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Associates, and attendants on my march,
Resume your Phrygian timbrels framed by me
And mother Rhea, 'round the royal house
Of Pentheus, let their hoarse notes roar, that Thebes
May see you. To Cithæron's heights I go,
And with my circling Bacchæ join the dance.
PROSODB. From Tmolus, whose majestic brow
Views Asia stretching wide below,
Light my frolic steps advance,
And to Bacchus lead the dance;
An easy, pleasing task, whilst high
Swells to the god the voice of harmony.
Is there who comes along the way?
Are there who in their houses stay?
Hence, begone, whoe'er you are.
To hallow'd sounds let each his voice prepare.
The song to Bacchus will I raise,
Hymning in order meet his praise.
STRO. 1. His happy state what blessings crown,
To whom the mysteries of the gods are known?
By these his life he sanctifies;
And, deep imbibed their chaste and cleaning lore,
Hallows his soul for converse with the skies,
Enraptur'd ranging the wild mountains o'er;
The mighty mother's orgies leading,
He his head with ivy shading,
His light spear wreath'd with ivy-twine,
To Bacchus holds the rites divine.
Haste then, ye Bacchæ, haste,
Attend your god, the son of heaven's high king;
From Phrygia's mountains wild and waste
To beauteous-structur'd Greece your Bacchus bring. Ant. 1. Him, as the pangs of child-birth came,
Whilst all around her fash'd the lightning's flame,
Untimely did his mother bear,
Then in the thunder's vollied blaze expire.
But fav’ring Joye, with all a father's care, ..
Snatch'd his loved infant from the blasting fire,
And, hid from Juno's jealous eye,
Clos'd the young Bacchus in his thigh,
And round the golden cincture clasp'd
Till the destin'd months elaps'd,
Then gave the god to light,
His horned head with dragon-wreath entwin'd:
Hence on their savage-nursing height
The Mænades with these their tresses bind. STR. 2. Illustrious Thebes, whose fost'ring arms
Rear'd the young Semele's advancing charms,
With ivy crown thy royal head,
Bid the green Smilax all around thee bloom,
And all around its clust'ring berries spread;
The oak's fresh verdure, or the fir's dark gloom
Before thee hold, and join our band;
Soon shall dance each raptur'd land;
And o'er thy spotted vestments throw
Soft-wreathing wool as white as snow.
The wanton wands among
Be hallow'd. To the mountain's craggy brow
He leads bis female train along,
Who from their hands the useless distaffs throw. ANTIS. 2. O ye Curetes, friendly band,
You, the blest natives of Crete's sacred land,
Who tread those groves, which, dark’ning round,
O'er infant Jove their shelt'ring branches spread,
The Corybantes in their caves profound,
The triple crest high waving on their head,
This timbrel fram’d, whilst clear and high
Swell’d the bacchic symphony,
The Phrygian pipe attemp’ring sweet
Their voices to respondence meet,
And plac'd in Rhea's hands:
The frantic Satyrs to the riles advance,
The Bacchæ join the festive bands,
And raptur'd lead the trieteric dance. epode. • Raptur'd, when from the heights descending,
His nimbly-bounding train attending,
He rushes to the vales below,
Whilst loose his spotted vestments flow,
Pleas'd with the wild goat's offer'd blood,
Its flesh undress’d his followers' food.
To Phrygia's steeps, to Lydia's ridges high ,
He leads, exulting leads his train,
Whilst Eyoe, Evoe, is the joyful cry,
And, as they pass, through every plain
Flows milk, flows wine, the nectar'd honey flows,
And round each soft gale Syrian odours throws.
But Bacchus, waving in his hand
· The torch that from his hallow'd wand
Flames high, his roving Bacchæ leads,
And, shouting as he nimbly treads,
Flings to the wanton wind his streaming bair,
And wakes the rapture-breathing air,
Haste, ye Bacchæ, haste your flight
From the gold-prolific height
Of Tmolus haste your frolic train,
And to Bacchus' raise the strain;
To the deep-toned timbrel's sound
Evoe, Evoe shout around.
