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Enter Dionysus

Dionysus
Barbarian women, have you fallen on the ground [605] so stricken with fear? You have, so it seems, felt Bacchus shaking the house of Pentheus. But get up and take courage, putting a stop to your trembling.

Chorus Leader
Oh greatest light for us in our joyful revelry, how happy I am to see you—I who was alone and desolate before.

Dionysus
[610] Did you despair when I was sent to fall into Pentheus' dark dungeon?

Chorus Leader
How not? Who was my guardian, if you met with misfortune? But how were you freed, having met with an impious man?

Dionysus
By myself I saved myself easily, without trouble.

Chorus Leader
[615] Did he not tie your hands in binding knots?

Dionysus
In this too I mocked him, for, thinking to bind me, he neither touched nor handled me, but fed on hope. He found a bull by the stable where he took and shut me up, and threw shackles around its knees and hooves, [620] breathing out fury, dripping sweat from his body, gnashing his teeth in his lips. But I, being near, sitting quietly, looked on. Meanwhile, Bacchus came and shook the house and kindled a flame on his mother's tomb. When Pentheus saw this, thinking that the house was burning, [625] he ran here and there, calling to the slaves to bring water, and every servant was at work, toiling in vain.

Then he let this labor drop, as I had escaped, and snatching a dark sword rushed into the house. Then Bromius, so it seems to me—I speak my opinion— [630] created a phantom in the courtyard. Pentheus rushed at it headlong, stabbing at the shining air, as though slaughtering me. Besides this, Bacchus inflicted other damage on him: he knocked his house to the ground, and everything was shattered into pieces, while he saw my bitter chains. From fatigue, [635] dropping his sword, he is exhausted. For he, a man, dared to join battle with a god. Now I have quietly left the house and come to you, with no thought of Pentheus.

But I think—at any rate I hear the tramping of feet inside—he will soon come to the front of the house. What will he say after this? [640] I shall easily bear him, even if he comes boasting greatly. For it is the part of a wise man to practice restrained good temper.

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