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C.D. Warner, et al., comp. The Library of the World’s Best Literature.
An Anthology in Thirty Volumes. 1917.

Choral Song from the ‘Bacchæ’

By Euripides (c. 480–406 B.C.)

(See full text.)

Translation of Henry Hart Milman

ON the mountains wild ’tis sweet

When faint with rapid dance our feet,

Our limbs on earth all careless thrown

With the sacred fawn-skins strown,

To quaff the goat’s delicious blood,

A strange, a rich, a savage food.

Then off again the revel goes

O’er Phrygian, Lydian mountain brows;

Evoë! Evoë! leads the road,

Bacchus’s self the maddening god!

And flows with milk the plain, and flows with wine,

Flows with the wild bees’ nectar-dews divine;

And soars, like smoke, the Syrian incense pale—

The while the frantic Bacchanal

The beaconing pine torch on her wand

Whirls around with rapid hand,

And drives the wandering dance about,

Beating time with joyous shout,

And casts upon the breezy air

All her rich luxuriant hair;

Ever the burthen of her song:—

“Raging, maddening, haste along,

Bacchus’s daughters, ye the pride

Of golden Tmolus’s fabled side;

While your heavy cymbals ring,

Still your ‘Evoë! Evoë!’ sing!”

Evoë! the Evian god rejoices

In Phrygian tones and Phrygian voices,

When the soft holy pipe is breathing sweet,

In notes harmonious to her feet,

Who to the mountain, to the mountain speeds;

Like some young colt that by its mother feeds,

Gladsome with many a frisking bound,

The Bacchanal goes forth and treads the echoing ground.