Loud the Phrygian cries repeat,
Whilst the flute, with accord sweet
Breathing 'midst your sacred play,
Bids your feet its notes obey,
As with measur'd steps ye go
To the mountain's craggy brow;
Like the colt with wanton pride
Bounding by its mother's side,
Up the ridgy height advance,
And to Bacchus lead the dance.
TIRESIAS, CADMUS, CHORUS.
TIRES. Who at the gates calls Cadmus from the house,
Agenor's son, that Sidon's city left,
And built the tow'rs of Thebes ? Let him be told
Tiresias seeks him; wherefore I am come
He knows, the compact which my age hath form’d
With his maturer age, to take with him
The thyrsus, the fawn's spotted skin to wear,
And with the clust'ring ivy crown my head.
CADM. My honour'd friend, it joy'd me in the house
To hear thy voice, for thine is wisdom's voice.
Accoutred with these ensigns of the god
I come prepared; him, of my daughter born,.
Declared a god to mortals, it behoves me,
Far as I may, to grace with highest honours.
Where shall we form the dance? Where fix our foot?
Where toss our hoary locks ? Be thou my guide,
Thy age conducting mine, for thou art wise.
May I with foot unwearied through the night
And through the day the lengthen'd measure lead,
Shaking the thyrsus: for unactive ease
Our age forgets.
Like thee I feel new life,. Youth springs afresh, and dares the pleasing toil. CADM. Shall then my chariot bear us to the heights ? TIRES. That were not equal honour to the god. CADM. Old as I am then I will lead thy age. TIRES. The god shall lead us thither without toil. CADM. Shall we alone to Bacchus lead the dance ? TIRES. We only judge aright; unwise the rest. CADM. The heights are distant, hang thou on my hand.
TIRES. Give me thy hand; thus side by side we go. - CADM. It is not mine, a mortal born, to slight
The gods, nor with irreverent eye to scan
Their deity: th’instructions of our fathers,
From earliest times deliver'd down, we hold;
No argument shall shake them, though devised
With all the subtlety of deepest thought.
Some one will say, I reverence not my age,
Joining the dance, my head with ivy wreath'd;
But not distinctly did the god declare
If the fresh youth should lead the dance, or those
Of riper years; from every age he claims
These common honours; none exempt, from all
This reverence is his due. But since this light
Thine eyes bebold not, I will be to thee
A prophet, each occurrence to explain.
Pentheus, to whom the sceptre of these realms
I gave, Echion's son, with speed advances :
He looks aghast: what tidings doth he bring?
PENTHEUS, CADMUS, TIRESIAS, CHORUS. PENT. After a casual absence from this land
Return'd I hear strange evils in the city;
That all our women, from their houses fled,
Pretending rites to Bacchus, wildly range
The tangled woods that shade the mountain's brow,
To welcome this new god, whoe'er he is,
And honour him with dances: in the midst
Stand goblets full of wine; whilst some apart
Fly to the lonely shades, in secret bow'rs
Their paramours embracing; their pretence,
The mystic worship of the Mænades;
But Venus in their rites hath greater share
Than Bacchus. Some I seiz'd; and these in bonds
The public prisons straitly guarded hold.
The absent from their heights will I dislodge,
Ino, and her who to Echion bore me,
Agave, and the mother of Actæon .
Autonoe: these in chains of iron bound
Soon from their wicked revelry shall cease.
They say too that a stranger is arrived, v
A cheat, a sorcerer, from the Lydian land,
His golden tresses waving from his head
In order'd ringlets, of a roseate hue,
The grace of love bright sparkling in his eyes.
He with the younger females all the day
Holds converse, all the night, mysterious rites
To Bacchus feigning. If beneath this roof
I catch him, he no more shall wave his wand