Stories of our women leaving home to frisk
in mock ecstasies among the thickets on the mountain,
dancing in honor of the latest divinity,
a certain Dionysus, whoever he may be!
In their midst stand bowls brimming with wine.
And then, one by one, the women wander off
to hidden nooks where they serve the lusts of men.
Priestesses of Bacchus they claim they are,
but it’s really Aphrodite they adore.
[γυναῖκας ἡμῖν δώματ᾽ ἐκλελοιπέναι
πλασταῖσι βακχείαισιν, ἐν δὲ δασκίοις
ὄρεσι θοάζειν, τὸν νεωστὶ δαίμονα
Διόνυσον, ὅστις ἔστι, τιμώσας χοροῖς:
πλήρεις δὲ θιάσοις ἐν μέσοισιν ἑστάναι
κρατῆρας, ἄλλην δ᾽ ἄλλοσ᾽ εἰς ἐρημίαν
πτώσσουσαν εὐναῖς ἀρσένων ὑπηρετεῖν,
πρόφασιν μὲν ὡς δὴ μαινάδας θυοσκόους,
τὴν δ᾽ Ἀφροδίτην πρόσθ᾽ ἄγειν τοῦ Βακχίου.]
Bacchæ [Βάκχαι], l. 217ff [Pentheus/Πενθεύς] (405 BC) [tr. Arrowsmith (1960)]
(Source (Greek)). Alternate translations:
Our women have deserted, on pretence
That they in mystic orgies are engaged;
On the umbrageous hills they chant the praise
Of this new God, whoe'er he be, this Bacchus;
Him in their dances they revere, and place
Amid their ranks huge goblets fraught with wine:
Some fly to pathless deserts, where they meet
Their paramours, while they in outward shew
Are Mænedes by holy rites engrossed.
Yet Venus more than Bacchus they revere.
[tr. Wodhull (1809)]
The women have left our homes in contrived Bacchic rites, and rush about in the shadowy mountains, honoring with dances 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; but they consider Aphrodite before Bacchus.
[tr. Buckley (1850)]
Our women all have left their homes, to join
These fabled mysteries. On the shadowy rocks
Frequent they sit, this God of yesterday,
Dionysus, whosoe'er he be, with revels
Dishonorable honoring. In the midst
Stand the crowned goblets; and each stealing forth,
This way and that, creeps to a lawless bed;
In pretext, holy sacrificing Mænads,
But serving Aphrodite more than Bacchus.
[tr. Milman (1865)]
Our women have deserted from their homes,
Pretending Bacchic rites, and now they lurk
In the shady hill-tops reverencing forsooth
This Dionysus, this new deity.
Full bowls of wine are served out to the throng;
And scattered here and there through the glades,
The wantons hurry to licentious love.
They call themselves the priestess Mænades;
Bacchus invoke, but Aphrodite serve.
[tr. Rogers (1872), l. 200ff]
I hear that our women-folk have left their homes on pretence of Bacchic rites, and on the wooded hills rush wildly to and fro, honouring in the dance this new god Dionysus, whoe’er he is; and in the midst of each revel-rout the brimming wine-bowl stands, and one by one they steal away to lonely spots to gratify their lust, pretending forsooth that they are Mænads bent on sacrifice, though it is Aphrodite they are placing before the Bacchic god.
[tr. Coleridge (1891)]
How from their homes our women have gone forth
Feigning a Bacchic rapture, and rove wild
O'er wooded hills, in dances honouring
Dionysus, this new God -- whoe'er he be.
And midst each revel-rout the wine-bowls stand
Brimmed: and to lonely nooks, some here, some there,
They steal, to work with men the deed of shame,
In pretext Maenad priestesses, forsooth,
But honouring Aphroditê more than Bacchus.
[tr. Way (1898)]
Wives, our own sisters, from their hearths are flown
To wild and secret rites; and cluster there
High on the shadowy hills, with dance and prayer
To adore this new-made God, this Dionyse,
Whate'er he be! -- And in their companies
Deep wine-jars stand, and ever and anon
Away into the loneliness now one
Steals forth, and now a second, maid or dame,
Where love lies waiting, not of God! The flame,
They say, of Bacchios wraps them. Bacchios! Nay,
'Tis more to Aphrodite that they pray.
