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Baccanti

DI.
Giungo, figlio di Zeus, a questa terra Tebana,
Dioniso, che gener una volta la figlia di Cadmo
Semele, fatta madre dal fuoco che porta fulmini;
cambiando la forma da dio in mortale
mi trovo presso la corrente di Dirce e lacqua di Ismeno.
Vedo il monumento della madre fulminata,
questo vicino alle case e le rovine delle stanze
bruciate dal bagliore del fuoco di Zeus ancora vivente,
di Era immortale tracotanza verso mia madre.
Lodo Cadmo, che non calpestato questo terreno
ha reso, sepolcro della figlia: intorno
io lho coperto con lerba simile a grappolo della vite.
Lasciando i molto dorati terreni dei lidi
e dei Frigi, dei Persiani le piane battute dal sole
e le mura di Battria e la tempestosa terra
dei Medi e giungendo nella felice Arabia
e in tutta lAsia che presso il mare salato
sta con moltissime citt dalle belle torri
piene di Greci e barbari mescolati insieme
per prima raggiunsi la citt dei Greci,
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nelle zone di l avendo danzato e istituito i miei
misteri, affinch fossi dio manifesto agli uomini.
Per prima questa Tebe della terra greca
feci ululare, mettendo sul corpo una pelle di cerbiatto
e dando un tirso alla mano, dardo di edera.
Quando le sorelle di mia madre, che non avrebbero affatto dovuto,
dissero che io, Dioniso, non ero figlio di Zeus,
e Semele, presa in moglie da un qualche mortale,
a Zeus arrecava la colpa del letto,
stratagemma di Cadmo, si vantarono che a causa loro
Zeus laveva uccisa, poich era stato ingannato sul matrimonio.
Davvero loro le ho rese folli via dalle loro case io
con la mania, e abitano sul monte folli di mente,
e le ho costrette a portare le vesti dei miei riti.
E tutto il seme femminile dei Cadmei, quante
donne cerano, le ho invasate via dalle loro case;
mescolate insieme alle figlie di Cadmo
sotto i verdi pini siedono su rocce senza tetto.
Bisogna che questa citt impari, e se non vuole,
restando non iniziata ai miei baccanali,
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che io parli in difesa di mia madre Semele
mostrando ai mortali il dio che gener a Zeus.
Cadmo dunque il privilegio e il potere
diede a Penteo, nato da sua figlia,
che combatte le mie cose divine e lontano da libagioni
mi respinge e da nessuna parte nelle feste ne ha un ricordo.
Per ci mostrer che sono nato dio a lui

e a tutti i Tebani. In unaltra terra,


dopo aver sistemato le cose di qui, trasferir il mio piede,
mostrando me stesso: qualora la citt dei Tebani
per ira con le armi dal monte le baccanti cerchi
di ricondurre, li metter di fronte alle baccanti guidandole.
Per ci prendendolo in cambio ho laspetto mortale
e la mia forma ho mutato in natura di uomo.
Ma, o voi che avete lasciate il Tmolo, baluardo della Lidia,
mio tiaso, donne che dai barbari
ho portato come mie assistenti e compagne di viaggio,
prendeste nella citt dei Frigi i timpani
del luogo, invenzione di madre Rea e mia,
e giungendo a questo regale palazzo
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di Penteo fate frastuono, cos che la citt di Cadmo veda.
Io con le baccanti, giungendo alle valli del Citerone
dove sono, insieme prender parte alle danze.
CO. Dalla terra dAsia
cambiando il sacro Tmolo mi slancio
con Bromio alla dolce fatica,
al buono sforzo, inneggiando a Bacco.
Chi in strada, chi in strada? Chi?
in casa stia lontano,
la bocca pia ognuno consacri;
sempre invero canter
Dioniso venerato.
O beato, chiunque felice
i riti degli dei conoscendo
vive piamente lesistenza
ed iniziato nellanima
sui monti baccheggiando
alle sacre purificazioni,
e i misteri della grande madre
Cibele celebrando secondo il rito
e scuotendo il tirso
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e incoronato dedera
venera Dioniso.
Andate baccanti, andate baccanti,
il fanciullo Bromio, dio figlio di un dio,
Dioniso conducendo
dai monti dei Frigi alle strade
dallampio spazio della Grecia, il Bromio,
che una volta nelle necessarie
doglie del parto avendo
mentre volava la folgore di Zeus
scacciato dal ventre
la madre partor, lasciando
la vita colpita dalla folgore;
e subito laccolse nelle cavit

del parto Zeus Cronide,


nascondendolo nella coscia
stringe insieme con auree
spille lui nascosto a Era.
He bore, when the Moirae
fulfilled it, a bull-horned god
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and he crowned him with crowns
of snakes, wherefore the maenads this beast-eating animal
wrap around the curls.
O nurses of Semele, Theban women,
wreath you with ivy:
fill yourself with green
milax good-fruited
and with oak or olive branches
rave with Bacchic frenzy,
and spotted fawnskin dresses
wrap around the flocks of wool
of your curls; for the thyrsuses the arrogant ones
make devout; suddenly the entire earth will dance,
when Bromios shall bring thiasoi
to the mount, to the mount, where awaits
the female crowd
away from looms and spoons
frenzled for Dionysus.
O recesso dei Cureti
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e sacri ripari di Creta
che generaste Zeus,
dove negli antri i Coribanti
dal triplice cimiero questo cerchio
di pelle tesa trovarono per me:
le baccanti dal dolce grido lo unirono insieme
al soffio teso degli auli Frigi
e lo diedero alla mano
della madre Rea, rumore per le grida delle baccanti.
Impazzando i Satiri
lo presero dalla madre divina,
alle danze delle feste triennali
lo congiunsero,
delle quali gioisce Dioniso.
Dolce nei monti quando
fra i tiasi che corrono
uno cada per terra, col sacro
vestiario di nebride, cacciando
il sangue del capro ucciso, beneficio crudivoro,
mentre si slancia verso i monti frigi della Lidia
la guida, Bromio;
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evo.
Scorre di latte la terra, scorre di vino,

scorre di nettare delle api.


Come frutto dincenso
siriano Bacco sollevando
lardente fiamma della torcia
dal tirso errante la agita,
con la corsa e coi cori
incitando gli erranti
e sospingendoli con grida
e il tenero ricciolo gettando in aria.
Insieme agli evo lui tuona cos:
Andate o baccanti,
andate o baccanti,
voi lusso del Tmolo che scorre doro,
cantate Dioniso
sui timpani profondo tonanti,
gioendo bacchicamente del dio bacchico
con grida frigie e urla,
quando laulo sonoro
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sacro tuoni i sacri giochi adatti
a chi vaga al monte, al monte: godendo
come puledra insieme alla madre
al pascolo guida larto dal piede veloce con salti la baccante.
TIRESIA
Chi alle porte? Chiama Cadmo fuori di casa,
figlio di Agenore, che la citt di Sidone
lasciando ha turrito questa rocca dei Tebani.
Vada qualcuno, annunci che Tiresia
lo cerca: lo sa lui per quali ragioni sono giunto
e le cose che essendo anziano ho affidato a uno pi vecchio,
afferrare i tirsi e avere pelli di cerbiatto
e incoronare i capi di germogli dedera.
CADMO
O carissimo, poich ho percepito ascoltando la voce
saggia da un uomo saggio, stando in casa;
giungo pronto tenendo questa veste del dio:
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bisogna invero che quello essendo figlio di mia figlia
[Dioniso che si mostr come dio agli uomini]
quanto possibile per parte nostra cresca grande nellonore.
Verso dove bisogna danzare, verso dove porre il piede
e scuotere il capo canuto? Conduci tu vecchio
me vecchio, Tiresia: tu sei saggio.
Cos non mi affaticherei n di notte n di giorno
a percuotere la terra col tirso: ci siamo dimenticati della dolcezza
noi che siamo vecchi.
TI
Soffri cose uguali alle mie,
anche io sono nel fiore e mi accingo alle danze.
CA
Dunque non andremo al monte coi carri?
TI
Ma non allo stesso modo il dio ne avrebbe onore.

