THE BACCHAE

OF EURIPIDES
Translated by GILBERT MURRAY

A Penn State Electronic Classics Series Publication

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The Bacchae of Euripides

THE BACCHAE
OF EURIPIDES
Translated by GILBERT MURRAY

“The play was first produced after the death of Euripides by his son who bore the same name, together with the Iphigenia in Aulis and the Alcmaeon, probably in the year 405 B.C.” The background represents the front of the Castle of PENTHEUS PENTHEUS, King of Thebes. At one side is visible the sacred Tomb of Semelê, a little enclosure overgrown with wild vines, with a cleft in the rocky floor of it from which there issues at times steam or smoke. The God DIONYSUS is discovered alone.
DIONYSUS DIONYSUS. Behold, God’s Son is come unto this land Of heaven’s hot splendour lit to life, when she Of Thebes, even I, Dionysus, whom the brand Who bore me, Cadmus’ daughter Semelê, Died here. So, changed in shape from God to man, I walk again by Dirce’s streams and scan Ismenus’ shore. There by the castle side I see her place, the Tomb of the Lightning’s Bride, The wreck of smouldering chambers, and the great Faint wreaths of fire undying—as the hate Dies not, that Hera held for Semelê. Aye, Cadmus hath done well; in purity He keeps this place apart, inviolate, His daughter’s sanctuary; and I have set 3

DRAMA TIS PERSONAE DRAMATIS DIONYSUS, THE GOD GOD; son of Zeus and of the Theban princess Semelê. CADMUS CADMUS, formerly King of Thebes, father of Semelê. PENTHEUS PENTHEUS, King of Thebes, grandson of Cadmus. AGA VE AGAVE VE, daughter of Cadmus, mother of Pentheus. TEIRESIAS TEIRESIAS, an aged Theban prophet. A SOLDIER OF PENTHEUS’ GUARD GUARD. TWO MESSENGERS MESSENGERS. A CHO RUS OF INSPIRED DAMSELS CHORUS DAMSELS, following Dionysus from the East.

The Bacchae of Euripides

My green and clustered vines to robe it round Far now behind me lies the golden ground Of Lydian and of Phrygian; far away The wide hot plains where Persian sunbeams play, The Bactrian war-holds, and the storm-oppressed Clime of the Mede, and Araby the Blest, And Asia all, that by the salt sea lies In proud embattled cities, motley-wise Of Hellene and Barbarian interwrought; And now I come to Hellas—having taught All the world else my dances and my rite Of mysteries, to show me in men’s sight Manifest God. And first of Helene lands I cry this Thebes to waken; set her hands To clasp my wand, mine ivied javelin, And round her shoulders hang my wild fawn-skin. For they have scorned me whom it least beseemed, Semelê’s sisters; mocked by birth, nor deemed That Dionysus sprang from Dian seed. My mother sinned, said they; and in her need, With Cadmus plotting, cloaked her human shame With the dread name of Zeus; for that the flame From heaven consumed her, seeing she lied to God. Thus must they vaunt; and therefore hath my rod On them first fallen, and stung them forth wild-eyed From empty chambers; the bare mountain side 4

Is made their home, and all their hearts are flame. Yea, I have bound upon the necks of them The harness of my rites. And with them all The seed of womankind from hut and hall Of Thebes, hath this my magic goaded out. And there, with the old King’s daughters, in a rout Confused, they make their dwelling-place between The roofless rocks and shadowy pine trees green. Thus shall this Thebes, how sore soe’er it smart, Learn and forget not, till she crave her part In mine adoring; thus must I speak clear To save my mother’s fame, and crown me here, As true God, born by Semelê to Zeus. Now Cadmus yieldeth up his throne and use Of royal honour to his daughter’s son Pentheus; who on my body hath begun A war with God. He thrusteth me away From due drink-offering, and, when men pray, My name entreats not. Therefore on his own Head and his people’s shall my power be shown. Then to another land, when all things here Are well, must I fare onward, making clear My godhead’s might. But should this Theban town Essay with wrath and battle to drag down My maids, lo, in their path myself shall be, And maniac armies battled after me!

The Bacchae of Euripides

For this I veil my godhead with the wan Form of the things that die, and walk as Man. O Brood of Tmolus o’er the wide world flown, O Lydian band, my chosen and mine own, Damsels uplifted o’er the orient deep To wander where I wander, and to sleep Where I sleep; up, and wake the old sweet sound, The clang that I and mystic Rhea found, The Timbrel of the Mountain! Gather all Thebes to your song round Pentheus’ royal hall. I seek my new-made worshippers, to guide Their dances up Kithaeron’s pine clad side. [As he departs, there comes stealing in from the left a band of fifteen Eastern Women, the light of the sunrise streaming upon their long white robes and ivy-bound hair. They wear fawn-skins over the robes, and carry some of them timbrels, some pipes and other instruments. Many bear the thyrsus, or sacred Wand, made of reed ringed with ivy. They enter stealthily till they see that the place is empty, and then begin their mystic song of worship.] CHO RUS CHORUS RUS. A Maiden Maiden. From Asia, from the dayspring that uprises 5

To Bromios ever glorying we came. We laboured for our Lord in many guises; We toiled, but the toil is as the prize is; Thou Mystery, we hail thee by thy name! Another Another. Who lingers in the road? Who espies us? We shall hide him in his house nor be bold. Let the heart keep silence that defies us; For I sing this day to Dionysus The song that is appointed from of old. All the Maidens Maidens. Oh, blessèd he in all wise, Who hath drunk the Living Fountain, Whose life no folly staineth, And his soul is near to God; Whose sins are lifted, pall-wise, As he worships on the Mountain, And where Cybele ordaineth, Our Mother, he has trod: His head with ivy laden And his thyrsus tossing high, For our God he lifts his cry; “Up, O Bacchae, wife and maiden, Come, O ye Bacchae, come;

bring ye Bromios home.” Whom erst in anguish lying For an unborn life’s desire. the Lord of Wonder. Others Others. bring the Joy-bestower. Bring Bromios in his power From Phrygia’s mountain dome. his own flesh tore to hide him. Oh. burst in bloom of wreathing bryony. and thy gorges Rang with this strain. And don thy fawn-skin. O Nurse of Zeus.The Bacchae of Euripides Oh. Berries and leaves and flowers. Till Zeus. cleanse thee in the wands’ waving pride! Yea. God-seed of God the Sower. And with clasps of bitter gold Did a secret son enfold. and blended Phrygian chant And sweet keen pipes were there. Oh. For thee of old crested Corybant First woke in Cretan air The wild orb of our orgies. Hail thou. like ours. When Bromios his companies shall guide Hillward. And the songs of serpents sound In the mazes of their hair. Devised new lairs of birth. thou nurse of Semelê! With Semelê’s wild ivy crown thy towers. dying. O Caverned Haunt Where fierce arms clanged to guard God’s cradle rare. The flock of the Believing. The maids from loom and weaving By the magic of his breath borne away. All hail. To street and town and tower. . 6 Some Maidens Maidens. In the white heart of the fire. For her heart was dying. Then a hornèd God was found. The oak-wand and the pine-wand. ever hillward. where they stay. Uplift the dark divine wand. Till the perfect hour was there. all men shall dance with us and pray. And for that are serpents wound In the wands his maidens bear. fringed in purity With fleecy white. As a dead thing in the Thunder His mother cast to earth. Oh. And the Queen knew not beside him. Yea. And a God of serpents crowned. The Timbrel. O Thebes.

Another Maiden Maiden. Let the cry of your joyance uplift and embolden The God of the joy-cry. to blend In the dancing and the cheer Of our third and perfect Year. to the hills! Oh. A colt by his dam. And to our holy singing from the Mother’s The mad Satyrs carried it. With the keen limbs drawn and the fleet foot a-quiver. glad on the mountains To swoon in the race outworn. And away to Mother Rhea it must wend. O glad. from his thyrsus spray 7 A torchlight tosses high and higher. And deep beneath the Maenad cry His proud voice rings: “Come. To waken all that faint and stray. though wearing the Ivy and the Bacchic fawn-skin. And sets them leaping as he sings. Then streams the earth with milk. When the holy fawn-skin clings. come!” All the Maidens Maidens. The glory of wild-beast ravenings. Where the hill-tops catch the day. O Bacchanals. Our leader. And through the air dim perfume steams Of Syrian frankincense. Come with the voice of timbrel and drum. A torchlight like a beacon-fire. To the Phrygian.The Bacchae of Euripides But the Timbrel. The blood of the hill-goat torn. And the music climbs and the maddening glamour. yea. come! With pealing of pipes and with Phrygian clamour. His tresses rippling to the sky. He is an old man and blind. then. leaning upon a staff and moving with slow stateliness. O ye Bacchae.] . where the vision of holiness thrills. On. And it serves Dionysus in the end! A Maiden Maiden. Hither. to the hills. mountains! ’Tis Bromios leads the way. Away the Bacchanal springs! [Enter TEIRESIAS TEIRESIAS. And all else sweeps away. To the joy of the red quick fountains. like a colt as he runs by a river. the Timbrel was another’s. Lydian. With the wild White Maids. when the heart of him sings. O fragrant of Tmolus the Golden. and He. streams With wine and nectar of the bee.

eld-worn Teiresias. And faint not! Sweetly and forgetfully The dim years fall from off me! TEIRESIAS TEIRESIAS. With me ’tis likewise. Go. Light am I and young. and the compact.—Nay. CADMUS CADMUS. . [Enter CADMUS from the Castle. who keeps the gate?—Go. And will essay the dancing and the song. and wears the same attire. whosoe’er thou art. [At the first movement of worship his manner begins to change. True friend! I knew that voice of thine. then. and to wear His fawn-skin. Are we not told His is the soul of that dead life of old That sprang from mine own daughter? Surely then Must thou and I with all the strength of men Exalt him. TEIRESIAS TEIRESIAS. summon me Cadmus. He is even older than TEIRESIAS. and with ivy crown our brows. The God himself shall guide! Have thou no care. To deck the new God’s thyrsus. TEIRESIAS TEIRESIAS.The Bacchae of Euripides TEIRESIAS TEIRESIAS. See he be told Teiresias seeketh him. Agênor’s son. So be it. lo. in all the guise And harness of this God. our chariots to the mountain road. grey hair with snow-white hair. Himself will gauge Mine errand. Ho. to take steeds were to mistrust the God. that flows Like mellow wisdom from a fountain wise. I come prepared. 8 I am not weak. age with age.] TEIRESIAS CADMUS CADMUS. who crossed the sea From Sidon and upreared this Theban hold. Quick. Where then shall I stand. CADMUS CADMUS. And. day and night. As with thee. Mine old arms shall guide thee there. guide my grey And eld-worn steps. I vowed with him. in thee is wisdom. there.] Surely this arm could smite The wild earth with its thyrsus. where tread The dance and toss this bowed and hoary head? O friend. a mysterious strength and exaltation enter into him. Nay.

