving! He moves away from her to the middle of the square, as if her neighborhood contaminated him. I don't think anybody is. There are moments when I forget all about it, and something comes out quite naturally, as it did then. What does it matter? If you die in the arena, you'll be a martyr; and all martyrs go to heaven, no matter what they have done.
That's so, isn't it, Ferrovius? I'm not so sure. Don't say that. That's blasphemy. Don't say that, I tell you. We shall be saved, no matter WHAT we do. Perhaps you men will all go into heaven bravely and in triumph, with your heads erect and golden trumpets sounding for you. But I am sure I shall only be allowed to squeeze myself in through a little crack in the gate after a great deal of begging.
I am not good always: I have moments only. You're talking nonsense, woman. I tell you, martyrdom pays all scores. Well, let us hope so, brother, for your sake. You've had a gay time, haven't you? I can't help thinking that heaven will be very dull for a man of your temperament. Spintho snarls.
Don't be angry: I say it only to console you in case you should die in your bed tonight in the natural way. There's a lot of plague about. O Lord, spare me to be martyred. Oh, what a thought to put into the mind of a brother! Oh, let me be martyred today, now. I shall die in the night and go to hell. You're a sorcerer: Oh, curse you, curse you!
He tries to seize Androcles by the throat. Raising your hand to a brother Christian! It's easy for you. You're strong. Your nerves are all right. But I'm full of disease. Ferrovius takes his hand from him with instinctive disgust. I've drunk all my nerves away. I shall have the horrors all night. We're all sinners. I daresay if the truth were known, you're all as bad as I am. What's the good of praying?
If we're martyred we shall go to heaven, shan't we, whether we pray or not? What's that? Not pray! I forgive you: Spintho reels away and falls in front of Ferrovius. Don't call him by the names of the animals. We've no right to. I've had such friends in dogs. A pet snake is the best of company. I was nursed on goat's milk. Is it fair to them to call the like of him a dog or a snake or a goat?
I only meant that they have no souls. Just the same as you and me. I really don't think I could consent to go to heaven if I thought there were to be no animals there.
Think of what they suffer here. That's true. They will have their share in heaven. I never said they didn't. They do: Scrambling out of Ferrovius's reach. Oh, curse you for frightening me! A bugle call is heard. Form as before. Now then, prisoners, up with you and trot along spry. The soldiers fall in. The Christians rise. A man with an ox goad comes running through the central arch.
Here, you soldiers! Where's the Emperor? You ain't the Emperor, are you? It's the menagerie service. My team of oxen is drawing the new lion to the Coliseum.
You clear the road. Go in after you in your dust, with half the town at the heels of you and your lion! Not likely. We go first. The menagerie service is the Emperor's personal retinue. You clear out, I tell you.
You tell me, do you? Well, I'll tell you something. If the lion is menagerie service, the lion's dinner is menagerie service too. This pointing to the Christians is the lion's dinner. So back with you to your bullocks double quick; and learn your place. The soldiers start. Now then, you Christians, step out there. I shall be the olives and anchovies. I shall be the fish. Ferrovius shall be the roast boar. Yes, yes: I shall be the roast boar.
He laughs conscientiously and marches out with them. I shall be the mince pie. Each announcement is received with a louder laugh by all the rest as the joke catches on. Have some sense of your situation. Is this the way for martyrs to behave? You'll be the emetic.
He shoves him rudely along. It's too dreadful: I'm not fit to die. Fitter than you are to live, you swine. They pass from the square westward.
The oxen, drawing a waggon with a great wooden cage and the lion in it, arrive through the central arch. In the middle a wide passage leading to the arena descends from the floor level under the imperial box.
On both sides of this passage steps ascend to a landing at the back entrance to the box. The landing forms a bridge across the passage. At the entrance to the passage are two bronze mirrors, one on each side. On the west side of this passage, on the right hand of any one coming from the box and standing on the bridge, the martyrs are sitting on the steps. Lavinia is seated half-way up, thoughtful, trying to look death in the face.
On her left Androcles consoles himself by nursing a cat. Ferrovius stands behind them, his eyes blazing, his figure stiff with intense resolution. At the foot of the steps crouches Spintho, with his head clutched in his hands, full of horror at the approach of martyrdom. On the east side of the passage the gladiators are standing and sitting at ease, waiting, like the Christians, for their turn in the arena.
One Retiarius is a nearly naked man with a net and a trident.