CA
TI
CA
TE
CA
TI
CA

Io guider te come un ragazzo, vecchio a vecchio.


Il dio senza sforzo condurr l noi due.
Soli della citt danzeremo con Bacco?
Siamo i soli con buon senno, gli altri lhanno cattivo.
grande il futuro: ma prendi la mia mano.
Guarda, intreccia e congiungi la mano.
Non disprezzo gli dei, io mortale.
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TI
Non parliamo affatto con ingegno con gli dei.
Le tradizioni paterne, che coetanee del tempo
abbiamo acquistato, nessun discorso le distrugger,
neanche se la saggezza sia stata trovata dalla mente fine.
Chiede uno come faccio a non vergognarmi della vecchiaia,
intendendo danzare coronando dedera il mio capo.
Il dio non ha fatto distinzioni, se n il giovane
bisogna che danzi n il pi vecchio,
ma da tutti vuole avere onori
comuni, e desidera accrescersi nellonore non facendo conteggi.
CA
Poich tu questa luce, Tiresia, non vedi
io ti sar profeta di discorsi.
Penteo dalla casa viene con foga, costui,
figlio di Echione, cui ho dato il dominio della terra.
Com sbigottito: che nuove dir mai?
PENTEO
I found myself out from this land,
and I hear new evils throughout this city,
that women had left my houses
for false bacchanals, and in shadowy
mountains they rush, the new god
Dionysus, so is he, honouring with dancing;
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that many in the middle of thiasoi set
cups, and the women running one to one recess
one to another they are ministers of male beds,
as pretext that they are celebrant maenads,
but they appreciate Afrodites more than Bacchus.
As many as I caught, they keep their hands
bound as servants in the public houses.
Quante sono sfuggite, dal monte le catturer,
[Ino e Agave che mi gener a Echione,
e la madre di Atteone, e Autonoe dico.]
e legandole in reti di ferro
le far cessare dal criminoso baccheggiare rapidamente.
The say that one stranger has come,
a magician enchanter from the land of Lydia,
with blonde curls perfuming his hair,
having in the eyes the winy graces of Afrodites,
he who temperate and moderate
bacchic rites offering stays with young girls.
If Ill catch him inside this house,

Ill make him stop beating the thyrsus and shaking


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the hair, cutting the neck away from the body.
They say that hes the god Dionysus,
that at that time he was sewed in the thigh of Zeus,
he who was burnt down by the fire of lightnings
with his mother, because she lied about the marriage of Zeus.
These things are not worthy of a terrible strangulation,
abuse the abuses, whoever is the stranger?
But this other wonder, I see
the augur Tiresias in colourful fawn-leathers,
and the father of my mother something very ridicolous
raging in bacchic frenzy with the thyrsus: Im ashamed
to look at your old age without wit.
Wont you let the ivy down? Wont you let
the hand free from the thyrsus, father of my mother?
You persuaded him of this, Tiresias: you want
introducing then this new god to men
examine the birds and receive the reward of the offerings.
If the grey old age didnt protect you,
I would have put you tied in the middle of the bacchae,
to guide stressful rites: for where the women
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have in the banquet the splendour of the grape-cluster,
Nothing sound I can say anymore of the rites.
CO Of the blasphemy. O host, you dont respect the gods
and Cadmus who sowed the offspring born from the earth,
and being son of Echionos you dishonour your race?
TI
When one wise man should catch of the words
the beautiful starting-points, its not a big thing to speak well:
you hold your fluid tongue as you were wise,
but in the words you dont have wisdom.
A man strong in courage and able to speak
is an evil citizen if he hasnt good sense.
This that you mock is the new god,
and I couldnt say how much great
he will be in Greece. Two indeed, o child,
are first among men: goddess Demeter
is the earth, call her with whichever noun you would;
she herself with dry things feeds the mortals;
this other arrived later, offspring of Semele the corresponding
liquid drink of the grape found and brought
to mortals, that make wretched men cease
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from sorrow, when they should be filled with the liquid grape,
and sleep and forgetfulness of the pains of the day
they should give, and there isnt another relief from pains.
This one, born god, pours libations to the gods,
so that through him the men should have the good.
And you mock him, because he has been sewed in the thigh
of Zeus? Ill teach you how this is good.

When Zeus snatched him out of the fire of the lightning,


he brought to the Olympus the divine foetus,
and Hera wanted to throw it away from the sky;
Zeus devised against as many things as a god.
Breaking one part of the air that surrounds
the earth, and handing him over he made him a hostage,
.............
of Hera scolding Dionysus; after some time mortals
say that he was sewed in the thigh of Zeus,
changing the noun, because the god
then was hostage of the goddess Hera, making the story.
This god is a prophet: the bacchic
and the deranged has much prophecy:
when the god plentiful arrives at the body,
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he makes the deranged say the future.
He has a shared portion of Ares:
the fear the army in weapons and lined up
terrified before touching the spear.
Anche questo follia da parte di Dioniso.
Ancora lo vedrai anche sulle rocce di Delfi
saltare con torce di pino nella piana a due cime
brandendo e scuotendo il ramo bacchico,
per lEllade grande. But heed me, Pentheus:
dont be sure that the political power has force among men,
and, if you believe, and your belief is sick,
dont believe to be wise: receive the god in the land
and pour libations and be bacchic and crown the head.
Not Dionysus will force the women to be
reasonable toward Kypris, but in the nature
[be reasonable is always inside all things]
its necessary to consider it: even in the bacchanals
she who is reasonable wont be hit.
Look, you are happy, whenever many should stay
at the gates, and the city exalt the name of Pentheus;
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and that one, I believe, rejoices of being honoured.
Then I and Kadmos, whom you mock,
will cover ourselves with ivy and will dance,
a grey couple, but anyway it is to dance,
and I will not make war to god being persuaded by your words.
Indeed you are mad in the most painful way, and with drugs
you shouldnt have remedies, nor without these you are sick.
CO O old man, you dont shame Phoebus with words,
and honouring Bromios you are reasonable, great god.
KA
O son, beautifully Teiresias invited you.
Live among us, not out of the laws.
Now you fly with your mind, and being wise you are not wise at all.
Even if this is not a god, as you say,
deve essere detto da te: di una bella menzogna
com, affinch sembri che Semele abbia generato il dio,

e per noi per tutta la stirpe ci sia onore.


