Imágenes de páginas

When Pride her structures vain on Madness rears. STRO. 2. Might I to Cyprus win my way,

Where Venus holds her reign;

And round her sprightly train
The soul-subduing Lover disporting play!

O that at Paphos I were laid,
Careless beneath some fragrant shade,
Where from an hundred mouths, through meads

Which Spring's eternal verdure know,
His rich train the barbaric river leads, .

And visiting the plants and flow'rs,.
Supplies the soft-descending show'rs! i
Or up Pieria's craggy brow

Might I my footsteps bend,
In whose enchanting soft retreats

The Muses love to form their seats,
Then to Olympus' hallow'd heights ascend !

Place me, Bacchus, place me there,

Smiling god of mystic pleasures,
Where the Loves, the Graces where

Tread in light fantastic measures;
There, 'midst thy hallow'd train enroll’d,

Thy orgies will I hold.
ANTIS. 2. The god, who sprung from Jove's embrace,

To joys the feast invites;

Him smiling Peace delights, ;:
Wealth-giving queen, that rears youth's rising race.

To rich, to poor, to high, to low,
Free his impartial bounties flow,
The sorrow-soothing joys of wine;'

Nor pleasing night, nor mirthful day
Is his, who sullen scorns the gift divine,

Whilst gloomy cares, and thoughts unblest,
Roll dark’ning in his cheerless breast.
But heav'nly Wisdom's sober ray,

Beaming its influence wide
Benign her votaries to illume,
Shews, as it breaks the impious gloom,

The dangerous paths of violence and pride.

But the vulgar thoughtless herd,

By misguiding Folly led,
Every false pursuit preferr'd,
! To destruction onward tread.
Well it becomes our solemn strain

This moral lore t explain.

PENTHEUS, BACCHUS, OFFICER, CHORUS. OFFIC. Thy presence, Pentheus, we approach, return'd

Not unsuccessful from the chace by thee
Injoin'd: no savage we pursued, but tame
He fed not, nor unwilling gave his hands;
Nor from his warm cheek chang'd the roseate bloom
Through fear, but smiling yielded to be bound,
And hither led, obedient to my will.
Through reverence this I said, Not willingly
I lead thee, stranger, but by the commands
Of Pentheus, sent by him. The dames, O king,
Seiz'd by thee, and confin’d, with chains of iron
Bound in the common prison, are escap'd

Far from thy sight, and to the ballow'd groves
· Win their free way: spontaneous from their feet
. The chains fell off, and of their own accord
Back roll'd the opening gates, by mortal hands
Untouch’d. With many marvellous pow'rs this youth

Is come to Thebes. My office is discharg’d.
PENT. Bind his hands fast: entangled in the toils,

Light as he is of foot, he shall not ’scape me.
Yet not ungraceful, stranger, is thy form
Charming the women, and for this thou comest
To Thebes; thy length of hair, palæstric toils
Denoting not, flows loosely round thy cheek,
Awakening soft desires; and that fair skin
Of cherish'd whiteness never felt the touch
Of the sun's beams, but nurs'd in sheltering sbades
Aims with its beauty to enkindle love.
But speak, inform me first whence is thy race.

BACC. Without proud prelude plainly will I tell thee. ico

Of flow'ry Tmolus thou perchance hast PENT. Its heights, I know, wind round the walls of Sardis. BACC. From thence I come, and Lydia is my country. PENT. Whence hast thou brought these mystic rites to Greece? BACC. Bacchus instructed us, the son of Jove.. in PENT. Have you a Jove there who begets new gods ? BACC. No: but the Jove that here loved Semele. .i. i. PENT. Taught he his mystic lore by night, or day? joku BACC. Seeing and seen; and gave his sacred orgies. , PENT. What ceremonious rites have these among you ? is BACC. These to th' unhallow'd may not be reveald. ,, PENT. What profit to their votaries do they bring ? BACC. Thou may'st not hear, though worthy to be known. PENT. Well hast thou wav'd what is my wish to hear. ... BACC. The orgies of the god abhor the PENT. The god was seen by thee: what was his form ? BACC. E'en such as pleas'd him: this I order'd not. . PENT. This too thy art hath wav'd, and told me nought. , , BACC. T' instruct the wise in wisdom argues weakness. PENT. Cam'st thou here first to introduce the god? .. BACC. These orgies each barbaric region holds. í. PENT. Less wise than the enlighten'd sons of Greece ? BACC. In this more wise, though differing in their laws. PENT. Hold you these rites by night, or in the day? BACC. Chiefly by night; darkness creates an awe. , PENT. This tempts and poisons female chastity. .,