Howbeit. that our own Wives. or young or old. so. To dance and wreath with ivy these white hairs.The Bacchae of Euripides CADMUS CADMUS. how deep soe’er his thought And won of subtlest toil. Here comes in speed Pentheus. Aye. ’Tis weary waiting. Shall things of dust the Gods’ dark ways despise? TEIRESIAS TEIRESIAS. I must be seer for thee. Or prove our wit on Heaven’s high mysteries? Not thou and I! That heritage sublime Our sires have left us.] PENTHEUS PENTHEUS. may bring to naught. men will rail that I forgot my years. What recks it? Seeing the God no line hath told To mark what man shall dance. and cluster there High on the shadowy hills. He is speaking to the SOLDIER in command. when mine ear Was caught by this strange rumour. this Dionyse. followed by a bodyguard. whom I have raised To rule my people in my stead. Thou and I can see. our own sisters. Lo. since this light thou canst not read. No word of man. all that I have found. [The two stand back. and great shall be! 9 CADMUS (after looking away toward the Mountain). Bacchios! Nay. wisdom old as time. partially concealed. with dance and prayer To adore this new-made God. and ever and anon Away into the loneliness now one Steals forth. from their hearths are flown To wild and secret rites. and mark what we shall hear. of Bacchios wraps them. And in all Thebes shall no man dance but we? TEIRESIAS TEIRESIAS. while there enters in hot haste PENTHEUS PENTHEUS.—Amazed He seems. Scarce had I crossed our borders. . So linkèd let us go. But craves his honours from mortality All. Echîon’s son. Aye. my men Hold bound and shackled in our dungeon den. Thebes is blinded. friend. Whate’er he be!—And in their companies Deep wine-jars stand. no man marked apart. not of God! The flame They say. Stand close. ’Tis more to Aphrodite that they pray. CADMUS CADMUS. and now a second. maid or dame Where love lies waiting. Teiresias. hold my hand. there is mine. TEIRESIAS TEIRESIAS. CADMUS CADMUS.

A wine-red cheek. A man of charm and spell. I will go hunt them! Aye. I tell thee true. mine eyes are fond. and speaks but for the right. In all their prayers is no more health at all! LEADER OF THE CHO RUS (the words are not heard CHORUS PENTHEUS). yet have no thought at all . to quell their prayer And mountain song and rites of rascaldom! They tell me. there is a stranger come. from Lydian seas. This tale of Dionysus. come easily. Thou now wert sitting chained amid thy crew Of raving damsels. for this evil dream Thou hast brought us. Life-spring to great Echîon and to thee? TEIRESIAS TEIRESIAS. and win more hire Of gold. sower of the Giants’ Sod. right swift That wand shall cease its music. watch new birds. Here is another marvel! See I not In motley fawn-skins robed the vision-seer Teiresias? And my mother’s father here— O depth of scorn!—adoring with the wand Of Bacchios?—Father!—Nay. and snare My birds with nets of iron. and now is God! What call ye these? Dreams? Gibes of the unknown wanderer? Blasphemies That crave the very gibbet? Stay! God wot. and that drift Of tossing curls lie still—when my rude sword Falls between neck and trunk! ’Tis all his word. Day and livelong night He haunts amid the damsels. of new Gods! When once the gleam Of grapes hath lit a Woman’s Festival. and eyes that hold the light Of the very Cyprian. Else come they never! Swift are thine. 10 It is not your white heads so fancy-flown! It cannot be! Cast off that ivy crown. for that mother’s lie. when he That speaks is wise. Good words my son. Nor Cadmus. Teiresias! ’Tis thou must set Another altar and another yet Amongst us. born perfect from the thigh Of Zeus. hast thou no fear of God. how that same Babe that was blasted by the lightning flame With his dead mother. A head all gold and cloudy fragrancies.The Bacchae of Euripides The rest. too. Was re-conceived. by PENTHEUS Injurious King. ’Tis thou hast planned This work. o’er each lip Dangling his cup of joyance! Let me grip Him once. within these walls. interpreting new signs of fire! But for thy silver hairs. O mine own mother’s sire! Set free that hand That cowers about its staff. but once. and bright As though with thought.

this tale was born. or ever blade met blade. He found the liquid show Hid in the grape. Flaming the darkness with his mystic wand. and up to Olympus’ height Raised him. A fragment of the world-encircling fire He rent apart. And gave to Hera’s rage. but beyond all else To frenzy of prayer.—And so. pour forth the cup Of sacrifice. whom thou dost flout withal. ’tis this God hath palsied them.—When from that deadly light Zeus saved the babe. Have in strange fear. How toucheth this the part of Dionyse To hold maids pure perforce? In them it lies. King Pentheus! Dream not thou that force is power. oh. A prophet is he likewise. Receive this God to Thebes.The Bacchae of Euripides Lo this new God. in the image of the child. that we For his sake may be blest.—List and understand. if thou hast a thought. Prophecy Cleaves to all frenzy. That fable shames him. When mortal armies. save only to forget? Yea. Nay. I cannot speak the greatness wherewith He In Hellas shall be great! Two spirits there be. when the Gate . How the babe-god was hidden in the torn Flesh of his sire. is the Power From Semelê born. And their own hearts. And great in Hellas. mailêd and arrayed. Dêmêtêr one is named. beguiled 11 By change and passing time. Nor. Aye. mark me! Thou hast thy joy. second. she is the Earth— Call her which name thou will!—who feeds man’s frame With sustenance of things dry. learn the truth of it Cleared from the false. the blood of him is set Before the Gods in sacrifice. Then in us verily dwells The God himself. and wrought to his desire Of shape and hue. and pray. Yea. Is there any way With man’s sore heart. He hath no shame thereby. He rests man’s spirit dim From grieving. and Hera’s wrath would cast him thence Then Zeus devised him a divine defence. and in the wildest rite Cometh no stain to her whose heart is white. and that thought sour And sick. how this God was knit Into God’s flesh? Nay. and wreathe thy brow. He giveth sleep to sink the fretful day In cool forgetting. And that which came Her work to perfect. Fled maddened. to thee. being God. And so. Young Prince. Thou fearest for the damsels? Think thee now. over Delphi’s rock-built diadem Thou yet shalt see him leaping with his train Of fire across the twin-peaked mountain-plain. when the vine exalteth him. and of Ares’ realm a part hath he. dream not thought is wisdom!—Up. that in man’s world are first of worth. and speaks the thing to be.

and tread His dances! Aye. madness wrought by some dread spell. right well Teiresias points thy road. how there sprang a thing divine From Semelê’s flesh.—Grant that this God be naught. My son. Our hairs are white. Oh. [He makes as if to set the wreath on PENTHEUS head. against men’s uses. and Pentheus’ name is lifted great And high by Thebes in clamour. Not lonely. Lie boldly. But not by spell nor leechcraft to be cured! CHO RUS CHORUS RUS. half my guard Forth to the rock-seat where he dwells in ward O’er birds and wonders. shall not He Rejoice in his due meed of majesty? Howbeit. and honour all our line. our great God. make one wreck of high and low And toss his bands to all the winds of air! Ha. yet shall that dance be trod! I will not lift mine arm to war with God For thee nor all thy words. forth through the town! And seek amain This girl-faced stranger. Make thy prayer With us. Grey prophet. [Drawing nearer to PENTHEUS PENTHEUS. this Cadmus whom thou scorn’st and I Will wear His crown.] [Turning upon TEIRESIAS This Thy folly’s head and prompter shall not miss The justice that he needs!—Go. there? The rest. CADMUS CADMUS. and walk thee humbly in God’s sight. rend the stone with crown And trident.The Bacchae of Euripides Stands thronged. Down with that hand! Aroint thee to thy rite Nor smear on me thy foul contagion! TEIRESIAS.] 12 Is there not blood before thine eyes even now? Our lost Actaeon’s blood. And wise in honouring Bromios. preying on our maids and wives . have I found the way to sting thee. that hath wrought such bane To all Thebes.] PENTHEUS PENTHEUS. worthy of Phoebus is thy word. Yet let that Naught be Somewhat in thy mouth. Madness most fell Is on thee. and say He is! So north and south Shall marvel. beware And let me wreathe thy temples. Hazardous Is this quick bird-like beating of thy thought Where no thought dwells. whom long ago His own red hounds through yonder forest dim Tore unto death. make thine habitation here with us. because he vaunted him Against most holy Artemis? Oh.

Thou Recording Purity.The Bacchae of Euripides Seek till ye find. Old Cadmus?—Nay. Yea. as I help thine.] TEIRESIAS TEIRESIAS. our service shall be done To Bacchios. Till he be judged and stoned and weep in blood The day he troubled Pentheus with his God! [The guards set forth in two bodies.] CHO RUS CHORUS RUS. Some Maidens Maidens. pray For this poor city. Earthward. flashed to heaven. that the righteous God Move not in anger. If two old men should fall by the roadway. In the Gods’ high banquet. Hearest thou this angry King? Hearest thou the rage and scorn ‘Gainst the Lord of Many Voices. ‘Twere ill. But as I see—blind words and a blind heart! [The two Old Men go off towards the Mountain. manward. Come what come may. Loose thy lips from out the rein. In the music and the laughter. Girt with garlands and with glee.—Take thine ivy rod And help my steps. And of all before and after. and now indeed Most mad!—Come. In the vanishing of care. 13 . Him in whom man’s heart rejoices. how little dost thou know what seed Thou sowest! Blind before. Cadmus. PENTHEUS goes into the Castle. when Gleams the graperflood. it is there. and in the feasts of men Comes his crownèd slumber. and lead him here in gyves. Thou Immaculate on high. In the dancing and the prayer. the All-Father’s mystic son O Pentheus. First in Heaven’s sovranty? For his kingdom. let us go our way. Golden Wing. Still. then Pain is dead and hate forgiven! Others Others. pitying. Thou that stoopest. And pray for this our persecutor. Him of mortal mother born. Hard heart. named of sorrow! Shall he claim From all thy house fulfilment of his name. I speak not from mine art.