Guarda il misero destino di Atteone,
che i cani crudivori che aveva allevato
divorarono, lui che si vantava di essere
superiore ad Artemide nella caccia, nelle radure.
Che tu non subisca questo: qui incoronati il capo
dedera, insieme a noi da onore al dio.
PE
No, mi porgerai la mano baccheggiando,
n pulirai su di me la tua follia!
Di questo maestro della tua follia
far giustizia. Venga quanto prima,
e giungendo i seggi di questo, dove divina,
scuota con dei pali e rovesci allindietro,
spargendo tutto insieme su e gi,
e lasci andare le bende al vento e alla bufera.
Lo accoglier moltissimo se far questo.
Voi che andate per la citt rintracciate
lospite dallaspetto femminile, che arreca un morbo
nuovo alle donne e insozza i letti.
Se lo prendete, portatelo legato
qui, perch ottenuta la pena della lapidazione
muoia, vedendo a Tebe un amaro baccheggiamento.
CA
O misero, come non sai a che punto sei dei discorsi.
Ormai sei impazzito: anche prima ti sei alluntanato dal senno.
Noi andiamocene, Cadmo, e preghiamo
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in difesa di questo anche se selvaggio
e in difesa della citt il dio di non fare nulla
di strano. Ma seguimi con lo scettro dedera,
tenta di drizzare il mio corpo, e io il tuo;
turpe che due vecchi cadano. Ma sia cos ugualmente,
perch bisogna servire il bacchico figlio di Zeus.
Penteo comunque non porter il dolore nelle case
tue, Cadmo: non parlo per divinazione,
ma in base ai fatti: le sciocchezze le dice lo sciocco.
CO Santit veneranda fra le dee,
santit che sotto terra
porti lala doro,
senti queste cose di Penteo?
Senti la empia
tracotanza verso Bromio, figlio di
Semele, il dio per primo
fra i beati per ghirlande
allietanti? Questo fa queste cose,
celebrare i riti con le danze
e ridere con laulo
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e smettere dalle preoccupazioni,
quando giunga della vite
il nettare nel banchetto degli dei,

e in feste cinte dedera il cratere


circondi gli uomini col sonno.
Di bocche senza freno
e di follia senza legge
la fine la sventura;
ma la vita della
calma e lessere assennati
rimane sereno e
tiene insieme le case; oltre
ugualmente i celesti che abitano letere
vedono le cose dei mortali.
Non saggia la saggezza
e il non pensare cose mortali.
Breve la vita: per questo
chi segua cose grandi
non ottiene quelle presenti.
Questi sono per me i modi degli uomini
folli e con pensieri cattivi.
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Giungo a Cipro,
isola di Afrodite
dove vivono gli ammaliatori
dei mortali, gli Amori,
e Pafo che le correnti
cento bocche del fiume barbaro
senza pioggia rendono fertile.
Qui la Pieria considerata la pi bella
sede delle Muse,
sacro pendio dellOlimpo,
conducimi l, Bromio Bromio,
dio che guida i riti bacchici.
L le Grazie,
l il Desiderio: l lecito
fare riti con le baccanti.
Il dio figlio di Zeus
gioisce delle feste,
ama Pace che dona prosperit,
dea che nutre i giovani.
Uguale al ricco
e a chi inferiore ha dato da avere
il piacere senza dolore del vino.
Odia chi non ha a cuore queste cose,
alla luce e nelle care notti
trascorrere una vita beata,
e respingere la mente e il pensiero saggio
da uomini che vanno oltre la norma.
Ci che la maggioranza
semplice ha in uso e pratica,
questo io accetterei.
SERVO

Pentheus, we arrive having caught the prey,


quella per cui ci hai mandato, e non ci siamo mossi invano.
Questo animale con noi mansueto non ha sottratto
il piede in fuga, ma ha dato non costretto le mani
n impallidendo, n ha mutato il volto rubicondo,
ma ridendo lasciava che lo legassimo e lo portassimo via
e aspettava, rendendo facile il mio compito.
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E io per rispetto dissi: O straniero, non di mia volont
ti porto via, ma per gli ordini di Penteo che mi ha inviato.
Ma le baccanti che hai rinchiuso, che hai rapito insieme
e legato con le catene della prigione,
quelle sono lontane essendosi liberate, presso le radure
balzano invocando il dio Bromio;
le catene dei piedi da sole a loro si sono sciolte
e le chiavi hanno aperto le porte senza mano mortale.
Di molti prodigi questuomo giunge pieno
a questa Tebe. Ma delle altre cose bisogna che abbia cura tu.
PE
Lascia le mani di costui: stando nelle reti
non cos veloce da sfuggirmi.
Ma nel corpo non sei deforme, straniero,
in quanto alle donne, per la qual cosa sei giunto a Tebe;
lungo il tuo ricciolo, non per la lotta,
versato sulla stessa guancia, pieno di desiderio:
hai provveduto ad avere la pelle bianca,
non coi raggi del sole, ma con lombra,
andando a caccia di Afrodite con la bellezza.
Per prima cosa dimmi chi sei per stirpe.
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DI
Nessuna vanteria: dirtelo facile.
Tu che mi ascolti conosci forse il Tmolo ventoso.
PE
Lo conosco, quello che circonda in cerchio la citt di Sardi.
DI
Sono di l, la Lidia la mia patria.
PE
E da dove porti questi riti in Grecia?
DI
Dioniso entrato in noi, il figlio di Zeus.
PE
C uno Zeus l che genera nuovi dei?
DI
No, ma quello che qui ha aggiogato Semele col matrimonio.
PE
E ti ha costretto di notte o quando vedevi?
DI
Guardando lui che mi guardava, e mi ha dato i misteri.
PE
These rites have some form for you?
DI
Non si pu sapere per chi non iniziato fra i mortali.
PE
Hanno qualche utilit per chi li celebra?
DI
Non lecito che tu lo senta, ed giusto che tu lo veda.
PE
Bene hai falsificato questo, affinch io voglia ascoltare.
DI
I misteri del dio odiano chi pratica empiet.
PE
Mi dici precisamente di vedere il dio, quale che fosse?
DI
Quale che abbia voluto essere: non lho disposto io questo.
PE
Hai deviato bene anche senza dire nulla.
DI
Sembra non stare bene chi dice cose sagge a uno stolto.
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PE
Sei giunto per prima cosa qui nel portare il dio?

DI
PE
DI
PE
DI
PE
DI
PE
DI
PE
DI
PE
DI
PE
DI
PE
DI
PE
DI

Ognuno dei barbari danza questi misteri.