[tr. Murray (1902)]
That our women have abandoned their homes
in fake bacchic revels, and in the deep-shaded
mountains are roaming around, honoring with dances
the new-made god Dionysus, whoever he is;
that wine-bowls are set among the sacred companies
full to the brim, and that one by one the women go crouching
into the wilderness, to serve the lechery of men --
they profess to be maenads making sacrifice,
but actually they put Aphrodite before the Bacchic god.
[tr. Kirk (1970)]
Our women, I discover, have abandoned their homes on some pretence of Bacchic worship, and go gadding about in the woods on the mountain side, dancing in honour of this upstart god Dionysus, whoever he may be. They tell me, in the midst of each group of revellers stands a bowl full of wine; and the women go creeping off this way and that to lonely places and there give themselves to lecherous men, under the excuse that they are Maenad priestesses; though in their ritual Aphrodite comes before Bacchus.
[tr. Vellacott (1973)]
They leave their home, desert their children
Follow the new fashion and join the Bacchae
Flee the hearth to mob the mountains -- those contain
Deep shadows of course, secret caves to hide
Lewd games for this new god -- Dionysos!
That's the holy spirit newly discovered.
Dionysos! Their ecstasy is flooded down
In brimming bowls of wine -- so much for piety!
Soused, with all the senses roused, they crawl
Into the bushes and there of course a man
Awaits them. All part of the service for for this
Mysterious deity. The hypocrisy? All they care about
Is getting serviced.
[tr. Soyinka (1973)]
Our women gone, abandoning their homes,
pretending to be bacchae, massing
in the bushy mountains, this latest divinity
Dionysos (whoever he is) honouring and chorusing,
filling and setting amidst the thiasus
wine-bowls, and one by one in solitude
sneaking off to cater to male bidding, --
supposedly as sacrificial maenads,
but Aphrodite ranks before their Bacchic One.
[tr. Neuburg (1988)]
Our women, I am told, have left their homes,
in a religious trance -- what travesty! --
and scamper up and down the wooded mountains, dancing
in honor of this newfangled God, Dionysus,
whoever he might be.
In the middle of each female group
of revelers, I hear,
stands a jar of wine, brimming! And that taking turns,
they steal away, one here, one there, to shady nooks,
where they satisfy the lechery of men,
pretending to be priestesses,
performing their religious duties. Ha!
That performance reeks more of Aphrodite than of Bacchus.
[tr. Cacoyannis (1982)]
Our women have abandoned our homes
And, in a jacked-up frenzy of phony inspiration,
Riot in the dark mountains,
Honoring this upstart god, Dionysos --
Whatever he is -- dancing in his chorus.
Full jugs of wine stand in their midst
And each woman slinks off
To the wilderness to serve male lust,
Pretending they are praying priestesses,
But Aphrodite leads them, not Bacchus.
[tr. Blessington (1993)]
Our women have abandoned their homes
for the sham revelries of Bacchus
frisking about on the dark-shadowed mountains
honoring with their dances the latest god, Dionysius, whoever he is.
They've set up their mixing bowls brimming with wine
amidst their cult gatherings, and each lady slinks off in a different direction
to some secluded wilderness to service the lusts of men.
They pretend to be maenads performing sacrifices
but in reality they rank Aphrodite's pleasures before Bacchus!
[tr. Esposito (1998)]
These women of ours have left their homes
and run away to the dark mountains, pretending
to be Bacchants. It's this brand-new god,
Dionysus, whoever that is; they're dancing for him!
They gather in throngs around full bowls
of wine; then one by one they sneak away
to lonely places where they sleep with men.
Priestesses they call themselves! Maenads!
It's Aphrodite they put first, not Bacchus.
