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THE BACCHANTES by Euripides, Part 08

CHORUS
Though I fear to speak my mind with freedom in the presence of
my king, still must I utter this; Dionysus yields to no deity in
might.
PENTHEUS
Already, look you! the presumption of these Bacchantes is upon us,
swift as fire, a sad disgrace in the eyes of all Hellas. No time for
hesitation now! away to the ELECTRA gate! order a muster of all my
men-at-arms, of those that mount fleet steeds, of all who brandish
light bucklers, of archers too that make the bowstring twang; for I
will march against the Bacchanals. By Heaven I this passes all, if
we are to be thus treated by women.

Exit MESSENGER.

Dionysus
Still obdurate, O Pentheus, after hearing my words! In spite of
all the evil treatment I am enduring from thee, still I warn thee of
the sin of bearing arms against a god, and bid thee cease; for Bromius
will not endure thy driving his votaries from the mountains where they
revel.
PENTHEUS
A truce to thy preaching to me! thou hast escaped thy bonds,
preserve thy liberty; else will I renew thy punishment.
Dionysus
I would rather do him sacrifice than in a fury kick against the
pricks; thou a mortal, he a god.
PENTHEUS
Sacrifice! that will I, by setting afoot a wholesale slaughter
of women 'mid Cithaeron's glens, as they deserve.
Dionysus
Ye will all be put to flight-a shameful thing that they with the
Bacchic thyrsus should rout your mail-clad warriors.
PENTHEUS
I find this stranger a troublesome foe to encounter; doing or
suffering he is alike irrepressible.
Dionysus
Friend, there is still a way to compose this bitterness.
PENTHEUS
Say how; am I to serve my own servants?
Dionysus
I will bring the women hither without weapons.
PENTHEUS
Ha! ha! this is some crafty scheme of thine against me.
Dionysus
What kind of scheme, if by my craft I purpose to save thee?
PENTHEUS
You have combined with them to form this plot, that your revels
may on for ever.
Dionysus
Nay, but this is the compact I made with the god; be sure of that.
PENTHEUS (Preparing to start forth)
Bring forth my arms. Not another word from thee!
Dionysus
Ha! wouldst thou see them seated on the hills?
PENTHEUS
Of all things, yes! I would give untold sums for that.
Dionysus
Why this sudden, strong desire?
PENTHEUS
'Twill be a bitter sight, if I find them drunk with wine.
Dionysus
And would that be a pleasant sight which will prove bitter to
thee?
PENTHEUS
Believe me, yes! beneath the fir-trees as I sit in silence.
Dionysus
Nay, they will track thee, though thou come secretly.
PENTHEUS
Well, I will go openly; thou wert right to say so.
Dionysus
Am I to be thy guide? wilt thou essay the road?

 

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