Invero ragionano molto peggio dei Greci.
Piuttosto, ragionano bene in questo almeno; ma gli usi sono diversi.
I riti sacri li compi di notte o di giorno?
Tutto di notte: lombra ha sacralit.
Questo ingannevole e malsano per le donne.
E di giorno uno potrebbe trovarlo turpe.
Bisogna che io la faccia pagare a te per queste malvagie trovate.
A te piuttosto, per la stoltezza e perch sei empio verso il dio.
Com sfrontato il baccante e non esercitato ai discorsi.
Di cosa bisogna patire: che mi farai di tremendo?
Per prima cosa ti taglier la ciocca raffinata.
sacro il ricciolo: lho fatto crescere per il dio.
Poi dammi in mano questo tirso.
Toglimelo tu stesso: questo che porto di Dioniso.
Dentro la prigione custodir il tuo corpo.
Mi liberer il dio stesso, qualora io lo voglia.
Qualora lo chiami stando fra le baccanti.
E ora vede le cose che subisco perch vicino.
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PE
E dov? Non visibile ai miei occhi.
DI
Accanto a me: tu stesso non puoi vederlo perch sei empio.
PE
Prendetelo: disprezza me e Tebe costui.
DI
Dico, saggio ai non saggi, che bisogna che io non lo sia.
PE
E io dico che bisogna: sono pi potente di te.
DI
Non sai che vivi, n che fai, n chi sei.
PE
Penteo, figlio di Agave, figlio di mio padre Echione.
DI
You are apt to be unhappy with this name.
PE
Go away: shut him near the horsemangers, so that he could see the dark shadow.
Let him dance there: the ones whom bringing he arrived,
the helpers of evils, either well sell
or making the hand cease from the noise and from
the din of the drum, we will own them as maidservants at the looms.
DI
I would go: for what must not happen, must not that I
suffer. But the compensation of this insolences
Dionysus will make you pay, the one who you say that there isnt;
you bring him to the chains dishonouring us.
CO ...
Figlia dellAcheloo,
veneranda Dirce vergine bella,
520
tu nelle tue fonti un tempo
prendesti la prole di Zeus,
quando dal fuoco immortale Zeus nella coscia
il genitore lo rap gridando questo:
Vieni, Ditirambo, arriva in questo
mio grembo maschile;
io proclamo, o Bacco, di chiamarti
a Tebe con questo nome.

Tu, beata Dirce, respingi


me che ho i tiasi portatori
di ghirlande in te.
Perch mi rifiuti? Perch mi fuggi?
Per la benevolenza ancora in forma di grappolo
della vigna di Dioniso,
ancora ti preoccuperai di Bromio.
Quale quale rabbia
mostra la stirpe
terrestre e Penteo nato
un giorno serpente, che Echione
terrestre gener,
fiera dagli occhi selvaggi, non uomo mortale,
come gigante sanguinario avversario degli dei;
egli nei nodi presto leger
me che sono di Bromio,
e gi dentro la casa ha il mio
compagno di tiaso
nascosto in un carcere tenebroso.
Guarda queste cose, o figlio di Zeus,
Dioniso, i tuoi profeti
violenze nelle lotte?
Vieni, tu che scuoti laureo
tirso gi dallOlimpo,
560
frena la tracotanza di un uomo sanguinario.
Dove porti con tirso, forse a Nisa nutrice di fiere,
i tiasi, o Dioniso, oppure
nelle cime coricie?
Presto nei recessi molto alberati
dellOlimpo, dove un tempo Orfeo suonando la cetra
radunava gli alberi con le muse,
radunava le fiere selvagge.
Beata Pieria,
lo Euo ti venera, giunger
danzando insieme alle baccanti, varcando
lAssio dal rapido corso condurr le menadi volteggianti
e la Lidia, padre di felicit datore
di prosperit ai mortali, che udivo
aspergere di acque bellissime
la regione dai bei cavalli.
DI
I, ascoltate la mia voce, ascoltate,
i baccanti, i baccanti,
CO Chi questo, da dove il rumore
di Euo mi chiama?
DI
I I, di nuovo grido,
580
figlio di Semele, di Zeus.
CO I i, padrone padrone,
giungi ora al nostro

tiaso, o Bromio Bromio.


DI
Scuoti la piana della terra, venerando Scuotitore.
CO Ah ah,
presto i soffitti di Penteo saranno scossi da crolli:
veneratelo. Lo veneriamo.
Vedete le pietre infisse sulle colonne,
queste, che si sconnettono: Bromio, costui, dentro i tetti urla.
DI
Prendi la luce raggiante di folgore,
brucia brucia la casa di Penteo!
CO Ah ah,
il fuoco non vedi, n scorgi
intorno al santo sepolcro di Semele questa
fiamma che un tempo lasci il rombo
di Zeus che scaglia la folgore;
gettate a terra gettate i tremanti
600
corpi, menadi;
il signore sopra e sotto ponendo attacca
questi tetti, prole di Zeus.
DI
Barbarian women, so being hit by the fear
you have fallen to the earth? You heard, as it seems, that Bacchus
has shaken the house of Pentheus; but raise
the body and be bold putting away the fear from the flesh.
CO O light the greatest to us of the bacchic rite,
how glad I see you, staying in my lonely desert.
DI
You arrived to the discouragement, when I was sent in,
because I fell in the dark prison of Pentheus?
CO And how not? Who would have been my guardian, if you achieved
calamities?
But how have you freed yourself, having met a unholy man?
DI
I myself freed myself easily without effort.
CO And he didnt tie your hands with binding knots?
DI
In these things also I treat him despitefully, when thinking to put me in
chains
he didnt touch nor grab us: he was nourished with hopes.
Finding a bull near the mangers where he shut us after having brought,
to him wrapped with knots the knees and the hooves of the feet,
blowing rage, letting sweat fall from the body,
620
giving the teeth to the lips; staying near him
sitting idle I looked. In this time
arriving Bacchos shook the house and set the tomb
of the mother on fire; when he saw it, thinking that was the house to burn,
ran here and there, ordering to the maids to bring
the Acheloion, and every slave was at work, struggling in vain.
Giving up this toil, as I had escaped,
he went inside the house grabbing a black sword.
And then Bromios, like it seems to me, I say my opinion,
made a phantom in the hall; moving against this
rushed and pierced the shining air, as he was slaughtering me.

Beyond these Bacchus outrages in other things;


he tore the house down to earth, all has been broken in pieces
to him who watched my most bitter ties; after the toil
leaving the sword he sits; being a man he dared
to come in battle against a god. Coming out calm from the house
I come to you, not caring of Pentheus.
As it seems to me (the shoe makes noise inside the house)
he will soon come at the front of the house. What he will say after these things?
Easily I will endure him, even if he will arrive blowing a lot:
640
is proper of a wise man to pratice a wise mildness.
PE
I suffer terrible things: the stranger is escaped,
who just now was forced in chains.
Eh eh:
this is the man: why these things? How at the entrance
of my house he appears, after having come out?
DI
Hold the foot, putting your calm foot under your rage.
PE
From where you escaping the ties you came out?
DI
I didnt told you, or you didnt hear, that one would have set me free?
PE
Who? You always introduce unusual words.
DI
He who nourishes the vine full of grapes to the man.
PE
...
DI
You chide Dionysus for this good thing.
PE
I command to shut all the towers in circle.
DI
And why? Do not cross the gods even the walls?
PE
Wise, wise you are, except for what its necessary that you are wise.
DI
For the things for which is necessary above all, for these Im wise by
nature.
Listening to that one first of all learn the words,
him who from the mount comes here to announce something to you.
We will wait for you, we wont escape.
MESSAGGERO
O Penteo che regni su questa terra tebana,
giungo dopo aver lasciato il Citerone, dove mai
diminuiscono i dardi lucenti della bianca neve.
PE
Vieni aggiungendo quale zelo di notizia?
ME Avendo visto le baccanti venerande, che via da questa terra
la bianca gamba per i pungoli gettano,
giungo desiderando dire a te e alla citt, signore,
che fanno cose terribili e pi grandi del nostro stupore.
Voglio sentire se a te con libert
parler delle cose di l, o tratteniamo il discorso;
temo infatti la rapidit del tuo animo, signore,
e la sua irascibilit e la troppa regalit.
PE
Parla, poich sarai del tutto impunito da parte mia;
coi giusti meglio non adirarsi.
Per quanto tu dica di cose tremente sulle baccanti,
di tanto pi questo che ha insinuato queste arti
alle donne io punir con la giustizia.
ME La mandria dei vitelli poco fa alle vette

