Euripides. The Tragedies of Euripides. Vol. I. Buckley, Theodore Alois, translator. London: Henry G. Bohn, 1850.

  • [*](Persons RepresentedDionysusChorusTeiresiasKadmosPentheusServantMessengerSecond MessengerAgave)[*](The Argument.BacchusDionysus, the son of JoveZeus by Semele, had made Thebes, his mother’s birth-place, his favorite place of abode and worship. Pentheus, the then reigning king, who, as others say, preferred the worship of MinervaAthena, slighted the new God, and persecuted those who celebrated his revels. Upon this, BacchusDionysus excited his mother Agave, together with the sisters of Semele, Autonoe and Ino, to madness, and visiting Pentheus in disguise of a Bacchanal, was at first imprisoned, but, easily escaping from his bonds, he persuaded Pentheus to intrude upon the rites of the Bacchants. While surveying them from a lofty tree, the voice of BacchusDionysus was heard inciting the Bacchants to avenge themselves upon the intruder, and they tore the miserable Pentheus piecemeal. The grief and banishment of Agave for her unwtting offence conclude the play.)
    1. I, the son of Zeus, have come to this land of the Thebans—Dionysus, whom once Semele, Kadmos’ daughter, bore, delivered by a lightning-bearing flame. And having taken a mortal form instead of a god’s,
    2. I am here at the fountains of Dirke and the water of Ismenus. And I see the tomb of my thunder-stricken mother here near the palace, and the remnants of her house, smouldering with the still living flame of Zeus’ fire, the everlasting insult of Hera against my mother.
    3. I praise Kadmos, who has made this place hallowed, the shrine of his daughter; and I have covered it all around with the cluster-bearing leaf of the vine. I have left the wealthy lands of the Lydians and Phrygians, the sun-parched plains of the Persians,
    4. and the Bactrian walls, and have passed over the wintry land of the Medes, and blessed Arabia, and all of Asia which lies along the coast of the salt sea with its beautifully-towered cities full of Hellenes and barbarians mingled together;
    5. and I have come to this Hellene city first, having already set those other lands to dance and established my mysteries there, so that I might be a deity manifest among men. In this land of Hellas, I have first excited Thebes to my cry, fitting a fawn-skin to my body and
    6. taking a thyrsos in my hand, a weapon of ivy. For my mother’s sisters, the ones who least should, claimed that I, Dionysus, was not the child of Zeus, but that Semele had conceived a child from a mortal father and then ascribed the sin of her bed to Zeus,
    7. a trick of Kadmos’, for which they boasted that Zeus killed her, because she had told a false tale about her marriage. Therefore I have goaded them from the house in frenzy, and they dwell in the mountains, out of their wits; and I have compelled them to wear the outfit of my mysteries.
    8. And all the female offspring of Thebes, as many as are women, I have driven maddened from the house, and they, mingled with the daughters of Kadmos, sit on roofless rocks beneath green pines. For this city must learn, even if it is unwilling,
    9. that it is not initiated into my Bacchic rites, and that I plead the case of my mother, Semele, in appearing manifest to mortals as a divinity whom she bore to Zeus. Now Kadmos has given his honor and power to Pentheus, his daughter’s son,
    10. who fights against the gods as far as I am concerned and drives me away from sacrifices, and in his prayers makes no mention of me, for which I will show him and all the Thebans that I was born a god. And when I have set matters here right, I will move on to another land,
    11. revealing myself. But if ever the city of Thebes should in anger seek to drive the the Bacchae down from the mountains with arms, I, the general of the Maenads, will join battle with them. On which account I have changed my form to a mortal one and altered my shape into the nature of a man.
    12. But, you women who have left Tmolus, the bulwark of Lydia, my sacred band, whom I have brought from among the barbarians as assistants and companions to me, take your drums, native instruments of the city of the Phrygians, the invention of mother Rhea and myself,
    13. and going about this palace of Pentheus beat them, so that Kadmos’ city may see. I myself will go to the folds of Kithairon, where the Bacchae are, to share in their dances.
    1. From the land of Asia,
    2. having left sacred Tmolus, I am swift to perform for Bromius my sweet labor and toil easily borne, celebrating the god Bacchus[*](Lit. shouting the ritual cry εὐοῖ.). Who is in the way? Who is in the way? Who? Let him get out of the way indoors, and let everyone keep his mouth pure [*](E. R. Dodds takes this passage Let everyone come outside being sure to keep his mouth pure. He does not believe that there should be a full stop after the third τίς.),
    3. speaking propitious things. For I will celebrate Dionysus with hymns according to eternal custom.
    1. Blessed is he who, being fortunate and knowing the rites of the gods, keeps his life pure and
    2. has his soul initiated into the Bacchic revels, dancing in inspired frenzy over the mountains with holy purifications, and who, revering the mysteries of great mother Kybele,
    3. brandishing the thyrsos, garlanded with ivy, serves Dionysus. Go, Bacchae, go, Bacchae, escorting the god Bromius, child of a god,