Another Secutor is in armor with a sword. He carries a helmet with a barred visor. The editor of the gladiators sits on a chair a little apart from them. The Call Boy enters from the passage. Number six. Retiarius versus Secutor. The gladiator with the net picks it up. The gladiator with the helmet puts it on; and the two go into the arena, the net thrower taking out a little brush and arranging his hair as he goes, the other tightening his straps and shaking his shoulders loose.
Both look at themselves in the mirrors before they enter the passage. Will they really kill one another? Yes, if the people turn down their thumbs.
You know nothing about it. The people indeed! Do you suppose we would kill a man worth perhaps fifty talents to please the riffraff? I should like to catch any of my men at it. Who cares what you think? YOU'LL be killed all right enough. If the vestal virgins turn down their thumbs, that's another matter.
They're ladies of rank. Does the Emperor ever interfere? Oh, yes: But don't they ever just only pretend to kill one another? Why shouldn't you pretend to die, and get dragged out as if you were dead; and then get up and go home, like an actor? See here: There will be no pretending about the new lion: He's hungry.
Can't you stop talking about it? Isn't it bad enough for us without that? I'm glad he's hungry. Not that I want him to suffer, poor chap! There's a cheerful side to everything. Come with me and drop the pinch of incense on the altar. That's all you need do to be let off. Not to save your life?
I'd rather not.
I couldn't sacrifice to Diana: That don't matter. You can choose your own altar. Sacrifice to Jupiter: But I don't ask you to do it to save yourself: I ask you to do it to oblige me personally. That is dreadful. You mean so kindly by me that it seems quite horrible to disoblige you. If you could arrange for me to sacrifice when there's nobody looking, I shouldn't mind. But I must go into the arena with the rest. My honor, you know. The honor of a tailor? Still, you know, I couldn't allow the tailors to get a bad name through me.
How much will you remember of all that when you smell the beast's breath and see his jaws opening to tear out your throat? Where's the altar?
I'll sacrifice. Dog of an apostate. I'll repent afterwards. I fully mean to die in the arena I'll die a martyr and go to heaven; but not this time, not now, not until my nerves are better. Besides, I'm too young: I want to have just one more good time. The gladiators laugh at him. Oh, will no one tell me where the altar is? He dashes into the passage and vanishes. I can't do that, not even to oblige you. Don't ask me. Well, if you're determined to die, I can't help you.
But I wouldn't be put off by a swine like that. Peace, peace: Get thee behind him, Satan. Ferrovius springs forward. To the Editor, as Lavinia sits down again, reassured. Forgive me, brother. My heart was full of wrath: I should have been thinking of your dear precious soul. He turns his back on Ferrovius contemptuously, and goes back to his seat. I thought of nothing but offering to fight you with one hand tied behind me. I could do it so easily. I could-- They are separated by the Menagerie Keeper, who rushes in from the passage, furious.
Here's a nice business! Who let that Christian out of here down to the dens when we were changing the lion into the cage next the arena? Nobody let him. He let himself. Well, the lion's ate him.
The Christians rise, greatly agitated. The gladiators sit callously, but are highly amused. All speak or cry out or laugh at once. Oh, poor wretch! The apostate has perished. Praise be to God's justice! The poor beast was starving. It couldn't help itself. Ate him! How frightful! How terrible! Without a moment to repent!
God be merciful to him, a sinner! Oh, I can't bear to think of it!
In the midst of his sin! Horrible, horrible! Serve the rotter right! Just walked into it, he did. He's martyred all right enough. Good old lion! Old Jock doesn't like that: Devil a better! The Emperor will laugh when he hears of it. I can't help smiling. Ha ha ha!!!!! Now his appetite's taken off, he won't as much as look at another Christian for a week. Couldn't you have saved him brother? Saved him!
Saved him from a lion that I'd just got mad with hunger! He bolted him before you could say Balbus. And it won't even count as martyrdom! Serve him right! What call had he to walk down the throat of one of my lions before he was asked? Perhaps the lion won't eat me now. What am I to do? What am I to say to the Emperor when he sees one of my lions coming into the arena half asleep? Say nothing. Give your old lion some bitters and a morsel of fried fish to wake up his appetite. Attention there!
The Emperor. The Keeper bolts precipitately into the passage.
The gladiators rise smartly and form into line. The Emperor enters on the Christians' side, conversing with Metellus, and followed by his suite. Hail, Caesar! Good morrow, friends.