conducevo in alto, quando il sole


emette i raggi scaldando la terra.
Vedo tre tiasi di cori femminili,
fra cui uno lo guidava Autonoe, il secondo
tua madre Agave, il terzo coro Ino.
Dormivano tutte coi corpi abbandonati,
alcune appoggiando la schiena alla chioma di un abete,
altre a terra nelle foglie di quercia i capi
gettando a caso saggiamente, non come tu dici
che ubriache di coppe e suono di flauto
ricercassero Cipride nel bosco appartandosi.
Tua madre grid stando in mezzo
alle baccanti di muovere il corpo dal sonno,
appena sent i muggiti delle mucche cornigere.
Quelle scrollando dagli occhi il florido sonno
si alzarono in piedi, meraviglia dordine a vederle,
giovani, vecchie e vergini ancora non aggiogate.
E per prima cosa misero le chiome sulle spalle
e sollevarono le nebridi a quante i legami
dei nodi si erano sciolti, e le pelli punteggiate
cinsero con serpenti che leccavano la guancia.
Quelle tenendo nelle braccia caprioli o cuccioli
selvatici di lupo gli diedero bianco latte,
a quante puerpere il seno era ancora gonfio
dopo aver lasciato il neonato; sopra si misero corone
dedera e di quercia e di smilace fiorito.
Una prendendo il tirso lo batt sulla pietra,
donde sgorga umidit dacqua rugiadosa:
unaltra cal un bastone al suolo della terra
e il dio l fa sgorgare una fonte di vino:
quante avevano desiderio di bianca bevanda,
con la punta delle dita scalfendo la terra
ebbero flussi di latte; dai tirsi
di edera dolci correnti di miele stillavano,
cos che, se tu fossi stato l, il dio che ora biasimi
vedendo queste cose lo avresti supplicato con preghiere.
Ci riunimmo noi pastori e bovari
per scambiarci contesa di comuni discorsi
[come facessero cose terribili e degne di meraviglia].
E un frequentatore della citt e maneggiatore di discorsi
disse a tutti: O voi che le venerande piane
dei monti abitate, volete che diamo la caccia
ad Agave madre di Penteo via dai baccanali
e facciamo un favore al sovrano? Bene ci sembr
che parlasse, e con le chiome dei cespugli ci mettemmo in agguato
nascondendoci. Quelle allora stabilita
muovevano il tirso per i baccanali,
Iacco con voci unite, prole di Zeus,
Bromio, invocano: tutto il monte preso da furia bacchica
e le fiere, e nulla non era mosso da corsa.
Agave si trova a saltare vicino a me,

e io balzai come volendola afferrare,


abbandonando lappostamento dove avevamo nascosto il corpo.
Quella grid: O mie cagne veloci,
siamo cacciate da questi uomini: ma seguitemi,
seguitemi armate di tirsi nelle mani.
Noi dunque fuggendo evitammo
lo sbrandellamento delle baccanti, che si avventarono
sulle capre al pascolo di erba con mano priva di ferro.
And you would have seen one who a bellowing heifer
with distended udder kept in two in her hands,
and the other tore heifers into pieces.
You would have seen the hip or the split hoof
thrown up and down, the things that were hung up
dropped under the olive trees mixed with blood.
The bulls, brash and angry in the horns
before then, falling with the body on earth,
led by the hands of myriads of girls;
More swiftly the flesh clothings were torn apart
than you can join the eyelids with the royal pupils.
They moved like bird, raised in the run,
on the extension of plains that near the currents of Alpheos
produce the fruitful ear of Thebans
and on Ysie and Erythra, that are set under
the mount Citheron, like enemies
swooping on all this up and down
subverted; they kidnapped children from the houses,
and as many on the soulders they put without ties
they were attached and didnt fall on the black ground,
without bronze and iron, on the curls
they brought fire, and they didnt burn. The others for anger
moved to the weapons brought by bacchae.
Here there was a wonder sight to see, lord:
to the ones the sharp spar didnt get bloody,
but the girls who threw thyrsuses from the hands
wounded and put them to flight,
women to men, not without one of the gods.
Back they moved whence they came
to the same springs that the god pour out for them;
they washed the blood off, the drops from the cheeks
with the tongue the snakes cleaned from the skin.
This god then, whoever he be, o lord,
welcome to this city, for he is great in other things
and they say that he, as I heard,
gives to mortals the wine that stops pain.
If there isnt wine there isnt Kypris
nor any other pleasure anymore for men.
CO I fear to say free words
to the king, but however Ill speak:
Dionysus is born worse than no one of the gods.
PE
By now this nearby like a fire reaches us,
the violence of bacchae, great reproach for the Greeks.

But we do not have to linger: go, head towards the gates


of Helektra; order to all the shield-bearers
and to the riders of all the swift-footed horses
and to as many as wield light shields and make the bows
strings vibrate, because we will make an expedition
against bacchae: indeed these things are past bearing,
if we will suffer what we are suffering from women.
DI
You arent persuaded at all hearing my words,
Pentheus: anyway though damaged by you
I say that you must not raise weapons against the god,
but stay in peace; Bromios wont tolerate
that you drive bacchae away from the mounts of Euios.
PE
Dont instruct me, but having fled, you who were bounded,
save this for you! Or will I turn back the justice against you?
DI
Id rather sacrifice to him than furiously
kicking the spur, being mortal against a god.
PE
I will sacrifice, a feminine slaughter, as they were deserving,
bringing a lot of turmoil in the cliffs of Kithairon.
DI
You will all flee; and this is shameful, the bronze
shields to turn back against the thyrsuses of bacchae.
PE
We have joined with this impossible stranger,
who wont be silent neither suffering neither acting.
DI
O dear, is still possible to work out well this situation.
PE
Doing what? Becoming slave of my slave maids?
DI
I will bring the women here without weapons.
PE
Alas, by now this deceit you prepare against me.
DI
Which, if I want to save you with my crafts?
PE
You devised this together, in order to revel forever.
DI
Indeed I devised it this is just so with the god.
PE
Carry the weapons out for me and you, stop speaking.
DI
Ah;
do you want to see them gathered in the mounts?
PE
Definetely, I would give so much gold.
DI
Why you have fallen in such a great desire?
PE
I would have pain to see them drunk.
DI
Anyway you would sweetly see the things that are bitter to you?
PE
Mind you, sitting silent under the olives.
DI
But they will track you down, even if you go secretly.
PE
Then uncovered: you said well these things.
DI
So will we lead you, and you will prepare yourself for the route?
PE
Lead me as soon as possible; Im resentful with you for the delay.
DI
Now put on a linen dress on the skin.
PE
Why? From man I will finish among women?
DI
So that they wont kill you, if they will see a man there.
PE
Youve said well this too; such a wise man you are, from a long time.
DI
Dionysus inspired us these things.
PE
How do will happen the things that you advise well to me?
DI
I will prepare you coming inside the house.
PE
Which dress? Maybe a feminine one? But I feel shame.
DI
Arent you willing to be beholder of maenads anymore?
PE
Which dress do you say that I have to put around the skin?

DI
PE
DI
PE
DI
PE
DI
PE
DI
PE
DI
PE

I will spread out a long mane on your head.


