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Bk III:528-571 Pentheus rejects the worship of Bacchus.
Liber has come, and the festive fields echo with cries. The crowd all run, fathers, mothers, young girls, princes and people, mixed together, swept towards the unknown rites. Pentheus shouts, "What madness has stupefied your minds, children of the serpent, people of Mars? Can the clash of brazen cymbals, pipes of curved horn, and magical tricks be so powerful that men, who were not terrified by drawn swords or blaring trumpets or ranks of sharp spears, are overcome by the shrieks of women, men mad with wine, crowds of obscenities, and empty drumming? Should I admire you, elders, who, sailing the deep seas, sited your Tyre here, your exiled Penates, and now let them be taken without a fight? Or you younger men, of fresher age, nearer my own, for whom it was fitting to carry weapons and not the thyrsus, your heads covered with helmets not crowns of leaves? Remember, I beg you, from what roots you were created, and show the spirit of the serpent, who, though one alone, killed many. He died for his spring and pool, but you should conquer for your own glory! He put brave men to death, but you should make craven men run, and maintain the honour of your country! If it is Thebe's fate to stand for only a short time, I wish her walls might be destroyed by men and siege engines, that fire and iron might sound against her! Then we would be miserable but not sinful, we would lament our fate not try to hide it, our tears would be free from shame. But now Thebes will be taken by an unarmed boy, who takes no pleasure in fighting, or weapons, or the use of horses, but in myrrh-drenched hair, soft wreathes of leaves, and embroidered robes woven with gold. But, if you stand aside, I will quickly force him to confess that his pretended parentage and religion are inventions. Should Pentheus and the rest of Thebes be terrified of his arrival when Acrisius had courage enough to defy a false god and shut the gates of Argos at his coming? Go quickly," he ordered his attendants. "Bind him and drag him here, this conqueror! Don't be slow in carrying out your orders!"
His grandfather, Cadmus, his uncle, Athamas, and the rest of his advisors reprove his words, and try in vain to restrain him. He is only made more eager by their warning, and his rage is maddened and grows with restraint, and he is provoked by their objections. So I have seen a river, where nothing obstructs its passage, flow calmly and with little noise, but rage and foam wherever trees and obstacles of stone held it back, fiercer for the obstruction.
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