Lucky if Blessed By Dionysus

Euripides’ Bacchae, First Chorus (part 1): 64-119

From the Asian land
After leaving sacred Tmôlos I speed— 65

A toil for Bromios that is sweet,
And a worn but happy weariness—
Crying out to the Bacchic god.

Who is in the road? Who is on the road?
Who is in the palace? Have every person come out!
Have each one hold a quiet tongue in sacred silence. 70

I am hymning Dionysus
In the customs that are always used.

You are blessed if you are lucky
To know the rites of the gods
And lead a pure life;
And join your soul to the band 75
Of Bacchic revelers on the mountains
In the sacred cleansing worship.
Taking care of the Great mother’s mysteries
Shaking the thyrsus all about 80
once you are wreathed in ivy,
you tend to Dionysus!

Go, Bacchae, Go Bacchae,
Lead on this Bromios, a divine child of a god,
Dionysus 85
From the Phrygian mountains on
To the streets of Greece, wide-enough for dances.

Once, his mother went
Into the forced labors of birth
From Zeus’ thunder in flight 90
She released him from her womb
Too early, and lost her life
At the lightning’s strike.

But Zeus, Kronos’ son
Immediately welcomed him
Into his hands
And hid him in his thigh—
He sewed him up with golden pins
To keep him a secret from Hera.
When the Fates made him grow,
He gave birth 100
To a bull-horned god
And crowned him with wreaths of snakes.

This is why the Maenads weave
Beast-eating serpents in their hair.

Thebes, the nurse of Semele, 105
Crown yourselves with ivy!
Flourish, Grow with the green
Leaves flush with fruit.
Make yourselves Bacchae too
With branches of oak or pine. 110
Adorn your clothes of stitched fawn
With strands of white wool.
Make sacred the arrogant wands.
Right now the whole earth will dance
As Bromios leads out his bands 115
To the mountain, to the mountain where
the woman-born mob stands
driven mad from their shuttles and looms
by Dionysus.

᾿Ασίας ἀπὸ γαίας
ἱερὸν Τμῶλον ἀμείψασα θοάζω
Βρομίωι πόνον ἡδὺν
κάματόν τ’ εὐκάματον, Βάκ-
χιον εὐαζομένα.
τίς ὁδῶι, τίς ὁδῶι; τίς
μελάθροις; ἔκτοπος ἔστω,
στόμα τ’ εὔφημον ἅπας ἐξοσιούσθω·
τὰ νομισθέντα γὰρ αἰεὶ
Διόνυσον ὑμνήσω.
ὦ μάκαρ, ὅστις εὐδαί-
μων τελετὰς θεῶν εἰ-
δὼς βιοτὰν ἁγιστεύει
καὶ θιασεύεται ψυ-
χὰν ἐν ὄρεσσι βακχεύ-
ων ὁσίοις καθαρμοῖσιν,
τά τε ματρὸς μεγάλας ὄρ-
για Κυβέλας θεμιτεύων
ἀνὰ θύρσον τε τινάσσων
κισσῶι τε στεφανωθεὶς
Διόνυσον θεραπεύει.
ἴτε βάκχαι, ἴτε βάκχαι,
Βρόμιον παῖδα θεὸν θεοῦ
Διόνυσον κατάγουσαι
Φρυγίων ἐξ ὀρέων ῾Ελλάδος εἰς εὐ-
ρυχόρους ἀγυιάς, τὸν Βρόμιον·
ὅν ποτ’ ἔχουσ’ ἐν ὠδί-
νων λοχίαις ἀνάγκαι-
σι πταμένας Διὸς βροντᾶς
νηδύος ἔκβολον μά-
τηρ ἔτεκεν, λιποῦσ’ αἰ-
ῶνα κεραυνίωι πλαγᾶι·
λοχίαις δ’ αὐτίκα νιν δέ-
ξατο θαλάμαις Κρονίδας Ζεύς,
κατὰ μηρῶι δὲ καλύψας
χρυσέαισιν συνερείδει
περόναις κρυπτὸν ἀφ’ ῞Ηρας.
ἔτεκεν δ’, ἁνίκα Μοῖραι
τέλεσαν, ταυρόκερων θεὸν
στεφάνωσέν τε δρακόντων
στεφάνοις, ἔνθεν ἄγραν θηρότροφον μαι-
νάδες ἀμφιβάλλονται πλοκάμοις.
ὦ Σεμέλας τροφοὶ Θῆ-
βαι, στεφανοῦσθε κισσῶι·
βρύετε βρύετε χλοήρει
μίλακι καλλικάρπωι
καὶ καταβακχιοῦσθε δρυὸς
ἢ ἐλάτας κλάδοισι,
στικτῶν τ’ ἐνδυτὰ νεβρίδων
στέφετε λευκοτρίχων πλοκάμων
μαλλοῖς· ἀμφὶ δὲ νάρθηκας ὑβριστὰς
ὁσιοῦσθ’· αὐτίκα γᾶ πᾶσα χορεύσει,
Βρόμιος εὖτ’ ἂν ἄγηι θιάσους
εἰς ὄρος εἰς ὄρος, ἔνθα μένει
θηλυγενὴς ὄχλος
ἀφ’ ἱστῶν παρὰ κερκίδων τ’
οἰστρηθεὶς Διονύσωι.


Related image
Pompeian Wall Painting

3 thoughts on “Lucky if Blessed By Dionysus

Leave a Reply