And the second form of my dress, which will be?
A peplos streched up to the feet; on your head will be a cap.
Will you add other to these things on me?
A thyrsus in the hand and a dotted fawn-skin.
I couldnt wear a feminine dress.
But you will pour blood going in battle against bacchae.
Correct: it is necessary first to go in reconnaissance.
It is wiser than go in search of pains with pains.
And how will I go through the city eluding the Kadmeans?
Well go on desert roads. I will be the leader.
All is better than that the bacchae mock me.
When well arrive at home I will decide the thing that will seem fitting to

me.
DI
Its fair; my self is willing and ready for everything.
PE
Ill go. Either with weapons I will go
or obeying to your advice.
DI
Women, the man has fallen in the net:
he will reach the bacchae, where dying he will pay the penalty.
Dionysus, now is your turn: indeed youre not far;
lets punish him. First of all drive him out of his mind,
inspiring a light madness, since being sane-minded
he couldnt wear a feminine dress,
but driving him out of mind he will.
I desire that he pay with laughters to Thebans
being lead, in the form of a woman, through the city
after the previous threats, for wich he was terrible.
But I go to attach to Pentheus the ornament
taking which he goes to the Hades,
slaughtered by the hands of the mother;
he will recognize the son of Zeus
Dionysus, who was born as a god in power,
860
most terrible, and mildest with men.
CO In nocturnal dances
will I ever move my white
foot in bacchic frenzy, the neck
tossing in the moist air,
as a fawn who plays with the green pleasures of the meadow,
when to a fearful hunt
she escapes out of the guard
beyond the well-weaved nets,
e il cacciatore urlando
sprona la corsa dei cani,
e lei balza nella piana accanto al fiume
con sforzi di corsa veloce di tempesta,
lieta nel deserto di mortali e del rigoglio della foresta ombrosa?
Che cos la saggezza, o quale pi bel
dono dagli dei fra i mortali

che la mano sopra la cima


dei nemici pi forte tenere?
Ci che bello sempre caro.
A fatica si muove, ma lo stesso
affidabile la forza
divina: raddrizza fra i mortali
quelli che onorano la stoltezza
e non contribuiscono alle cose divine con folle pensiero.
Variegatamente nascondono
il duraturo piede del tempo e
vanno a caccia dellempio:
bisogna mai pensare in maniera che oltrepassa
le norme, e curarsene.
Fatica trascurabile ritenere di avere questa forza
che forse divina,
che da molto tempo sempre valida
ed nata naturale.
Che cos la saggezza, o che cosa pi bel
dono dagli dei fra i mortali
che la mano sopra il capo
dei nemici tenere pi forte?
Ci che bello sempre caro.
Felice chi dal mare
sfuggito alla tempesta, e ha trovato il porto;
felice chi senza pene;
in cose diverse luno supera laltro
per ricchezza o per potenza;
ancora migliaia di uomini
hanno migliaia di speranze: le une
si concludono in ricchezza
per i mortali, le altre scompaiono;
quello a cui ogni giorno una vita
felice, lo ritengo beato.
DI
You who are willing to see what isnt licit
and search for the most unsearchable things, Pentheus I mean,
come out in front of the house, let me see you,
with the dress of a baccha maenad woman,
spy of your mother and of her crowd.
In the look you resemble one of Kadmos daughters.
PE
But it seems that I see two suns,
double Thebes and seven-mouthed city,
and you seem to lead me forth as a bull
and that on your head horns are grown.
But were you not an animal? Youve indeed become a bull.
DI
The god accompanies you, not being kind previously,
allied with us; now you see what is necessary that you see.
PE
How I appear then? Not to having the posture

of Ino or that of Agaue, my mother?


DI
I believe to see them looking at you.
But from its place this curl of yours has been displaced,
not as I under the hat had set.
PE
Inside I shook it forth and upwards
and I removed it from its place with bacchic frenzy.
DI
But we, to whom interest to take care of you,
will set it again; but straighten the head.
PE
Look, set it; I depend on you.
DI
The belts are loosened and the folds of the peplos
not lined up strech out under your ankles.
PE
To me too they seem so, for the right foot at least;
there on the heel the peplos is set correctly.
PE
Really you will believe that Im the first of your friends,
when youll see the bacchae moderate against the discourse.
PE
Whether taking the thyrsus with the right hand
or with this hand I will resemble more a baccha?
DI
You have to do it with the right and together with the right foot
rise it: I praise you because you have changed your mind.
PE
And could I carry on my shoulders
the Kithairon cliffs with the bacchae themselves?
DI
You could, if you wanted; before you didnt have
a sound mind, but now you have that which is necessary for you to have.
PE
Should we bring levers or with the hands will I pull it up
putting under the peaks my shoulder or my arm?
DI
You must not destroy the buildings of the Nymphs
or the abode of Pan where he has the syrinx.
PE
Well you spoke: its impossible to win the women
by force: Ill hide my body in the firs.
DI
Hide the hiddenness that is necessary for you to be hidden,
coming as a deceitful spy of the maenads.
PE
Look, I believe that they in the bushes as birds
are attached to the beds in dearest grips.
DI
Then for this reason you are sent as guard.
Anyway you would catch them, if you are not caught before.
PE
Lead me through the middle of the land of Thebes:
Im the only man among them that dares this.
DI
Youre the only who suffers for this city, the only;
definetely the trials that are necessary wait for you.
Follow me: I go as a saviour escort,
another one will lead you away from there ... PE
She who bore me.
DI
... conspicuous to everyone ...
PE
I go there for this.
DI
... you will arrive being carried ... PE
You are saying my luxury.
DI
... In the hands of your mother.
PE
And you will force me to live
luxuriously.
DI
Such luxuries.
PE
I achieve deserved things.
DI
Terrible you are terrible and to terrible pains you move,
so that you will find a fame fixed against the sky.
Stretch, Agaue, the hands, and you daughters of Kadmos
of the same seed; I lead the this baby
to a great trial, and the winner will be

me and Bromios. For the rest the event will show itself.
CO Go, swift bitches of Lyssa, go to the mount,
where the daughters of Kadmus have their gathering;
make them mad
against the furious spy of maenads
with feminine dress.
First the mother from a smooth rock
or a polo will see him
who spies, and will shout to the bacchae:
Who is this mount-corridor investigator of the daughters of Kadmus
who came, came to the mount, to the mount, o bacchae?
Who bore him?
Not from the blood of women
he was born, but this is offspring of a lioness
or of the Lybian Gorgons.
Let the justice come, evident, let it come
dagger-armed for killing going through the throat
the unholy unlawful unjust earthly
offspring of Echionos;
he with unjust mind and unlawful rage
about Bacchus rites and his mother
with crazy thought
and mad will prepares himself,
to win by force the invincible.
+The ready death is born as wiseness of mind+
to the things of gods,
and to behave humanly is a painless life.
I dont envy the learned: I rejoice in hunting
this other great evident things +the life
oriented to the good+,
to be pious behaving well from day to night,
to honour gods rejecting the customs outside justice.
Let the justice come, let it
dagger-armed for killing going through the throat
the unholy unlawful unjust earthly
offspring of Echionos.
Show yourself as a bull or many-headed
snake or fire-blowing
lion to see.
Come, o Bacchus, around the hunter of maenads
with smiling face put a mortal
tie, making him fall under the herd of maenads.
MESSENGER B
O house, fortunate before in Greece,
of the old Sidonian, who the earthborn

