Thou Immaculate on high;
Thou Recording Purity;
Thou that stoopest, Golden Wing,
Earthward, manward, pitying,
Hearest thou this angry King?
Hearest thou the rage and scorn
'Gainst the Lord of Many Voices,
Him of mortal mother born,
Him in whom man's heart rejoices,
Girt with garlands and with glee,
First in Heaven's sovranty?
For his kingdom, it is there,
In the dancing and the prayer,
In the music and the laughter,
In the vanishing of care,
And of all before and after;
In the Gods' high banquet, when
Gleams the graperflood, flashed to heaven;
Yea, and in the feasts of men
Comes his crowned slumber; then
Pain is dead and hate forgiven!
Loose thy lips from out the rein;
Lift thy wisdom to disdain;
Whatso law thou canst not see,
Scorning; so the end shall be
'Tis the life of quiet breath,
'Tis the simple and the true,
Storm nor earthquake shattereth,
Nor shall aught the house undo
Where they dwell. For, far away,
Hidden from the eyes of day,
Watchers are there in the skies,
That can see man's life, and prize
Deeds well done by things of clay.
But the world's Wise are not wise,
Claiming more than mortal may.
Life is such a little thing;
Lo, their present is departed,
And the dreams to which they cling
Come not. Mad imagining
Theirs, I ween, and empty-hearted!
Where is the Home for me?
O Cyprus, set in the sea,
Aphrodite's home In the soft sea-foam,
Would I could wend to thee;
Where the wings of the Loves are furled,
And faint the heart of the world.
Aye, unto Paphos' isle,
Where the rainless meadows smile
With riches rolled From the hundred-fold
Mouths of the far-off Nile,
Streaming beneath the waves
To the roots of the seaward caves.
But a better land is there
Where Olympus cleaves the air,
The high still dell Where the Muses dwell,
Fairest of all things fair!
O there is Grace, and there is the Heart's Desire,
And peace to adore thee, thou Spirit of Guiding Fire!
A God of Heaven is he,
And born in majesty;
Yet hath he mirth
In the joy of the Earth,
And he loveth constantly
Her who brings increase,
The Feeder of Children, Peace.
No grudge hath he of the great;
No scorn of the mean estate;
But to all that liveth His wine he giveth,
Only on them that spurn
Joy, may his anger burn.
Love thou the Day and the Night;
Be glad of the Dark and the Light;
And avert thine eyes From the lore of the wise,
That have honour in proud men's sight.
The simple nameless herd of Humanity
Hath deeds and faith that are truth enough for me!
[As the Chorus ceases, a party of the guards return, leading in the midst of them DIONYSUS, bound. The SOLDIER in command stands forth, as PENTHEUS, hearing the tramp of feet, comes out from the Castle.]
Our quest is finished, and thy prey, O King,
Caught; for the chase was swift, and this wild thing
Most tame; yet never flinched, nor thought to flee,
But held both hands out unresistingly -
No change, no blanching of the wine-red cheek.
He waited while we came, and bade us wreak
All thy decree; yea, laughed, and made my best
Easy, till I for very shame confessed
And said: "O stranger, not of mine own will
I bind thee, but his bidding to fulfil
Who sent me."
And those prisoned Maids withal
Whom thou didst seize and bind within the wall
Of thy great dungeon, they are fled, O King.
Free in the woods, a-dance and glorying
To Bromios. Of their own impulse fell
To earth, men say, fetter and manacle,
And bars slid back untouched of mortal hand
Yea, full of many wonders to thy land
Is this man come.... Howbeit, it lies with thee!
Ye are mad! - Unhand him. Howso swift he be,
My toils are round him and he shall not fly.
[The guards loose the arms of DIONYSUS; PENTHEUS studies him for a
while in silence then speaks jeeringly. DIONYSUS remains gentle
Marry, a fair shape for a woman's eye,
Sir stranger! And thou seek'st no more, I ween!