Watchers are there in the skies. But the world’s Wise are not wise. and empty-hearted! Divers Maidens Maidens. and there is the Heart’s Desire. their present is departed. and prize Deeds well done by things of clay. But a better land is there Where Olympus cleaves the air. Lo. Life is such a little thing. set in the sea. And born in majesty. And he loveth constantly Her who brings increase. far away. And faint the heart of the world. I ween. Where is the Home for me? O Cyprus. Mad imagining Theirs. Storm nor earthquake shattereth. Where the rainless meadows smile With riches rolled From the hundred-fold Mouths of the far-off Nile. Would I could wend to thee. Scorning. so the end shall be Uttermost calamity! ’Tis the life of quiet breath. Fairest of all things fair! O there is Grace. ’Tis the simple and the true. 14 Where the wings of the Loves are furled. Yet hath he mirth In the joy of the Earth. Aphrodite’s home In the soft sea-foam. Nor shall aught the house undo Where they dwell. And the dreams to which they cling Come not. The Feeder of Children. Claiming more than mortal may.The Bacchae of Euripides Lift thy wisdom to disdain. unto Paphos’ isle. And peace to adore thee. Peace. For. Aye. That can see man’s life. Whatso law thou canst not see. Hidden from the eyes of day. thou Spirit of Guiding Fire! * A God of Heaven is he. Streaming beneath the waves To the roots of the seaward caves. * * . The high still dell Where the Muses dwell.

immaculate. bound. [The guards loose the arms of DIONYSUS DIONYSUS. a fair shape for a woman’s eye. But to all that liveth His wine he giveth. DIONYSUS remains gentle and unafraid.The Bacchae of Euripides No grudge hath he of the great. nor thought to flee. My toils are round him and he shall not fly.] SOLDIER SOLDIER.” And those prisoned Maids withal Whom thou didst seize and bind within the wall Of thy great dungeon. they are fled. and bade us wreak All thy decree. leading in the midst of them DIONYSUS DIONYSUS. O King. for the chase was swift. No scorn of the mean estate. And bars slid back untouched of mortal hand Yea. till I for very shame confessed And said: “O stranger.] Marry. Be glad of the Dark and the Light. a-dance and glorying To Bromios. Of their own impulse fell To earth. full of many wonders to thy land Is this man come. I ween! Long curls. Howso swift he be. and this wild thing Most tame. men say. Caught. but his bidding to fulfil Who sent me. The simple nameless herd of Humanity Hath deeds and faith that are truth enough for me! [As the Chorus ceases. as PENTHEUS PENTHEUS. PENTHEUS studies him for a while in silence then speaks jeeringly. Sir stranger! And thou seek’st no more. and made my best 15 Easy. not of mine own will I bind thee. Only on them that spurn Joy. and thy prey. laughed. no blanching of the wine-red cheek. And avert thine eyes From the lore of the wise. The SOLDIER in command stands forth. That have honour in proud men’s sight. But held both hands out unresistingly— No change. Ye are mad!—Unhand him. a party of the guards return. withal! That shows thou ne’er hast been A wrestler!—down both cheeks so softly tossed . fetter and manacle. O King. … Howbeit. yet never flinched. Love thou the Day and the Night. comes out from the Castle. may his anger burn. it lies with thee! PENTHEUS PENTHEUS. He waited while we came. Our quest is finished. Griefless. yea. hearing the tramp of feet. Free in the woods.

And what good bring they to the worshipper? 16 . That may none Reveal. And whence these revelations. Thou hast heard of Tmolus. Thence am I. No glory is therein. these emblems? DIONYSUS DIONYSUS. nor yet disgrace. only He whose seal was set Here in thy Thebes on Semele. Their intent and use Dionysus oped to me. and scanned My soul. PENTHEUS PENTHEUS. Nay. Lydia was my fatherland. nor know. that can still beget Young Gods? DIONYSUS DIONYSUS. PENTHEUS (brutally). PENTHEUS PENTHEUS. Surely. tell me first thy name and race. What like be they. save his Elect alone. sirrah. Most clear he stood.] [DIONYSUS Speak. the Child of Zeus. that thy band Spreadeth in Hellas? DIONYSUS DIONYSUS. DIONYSUS DIONYSUS. PENTHEUS PENTHEUS. PENTHEUS PENTHEUS. Is there a Zeus there. the ridge that winds by Sardis towers. the bright hill of flowers? PENTHEUS PENTHEUS. DIONYSUS DIONYSUS. and gave his emblems to mine hand. What way Descended he upon thee? In full day Or vision of night? DIONYSUS DIONYSUS.The Bacchae of Euripides And winsome! And a white skin! It hath cost Thee pains. to please thy damsels with this white And red of cheeks that never face the light! DIONYSUS is silent.

all Barbary hath trod His dance ere this. though their ways are not thy way. And so thine eyes Saw this God plain. And comest thou first to Thebes. 17 PENTHEUS PENTHEUS. Good beyond price. Aye. The darkness. How is thy worship held. PENTHEUS PENTHEUS. ’Twas not I ordained his shape. And nothing answered! DIONYSUS DIONYSUS. Beside our Hellenes! DIONYSUS DIONYSUS. Nay. Higher and more keen In this thing. PENTHEUS PENTHEUS. What guise It liked him. to have thy God Established? DIONYSUS DIONYSUS. His mysteries abhor The touch of sin-lovers. but not for thee to hear. A low blind folk.The Bacchae of Euripides DIONYSUS DIONYSUS. I ween. An idle jape. by night or day? DIONYSUS DIONYSUS. Thou trickster? Thou wouldst prick me on the more To seek them out! DIONYSUS DIONYSUS. what guise had he? DIONYSUS DIONYSUS. Wise words being brought To blinded eyes will seem as things of nought. PENTHEUS PENTHEUS. ’tis a majestic thing. Ha! with women worshipping? ’Tis craft and rottenness! . PENTHEUS PENTHEUS. PENTHEUS PENTHEUS. PENTHEUS PENTHEUS. deftly turned again. Most oft by night.

and for blaspheming God! PENTHEUS PENTHEUS. Raise thine own hand To take it. [He beckons to the soldiers. for dense Blindness of heart. Whoso will seek may find unholiness— PENTHEUS PENTHEUS.] [PENTHEUS PENTHEUS PENTHEUS. First. who approach DIONYSUS DIONYSUS. PENTHEUS takes the staff. Next. what dire thing wilt thou do to me? PENTHEUS PENTHEUS. if e’er again amid his bands Of saints he hears thy voice! DIONYSUS DIONYSUS.] DIONYSUS DIONYSUS. . Last. and sees all that I suffer.The Bacchae of Euripides DIONYSUS DIONYSUS. He may. yield me up thy staff! DIONYSUS DIONYSUS. I have vowed it to my God. Even now he stands Close here. My doom. for false pretence Corrupting Thebes. This mystery-priest! DIONYSUS DIONYSUS. when I speak the word. By day no less. DIONYSUS DIONYSUS. 18 [The soldiers cut off the tress. Come. I will hold thee prisoned here. Not mine. A ready knave it is. shear that delicate curl that dangles there. DIONYSUS DIONYSUS. but thine. ’tis holy hair. and brazen-browed. say what it shall be. This is Dionysus’ wand. Enough! Thy doom is fixed.] PENTHEUS PENTHEUS. PENTHEUS PENTHEUS. My Lord God will unloose me.

PENTHEUS PENTHEUS. let him lie in the manger!—There abide And stare into the darkness!—And this rout Of womankind that clusters thee about. in thy wrong to us. with better right. And I. He Whom thou deniest cometh after thee For recompense. and forget Their timbrel and their songs of dawning day! DIONYSUS DIONYSUS. and his DIONYSUS . A name fore-written to calamity! PENTHEUS PENTHEUS. What? Where is he? For mine eyes discern him not. say bind the more! [The soldiers obey.] DIONYSUS DIONYSUS. I go. I may Not suffer! Yet for this thy sin. So let it be. his hair shorn. Agâvê’s son. and on the father’s part Echion’s. else they shall be set To labour at my distaffs. Aye. Thou hast cast Him into thy prison-house! [DIONYSUS DIONYSUS. are my slaves! It may be I will sell them o’er the waves. Where I am! ’Tis thine own impurity That veils him from thee. I charge ye. lo.The Bacchae of Euripides PENTHEUS PENTHEUS. bind Me not! I having vision and ye blind! PENTHEUS PENTHEUS. Yea. The dog jeers at me! At me and Thebes! Bind him! [The soldiers begin to bind him. Thy ministers of worship. nor What deed thou doest. DIONYSUS DIONYSUS. without his wand. hight Pentheus! DIONYSUS DIONYSUS. and tie him where the steeds are tied. for that which may not be. Away. nor what man thou art! 19 PENTHEUS (mocking). Thou knowest not what end thou seekest. Hither and thither.] DIONYSUS DIONYSUS.