harvest of the snake sowed in the earth,


how I cry for you, even being a slave, but equally
[for the useful servants the happenings of masters are disgraces].
CO What is it? What news do you disclose from the bacchae?
ME Pentheus perished, son of his father Echionos.
CO O lord Bromios, you show up as a great god.
ME What do you mean? Why do you say this? Are you rejoicing
about my unfortunate masters, woman?
CO I cry euoi as a stranger with barbarian songs:
I wont be scared anymore by the fear of chains.
ME Thus you consider Thebes unmanly ...
.............
CO Dionysus, Dionysus, not Thebes
has power over me.
ME Its excusable for you, except that rejoicing
in the committed evils, o women, is not fair.
CO Tell me, say: in which manner died
the man unjust and deviser of injustices?
ME Having left the abode of this Theban land
we went beyond the currents of Asopos,
on the mount Cithairon we burst,
Pentheus and I (indeed I followed the master)
and the stranger who was our escort for the observation.
Firstly then we sit in a grassy valley,
preserving the silence from the feet
and from the tongue, so that we could see not being seen.
There was a dip with hills around, moist with water,
shadowed by pines, where mainads
stayed keeping the hands in pleasing efforts.
Some of them the thyrsus, become bare of
ivy, they crowned it leafy again,
others leaving the colourful yokes as fillies
they shouted to each other the bacchic song.
Pentheus the wretched not seeing the feminine crowd
said this: O stranger, where we are
I dont reach with eyes the counterfeit maenads.
On the hills, having climbed the high fir,
I could see correctly the shame-acting of maenads.
At this point I see the prodigies of the stranger:
grabbing a high, celestial branch of the fir
he bent, bent, bent it down to the black earth;
it bent like a bow or like a curved wheel
drags his course with a lathe, drawing a circular rim;
thus pulling that mountain branch with the hands the stranger
bent it to the earth, doing not a mortal deed.
Putting Pentheus on the branches of the fir
he let go with the hand a straight-up bud
calmly, being careful that it didnt throw him,
straight to the straight air it was set firm
keeping my master sitting on the back.
He was seen more than he saw the maenads;

insofar as he was not yet visible, sitting high,


and the stranger was no longer there to see,
from the sky a voice, as I guess
Dionysus, cried out: O girls,
I bring the man who made you, me and my
rites a laughingstock; punish him then.
And these things together he said and against sky
and the earth he lean the light of a holy fire.
The air shut up, silent the woody valley
kept the leaves, and you wouldnt have heard the rumour of animals.
The women, not having heard well the sound with the ears,
stood up standing and brought the pupils here and there.
He ordered again: as they recognized
well the order of Bacchus, the daughters of Kadmus
ran not worse by speed than a dove
running with a tense run of feet,
the mother Agaue and the consanguineous sisters
and all the bacchae, through the valley in flood
and the cliffs they jumped, furious with the blows of the god.
As they saw my master sit on the fir,
firstly they threw rocks there with strong throws,
going up a rock towering on the opposite side,
and the other threw the thyrsus in the air
to Pentheus, wretched target, but they didnt have success.
Staying higher than their eagerness
sit the wretched, caught by the unescapable situation.
At the end striking with the branches of the oaks
they tore up the roots with levers not of iron.
Because they didnt fulfill the goal of their efforts,
Agaue said: Come one, placing yourselves around in circle
grab the trunk, mainads, in order to seize
the climbing animal and so that he wont reveal
the secret choruses of the god. The women a myriad of hands
stretched out and uprooted the fir from the earth.
Sitting high down to the earth
falls to the soil with myriad moans
Pentheus: he understood that he was near the trouble.
First the mother started as priestess the slaughter
and throws herself on him: he threw the hat away
from the hair, so that recognizing him she didnt kill him,
wretched Agaue, and says grabbing her
by the cheek: Its me, mother, your son
Pentheus, whom you bore in the house of Echionos;
have mercy on me, mother, and dont kill
your son for my faults.
She emitting froth and turning the deformed
pupils, not understanding what was necessary to understand,
possessed by Bacchus, didnt heed him.
Grabbing him by the elbows with the left hand,
pushed the hips of the wretched
she tore his arm, not by her force,

but the god gave her ease in the hands.


On the other side Ino made effort
and tore his flesh, and Autonoe and the whole group
of bacchae moving against him. All was one shout together,
he moaning as much as he could breathe,
and they cried out victory. One brought the elbow,
the other the foot with the shoes, the hips
were stripped naked by the rips, everyone bleeding
in the hands juggled the flesh of Pentheus.
His body lies scattered, part under the rugged
rocks, part in the deep-wooded brush of the forest,
not a simple research. The wretched head,
that the mother happened to grab with the hands,
sticking at the end of the thyrsus she brings it
as that of a mountain lion through the middle of Kithairon,
leaving the sisters in the choruses of maenads.
She goes proud of the unlucky animal
inside the walls, calling Bacchus
as hunt-mate, deed-mate of the hunt,
the victorious, to which as victory she brings tears.
Then I go away from this disgrace
before Agaue arrive at the house.
To be wise and to worship the things of gods
is the best: I believe that this is the wisest
thing for mortals who benefit from it.
CO We dance for Bacchus,
we cry out the disgrace
of Pentheus born from the snake,
who feminine dress
and authentic thyrsus as Hades
good-thyrsus took,
having a bull as guide of the disgrace.
Kadmean Bacchae,
you did a glorious victory hymn
for the cry, for the tears.
Beautiful to put the blood-pouring hand
around the son.
But I see she who rushes toward the house,
Agaue mother of Pentheus, with twisted
eyes: greet her in the procession of the god of Euios.
AGAUE
Bacchae of Asia CO Why do you call me?
AG
We bring from the mounts a new-cut tendril to the house,
blissful hunt.
CO I see and welcome you in our procession.
AG
I grabbed without bonds
this young bud of a wild lion,
as here to see.
CO From what desert?

AG
Kithairon Kithairon killed him.
CO Who hit him?
AG
Firstly its my gift;
the blissful Agaue we sing in the thiasos.
CO Who else? AG
Of Kadmus...
CO What of Kadmus?AG
the offspring
after me after me touched the animal: this hunt was lucky.
...........
Now take part to the banquet.
CO Take part to what, wretched?
AG
The young calf, recently the helmet of down on the cheek
flourishes under the hair.
CO It appears as a wild animal by the hair.
AG
Bacchus wise hunter
wisely the mainads drove against
this animal.
CO For the lord is hunter.
AG
You praise him? CO I praise.
AG
At once the Kadmeans
and my son Pentheus will praise the mother,
who took this leonine prey
extraordinarily extraordinary.
CO Are you happy? AG
I rejoice,
great great things and evident have been done by this hunt.
CO Show nor, wretched your victory prey
to the citizens, bringing which you have come.
AG
O you who dwell the city with beautiful towers
of the Theban land, come here to see this prey
of the animal that we, daughters of Kadmus, hunted,
not with Thessalian javelins with belt,
not with nets, with the white-armed tips
of the hands. And then its necessary to boast
and to buy in vain the instruments of the spear-makers?
We took it with this hand
and we brought the joints away from the animal.
Wheres my old father? Let him come here.
Pentheus my son where is he? Let him raise grabbing
the climbing of joined staircases against the house
so that he nail to the battlements this head
of the lion, hunted which I came here.
KA
Follow me bringing the miserable burden
of Pentheus, follow me, servants, in front of the house,
where his body, labouring with myriads researches,
I bring, this, after having found in the cliffs of Kithairon
scattered and gathering it not in the same soil
at all, that laid in the wood hard to search.
For I heard by someone the acts of daring of my daughters,
already come inside the walls of the city
with the old Teiresias from the bacchae.
Turning back to the mount I take care
of the son slaughtered by the maenads.
And I saw the one who bore Aktaion

