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[1] I will tell of Dionysus, the son of glorious Semele, how he appeared on a jutting headland by the shore of the fruitless sea, seeming like a stripling in the first flush of manhood: his rich, dark hair was waving about him, [5] and on his strong shoulders he wore a purple robe. Presently there came swiftly over the sparkling sea Tyrsenian1 pirates on a well-decked ship —a miserable doom led them on. When they saw him they made signs to one another and sprang out quickly, and seizing him straightway [10] put him on board their ship exultingly; for they thought him the son of heaven-nurtured kings. They sought to bind him with rude bonds, but the bonds would not hold him, and the withes fell far away from his hands and feet: and he sat with a smile [15] in his dark eyes. Then the helmsman understood all and cried out at once to his fellows and said:

“Madmen! what god is this whom you have taken and bind, strong that he is? Not even the well-built ship can carry him. Surely this is either Zeus or Apollo who has the silver bow, [20] or Poseidon, for he looks not like mortal men but like the gods who dwell on Olympus. Come, then, let us set him free upon the dark shore at once: do not lay hands on him, lest he grow angry and stir up dangerous winds and heavy squalls.”

[25] So said he: but the master chid him with taunting words: “Madman, mark the wind and help hoist sail on the ship: catch all the sheets. As for this fellow we men will see to him: I reckon he is bound for Egypt or for Cyprus or to the Hyperboreans or further still. But in the end [30] he will speak out and tell us his friends and all his wealth and his brothers, now that providence has thrown him in our way.”

1 Probably not Etruscans, but the non-Hellenic peoples of Thrace and (according to Thucydides) of Lemnos and Athens. Cp. Herodotus i. 57; Thucydides iv. 109.

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