[tr. Woodruff (1999)]
Our houses for bogus revels (“Bakkhic” indeed!),
Dashing through the dark shade of mountain forests
To honor with their dancing this new god,
Dionysos -- whoever he may be --
And right in their midst they set full bowls of wine,
And slink into the thickets to meet men there,
Saying they are maenads sacrificing
When they really rank Aphrodite first,
[tr. Gibbons/Segal (2000)]
The women have left our homes in fictitious ecstatic rites and flit about on the thick-shaded mountains, honoring the new god Dionysus, whoever he is, with their dancing. They set up full wine bowls in the middle of their assembles and sneak off, one here, one there, to tryst in private with men. The pretext for all of this is that they are maenads, performing their rites, but they hold Aphrodite in higher regard than the bacchic god.
[tr. Kovacs (2002)]
I hear our women have flown from their proper place in the home -- dancing about in the shadowy hills in sham ecstasy for this newfound Dionysus! And these wine-befuddled women slink into the darkness, drawn by the sirens of lust. Fine high priestesses of the new god! They seem to make more worship of Aphrodite than of Bacchus!
[tr. Rao/Wolf (2004)]
I heard that our women have left their homes and gone off to the mountains dancing the Bacchic dances! Some new, young god! Utter rubbish! There they are, placing great tubs full of wine in the centre of their group, in the middle of nowhere and off they go, one here, another there, rolling around with any man they come across and giving the excuse that they are maenads; but what are they doing? Serving Dionysos? No way! They’re serving Aphrodite!
[tr. Theodoridis (2005)]
The women have left us, abandoning their homes in
phony Bacchic worship and that they gad about on
the bushy mountaintops; that this "new" god Dio-
nysus, whoever he really is, is honoured in their dances,
and that they set the sacred wine-bowls, fill'd, in the
midst of the thiasoi, each slinking off her sep'rate
way to serve males' hot lust in the woods, pre-
tending to be Maenads sacrificing; and so
they place Aphrodite on top of Bacchus.
[tr. Valerie (2005)]
... women leaving home
to go to silly Bacchic rituals,
cavorting there in mountain shadows,
with dances honoring some upstart god,
this Dionysus, whoever he may be. Mixing bowls
in the middle of their meetings filled with wine,
they creep off one by one to lonsely spots
to have sex with men, claiming they're Maenads
busy worshipping. But they rank Aphrodite,
goddess of sexual desire, ahead of Bacchus.
[tr. Johnston (2008), l. 272ff]
Women have deserted their homes for these
fraudulent rites -- up in the woods and mountains,
dancing to celebrate some new god --
Dionysus, whoever he is.
Drink is at the bottom of it all.
Huge bowls stand in their midst, I'm told,
brimming with wine, and one by one the women
slip into the shadows to satisfy the lusts of men.
They say they are priestesses, sworn to Bacchus,
but it's clearly Aphrodite they adore.
[tr. Robertson (2014)]
Women have forsaken their homes. It’s a front, it’s a fake, a false Bacchic rite, an excuse for them to cavort in the mountain’s shade, dancing to honor this "new god" Dionysus.
Whoever that is. Whoever he really is.
I hear they’ve got casks of wine up there, full to the brim, just sitting there in the midst of their frolicking. And that they sneak off into secluded corners, servicing men, excusing it as a sacred thing, a Maenad’s ritual.
If it is a ritual, it’s to Aphrodite, not this Bacchus of theirs.
[tr. Pauly (2019)]
How our women
had run off
in the mountains,
roaming about with this
brand new god, Dionysus --
whoever he is.
in the midst of their revels
stand full wine bowls.
And women slink off
one by one
with any man
who happens by.
They pretend to be Maenads, priestesses.
[tr. Behr/Foster (2019)]
Our women have left our homes in contrived Bacchic rites, and rush about in the shadowy mountains, honoring with khoroi this new daimōn Dionysus, whoever he is. I hear that mixing-bowls stand full in the midst of their assemblies, and that each woman, flying to secrecy in different directions, yields to the embraces of men, on the pretext that they are Maenads worshipping. They consider Aphrodite of greater priority than Dionysus.
