The Odes and Carmen Saeculare/Book 2/Part 19

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XIX.

Bacchum in remotis.

BACCHUS I saw in mountain glades
Retired (believe it, after years!)
Teaching his strains to Dryad maids,
While goat-hoof'd satyrs prick'd their ears.
Evoe! my eyes with terror glare;
My heart is revelling with the god;
'Tis madness! Evoe! spare, 0 spare,
Dread wielder of the ivied rod!

Yes, I may sing the Thyiad crew,
The stream of wine, the sparkling rills
That run with milk, and honey-dew
That from the hollow trunk distils;
And I may sing thy consort's crown,
New set in heaven, and Pentheus' hall
With ruthless ruin thundering down,
And proud Lycurgus' funeral.
Thou turn'st the rivers, thou the sea;
Thou, on far summits, moist with wine,
Thy Bacchants' tresses harmlessly
Dost knot with living serpent-twine.
Thou, when the giants, threatening wrack,
Were clambering up Jove's citadel,
Didst hurl o'erweening Rhœtus back,
In tooth and claw a lion fell.
Who knew thy feats in dance and play
Deem'd thee belike for war's rough game
Unmeet: but peace and battle-fray
Pound thee, their centre, still the same.
Grim Cerberus wagg'd his tail to see
Thy golden horn, nor dream'd of wrong,
But gently fawning, follow'd thee,
And lick'd thy feet with triple tongue.