Page:Essays and phantasies by James Thomson.djvu/239

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227
A WORD FOR XANTIPPE.

lunatic asylum. Those heathen Greeks put Socrates to death soon after he was seventy: those unbelieving Jews, sharper than the Greeks, got Jesus crucified when he was only thirty-three: we Christian English are too enlightened and tolerant to make such men glorious martyrs; a parish prosecution and a doctor's certificate would extinguish them much more effectually; and no heroic fortitude, no sublime enthusiasm, could elevate the victims and cover the prosecutors with infamy.

We have perhaps one living writer with genius and learning and wisdom and fairness enough to picture truly the conjugal life of Saint Socrates and shrew Xantippe: need I say that this writer is George Eliot? One would give something for the picture.