Page:Essays and phantasies by James Thomson.djvu/238

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226
A WORD FOR XANTIPPE.

and blockheads to these wonderful Athenian gentlemen; what, however, hindered Socrates from going home to wash in the morning?

Let the respectable English matron judge whether Xantippe had or had not the right to scold and rage, and even to pour out vessels of wrath. It is very well for us, enchanted with the fruits of his interminable talking, to admire him; it is better for us, spirit-stirred by the story of his martyrdom, to venerate and love him; but "follow him home"—what woman would be in the place of his wife?

Should the reader, however, assert that in this respect, as in so many others, Socrates approached closely to the ideal character of a Christian man, I think it would be rash to dispute the assertion. For one cannot but remember the texts:—"Then one said unto him, Behold thy mother and thy brethren stand without, desiring to speak with thee. But he answered and said unto him that told him, Who is my mother? and who are my brethren? And he stretched forth his hand toward his disciples, and said. Behold my mother and my brethren!" And again, "If any man come to me, and hate not his father and mother, and wife and children, and brethren and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple." And again, "Verily I say unto you, There is no man that hath left house, or parents, or brethren, or wife, or children, for the kingdom of God's sake, who shall not receive manifold more in this present time, and in the world to come life everlasting."

We reverence Socrates and we adore Jesus. In our age and country, however, Xantippe would be obliged to go to the workhouse, and the parish authorities would prosecute her husband for not supporting her and his family; as for Jesus, he would be brought before the magistrates as a vagrant, and assuredly on examination be forwarded to a