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Pentheus
[215] I happened to be at a distance from this land, when I heard of strange evils throughout this city, that the women have left our homes in contrived Bacchic rites, and rush about in the shadowy mountains, honoring with dances [220] this new deity Dionysus, whoever he is. I hear that mixing-bowls stand full in the midst of their assemblies, and that they each creep off different ways into secrecy to serve the beds of men, on the pretext that they are Maenads worshipping; [225] but they consider Aphrodite before Bacchus.

As many of them as I have caught, servants keep in the public strongholds with their hands bound, and as many as are absent I will hunt from the mountains, [I mean Ino and Agave, who bore me to Echion, and [230] Autonoe, the mother of Actaeon.] And having bound them in iron fetters, I will soon stop them from this ill-working revelry. And they say that some stranger has come, a sorcerer, a conjuror from the Lydian land, [235] fragrant in hair with golden curls, having in his eyes the wine-dark graces of Aphrodite. He is with the young girls day and night, alluring them with joyful mysteries. If I catch him within this house, [240] I will stop him from making a noise with the thyrsos and shaking his hair, by cutting his head off.

That one claims that Dionysus is a god, claims that he was once stitched into the thigh of Zeus—Dionysus, who was burnt up with his mother by the flame of lightning, [245] because she had falsely claimed a marriage with Zeus. Is this not worthy of a terrible death by hanging, for a stranger to insult me with these insults, whoever he is?

But here is another wonder—I see Teiresias the soothsayer in dappled fawn-skins [250] and my mother's father—a great absurdity—raging about with a thyrsos. I shrink, father, from seeing your old age devoid of sense. Won't you cast away the ivy? Grandfather, will you not free your hand of the thyrsos? [255] You persuaded him to this, Teiresias. Do you wish, by introducing another new god to men, to examine birds and receive rewards for sacrifices? If your gray old age did not defend you, you would sit in chains in the midst of the Bacchae, [260] for introducing wicked rites. For where women have the delight of the grape-cluster at a feast, I say that none of their rites is healthy any longer.

Chorus Leader
Oh, what impiety! O stranger, do you not reverence the gods and Kadmos who sowed the earth-born crop? [265] Do you, the child of Echion, bring shame to your race?

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