To his own flesh. virgin water. against the Thunder? He will bind me for his prize. is led off by the guards to his dungeon. my friend. Me. lo. we race with death. the Mystery? When from out the fire immortal To himself his God did take him. Did the Earth-Child not beget him. Who implore thee. we perish. Holy Dircê.] CHO RUS CHORUS RUS. and bespake him: “Enter now life’s second portal. Why. I break Mine own body for thy sake. Dircê. By the grape upon the bough. In the dark he lies forsaken! All All. Lo. the Bride of Dionyse. Achelous’ roaming daughter. Still my prayer toward thee quivers.The Bacchae of Euripides arms tightly bound. still to thee I hie me. Thou of the Twofold Door. Be thy golden wand uplifted o’er the tyrant in his pride! . He is no man. but a wonder. and seal thee Mine. And my priest. fashioned Of the Dragon.”—thus he spake— “And to this thy land reveal thee. even now! Other Maidens Maidens. yea. Bathed he not of old in thee. O Blessed among Rivers. O Holy One defied. child of Earth.” All All. Come. and buried lies. As a red Giant. and adore thee? Hither down Olympus’ side. Motherless Mystery. The Babe of God. 20 Thou shalt seek Him in the midnight. Dionysus. PENTHEUS returns into the Palace. Some Maidens Maidens. Wilt thou fly me and deny me? By His own joy I vow. and his birth From Echion. is taken Even now. O Bromios. nor cherish. to set him Against God. here before thee! Dost thou mark us not. thou shalt love Him. Dark and of the dark impassioned Is this Pentheus’ blood.

O Holy Voice. And the trees awoke and knew him. the giver Of good gifts and waving green. be with us now! THE V OICE VOICE OICE. fairest River E’er of mortals seen! 21 AV OICE WITHIN VOICE WITHIN.] . awake. winding to the West. As he sang amid the broken Glens his music manifold? Dionysus loveth thee. that calleth us! THE V OICE VOICE OICE. thou our help alone? O’er fierce beasts in orient lands Doth thy thronging thyrsus wave. He will come to thee with dancing. Master. it is Thou! ANOTHER ANOTHER. Through a land of steeds and glory Rolling. Hear my word. In the elm-woods and the oaken. Calling my Chosen. hear my cry. where art thou? In thine own Nysa. By the high Corycian Cave. O Master. The Child of Zeus and Semelê. Be of good cheer! Lo. Blessed Land of Piërie. A Voice. With the Maenads at his hest Winding. There where Orpheus harped of old.The Bacchae of Euripides A Maiden Maiden. a Voice. ye damsels. Spirit of the Chained Earthquake. Io! Io! Awake. what echoes thus? ANOTHER ANOTHER. Cross the Lydias. awake! [An Earthquake suddenly shakes the pillars of the Castle. Come with joy and mystery. bravest. A MAIDEN MAIDEN. And the wild things gathered to him. hearken ye! A MAIDEN MAIDEN. Oh. Or where stern Olympus stands. Cross that Father-Stream of story. it is I. Cross the flood of swiftly glancing Axios in majesty. Who speaketh? Oh.

Ye trembling damsels. the Death that came Ablaze from heaven of old. or his darkness make me fast? LEADER LEADER. Ha! what is coming? Shall the hall Of Pentheus racked in ruin fall? LEADER LEADER.] DIONYSUS DIONYSUS. We adore Him all! THE V OICE VOICE OICE. why lie ye thus dismayed? Ye marked him. 22 God’s Child hath come.The Bacchae of Euripides A MAIDEN MAIDEN. Ah. O Light in Darkness. then.] A MAIDEN MAIDEN. shaking the house of Pentheus?— But arise. what was left if thou wert gone? What could I but despair? How hast thou ‘scaped the man of sin? Who freed thee . marked ye there the flame From Semelê’s enhallowed sod Awakened? Yea. He. and the mighty hand he laid On tower and rock. is this thy face? My heart leaps out to greet thee from the deep of loneliness. Ye Damsels of the Morning Hills. and lift untroubled eyes. DIONYSUS DIONYSUS. when beneath the Gate I passed? Should the gates of Pentheus quell me. is it thou? O Priest. And cast the trembling from your flesh. Fell ye so quick despairing. Unveil the Lightning’s eye. to the earth! The Lord Cometh against this house! Oh. DIONYSUS DIONYSUS. enters from the Castle. arouse The fire that sleeps. our own adored. our Master. alone and unbound. LEADER LEADER. saw ye. Oh. their eyes earthward. the same Hot splendour of the shaft of God? LEADER LEADER. against this house! [Fire leaps upon the Tomb of Semelê. cast ye. and all is overthrown! [The Maidens cast themselves upon the ground. Oh cast ye. cast ye down. Our God is in the house! Ye maids adore Him! CHO RUS CHORUS RUS.

Then deemed a-sudden I was gone. how . And this King. and called his thralls amain For water. Then ‘mid his dreams God smote him yet again! He overthrew All that high house. It is too much! This Eastern knave hath slipped His prison. was laid on me! ’Twas there I mocked him. And Pentheus hied this way and that. ’Tis he. and left his fire. though he come in fury hot. hoof and limb. and strove in wrath. before the stall there stood A Bull of Offering. Thine arms were gyvèd! DIONYSUS DIONYSUS. But soft. and he lies outworn and wan Who dared to rise against his God in wrath. and gave him dreams for food. and his lifted sword shone red. for he smote at emptiness. he bit his lips and straight Fell on and bound it. and her temper trembleth not! [Enter PENTHEUS in fury] PENTHEUS PENTHEUS. the God had wrought—I speak but as I guess— Some dream-shape in mine image. Stabbed in the air. And I sat watching!—Then a Voice. And I uprose and left him. in his gyves. Nay. all in vain. our Lord was come. I had no pain nor peril. LEADER LEADER. and all toiled. And there in wreck for evermore it lies. recking light of Pentheus and his wrath. how think ye he will stand. behold. ’twas mine own hand set me free.—Ha! ’Tis he!—What. whom I held but now. with gasping wrath and sweat.The Bacchae of Euripides from the snare? DIONYSUS DIONYSUS. and lo. no gyve. That the day of this my bondage may be sore in Pentheus’ eyes! And now his sword is fallen. being but man. and sped Back to the prison portals. For when he laid me down. and in all peace took my path Force to my Chosen. as though ‘twere me he slew. methinks. no touch. 23 But there. sirrah. methinks a footstep sounds even now within the hall. and what words speak withal? I will endure him gently. lest his roof-tree burn. hard gripped In bondage. and a great flame stood o’er his mother’s tomb. And the house shook. For still are the ways of Wisdom.

or didst thou mark not me.] MESSENGER MESSENGER. DIONYSUS DIONYSUS. Whereso it most imports. Great Pentheus. Lord of all this Theban land. [Enter suddenly and in haste a Messenger from the Mountain. We will not fly. And set a quiet carriage to thy rage.The Bacchae of Euripides Show’st thou before my portals? [He advances furiously upon him. where the frore Snow spangles gleam and cease not evermore. be come. PENTHEUS PENTHEUS. Said I not. For Dionyse ’Tis well. for in thy scorn his glory lies. cannot God o’erleap a wall? PENTHEUS PENTHEUS. and bar withal Each gate! DIONYSUS DIONYSUS. What. Oh. … PENTHEUS PENTHEUS. There was One living that should set me free? PENTHEUS PENTHEUS. wit thou hast. Who? Ever wilder are these tales of thine. He who first made for man the clustered vine. there is my wit!— Nay. Go swift to all the towers. 24 PENTHEUS (to his guard). And what of import may thy coming bring? .] DIONYSUS DIONYSUS. PENTHEUS PENTHEUS. DIONYSUS DIONYSUS. How comest thou here? How didst thou break thy cage? Speak! DIONYSUS DIONYSUS. but wait on thy command. save where thou needest it! DIONYSUS DIONYSUS. peace! Abide till he who hasteth from The mountain side with news for thee. I scorn him and his vines. I come from high Kithaeron.

Nay. and fed them with white milk. and come to tell thee how They work strange deeds and passing marvel.The Bacchae of Euripides MESSENGER MESSENGER. “Awake. It skills not to be wroth with honesty. I fear the swiftness of thy heart. Agâvê. And if any lips Sought whiter draughts. Thy tale shall nothing scathe thee. Another set Her thyrsus in the bosomed earth. one half sinking on a bed Of deep pine greenery. and there Was red wine that the God sent up to her. all most cold 25 In purity—not as thy tale was told Of wine-cups and wild music and the chase For love amid the forest’s loneliness. with dipping finger-tips . A marvel of swift ranks I saw them rise. and oaken sprays And flowering bryony. A darkling fountain. and straight a jet Of quick bright water came. coldest time. or veil the stranger part? Yea Lord. all round. and the rime Yields. O King. ’tis he Shall pay it. one thine own Mother. O’er their shoulders first they shed Their tresses. if thy news of them be dark. MESSENGER MESSENGER. Whose fleet limbs darted arrow-like but now From Thebes away. The one Autonoë led.—Tell the whole. There beneath the trees Sleeping they lay. the greyest. Yet I first would learn thy pleasure. like wild things flung at ease In the forest. and caught up the fallen fold Of mantles where some clasp had loosened hold. young mothers with a mother’s breast And babes at home forgotten! Then they pressed Wreathed ivy round their brows. When the first rays steal earthward. and one a wild Wolf cub. and smiled In love. Dames young and old. the warm sleep fallen from their eyes. when I saw three bands of them. and gentle maids unwed Among them. Thine edgèd wrath and more than royal soul. ye Bacchanals! I hear the sound Of hornèd kine. PENTHEUS PENTHEUS. Shall I set My whole tale forth. I have seen the Wild White Women there. And one a young fawn held. who bewitched and led them on. Awake ye!”—Then. and gave the God’s wild cry. And one would raise Her wand and smite the rock. And girt the dappled fawn-skins in with long Quick snakes that hissed and writhed with quivering tongue. one with careless head Amid the fallen oak leaves. Then rose the Queen Agâvê suddenly Amid her band. Our herded kine were moving in the dawn Up to the peaks. one Ino. Alert.

