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The Bacchantes   

Before the Palace of Pentheus at Thebes. Enter DIONYSUS.
DIONYSUS Lo! I am come to this land of Thebes, Dionysus' the son
of Zeus, of whom on a day Semele, the daughter of Cadmus, was delivered
by a flash of lightning. I have put off the god and taken human shape,
and so present myself at Dirce's springs and the waters of Ismenus.
Yonder I see my mother's monument where the bolt slew her nigh her
house, and there are the ruins of her home smouldering with the heavenly
flame that blazeth still-Hera's deathless outrage on my mother. To
Cadmus all praise I offer, because he keeps this spot hallowed, his
daughter's precinct, which my own hands have shaded round about with
the vine's clustering foliage.
Lydia's glebes, where gold abounds, and Phrygia have I left behind;
o'er Persia's sun-baked plains, by Bactria's walled towns and Media's
wintry clime have I advanced through Arabia, land of promise; and
Asia's length and breadth, outstretched along the brackish sea, with
many a fair walled town, peopled with mingled race of Hellenes and
barbarians; and this is the first city in Hellas I have reached. There
too have I ordained dances and established my rites, that I might
manifest my godhead to men; but Thebes is the first city in the land
of Hellas that I have made ring with shouts of joy, girt in a fawn-skin,
with a thyrsus, my ivy-bound spear, in my hand; since my mother's
sisters, who least of all should have done it, denied that Dionysus
was the son of Zeus, saying that Semele, when she became a mother
by some mortal lover, tried to foist her sin on Zeus-a clever ruse
of Cadmus, which, they boldly asserted, caused Zeus to slay her for
the falsehood about the marriage. Wherefore these are they whom I
have driven frenzied from their homes, and they are dwelling on the
hills with mind distraught; and I have forced them to assume the dress
worn in my orgies, and all the women-folk of Cadmus' stock have I
driven raving from their homes, one and all alike; and there they
sit upon the roofless rocks beneath the green pine-trees, mingling
amongst the sons of Thebes. For this city must learn, however loth,
seeing that it is not initiated in my Bacchic rites, and I must take
up my mother's defence, by showing to mortals that the child she bore
to Zeus is a deity. Now Cadmus gave his sceptre and its privileges
to Pentheus, his daughter's child, who wages war 'gainst my divinity,
thrusting me away from his drink-offerings, and making no mention
of me in his prayers. Therefore will I prove to him and all the race
of Cadmus that I am a god. And when I have set all in order here,
I will pass hence to a fresh country, manifesting myself; but if the
city of Thebes in fury takes up arms and seeks to drive my votaries
from the mountain, I will meet them at the head of my frantic rout.
This is why I have assumed a mortal form, and put off my godhead to
take man's nature.
O ye who left Tmolus, the bulwark of Lydia, ye women, my revel rout!
whom I brought from your foreign homes to be ever by my side and bear
me company, uplift the cymbals native to your Phrygian home, that
were by me and the great mother Rhea first devised, and march around
the royal halls of Pentheus smiting them, that the city of Cadmus
may see you; while I will seek Cithaeron's glens, there with my Bacchanals
to join the dance. (Exit DIONYSUS., Enter CHORUS.)
CHORUS From Asia o'er the holy ridge of Tmolus hasten to a pleasant
task, a toil that brings no weariness, for Bromius' sake, in honour
of the Bacchic god. Who loiters in the road? who lingers 'neath the
roof? Avaunt! I say, and let every lip be hushed in solemn silence;
for I will raise a hymn to Dionysus, as custom aye ordains. O happy
he! who to his joy is initiated in heavenly mysteries and leads a
holy life, joining heart and soul in Bacchic revelry upon the hills,
purified from every sin; observing the rites of Cybele, the mighty
mother, and brandishing the thyrsus, with ivy-wreathed head, he worships
Dionysus. Go forth, go forth, ye Bacchanals, bring home the Bromian
god Dionysus, child of a god, from the mountains of Phrygia to the
spacious streets of Hellas, bring home the Bromian god! whom on a
day his mother in her sore travail brought forth untimely, yielding

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