to Aristeus, Autonoe, and together Ino,


still around the woods struck by frenzy, wretched,
and one told me that here with bacchic foot
Agaue came, and we didnt here untrue things:
I see her, a unhappy vision.
AG
Father, you have the greatest boast,
to sew the best daughters among all the mortals
for a long time: I said all, but me above all,
who leaving the spool at the loom
came to something greater, to hunt animals with my hands.
I bring in the arms, as you see, these excellent
things, having taken them, up your houses
to be hung: you, father, receive it with the hands,
and proud of my hunts
invite friends to dinner: for you are blissful,
blissful, for the things we have done.
KA
O immeasurable pain and impossible to look at,
you have done a murder with wretched hands.
Slaying this beautiful victim for the gods
you invite this Thebes and me to dinner!
Alas first for your evils, then for mine;
as the god, lord Bromios, destroyed us
justly but too much, though he is born from our family.
AG
How crabby is the old age to men
and furrowed in the eyes. If only my son
were a good hunter, resembling his mother in the behaviour,
when among the young Thebans together
he will aim to the animals; but only to fight with god
he is able. To reproach him, father,
is your task. Who could call him to my sight
here, so that he can see me the happy one?
KA
Ah ah, understanding what youve done
you will suffer a tremendous pain: if you until the end
always remain in the same situation you are in,
it will seem to you to be neither happy nor sad.
AG
Whats not good or that you believe painful of these things?
KA
Firstly abandon your eye to the sky.
AG
Here: why do you advise me to see it?
KA
Does it seem to you to be the same or to have changes?
AG
More shining than before, and more divine.
KA
Is this turmoil still in your soul?
AG
I dont recognize this words: but somehow I come
to my senses, changing the earlier mind.
KA
Do you hear then and do you understand well?
AG
Thus I have forgotten the things we said before, father.
KA
To which house you arrived toghether with the wedding songs?
AG
You gave me to Echion son of Spartos, as they say.
KA
Which son then was born to your spouse in the house?
AG
Pentheus, from the union of me and of his father.
KA
Whose face then do you have in your arms?
AG
Of a lion, as the hunters said.

KA
AG
KA
AG
KA
AG
KA
AG
KA
AG
KA
AG
KA
AG
KA
AG
KA
AG
KA
AG
KA
AG

Look carefully now: its a short toil to look.


Alas, what do I see? Whats this that I bring in my hands?
Look at him and understand better.
I see a great pain, wretched I am.
Maybe it seems to you to resemble a lion?
No, I wretched hold the head of Pentheus.
It was cried before you recognize it.
Who killed him? How did it come in my hands?
Unhappy truth, how you are intimely present.
Speak, because for whats coming the heart has jolts.
You killed him and you sisters.
Where did he die? At home or in what places?
Where earlier bitches tore Aktaion to pieces.
How did this wretched swoop on the Kithairon?
Having arrived there he mocked the god and your bacchic rites.
And we in which way remained there?
You were mad, the whole city was in bacchic frenzy.
Dionysus destroyed us, Ive understood just now.
Outraged as regards outrage: you didnt believe him a god.
The most dear body of the son where is, father?
I bring it having with difficulty researched it.
Really is all well attached in the joints?
....................
AG
And what part of my folly concerned Pentheus?
KA
He was equal to you, not worshipping the god.
So he involved everyone in one ruin,
you and this one, so that the houses perish
and I, who being without male children this bud
of your womb, wretched,
I see dying in the most shameful and evil way,
to whom the house looked, who kept, son,
my roof together, born from my son,
and you were fear to the city. The old man no one
wanted to outrage looking at your
head: you would have inflict a worthy punishment.
Now I am driven away from the house without rights,
the great Kadmos, who the offspring of Thebes
sowed and reaped the most beautiful harvest.
O dearest among men (indeed no longer being anyway
you will be counted among the dearest by me, son),
no longer touching with the had this cheek
will embrace calling me father of your mother, son,
saying: Who is the unjust, whos the offender, old men?
Who does upset you heart causing sorrow?
Tell me, so that Ill punish who is unjust with you, o father.
Now Im wretched, you are unhappy,
pitied mother, and unhappy the kins.
If there is one who despises the gods,
considering the death of this man let him believe in the gods.
CO I suffer for you, Kadmos: your nephew
pays the just punishment for him, but painful for you.

AG
O father, look how much my situation is changed...
......
DI
........
.....
Youll be a snake changhing, and your wife
will change her aspect being transformed in a snake,
Harmonia daughter of Ares, whom you possess born a mortal.
A cart of calves, as Zeus oracle says,
you will drive together with the wife leading the barbarians,
youll destroy many cities with a countless
army; when they will raid the oracle
of the Loxias, a sorrowful coming back
theyll have: Ares will drag you and Harmonia
and in the land of blessed will make your life dwell.
These things I say not born from a mortal father
but from Zeus, I Dionysus: if you understood
to be wise, when you didnt want, the offspring of Zeus
having as ally you would be happy.
KA
Dionysus, we beg you, we have been unjust.
DI
Late you have understood me, when it was necessary you didnt.
KA
Ive recognized these things; but you punish too much.
DI
But I, born a god, have been outraged by you.
KA
Is not fitting that gods equate themselves with mortals as regards wrath.
DI
A long time ago Zeus my father agreed to these things.
AG
Alas, old men, it has seemed fitting that we are wretched exiles.
DI
Why then do you delay the things that are established?
KA
O daughter, how we came to a terrible pain,
Pentheus and you the wretched and your kins
and I the unhappy: Ill arrive among barbarians,
old house-changer, and is still fatal for me
to lead a mixed army of barbarians in Greece.
And the daughter of Ares Harmonia, my wife,
I snake having she the form of a wild snake
Ill lead against the altars and tombs of Greece,
leading spearmen: nor Ill cease
from toils I wretched nor Ill be calm
sailing the Acheron that flows downwards.
AG
O father, I will flee deprived of you.
KA
Why you wrap me, decrepit, with you hands,
o wretched daughter, as a white swan?
AG
Where will I turn myself, driven away from the homeland?
KA
I dont know, daughter: your father is a small help.
AG
Bye, o roof, bye, o native
city: I leave you for the misfortune
exile from the chamber.
KA
Go now, daughter, to Aristeus
.....
I mourn you, father.
KA
And I for you, daughter,
and your sisters cried.
AG
Exceptionally this ruin
the lord Dionysus

brought to your houses.


DI
And I suffered terrible things from you,
having a name not honoured in Thebes.
AG
Bye my father.
KA
Bye wretched
daughter: hardly you could arrive at this.
AG
Escorts, lead me to my sisters
so that we take them as wretched companions of exile.
I would arrive where
nor the polluted Kithairon could see me
nor I see it with my eyes,
nor where the memory of thyrsus lies as offer.
It will be concern of the other Bacchae.
CO Many are the forms of gods,
many things unexpectedly the gods accomplish;
and the things that are believed arent fulfilled,
and the god finds the way of unexpected things.
Such a thing happened.