and the air Tossed with rent ribs or limbs of cloven tread. On Hysiae and Erythrae that lie nursed Amid Kithaeron’s bowering rocks. and held debate. Then on like birds. and on. all we fled Amazed. Yea. and the wilderness Was filled with moving voices and dim stress. And swifter were the bands Of garbèd flesh and bone unbound withal Than on thy royal eyes the lids may fall. for our Lord and God!” Thereat. And flattering spoke. babes unheld. they burst Destroying. for fear they tear us. Great uddered kine then hadst thou seen Bellowing in sword-like hands that cleave and tear. beside my thicket-close The Queen herself passed dancing. And there Through the appointed hour they made their prayer And worship of the Wand. and asked: “Is it your will. we stay the mother of the King. we are hunted! Up. Horns swift to rage. my rovers of the chase. took lead of them whose hand Knew but the slow soil and the solemn hill. Lord. High on their shoulders. With prayer and most high wonder hadst thou gone To adore this God whom now thou rail’st upon! Howbeit. Hadst thou been there. And reed-wands ivy-crowned Ran with sweet honey. and I rose And sprang to seize her. drop by drop. and bring To Thebes the rich fruit of her harvesting. Bromios. . My wild White Hounds. from her lawless worshipping. with one accord Of heart and cry—”Iacchos. and gushing from the ground Came springs of milk. and the wild things knelt And ramped and gloried. with hand unweaponèd They swept toward our herds that browsed the green Hill grass. the kine-wardens and shepherds straight Came to one place. God of God born!”—And all the mountain felt. all a wreck they made. and a red Rain from the deep green pines. and seen this thing. each rod And follow. by those multitudinous hands Dragged pitilessly. And worshipped with them. as it chanced. Masters. cowering in the leaves. Agâvê. and through the branching underwood We hid us. Soon. A live steer riven asunder. amazed.—O King. But she turned her face 26 Upon me: “Ho. And win us royal thanks?”—And this seemed good To all. They caught up little children from their homes. They swept toward the plains of waving corn That lie beside Asopus’ banks. as a foeman’s army comes. were fronted and aside Flung stumbling. that swayed And laughed and fell not. follow. as I. bulls of pride.The Bacchae of Euripides They pressed the sod. And flesh upon the branches. And one being there who walked the streets and scanned The ways of speech. by their own speed upborne.

Blasted those men and quelled them. and they fled Dizzily. yea. Thou mark’st me not. Call all that spur the charger. if thou fright His Chosen from the hills of their delight. Oh. Therefore I counsel thee O King. dread Lord.The Bacchae of Euripides Yea. shall women dare Such deeds against us? ’Tis too much to bear! DIONYSUS DIONYSUS. receive this Spirit. Bid gather all my men-at-arms thereat. Albeit I tremble. but the Wand. Greatness manifold Is all about him. let him live. And those girdling snakes Hissed out to lap the waterdrops from cheeks And hair and breast. To Thebes in glory. then Love herself is slain. in thine own despite. This frenzy of Bacchic women! All my land Is made their mock. I warn thee still. The wonder was. PENTHEUS PENTHEUS. that God had sent them when the day Dawned. It bursts hard by us. carried hot Flames in their tresses and were scorchèd not! The village folk in wrath took spear and sword. yet. no God more true nor higher! PENTHEUS PENTHEUS. O King. And turned upon the Bacchae. Peace. bronze and iron did shatter. thou! And if for once thou hast slipped chain. For if he die. and scarce may speak my thought To a king’s face. on the upper heights. and fear His wrath! He will not brook it. whoe’er he be. and the tale is told That this is he who first to man did give The grief-assuaging vine. Give thanks!—Or shall I knot thine arms again? 27 . and in play Struck hither and thither. And nothing joyous in the world again! LEADER LEADER. Lift thou not up thy spear Against a God. Sure some God was in these things! And the holy women back to those strange springs Returned. Then. We march to war—’Fore God. and washed away The stain of battle. yet no wound had they. Caught fire from out the hearths.—This needs an iron hand! Ho. yet will I hide it not. For spear nor barbèd brand Could scathe nor touch the damsels. all who know To wield the orbèd targe or bend the bow. Dionyse is God. like a smothered fire. and holdest light My solemn words. The soft and wreathèd wand their white hands sped. but hold thy peace. Captain! Quick to the Electran Gate.

be silent! . Wait. PENTHEUS PENTHEUS. plighted with my Lord! PENTHEUS (turning from him). Myself will lead The damsels hither. Verily. armourers! Bring forth my shield and sword!— And thou. Aye. sacrifice of women’s blood. What Dost fear? Only to save thee do I plot. if I obey Mine own slaves’ will. It is some compact ye have made. Ho.The Bacchae of Euripides DIONYSUS DIONYSUS. That will I! Yea. How now?—This is some plot against me! DIONYSUS DIONYSUS.] 28 PENTHEUS PENTHEUS. Better to yield him prayer and sacrifice Than kick against the pricks. whereby To dance these hills for ever! DIONYSUS DIONYSUS. how else? DIONYSUS DIONYSUS. Ye shall fly. PENTHEUS PENTHEUS. and thou but mortal. PENTHEUS has started as though to seek his army at [PENTHEUS the gate. he must babble still! DIONYSUS DIONYSUS. good my friend! These crooked matters may Even yet be straightened. All. PENTHEUS PENTHEUS. This stranger that so dogs us! Well or ill I may entreat him. PENTHEUS PENTHEUS. That is my compact. without sword or steed. since Dionyse Is God. and abase your shields of bronzen rim Before their wands. to cry His name through all Kithaeron! DIONYSUS DIONYSUS. There is no way with him.

PENTHEUS (somewhat bewildered at what he has said). while the armourers bring out his armour. ’twould grieve me much To see them flown with wine. ambushed among the pines. then speaks in a tone of command. Why should we tarry? DIONYSUS DIONYSUS. with a few exceptions. speaks with resignation). They soon will track thee out. First we need A rich and trailing robe of fine-linen 29 . Aye. That would I. PENTHEUS PENTHEUS. I fain Would watch. DIONYSUS DIONYSUS. ‘Twere vain To hide. Yes. simply speaks the thoughts that DIONYSUS puts into him. Yet cravest thou such A sight as would much grieve thee? PENTHEUS PENTHEUS. though it cost me all The gold of Thebes! DIONYSUS DIONYSUS. DIONYSUS DIONYSUS. Ah!—Have then thy will! [He fixes his eyes upon PENTHEUS again. Well said! ‘Twere best done openly. DIONYSUS DIONYSUS. losing power over his own mind). So much? Thou art quick to fall To such great longing. indeed! Lead on. Wilt thou be led By me. and try the venture? PENTHEUS PENTHEUS. Aye.The Bacchae of Euripides DIONYSUS (after regarding him fixedly. thou wouldst fain behold them on the hill Praying! PENTHEUS (who during the rest of this scene.] Man.

PENTHEUS PENTHEUS. DIONYSUS DIONYSUS. Wouldst have them slay thee dead? No man may see their mysteries. And how Mean’st thou the further plan? DIONYSUS DIONYSUS. ’Tis Dionyse that prompteth me. Wait! What garb wilt thou bestow About me? DIONYSUS DIONYSUS. I will not. DIONYSUS DIONYSUS. The same red Robe. PENTHEUS PENTHEUS. am I a woman. and next? DIONYSUS DIONYSUS. all thy desire to see this strange Adoring? PENTHEUS PENTHEUS. And no man more. PENTHEUS PENTHEUS. I will array thee. Doth it change So soon. PENTHEUS PENTHEUS. What array! 30 The woman’s? Nay. and on thine head A snood. First take thy way Within. then. falling to thy feet. Nay.The Bacchae of Euripides To gird thee. First a long tress dangling low Beneath thy shoulders. Aye. DIONYSUS DIONYSUS. PENTHEUS PENTHEUS. Well said’— I marked thy subtle temper long ere now. PENTHEUS PENTHEUS. And after? Hast thou aught beyond? .

so these Bacchanals 31 Triumph not against me! . O King! ’Tis mine to obey thine hest. So be it. Be darkened.The Bacchae of Euripides DIONYSUS DIONYSUS.. What of the city streets? Canst lead me hence Unseen of any? DIONYSUS DIONYSUS. the lion walketh to the net! He finds his Bacchae now. And pays for all his sin!—O Dionyse. I care for nothing. Perchance to take thy plan.] DIONYSUS DIONYSUS. DIONYSUS DIONYSUS. till the deed is lightly done. Whate’er it be. Well. DIONYSUS DIONYSUS. and instil A foam of madness.Forward to my halls Within!—I will ordain what seemeth best. the dappled fawn-skin and the wand. I will go—perchance To march and scatter them with serried lance. DIONYSUS DIONYSUS. ’tis best to go First to some place of watch. stay The course of reason in him. PENTHEUS (after hesitating once more and waiting). Far wiser so. Wouldst liefer draw the sword and spill men’s blood? PENTHEUS (again doubting). Damsels. Let his seeing will.—Aye. Grant likewise that he find through all his streets Loud scorn.. this man of wrath and bitter threats That made Thebes tremble. PENTHEUS PENTHEUS. This is thine hour and thou not far away. Than seek by wrath wrath’s bitter recompense. … I know not yet. . Lonely and untried Thy path from hence shall be. led in woman’s guise. Grant us our vengeance!—First. Surely. [Exit PENTHEUS into the Castle. and sees and dies. O Master. that were evil. and I thy guide! PENTHEUS PENTHEUS. True. Enough! I cannot wear a robe and snood. Which ne’er had stooped to put thy vesture on. PENTHEUS (after a struggle with himself).