Long curls, withal! That shows thou ne'er hast been
A wrestler! - down both cheeks so softly tossed
And winsome! And a white skin! It hath cost
Thee pains, to please thy damsels with this white
And red of cheeks that never face the light!
[DIONYSUS is silent.]
Speak, sirrah; tell me first thy name and race.
No glory is therein, nor yet disgrace.
Thou hast heard of Tmolus, the bright hill of flowers?
Surely, the ridge that winds by Sardis towers.
Thence am I; Lydia was my fatherland.
And whence these revelations, that thy band
Spreadeth in Hellas?
Their intent and use
Dionysus oped to me, the Child of Zeus.
Is there a Zeus there, that can still beget
Nay, only He whose seal was set
Here in thy Thebes on Semele.
Descended he upon thee? In full day
Or vision of night?
Most clear he stood, and scanned
My soul, and gave his emblems to mine hand.
What like be they, these emblems?
That may none
Reveal, nor know, save his Elect alone.
And what good bring they to the worshipper?
Good beyond price, but not for thee to hear.
Thou trickster? Thou wouldst prick me on the more
To seek them out!
His mysteries abhor
The touch of sin-lovers.
And so thine eyes
Saw this God plain; what guise had he?
It liked him. 'Twas not I ordained his shape.
Aye, deftly turned again. An idle jape,
And nothing answered!
Wise words being brought
To blinded eyes will seem as things of nought.
And comest thou first to Thebes, to have thy God
Nay; all Barbary hath trod
His dance ere this.
A low blind folk, I ween,
Beside our Hellenes!
Higher and more keen
In this thing, though their ways are not thy way.
How is thy worship held, by night or day?
Most oft by night; 'tis a majestic thing,
Ha! with women worshipping?
'Tis craft and rottenness!
By day no less,
Whoso will seek may find unholiness -
Enough! Thy doom is fixed, for false pretence
Not mine; but thine, for dense
Blindness of heart, and for blaspheming God!
A ready knave it is, and brazen-browed,
Come, say what it shall be,
My doom; what dire thing wilt thou do to me?
First, shear that delicate curl that dangles there.
[He beckons to the soldiers, who approach DIONYSUS.]
I have vowed it to my God; 'tis holy hair.
[The soldiers cut off the tress.]
Next, yield me up thy staff!
Raise thine own hand
To take it. This is Dionysus' wand.
[PENTHEUS takes the staff.]
Last, I will hold thee prisoned here.
God will unloose me, when I speak the word.
He may, if e'er again amid his bands
Of saints he hears thy voice!
Even now he stands
Close here, and sees all that I suffer.
Where is he? For mine eyes discern him not.
Where I am! 'Tis thine own impurity
That veils him from thee.
The dog jeers at me!
At me and Thebes! Bind him!
[The soldiers begin to bind him.]
I charge ye, bind
Me not! I having vision and ye blind!
And I, with better right, say bind the more!
[The soldiers obey.]
Thou knowest not what end thou seekest, nor
What deed thou doest, nor what man thou art!
Agave's son, and on the father's part
Echion's, hight Pentheus!
So let it be,
A name fore-written to calamity!
Away, and tie him where the steeds are tied;
Aye, let him lie in the manger! - There abide
And stare into the darkness! - And this rout
Of womankind that clusters thee about,
Thy ministers of worship, are my slaves!
It may be I will sell them o'er the waves,
Hither and thither; else they shall be set
To labour at my distaffs, and forget
Their timbrel and their songs of dawning day!
I go; for that which may not be, I may
Not suffer! Yet for this thy sin, lo, He
Whom thou deniest cometh after thee
For recompense. Yea, in thy wrong to us,
Thou hast cast Him into thy prison-house!
[DIONYSUS, without his wand, his hair shorn, and his arms tightly bound, is led off by the guards to his dungeon. PENTHEUS returns into the Palace.]