Metellus shakes hands with the Editor, who accepts his condescension with bluff respect. Blessing, Caesar, and forgiveness! I did not mean that, Caesar. An inconceivable liberty! Do you not know, woman, that the Emperor can do no wrong and therefore cannot be forgiven? I expect the Emperor knows better. Anyhow, we forgive him. These people have no hope; therefore they have nothing to restrain them from saying what they like to me.
They are almost as impertinent as the gladiators. Which is the Greek sorcerer? My Worship! A new title. Well, what miracles can you perform? I can cure warts by rubbing them with my tailor's chalk; and I can live with my wife without beating her.
Is that all? You don't know her, Caesar, or you wouldn't say that. Ah, well, my friend, we shall no doubt contrive a happy release for you. Which is Ferrovius? I am he. They tell me you can fight. It is easy to fight. I can die, Caesar. That is still easier, is it not? Not to me, Caesar. Death comes hard to my flesh; and fighting comes very easily to my spirit beating his breast and lamenting O sinner that I am! He throws himself down on the steps, deeply discouraged.
I should like to have this man in the Pretorian Guard. I should not, Caesar. He looks a spoilsport. There are men in whose presence it is impossible to have any fun: He would make us all uncomfortable. For that reason, perhaps, it might be well to have him. An Emperor can hardly have too many consciences. To Ferrovius Listen, Ferrovius. Ferrovius shakes his head and will not look up. You and your friends shall not be outnumbered to-day in the arena.
You shall have arms; and there will be no more than one gladiator to each Christian. If you come out of the arena alive, I will consider favorably any request of yours, and give you a place in the Pretorian Guard. Even if the request be that no questions be asked about your faith I shall perhaps not refuse it. I will not fight. I will die. Better stand with the archangels than with the Pretorian Guard.
I cannot believe that the archangels--whoever they may be--would not prefer to be recruited from the Pretorian Guard. However, as you please. As the Court ascends the steps, Secutor and the Retiarius return from the arena through the passage; Secutor covered with dust and very angry: Retiarius grinning.
Ha, the Emperor. Now we shall see. I ask you whether it is fair for the Retiarius, instead of making a fair throw of his net at me, to swish it along the ground and throw the dust in my eyes, and then catch me when I'm blinded. If the vestals had not turned up their thumbs I should have been a dead man. It is a dusty one, my friend. Obsequious laughter. Be on your guard next time. Let HIM be on his guard. Next time I'll throw my sword at his heels and strangle him with his own net before he can hop off.
To Retiarius You see if I don't. He goes out past the gladiators, sulky and furious. These tricks are not wise, my friend. The audience likes to see a dead man in all his beauty and splendor. If you smudge his face and spoil his armor they will show their displeasure by not letting you kill him.
And when your turn comes, they will remember it against you and turn their thumbs down. Perhaps that is why I did it, Caesar. He bet me ten sesterces that he would vanquish me.
If I had had to kill him I should not have had the money. I'll dismiss you all and have elephants to fight. They fight fairly. He goes up to his box, and knocks at it. It is opened from within by the Captain, who stands as on parade to let him pass. The Call Boy comes from the passage, followed by three attendants carrying respectively a bundle of swords, some helmets, and some breastplates and pieces of armor which they throw down in a heap.
By your leave, Caesar. Number eleven! Gladiators and Christians! Ferrovius springs up, ready for martyrdom. The other Christians take the summons as best they can, some joyful and brave, some patient and dignified, some tearful and helpless, some embracing one another with emotion.
The Call Boy goes back into the passage. I shall go into my box and see you killed, since you scorn the Pretorian Guard. He goes into the box. The Captain shuts the door, remaining inside with the Emperor.
Metellus and the rest of the suite disperse to their seats. The Christians, led by Ferrovius, move towards the passage. Steady there. You Christians have got to fight. Put on that armor. No armor. And what am I to say when I am accused of sending a naked man in to fight my men in armor? Say your prayers, brother; and have no fear of the princes of this world. You obstinate fool! He bites his lips irresolutely, not knowing exactly what to do.
Take a sword there; and put on any armor you can find to fit you. No, really: I can't fight: I never could. I can't bring myself to dislike anyone enough. I'm to be thrown to the lions with the lady. Then get out of the way and hold your noise. Androcles steps aside with cheerful docility. Now then!
Are you all ready there? A trumpet is heard from the arena. That frightens you, does it? When I hear a trumpet or a drum or the clash of steel or the hum of the catapult as the great stone flies, fire runs through my veins: I feel my blood surge up hot behind my eyes: I must charge: I must strike: I must conquer: Caesar himself will not be safe in his imperial seat if once that spirit gets loose in me.