O Strength of God. Leap of the hunted. making great And greater ever. The long long dances. so lovely and so great? To stand from fear set free. and amid the shadowy green The little things of the woodland live unseen. A voice and a fear and a haste of hounds. Will they ever come to me. doth His judgment wait. yet to man most soft of mood. in fulness God. On through the dark till the dim stars wane? Shall I feel the dew on my throat. Beyond the snares and the deadly press: Yet a voice still in the distance sounds.The Bacchae of Euripides I go to fold that robe of sacrifice On Pentheus. Dionyse. following. slow art thou and still. Some Maidens Maidens. Most fearful. . [Exit DIONYSUS DIONYSUS. no more in dread. That the Spirit of God. Is it so hard a thing to see. Things which are not of God. following PENTHEUS into Castle. hunter-wise. ye storm-swift feet? … 32 To the dear lone lands untroubled of men. Dreams of the proud man. For all is vain. fiercely fleet. to breathe and wait. him whose eyes Look not to Heaven. In wide And devious coverts. On them that dream. His mother’s gift!—So shall he learn and mark God’s true Son. O wildly labouring. What else is Wisdom? What of man’s endeavour Or God’s high grace. To hold a hand uplifted over Hate. ever again. Yet failest never! On them that worship the Ruthless Will. The pulse of the heart. and the stream Of wind in my hair? Shall our white feet gleam In the dim expanses? Oh. That striveth beyond the laws that live. the plot of the brain. And is thy Fate so much to give. whate’er it be. Alone in the grass and the loveliness.] CHO RUS CHORUS RUS. feet of a fawn to the greenwood fled. Following. Onward yet by river and glen … Is it joy or terror. Where no voice sounds. And shall not Loveliness be loved for ever? Others Others. He coucheth Time’s unhasting stride. that shall deck him to the dark.

He hath Unsealed thine eyes to see what thou shouldst see. For strangely graven Is the orb of life. O heart athirst for that which slakes not! Thee. ages long. As the long days go. That To Live is happy. to breathe and wait. To hold a hand uplifted over Hate. He who erst was wrath. methinks. … And is it a Wild Bull this.] Thy shape. 33 . hath found his Heaven! [Re-enter DIONYSUS DIONYSUS. clad like a Bacchanal. free. I call. is like to one Of Cadmus’ royal maids! PENTHEUS PENTHEUS. Above his striving. a spirit of Bacchic madness overshadowing him. And shall not Loveliness be loved for ever? LEADER LEADER. in guise Of woman. and strangely excited. saint of Dionyse. Happy he. that one and another In gold and power may outpass his brother. Happy whoso hath risen. Thebes twofold and the Wall of Seven Gates. And the hopes are dead or are pined for still. from the Castle] DIONYSUS DIONYSUS. Maenad. Yea. And men in their millions float and flow And seethe with a million hopes as leaven. that walks and waits Before me? There are horns upon thy brow! What art thou. And they win their Will. on the weary sea Who hath fled the tempest and won the haven. and mine eye Is bright! Yon sun shines twofold in the sky. or they miss their Will. But whoe’er can know.The Bacchae of Euripides The Law that abides and changes not. The Eternal and Nature-born—these things be strong? What else is Wisdom? What of man’s endeavour Or God’s high grace so lovely and so great? To stand from fear set free. Goes with us now in gentleness. forth and be seen. Pentheus. To spy upon His Chosen and thine own Mother! [Enter PENTHEUS PENTHEUS. O eye that cravest sights thou must not see. man or beast! For surely now The Bull is on thee! DIONYSUS DIONYSUS.

or thus. Up let it swing In the right hand. But here methinks. why streams That lock abroad. that I should bear the wand To be most like to them? DIONYSUS DIONYSUS.The Bacchae of Euripides PENTHEUS PENTHEUS. Say. they flow In one straight line to the heel. It shall soon be tied Aright. and cried His holy music! DIONYSUS (tending him). In my right hand Is it. PENTHEUS PENTHEUS. PENTHEUS PENTHEUS. but stand With head straight. more than true. what love And thanks hast thou for me? PENTHEUS (not listening to him). DIONYSUS DIONYSUS. What strength is this! Kithaeron’s steeps and all that in them is— How say’st thou?—Could my shoulders lift the whole? . or she Who bore me? DIONYSUS DIONYSUS. By the right foot. and the folded gown 34 Not evenly falling to the feet. Deck me as thou wilt. to and fro. ’Tis so. DIONYSUS (while tending him). … Nay. … ’Tis well thy heart is changed! PENTHEUS (more wildly). not where I laid it. as I tossed My head in dancing. I did it. aye. timed with the right foot’s spring. In the hollow of thine hand I lay me. ’Tis mine to tend thee. it seems I see their very selves!—But stay. When I look on thee. Thy zone Is loosened likewise. And if thou prove Their madness true. crossed Under the coif? PENTHEUS PENTHEUS. stand I not as Ino stands.

Forth through the Thebans’ town! I am their king. and if thou wilt! Thy soul. That is what thou goest to see. then let another bear thee home! PENTHEUS PENTHEUS. and fluttering not! DIONYSUS DIONYSUS. Yea. their one Man. That were like pride! . Wouldst wreck the Nymphs’ wild temples. Surely thou canst. The Queen. 35 Aye. With me into thine ambush shalt thou come Unscathed. where Pan pipes at noonday? PENTHEUS PENTHEUS. Aye.The Bacchae of Euripides DIONYSUS DIONYSUS. Nay. They lie there now. and to trap them—so they trap not thee! PENTHEUS PENTHEUS. thou alone. so shalt thou lie! PENTHEUS (with a laugh). PENTHEUS PENTHEUS. and the brown Rocks. methinks—the wild birds. caught By love among the leaves. seeing I dare this thing! DIONYSUS DIONYSUS. to wrench them down? DIONYSUS DIONYSUS. not I! Force is not well with women. Shall it be bars of iron? Or this bare hand And shoulder to the crags. Thou shalt be borne on high! PENTHEUS PENTHEUS. my mother. thou shalt bear their burden. Therefore thy trial awaiteth thee!—But on. Marked of every eye. I will lie Hid in the pine-brake. PENTHEUS PENTHEUS. For that I go! DIONYSUS DIONYSUS. now stands as it should stand. It may be. DIONYSUS DIONYSUS. Being once so sick. DIONYSUS DIONYSUS. Even as fits a spy On holy and fearful things.

Eyes in the pine-tree dark— Is it his mother?—and cry: “Lo. Fell. Some Maidens Maidens.] DIONYSUS DIONYSUS.The Bacchae of Euripides DIONYSUS DIONYSUS. O hounds raging and blind. Whate’er it be. fell art thou. The wild Maids of the Hill? What flesh bare this child? Never on woman’s breast Changeling so evil smiled. our homes. Sprites of the maddened mind. and ye dark-browed Cadmeian sisters! Greet this prince so proud To the high ordeal. None walks unscathed!—The rest this day shall see. Fill with your rage their eyes. but Beast! Loin-shape of the wild. troubling still. [Exit DIONYSUS following PENTHEUS PENTHEUS. Man is he not. Rage at the rage unblest.] CHO RUS CHORUS RUS. To the wild Maids of God. where save God and me. Who shall be first. a sign for ever!—Reach thou forth Thine arms. Haunting. Gorgon-breed of the waste!” 36 . A Bacchanal Bacchanal. Thy mother’s hands shall share Thy carrying. The spy upon God’s Possessed. I have earned it well! [Exit PENTHEUS towards the Mountain. now. Even in our heights. Agâvê. that thy name from South to North Shall shine. PENTHEUS PENTHEUS. what is this that comes. Watching in woman’s guise. to mark Eyes in the rock that spy. I need not such soft care! DIONYSUS DIONYSUS. So soft? PENTHEUS PENTHEUS. and to a doom so fell Thou walkest. Nay. Up by the mountain road.

Cast o’er his head thy snare. Godless. Lion of Burning Flame! O God. Girded him. Knowledge. Come in our visible need! Smite till the throat shall bleed. Wrath of the Lord. for doom and deed! Hither with lifted sword. Smite till the heart shall bleed. Justice. amid dark and light. in Law’s despite. Things unconquerable A Bacchanal Bacchanal. Echîon’s earthborn seed! Other Maidens Maidens. . appear. Come in our visible need! Smite till the throat shall bleed. Him the tyrannous. through the trammellings Of Laws that are not the Right. A strait pitiless mind Is death unto godliness. Hither. Yea. come! Thy mystic maids Are hunted!—Blast their hunter with thy breath. 37 But the world with a great wind blows. Echion’s earthborn seed! LEADER LEADER. Tyrannously hath he trod. Snake of the Hundred Heads. whatso thy shape or name O Mountain Bull. and a pain the less. falsely bold. Justice. Marched him. clean and pure. Shining. Against thy Light. On. and sings Glorying to God in the height! All the Chorus Chorus. Hither for doom and deed! Hither with lifted sword. Appear. we are not foes! I seek thee diligently. Beast. Till Life. Mystery. Him the tyrannous.The Bacchae of Euripides All the Chorus Chorus. lawless. Breaks. and thy Mother’s Light. And to feel in human kind Life. O God. Blinded in craft. to quell And by man’s violence hold. and not from thee. Blowing to beautiful things. And laugh aloud and drag him to his death. Wrath of the Lord. Smite till the heart shall bleed. lawless. Godless.

so forlorn Of manhood. my king. passed Asopus’ springs. as to sit beneath thy scorn? LEADER LEADER. And struck into the land of rock on dim Kithaeron—Pentheus. For the chains of my prison are broken. News from the mountain?—Speak! How hath it sped? MESSENGER MESSENGER. Speak of the mountain side! Tell us the doom he died. even thy slaves must weep for thee! LEADER LEADER.The Bacchae of Euripides Who stalks thy herded madness in its lair! [Enter hastily a MESSENGER from the Mountain. and. Manifest ever more! MESSENGER MESSENGER. Maids. One can forgive thee!—Yet ’tis no fair thing. Echîon’s son. The sinner smitten to death. Child of the Highest. What say’st thou?—And how strange thy tone. Pentheus. Him I obey and adore! MESSENGER MESSENGER.] ESSENGER ESSENGER. And deem’st thou Thebes so beggared. pale and distraught. Woe to the house once blest in Hellas! Woe To thee. attending him. even where his sin was sore! MESSENGER MESSENGER. as though In joy at this my master’s overthrow! LEADER LEADER. is dead! LEADER LEADER. old King Sidonian. . 38 Child of a savage shore. who didst sow The dragon-seed on Ares’ bloody lea! Alas. LEADER LEADER. Thebes hath o’er me no sway! None save Him I obey. Dionysus. God of the Voice. All hail. We climbed beyond the utmost habitings Of Theban shepherds. and the dread where I cowered of yore! MESSENGER MESSENGER. With fierce joy I rejoice. to rejoice in a man’s suffering.