502, &c. It may not be amiss to observe here, once for all, that in the most interesting and important scenes the dialogue is often thus broken into single lines, each speaker confining himself to his line, sometimes for a long continuance. It is difficult to conceive what grace this amabean recitative had on the Athenian stage, but that it had some grace we may conclude from the frequent use of it by the three great writers of tragedy: to tbe English reader it is likely to have a different effect; yet the trauslator did not think bimself at liberty to deviate from the manner of composition prescribed by his author. It will easily be conceived that these passages must bave occasioned a peculiar difficulty and trouble; and where an English line is found less harmonious than the composer of it wisbes it to be, he humbly hopes that it will be imputed not to his want of ear, but to the confinement he was under, and to his unwillingaess to sacrifice sense to sound.

Bacc. E'en in the day foul deeds are often found.
PENT. Thou must be punish'd for thy sophistry.
BACC. Thou for thy folly, impious 'gainst the god.
PENT. How bold is Bacchus, nor untrain'd in words !
BACC. What dreadful vengeance, say, wilt thou inflict ?
PENT. First will I clip those wanton-waving locks.
BACC. These locks are sacred, cherish'd to the god.
PENT. Deliver up that thyrsus from thine hands.
BACC. Take it thou from me: as the god's I bear it.
PENT. Imprison'd and in chains will I secure thee.
BACC. The god himself will free me, when I please.
PENT. When thou invok'st him ’midst hiş madding dames.
BACC. What now I suffer present he beholds.
PENT. Where is he? for mine eyes discern him not.
BACC. With me: but thy profaneness clouds thy sight.
PENT. Lay hold on him; for Thebes and me he scorns.
BACC. I strictly charge your folly, bind me not.
PENT. I charge you bind him; mine's the greater pow'r.
JACC. Nor life, nor light thou know'st, nor who thou art.
Pent. Yes, I am Pentheus, sprung from royal blood.
BACC. Thy name is rightly ominous of grief.
Pent. Begone: in chains secure him near the stalls

Where feed my horses; there in night's dark gloom
Let him abide; there let him lead the dance.
As for these women, whom he led with him,
Th'associates of his crimes, they shall be sold;
Or from the rattling cymbals will I check

Their hands, and at the loom keep them as slaves. BACC. I will begone: for what necessity

Inflicts not, neither doth necessity
Compel to suffer. Bacchus, be assur’d,
Whom thou hast set at nought, will on thy head
Repay with vengeance these indignities:
For, injuring me, thou lead’st the god in chains.

CHORUS. STRO. O thou, of Achelous' race divine,

Fairest of founts that lead

Their crystal-flowing streams through grove or mead,
Be ev'ry blessing, virgin Dirce, thine;

For in thy hallow'd wave
Oft joy'd the god his youthful limbs to lave.
Snatch'd from th' immortal lightning's blasting flame.
The thunderer in his thigh inclosed the boy,

Then shouted loud through joy,
“ There, Dithyrambus, there securely lie,
“ Thy full growth to no female womb to owe;
" Thus will I shew thee, thus to Thebes will shew,

“ And Bacchus call thy name.”
But thou, blest Dirce, dost his rites deny: A

Why from thy crisp banks with disdain

Reject my garland-bearing train ?
Why roll away with scorn thy flying tide ?

Nay, by the purple grace that glows

Clust'ring beneath the rich vine's boughs,

Thy Bacchus shalt thou hail, thy boast, thy pride. Antis. What rage, what rage doth Pentheus' bosom fire?

He from the dragon-brood,
That started from the ground, derives his blood; "
Earth-born Echion was of old his sire:

Terrific are his frowns,
A monster, whom humanity disowns,
As fierce, as savage as the giant-race
That rear'd their impious arms against the sky

Ah me! I soon must lie,
Seiz'd and dragg'd hence, in some deep dungeon bound,
Though priestess of the god: in iron chains
The leader of our choirs his pride detains,

Hid in some dreary place
Where night with all its horrors darkens round.

Seest thou, O Bacchus, his rude hand ?

Seest thou thy consecrated band
Forc'd in th' unequal contest to engage ?

In all thy golden-glowing bloom

Come from Olympus, Bacchus, come,
Thy thyrsus shake, and check his savage rage !

« AnteriorContinuar »