Oh, brothers, pray! Just keep thinking how cruelly you might hurt the poor gladiators. It does not hurt a man to kill him. Nothing but faith can save you. Which faith? There are two faiths. There is our faith. And there is the warrior's faith, the faith in fighting, the faith that sees God in the sword. How if that faith should overwhelm me? You will find your real faith in the hour of trial.
That is what I fear. I know that I am a fighter. How can I feel sure that I am a Christian? Throw away the sword, brother. I cannot. It cleaves to my hand. I could as easily throw a woman I loved from my arms. Starting Who spoke that blasphemy? Not I. I can't help you, friend.
I can't tell you not to save your own life. Something wilful in me wants to see you fight your way into heaven. But if you are going to give up our faith, brother, why not do it without hurting anybody? Don't fight them. Burn the incense. Burn the incense! That is only pride, Ferrovius. ONLY pride! What is nobler than pride? Conscience stricken Oh, I'm steeped in sin. I'm proud of my pride. They say we Christians are the proudest devils on earth --that only the weak are meek.
Oh, I am worse than you. I ought to send you to death; and I am tempting you. Brother, brother: You must go as a lamb to the slaughter.
Aye, aye: Not as a lamb is slain by the butcher; but as a butcher might let himself be slain by a looking at the Editor by a silly ram whose head he could fetch off in one twist. Before the Editor can retort, the Call Boy rushes up through the passage; and the Captain comes from the Emperor's box and descends the steps.
In with you: The stage is waiting. The Emperor is waiting. To the Editor What are you dreaming of, man? Send your men in at once. Yes, Sir: The gladiators told off to fight with the Christians march down the passage Follow up there, you.
Hold up the faith, brother. Go to glory, dearest. Be strong, brother. Don't forget that the divine love and our love surround you. Nothing can hurt you: Eternal glory, dearest. The remaining gladiators and the Call Boy make a movement towards them.
To his fellow Christians Brothers: That passage is your hill to Calvary. Mount it bravely, but meekly; and remember! They go out through the passage. He turns to Lavinia Farewell. You forget: I must follow before you are cold.
It is true. Do not envy me because I pass before you to glory. He goes through the passage. Why can't they all be thrown to the lions? It's not a man's job. He throws himself moodily into his chair. The remaining gladiators go back to their former places indifferently. The Call Boy shrugs his shoulders and squats down at the entrance to the passage, near the Editor.
Lavinia and the Christian women sit down again, wrung with grief, some weeping silently, some praying, some calm and steadfast. Androcles sits down at Lavinia's feet. The Captain stands on the stairs, watching her curiously. I'm glad I haven't to fight. That would really be an awful martyrdom.
I AM lucky. Let my death atone for both. I feel as if I were killing you. Don't think of me, sister. Think of yourself. That will keep your heart up. The Captain laughs sardonically. Have you come to see me die? Is it part of your duty to laugh at us? Your friend here is a humorist. I laughed at his telling you to think of yourself to keep up your heart. I say, think of yourself and burn the incense. He is not a humorist: You ought to know that, Captain: Not with certain death, Lavinia.
Only death in battle, which spares more men than death in bed. What you are facing is certain death. You have nothing left now but your faith in this craze of yours: Are your Christian fairy stories any truer than our stories about Jupiter and Diana, in which, I may tell you, I believe no more than the Emperor does, or any educated man in Rome? I'll not say that death is a terrible thing; but I will say that it is so real a thing that when it comes close, all the imaginary things--all the stories, as you call them--fade into mere dreams beside that inexorable reality.
I know now that I am not dying for stories or dreams. Did you hear of the dreadful thing that happened here while we were waiting? I heard that one of your fellows bolted,, and ran right into the jaws of the lion. I laughed. I still laugh. Then you don't understand what that meant? It meant that the lion had a cur for his breakfast. It meant more than that, Captain. It meant that a man cannot die for a story and a dream. None of us believed the stories and the dreams more devoutly than poor Spintho; but he could not face the great reality.
What he would have called my faith has been oozing away minute by minute whilst I've been sitting here, with death coming nearer and nearer, with reality becoming realler and realler, with stories and dreams fading away into nothing.
Androcles and the lion , Orient Longmans. Androcles and the lion , Penguin Books. Androcles and the lion , Penguin. Overruled, Pygmalion , Constable. Overruled; Pygmalion , Dodd, Mead. Androcles and the lion , Dodd, Mead. A fable play. Overruled; Pygmalion. Pygmalion , Brentano's.
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