[tr. Buckley/Sens/Nagy (2020)]
Note not all quotations have been tagged, so Search may find additional quotes on this topic.
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What moment of ecstasy equals that one in childhood when, after having just been given permission to “go play” with a chum, you are on your way!
“Ask Any Woman” column, Ladies’ Home Journal (1963-03)
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Wretchedness is caused by emotional disturbances, and the happy life by calmness, and disturbance takes two forms — anxiety and fear in expecting evils, ecstatic joy and lustful thoughts in misunderstanding good things, all of which are at variance with with wisdom and reason. Accordingly, if a man possesses self-control and consistency, and is without fear, distress, excitability, or lust, is he not happy? But this is the nature of the wise man always, so he is happy always.
[Atque cum perturbationes animi miseriam, sedationes autem vitam efficiant beatam, duplexque ratio perturbationis sit, quod aegritudo et metus in malis opinatis, in bonorum autem errore laetitia gestiens libidoque versetur, quae omnia cum consilio et ratione pugnent, his tu tam gravibus concitationibus tamque ipsis inter se dissentientibus atque distractis quem vacuum solutum liberum videris, hunc dubitabis beatum dicere? atqui sapiens semper ita adfectus est; semper igitur sapiens beatus est.]
Tusculan Disputations [Tusculanae Disputationes], Book 5, ch. 15 (5.15) / sec. 43 (45 BC) [tr. Davie (2017)]
(Source (Latin)). Alternate translations:
Now since the Disturbances of the Soul render the Life miserable, but the composure of them happy; and there is a double rank of Passions; in that, Discontent and Fear are terminated on Evils conceiv'd; but excessive Mirth and Lust arise from the misapprehension of good things, since all are inconsistent with Advice and Reason, if you shall see any one clear, emancipated, free from these emotions so vehement, so discordant one with the other, and so distracting, can you make any question of calling him Happy? But the Wise man is always so dispos'd, therefore the Wise man is always Happy.
[tr. Wase (1643)]
But as the perturbations of the mind make life miserable, and tranquility renders it happy: and as these perturbations are of two sorts; grief and fear, proceeding from imagined evils, immoderate joy and lust, from the mistake of what is good; and all these are in opposition to reason and counsel; when you see a man at ease, quite free and disengaged from such troublesome commotions, which are so much at variance with one another, can you hesitate to pronounce such a one a happy man? Now the wise man is always in such a disposition: therefore the wise man is always happy.
[tr. Main (1824)]
But when the perturbations render life unhappy, while their repose makes it happy -- and since the mode of perturbation is twofold -- sorrow and fear having birth from reputed evils -- the delirium of joy and desire, from the delusion of good, -- when all these are repugnant to counsel and reason, and you see a man void, exempt, free from these excitements, so vehement, so discordant, so distracted by mutual conflicts, -- will you hesitate to pronounce him happy? But the wise man is always thus, and therefore always happy.
[tr. Otis (1839)]
But as the perturbations of the mind make life miserable, and tranquillity renders it happy; and as these perturbations are of two sorts, grief and fear, proceeding from imagined evils, and as immoderate joy and lust arise from a mistake about what is good, and as all these feelings are in opposition to reason and counsel; when you see a man at ease, quite free and disengaged from such troublesome commotions, which are so much at variance with one another can you hesitate to pronounce such an one a happy man? Now the wise man is always in such a disposition, therefore the wise man is always happy.
[tr. Yonge (1853)]
Now since perturbations of mind create misery, while quietness of mind makes life happy, and since there are two kinds of perturbations, grief and fear having their scope in imagined evils, inordinate joy and desire in mistaken notions of the good, all being repugnant to wise counsel and reason, will you hesitate to call him happy whom you see relieved, released, free from these excitements so oppressive, and so at variance and divided among themselves? Indeed one thus disposed is always happy. Therefore the wise man is always happy.
[tr. Peabody (1886)]
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Art and Religion are, then, two roads by which men escape from circumstance to ecstasy.
Art, ch. 1 (1913)
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