Tis yours to avenge!” So spake he. For the Stranger straight Touched a great pine-tree’s high and heavenward crown. in toil they were. “Stranger. Through the angry rocks and torrent-tossing glen. lest it cast him in its spring. Busily glad. lower. old Cadmus’ royal brood. warily Watching. And there he set the King. his mother blind. And up they sprang. lower. He saw the Maenads then. Or slow wheel’s rim a joiner forces to. till high It towered again amid the towering sky. and there came ‘Twixt earth and sky a pillar of high flame. urged it down To the herbless floor. Lips dumb and feet unmoving.The Bacchae of Euripides I. Then came the Voice again. more deeply maddened then. And I shall see their follies clear!” At that There came a marvel. I ween. O damosels. So in those hands that tough and mountain stem Bowed slow—oh. And there The Maenad maidens sate. and behind All the wild crowd. And Pentheus in the branches! Well. like young steeds set free.” he cried. like wild pigeons startled in a wood. 39 And slowly. I bring ye him who turneth to despite Both me and ye. strength not mortal dwelt in them!— To the very earth. Some. But out of Heaven a Voice—oh. On flying feet they came. Made answering songs of mystic melody. Then first in a green dell we stopped. and darkeneth my great Light. Up. to be unseen and yet to see. Let back the young and straining tree. but with bewildered eye. Agaze and listening. And silence took the air. Until they spied him in the dark pine-tree: Then climbed a crag hard by and furiously . And lower. and the Stranger who should guide our way. and there lowered A shadow of great pines over it. and her sisters. what voice else?— ’Twas He that called! “Behold. wild in joyance. Thou hadst not heard In that vast silence any wild things’s cry. scarce yet hearing true. And when they knew Their God’s clear call. But my poor master saw not the great band Before him. Mount we the bank. Torn through by tossing waters. and well was seen! For scarce was he aloft. or some high-shouldered pine. and no leaf stirred In all the forest dell. by crags o’ertowered. “where we stand Mine eyes can reach not these false saints of thine. A narrow glen it was. Some with an ivy chain Tricked a worn wand to toss its locks again. Agâvê. and lay. when suddenly There was no stranger any more with me. Round like a bending bow.

exulting in her deed of blood. all the air was loud With groans that faded into sobbing breath. first priestess of those rites of blood. her God. with lips a-foam and eyes that run Like leaping fire. Stays not nor hears. Round his left arm she put 40 Both hands. and from his head away Flung it. unscathed. ’Twas his mother stood O’er him. And on Autonoë pressed. as in a cage Caught. He tore the coif. The height o’ertopped their rage. As one might pierce a lion’s. And of all their strife no end was found. set hard against his side her foot. thy child. as the God made light Her hand’s essay. as his mind grew clear. and the ground gave. and through the land. But none could strike. in cruel targeting. with thoughts that ne’er should be On earth. Dim shrieks. “Hither. and joy.” cried Agâvê. past count. “stand we round And grip the stem. born thee in Echion’s hall! Have mercy. Fellow-Render of the Prey.The Bacchae of Euripides Some sought to stone him. and the torn flesh cried. after that sight. I will depart . possessed by Bacchios utterly. Her Comrade. some their wands would fling Lance-wise aloft. white bones lay bare With rending. crying: “Mother. Bears it on high! Yea. and parts in many an interstice Lurk of the tangled woodland—no light quest To find. ‘Yea. and there hard by Was horror visible. and down It reeled. it is I. And here was borne a severed arm. and closed upon The pine. with a shrieking cry Fell. Then. and not slay To her own misery. Drew … and the shoulder severed!—not by might Of arm. and triumph-cries of death. till we take This climbing cat-o’-the-mount! He shall not make A tale of God’s high dances!” Out then shone Arm upon arm. that she might know him. my Wild Ones. and all the crowd Of ravening arms. that thou shouldst slay thy son!” But she. pierced upon a wand. and swift hands ensanguinèd Tossed as in sport the flesh of Pentheus dead. and there A hunter’s booted foot. And. And there he clung. and gripped. Mother! Let it not befall Through sin of mine. The precipice Hath part. Leaving her sisters in their dancing place. And at the other side Was Ino rending. And that high sitter from the crown Of the green pine-top. to whom this day She bears in triumph … her own broken heart. His mother hath it. For me. He touched the wild Cheek. Calling upon her Bromios. to these walls her face Was set. but easily. ah. Her All-Victorious. the head! Of all the rest. His body lies afar. Thy Pentheus.

Cadmus-born. Yea. mad. Ye who did Bromios scorn. reeling! Ho. and call Praise to God! Bless ye the Tyrant’s fall! Down is trod Pentheus.—Oh. I give praise! AGA VE AGAVE VE. the Dragon’s Seed! Wore he the woman’s weed? Clasped he his death indeed. bearing the head of PENTHEUS RUS MAIDENS stand horrorin her hand. and the doomed Wild Bull of Sacrifice before him loomed! Others Others.The Bacchae of Euripides Before Agave comes.] CHO RUS CHORUS RUS. Methinks. with tears! Great are the gifts he bears! Hands that a mother rears Red with gore! LEADER LEADER. the LEADER. strives to accept it and rejoice in it as the God’s deed. the prize Cometh! All hail. and wisdom true. Ye from the lands of Morn! LEADER LEADER. to fulfil God’s laws. Call me not. Some Maidens Maidens. O Rout of Dionyse! VE [Enter from the Mountain AGA AGAVE VE. Aye. Bacchanals. and have no thought beyond His will. But stay. Lo. from the trunk new-shorn Hither a Mountain Thorn Bear we! O Asia-born . Clasped the rod? A Bacchanal Bacchanal. and to all seeming wondrously happy. 41 Praise with sore Agony. the wild ivy lapt him. also horror-struck. yea.] AGA VE AGAVE VE. Is man’s best treasure. Weave ye the dance. for things of dust to cleave unto! [The MESSENGER departs into the Castle. The CHO CHORUS LEADER struck at the sight. Praise Him the more. Agâvê cometh! And her eyes Make fire around her.

bless this chase! LEADER LEADER. Yea.The Bacchae of Euripides Bacchanals. Have I not welcomed thee? AGAVE AGA VE (very calmly and peacefully). but is not able. Gather ye now to the feast! . Who first came nigh him? 42 AGA VE AGAVE VE. I have ta’en him! LEADER LEADER. But the swift hand that slaughters Is mine. I see. Kithaeron …. LEADER LEADER. Where in the wildwood? Whence have ye brought him? AGA VE AGAVE VE. I see. The daughters? AGA VE AGAVE VE. I. I. mine is the praise! Bless ye this day of days! VE [The LEADER tries to speak. The Mountain hath slain him! LEADER LEADER. look without fear on The Lion. Kithaeron? AGA VE AGAVE VE. ’tis confessèd! And they named me there by him Agave the Blessèd! LEADER LEADER.] AGA VE AGAVE VE. The daughters …. Of Cadmus laid hand on him. LEADER LEADER. He was young in the wildwood Without nets I caught him! Nay. Who was next in the band on him? AGA VE AGAVE VE. AGA AGAVE begins gently stroking the head.

God! AGA VE VE. He shall cry on My name as none other. Curling and gently tressed. Feast!—O miserable! AGA VE AGAVE VE. more excitedly). soon shall the land praise! LEADER LEADER. Ah. Aye. O Mother. AGA VE (lifting up the head. glad in the breaking 43 . And Pentheus. Yea. AGAVE Dost praise it? LEADER LEADER. A Chase-God. strange is thy treasure! AGA VE AGAVE VE.The Bacchae of Euripides LEADER LEADER. it falls to his breast. Thou art glad? VE AGA AGAVE VE. AGAVE He wakened his Mad Ones. Most like a beast of the wild That head. The hair of the Wild Bull’s crest— The young steer of the fell! LEADER LEADER. I praise this? AGA VE AGAVE VE. Thy child? AGA VE AGAVE VE. And strange was the taking! LEADER LEADER. LEADER (brooding. Beyond measure. Bless the spoils of the Lion! LEADER LEADER. In the trail of thy Mad Ones Thou tearest thy prize. See. those locks defiled. with horror). a wise God! He sprang them to seize this! He preys where his band preys.

There saw I plain Actaeon’s mother. from the Bacchanals. where is he. with our own toil. with attendants. with your awful burden. Thou hast begotten daughters. And through the intervening forest weed Scattered. whose body grievously With many a weary search at last in dim Kithaeron’s glens I found. these palms were bare That caught the angry beast. and tare The limbs of him! … Father! … Go. this lion’s spoil. A sight I scarce can bend mine eyes unto. Ho. By the prize. ranging where he died. and Pentheus. Wandering ghastly in the pine-copses. all Valiant. unhappy one. AGA VE (turning from the Palace and seeing him).The Bacchae of Euripides Of dawn upon all this land. Come! Look upon this prize. bring to me My father! … Aye.—Men told me of my daughters’ deed. When I was just returned within these walls. bearing the body of PENTHEUS on a bier.—Ah! ’Tis true. even I! [She goes through the crowd towards the Castle. Follow me. Cadmus’ daughters! Not with leathern-set Thessalian javelins. and Ino by her side. a great boast is thine this hour. torn limb from limb. the prize of my hand! LEADER LEADER. That we have taken—yea. Autonoë. On. not with hunter’s net. We.] CADMUS CADMUS. to his house. that gloriously I bring ye. Enter from 44 the Mountain CADMUS CADMUS. My son? He shall set up a ladder-stair Against this house. The rumour is She cometh fleet-foot hither. all ye men that round the citadel And shining towers of ancient Thêbê dwell. Thralls. having slain him—I. high in power And valiant above all mankind—yea. and held. Show them to all the land. showing the head and looking for a place to hang it. Only white arms and swift hands’ bladed fall Why make ye much ado. Agâvê was not there. With grey Teiresias. and boast withal Your armourers’ engines? See. and in the triglyphs there Nail me this lion’s head. The trophy of this deed that thou hast done! AGA VE AGAVE VE. though none like me! I have let fall . AGAVE My father. And back I hied me to the hills again To seek my murdered son.

