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THE BACCHANTES by Euripides, Part 13

AGAVE
Cadmus-
CHORUS
What of him?
AGAVE
His daughters struck the monster after me; yes, after me.
CHORUS
Fortune smiled upon thy hunting here.
AGAVE
Come, share the banquet.
CHORUS
Share? ah I what?
AGAVE
'Tis but a tender whelp, the down just sprouting on its cheek
beneath a crest of failing hair.
CHORUS
The hair is like some wild creature's.
AGAVE
The Bacchic god, a hunter skilled, roused his Maenads to pursue
this quarry skilfully.
CHORUS
Yea, our king is a hunter indeed.
AGAVE
Dost approve?
CHORUS
Of course I do.
AGAVE
Soon shall the race of Cadmus-
CHORUS
And Pentheus, her own son, shall to his mother-
AGAVE
Offer praise for this her quarry of the lion's brood.
CHORUS
Quarry strange!
AGAVE
And strangely caught.
CHORUS
Dost thou exult?
AGAVE
Right glad am I to have achieved a great and glorious triumph
for my land that all can see.
CHORUS
Alas for thee! show to the folk the booty thou hast won and art
bringing hither.
AGAVE
All ye who dwell in fair fenced Thebes, draw near that ye may
see the fierce wild beast that we daughters of Cadmus made our prey,
not with the thong-thrown darts of Thessaly, nor yet with snares,
but with our fingers fair. Ought men idly to boast and get them
armourers' weapons? when we with these our hands have caught this prey
and torn the monster limb from limb? Where is my aged sire? let him
approach. And where is Pentheus, my son? Let him bring a ladder and
raise it against the house to nail up on the gables this lion's
head, my booty from the chase.

Enter CADMUS.

CADMUS
Follow me, servants to the palace-front, with your sad burden in
your arms, ay, follow, with the corpse of Pentheus, which after long
weary search I found, as ye see it, torn to pieces amid Cithaeron's
glens, and am bringing hither; no two pieces did I find together, as
they lay scattered through the trackless wood. For I heard what
awful deeds one of my daughters had done, just as I entered the
city-walls with old Teiresias returning from the Bacchanals; so I
turned again unto the and bring from thence my son who was slain by
Maenads. There I saw Autonoe, that bare Actaeon on a day to Aristaeus,
and Ino with her, still ranging the oak-groves in their unhappy
frenzy; but one told me that that Agave, was rushing wildly hither,
nor was it idly said, for there I see her, sight of woe!
AGAVE
Father, loudly mayst thou boast, that the daughters thou hast
begotten are far the best of mortal race; of one and all I speak,
though chiefly of myself, who left my shuttle at the loom for nobler
enterprise, even to hunt savage beasts with my hands; and in my arms I
bring my prize, as thou seest, that it may be nailed up on thy
palace-wall; take it, father, in thy had and proud of my hunting, call
thy friends to a banquet; for blest art thou, ah! doubly blest in
these our gallant exploits.
CADMUS
O grief that has no bounds, too cruel for mortal eye! 'tis
murder ye have done with your hapless hands. Fair is the victim thou
hast offered to the gods, inviting me and my Thebans to the feast
Ah, woe is me first for thy sorrows, then for mine. What ruin the god,
the Bromian king, hath brought on us, just maybe, but too severe,
seeing he is our kinsman!
AGAVE
How peevish old age makes men! what sullen looks! Oh, may my son
follow in his mother's footsteps and be as lucky in his hunting,
when he goes quest of game in company with Theban youthsl But he can
do naught but wage war with gods. Father, 'tis thy duty to warn him.
Who will summon him hither to my sight to witness my happiness?
CADMUS
Alas for you! alas! Terrible will be your grief when ye are
conscious of your deeds; could ye re. for ever till life's close in
your present state, ye would not, spite of ruined bliss, appear so
cursed with woe.
AGAVE
Why? what is faulty bere? what here for sorrow?

 

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