Agave happened to be leaping near me, and I sprang forth, wanting to snatch her,
abandoning the ambush where I had hidden myself. But she cried out: “O my fleet hounds, we are hunted by these men; but follow me! follow armed with your thyrsoi in your hands!”
We fled and escaped
from being torn apart by the Bacchae, but they, with unarmed hands, sprang on the heifers browsing the grass. and you might see one rending asunder a fatted lowing calf, while others tore apart cows.
You might see ribs or cloven hooves tossed here and there; caught in the trees they dripped, dabbled in gore. Bulls who before were fierce, and showed their fury with their horns, stumbled to the ground,
dragged down by countless young hands. The garment of flesh was torn apart faster then you could blink your royal eyes. And like birds raised in their course, they proceeded along the level plains, which by the streams of the Asopus
produce the bountiful Theban crop. And falling like soldiers upon Hysiae and Erythrae, towns situated below the rock of Kithairon, they turned everything upside down. They were snatching children from their homes;
and whatever they put on their shoulders, whether bronze or iron, was not held on by bonds, nor did it fall to the ground. They carried fire on their locks, but it did not burn them. Some people in rage took up arms, being plundered by the Bacchae,
and the sight of this was terrible to behold, lord. For their pointed spears drew no blood, but the women, hurling the thyrsoi from their hands, kept wounding them and turned them to flight—women did this to men, not without the help of some god.
And they returned where they had come from, to the very fountains which the god had sent forth for them, and washed off the blood, and snakes cleaned the drops from the women's cheeks with their tongues.
Receive this god then, whoever he is,
into this city, master. For he is great in other respects, and they say this too of him, as I hear, that he gives to mortals the vine that puts an end to grief. Without wine there is no longer Aphrodite or any other pleasant thing for men.