and deem your state Not misery. our own! AGA VE AGAVE VE. Then for mine own. let me weep—for thine affliction most. is it with thee still? . more heavenly bright! CADMUS CADMUS. how can I fathom thee Or look upon thee!—Poor. And that wild tremour. resolving himself).The Bacchae of Euripides The shuttle by the loom. 45 Will no one bring him thither. if ever ye can know again The truth of what ye did. daughter. and show him this my prize! CADMUS CADMUS. to slay from out thy land Wild beasts! See. his valiance is to fight With God’s will! Father. Not wrongfully. What seest thou here to chide. What dost thou bid me seek for there? CADMUS CADMUS. Is it the same. though ye know no happiness? AGA VE AGAVE VE. and raised my hand For higher things. Proud art thou now And highly favoured in our valiancy! CADMUS CADMUS. Raise me thine eyes to yon blue dome of air! AGA VE AGAVE VE. yet is it hard. How crabbèd and how scowling in the eyes Is man’s old age!—Would that my son likewise Were happy of his hunting. or not to bless? CADMUS (after hesitation. in my way When with his warrior bands he will essay The wild beast!—Nay. and call a feast. and call Me and my citizens to feast withal! Nay. that mine eyes May look on his. thou shouldst set him right. That nailed above these portals it may rise To show what things thy daughters did! Do thou Take it. O depth of grief. all of us are lost. All. More shining than before. or changèd in thy sight? AGA VE AGAVE VE. Alas. what pain of pain That truth shall bring! Or were it best to wait Darkened for evermore. poor bloodstained hand! Poor sisters!—A fair sacrifice to stand Before God’s altars. from one Who might have loved—our Bromios. ’Tis done. yea. in mine arms I bear the prize.

I see … most deadly pain! Oh. No. I know not how. till all be clear! AGA VE AGAVE VE. now! AGA VE AGAVE VE. Wears it the likeness of a lion to thee? AGA VE AGAVE VE. CADMUS CADMUS. Echîon. AGA VE AGAVE VE. but my will Clears. Thou bearest in thine arms an head—what head? AGA VE (beginning to tremble. Canst hearken then. 46 A lion’s—so they all said in the chase. whom men named the Child of Earth. Who slew him?—How came I to hold this thing? . CADMUS CADMUS. CADMUS CADMUS. this! CADMUS CADMUS. woe is me! CADMUS CADMUS. and answer. and some change cometh. of my love and his father’s bred. Blood-drenched ere thou wouldst know him! Aye. else I could. What husband led thee of old from mine abode? AGA VE AGAVE VE. AGAVE I know not what thou sayest. being changed. ’tis the head—O God!—of Pentheus. Turn to it now—’tis no long toil—and gaze. Ah! But what is it? What am I carrying here? CADMUS CADMUS. CADMUS CADMUS. CADMUS CADMUS. I have forgotten something. ’tis his. And what child in Echîon’s house had birth? AGA VE AGAVE VE. Look once upon it full. AGA VE AGAVE VE. and not looking at what AGAVE she carries).The Bacchae of Euripides AGA VE (troubled). Pentheus.

. 47 AGA VE AGAVE VE. Why went he to Kithaeron? What sought he? CADMUS CADMUS. In what place was it? His own house. and sees. Answer! My heart is hanging on thy breath! CADMUS CADMUS. ’Twas thou. wrecking all our line. AGA VE AGAVE VE. no man-child was ever mine. who therefore to one bane hath brought You and this body.] Oh. ’Tis Dionyse hath done it! Now I see. ’Twas mine! What portion had my child therein! CADMUS CADMUS. Aye. is this thine home-coming? AGA VE AGAVE VE. AGA VE AGAVE VE. AGAVE Show me the body of the son I love! CADMUS (leading her to the bier). Laid in due state? [As there is no answer. And now this first-fruit of the flesh of thee. Being mad! A spirit drove all the land that way. And me. AGA VE AGAVE VE.The Bacchae of Euripides CADMUS CADMUS. adoring not The God. O cruel Truth. she lifts the veil of the bier. even there. Ye wronged Him! Ye denied his deity! AGA VE (turning from him). He made him like to you. Hard was the quest thereof. my child. Where the dogs tore Actaeon.—Thou and thy sisters wrought his death. or where? CADMUS CADMUS. AGA VE AGAVE VE. To mock the God and thine own ecstasy. CADMUS (earnestly). if I wrought a sin. But how should we be on the hills this day? CADMUS CADMUS. ’Tis here.

outcast. thou canst see the change in me. or with malice stirs Thine heart? Speak. and speak to me Thy “Mother’s Father”. and to the folk a name Of fear thou wast. though thy heart is dull In death. ask “Who wrongeth thee? Who stints thine honour. from which all our copies of “The Bacchae” are derived. and beside thee she whom thou didst bring Of old to be thy bride from Heaven afar. . I weep with thee. my daughter’s child! who heldest true My castle walls. have justified his own action. foully here and frightfully Lies murdered! Whom the house looked up unto. and no man sought to shame My grey beard. He must have pronounced judgment upon the Thebans in general. O still belovèd. AGA VE AGAVE VE. Else had they swift reward!—And now I fare Forth in dishonour. and alway Beloved! Never more. whoso walketh not in dread Of Gods. when they knew that thou wast there. [Kneeling by the body. to me and thee also. Woe to thy mother and her sisters.The Bacchae of Euripides Sad woman. and I smite thine injurers!” But now—woe. For thou must change and be a Serpent Thing Strange. My father. woe Alway! Oh.] * * * DIONYSUS DIONYSUS. let him but look on this man dead! LEADER LEADER. but for thee … ’Tis hard. Lo. It evidently contained a speech of Agâvê (followed presumably by some words of the Chorus). * * * * * * * * * * [A page or more has here been torn out of the MS. and an appearance of DIONYSUS upon a cloud. and declared his determination to establish his godhead. then. I. ’Twas but due reward 48 God sent on Pentheus. Where the MS begins again.] O Child. What griefs and wonders in the winding years. who sowed the seed-rows of this state Of Thebes. shalt thou lay Thine hand to this white beard. * * * * * * * * * * And tell of Time. and especially upon the daughters of CADMUS CADMUS. and reaped the harvest wonderful. we find him addressing CADMUS CADMUS. O my belovèd. the great Cadmus. what gifts for thee he bears. woe.

Far off to barbarous men. we are come into a deadly strait. And save alive to the Islands of the Blest. that vast horde. and a chariot of kine—so spake The word of Zeus—thee and thy Queen shall take Through many lands. Against the tombs and altar-stones of Greece. Thee only and thy spouse shall Ares keep. Lord of a wild array Of orient spears. we must go. Thus speaketh Dionysus. Ares’ child. daughter of the Lord of War. DIONYSUS DIONYSUS. willed it long ago. nor dream. Zeus. and not cease From toils. All. Yea. the doom of God. Son confessed Of no man but of Zeus!—Ah. And my sad self. I must take my road. And then the oracle. dragon and dragon-mate. the word is spoken. until They touch Apollo’s dwelling. 49 AGA VE AGAVE VE. ’Tis as my sire. this your wage. Lance upon lance behind us. back driven on stormy ways and steep. and fulfil Their doom. what is it that ye wait? CADMUS CADMUS. and thy sisters twain. had ye seen Truth in the hour ye would not. AGA VE (turning from him almost with disdain). And many towns shall they Destroy beneath thee. discorporate And haunting forms. Should God be like a proud man in his rage? DIONYSUS DIONYSUS. Too late! When there was time. Yet is thine hand too hot. Child. And seeing ye must. Dionysus. poor sufferer. AGAVE Old man. being God. mine own Harmonia. like other men. nor past The foam of Acheron find my peace at last. lead my spouse.The Bacchae of Euripides Harmonia. We have confessed. . DIONYSUS DIONYSUS. Ye mocked me. thou. we beseech thee! We have sinned! DIONYSUS DIONYSUS. A grey-haired wanderer. and the Child of God your friend! AGA VE AGAVE VE. That I must lead a raging horde far-flown To prey on Hellas. ye knew me not! AGA VE AGAVE VE. all had been Well with ye.

Hath poured the utter dregs of pain! DIONYSUS DIONYSUS. . CADMUS CADMUS. Go forth. why wilt thou reach thine arms to me. Where shall I turn me else? No home have I. O home. Nor song. Child. other Bacchanals be there. Dionyse. ’tis I must weep for thee. As yearns the milk-white swan. There may be many shapes of mystery. 50 For thee and for thy sisters twain! AGA VE AGAVE VE. Father. Oh. AGA VE AGAVE VE.] CHO RUS CHORUS RUS. nor memory in the air. AGA VE AGAVE VE. Nay. Our ways be wandered. And leave ye for a worser lot. no thyrsus stem. go forth to misery. CADMUS CADMUS. not I. Our Lord and Master. for bitter was the shame Ye did me. The way Actaeon’s father went! AGA VE AGAVE VE.The Bacchae of Euripides AGA VE AGAVE VE. Father! And I must wander far from thee! CADMUS CADMUS. In bitter wise. Then lead me where my sisters be. I can help thee not. I am outcast from my bower. for thee my tears are spent. Together let our tears be shed. I know not. to dream of them! [AGA AGAVE AGA VE with her group of attendants goes out on the side away from the Mountain. O ancient tower! Lo. when Thebes honoured not my name. in bitter wise. DIONYSUS rises upon the Cloud and disappears. On all this house. Nor I gaze back. O Child. Not I. where no red Kithaeron waits to gaze on me. Farewell. CADMUS CADMUS. when old swans die? AGA VE AGAVE VE.

And a path is there where no man thought. go to http://www2.hn.edu/faculty/ jmanis/jimspdf.The Bacchae of Euripides And many things God makes to be. [Exeunt. So hath it fallen here.psu. Past hope or fear.] To return to PSU’s Electronic Classics Series.hn.htm To return to the Euripides site. And the end men looked for cometh not.psu.edu/faculty/ jmanis/euripides.htm 51 . go to http://www2.

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