"If You Want to Be a Martyr"

lyrics by Jordan Brown

(This song was written in 1997, when I was a member of the BMI Lehman Engel Musical Theater Workshop. Our assignment was to write a song for a musical version of the famous George Bernard Shaw play Androcles and the Lion. I decided to write a song for the Lion to sign to the audience, done in the style of a witty Noel Coward number. Our singing character was a "Coward-ly Lion." Just before this song is sung, the Lion observes the shrewish Megaera say to her husband Androcles "Blame ME? I should think not indeed. Is it my fault that I'm married to you?" To which Androcles replies: "No, dear, that's my fault." The action freezes, and the Lion appears through the trees, wearing a tuxedo and smoking a cigarette, and sings...)

Before you get hitched,
A word of advice:
Don't.

Any fool who declares,
"I will love you forever!"
Won't.

Now, this charming couple was once in love,
Though today you'd never guess it.
So, if you feel the urge to marry,
I urge you to suppress it.

There's only one reason to marry
Whether young or old, smart or dumb
The only reason to marry
Is martyrdom!

If you want to be a martyr,
Take a mate.
If you want to be a martyr,
Cohabitate.
Share the contents of your purse
"For bitter or for worse."
If you want to me a martyr - why wait?

If you want to be a martyr,
Say, "I do!"
If you want to be a martyr,
Go tame a shrew.
Who needs romance and passion?
Christianity's in fashion
If you want less Bali H'ai than ballyhoo.

If you want to be a martyr,
Date your foes.
When resentment grows like tartar
Then, propose.
As you pass each anniversary,
Things will go from bad to worse-ary
When you brag about your "better half,"
Steer clear of a polygraph.

And if you're fond of playing dirty tricks,
Go into law or politics.
If such a life is too bourgeois,
Write boring plays like Bernard Shaw,
Though that might cause a snag at heaven's gate.
But if you want to be a martyr,
There is really nothing smarter,
If you want to be a martyr, take a mate!