Monday, April 30, 2018


Hymn to Iacchus

Aristophanes, Frogs 323-336, 340-353 (tr. Jeffrey Henderson):
Iacchus, dwelling exalted here in your abode,
Iacchus, Iacchus,
come to this meadow to dance
with your reverent followers,
brandishing about your brow
a fruitful, a burgeoning
garland of myrtle, and stamping
with bold foot in our licentious,
fun-loving worship,
that is richly endowed by the Graces, a dance
pure and holy to pious initiates.


Awaken blazing torches, tossing them in your hands,
Iacchus, Iacchus,
brilliant star of our nighttime rite!
Lo, the meadow's ablaze with flame,
and old men's knees are aleap
as they shed their cares
and the longdrawn seasons of ancient years,
owing to your worship.
Now illuminate with torchlight
and lead forth to blooming meadowland
our dancing youth, o blest one!

Ἴακχ᾿, ὦ πολυτίμητ᾿ ἐν ἕδραις ἐνθάδε ναίων,
Ἴακχ᾿, ὦ Ἴακχε,        325
ἐλθὲ τόνδ᾿ ἀνὰ λειμῶνα χορεύσων
ὁσίους εἰς θιασώτας,
πολύκαρπον μὲν τινάσσων
περὶ κρατὶ σῷ βρύοντα
στέφανον μύρτων, θρασεῖ δ᾿ ἐγκατακρούων      330/1
ποδὶ τὴν ἀκόλαστον
φιλοπαίγμονα τιμήν,
Χαρίτων πλεῖστον ἔχουσαν μέρος, ἁγνήν, ἱερὰν      334/5
ὁσίοις μύσταις χορείαν.


ἔγειρ᾿ <ὦ> φλογέας λάμπαδας ἐν χερσὶ τινάσσων,      340/1
Ἴακχ᾿, ὦ Ἴακχε,
νυκτέρου τελετῆς φωσφόρος ἀστήρ.
φλέγεται δὴ φλογὶ λειμών·
γόνυ πάλλεται γερόντων·      345
ἀποσείονται δὲ λύπας
χρονίους τ᾿ ἐτῶν παλαιῶν ἐνιαυτοὺς
ἱερᾶς ὑπὸ τιμῆς.
σὺ δὲ λαμπάδι φέγγων      350
προβάδην ἔξαγ᾿ ἐπ᾿ ἀνθηρὸν ἕλειον δάπεδον
χορποιόν, μάκαρ, ἥβαν.
Both Tucker and Dover in their commentaries on 345 cite Euripides, Bacchae 188-189 (the elderly Cadmus to his age-mate Teiresias, as they try out their dance-steps in honor of Dionysus; tr. David Kovacs):
How delightful it is that we forget our age!

ἐπιλελήσμεθ᾽ ἡδέως
γέροντες ὄντες

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