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THE BACCHANTES by Euripides, Part 05

PENTHEUS
What profit bring they to their votaries?
Dionysus
Thou must not be told, though 'tis well worth knowing.
PENTHEUS
A pretty piece of trickery, to excite my curiosity!
Dionysus
A man of godless life is an abomination to the rites of the god.
PENTHEUS
Thou sayest thou didst see the god clearly; what was he like?
Dionysus
What his fancy chose; I was not there to order this.
PENTHEUS
Another clever twist and turn of thine, without a word of answer.
Dionysus
He were a fool, methinks, who would utter wisdom to a fool.
PENTHEUS
Hast thou come hither first with this deity?
Dionysus
All foreigners already celebrate these mysteries with dances.
PENTHEUS
The reason being, they are far behind Hellenes in wisdom.
Dionysus
In this at least far in advance, though their customs differ.
PENTHEUS
Is it by night or day thou performest these devotions?
Dionysus
By night mostly; darkness lends solemnity.
PENTHEUS
Calculated to entrap and corrupt women.
Dionysus
Day too for that matter may discover shame.
PENTHEUS
This vile quibbling settles thy punishment.
Dionysus
Brutish ignorance and godlessness will settle thine.
PENTHEUS
How bold our Bacchanal is growing! a very master in this wordy
strife!
Dionysus
Tell me what I am to suffer; what is the grievous doom thou wilt
inflict upon me?
PENTHEUS
First will I shear off thy dainty tresses.
Dionysus
My locks are sacred; for the god I let them grow.
PENTHEUS
Next surrender that thyrsus.
Dionysus
Take it from me thyself; 'tis the wand of Dionysus I am bearing.
PENTHEUS
In dungeon deep thy body will I guard.
Dionysus
The god himself will set me free, whene'er I list.
PENTHEUS
Perhaps he may, when thou standest amid thy Bacchanals and callest
on his name.
Dionysus
Even now he is near me and witnesses my treatment.
PENTHEUS
Why, where is he? To my eyes he is invisible.
Dionysus
He is by my side; thou art a godless man and therefore dost not
see him.
PENTHEUS
Seize him! the fellow scorns me and Thebes too.
Dionysus
I bid you bind me not, reason addressing madness.
PENTHEUS
But I say "bind!" with better right than thou.
Dionysus
Thou hast no knowledge of the life thou art leading; thy very
existence is now a mystery to thee.
PENTHEUS
I am Pentheus, son of Agave and Echion.
Dionysus
Well-named to be misfortune's mate!
PENTHEUS
Avaunt! Ho! shut him up within the horses' stalls hard by, that
for light he may have pitchy gloom. Do thy dancing there, and these
women whom thou bringest with thee to share thy villainies I will
either sell as slaves or make their hands cease from this noisy
beating of drums, and set them to work at the loom as servants of my
own.
Dionysus
I will go; for that which fate forbids, can never befall me. For
this thy mockery be sure Dionysus will exact a recompense of thee-even
the god whose existence thou deniest; for thou art injuring him by
haling me to prison.

Exit Dionysus, guarded, and PENTHEUS.

 

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