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Enter a servant

Pentheus, we are here, having caught this prey [435] for which you sent us, nor have we set out in vain. This beast was docile in our hands and did not withdraw in flight, but yielded not unwillingly. He did not turn pale or change the wine-dark complexion of his cheek, but laughed and allowed us to bind him and lead him away. [440] He remained still, making my work easy, and I in shame said: “Stranger, I do not lead you away willingly, but by order of Pentheus, who sent me.”

And the Bacchae whom you shut up, whom you carried off and bound in the chains of the public prison, [445] are set loose and gone, and are gamboling in the meadows, invoking Bromius as their god. Of their own accord, the chains were loosed from their feet and keys opened the doors without human hand. This man has come to Thebes [450] full of many wonders. You must take care of the rest.

Release his hands, for caught in the nets he is not so swift as to escape me. But your body is not ill-formed, stranger, for women's purposes, for which reason you have come to Thebes. [455] For your hair is long, not through wrestling, scattered over your cheeks, full of desire; and you have a white skin from careful preparation, hunting after Aphrodite by your beauty not exposed to strokes of the sun, but beneath the shade. [460] First then tell me who your family is.

I can tell you this easily, without boasting. I suppose you are familiar with flowery Tmolus.

I know of it; it surrounds the city of Sardis.

I am from there, and Lydia is my fatherland.

[465] Why do you bring these rites to Hellas?

Dionysus, the child of Zeus, sent me.

Is there a Zeus who breeds new gods there?

No, but the one who married Semele here.

Did he compel you at night, or in your sight?

[470] Seeing me just as I saw him, he gave me sacred rites.

What appearance do your rites have?

They can not be told to mortals uninitiated in Bacchic revelry.

And do they have any profit to those who sacrifice?

It is not lawful for you to hear, but they are worth knowing.

[475] You have counterfeited this well, so that I desire to hear.

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