Lycurgus Drives Out Bacchus

Lycurgus, king of Thrace, son of Oak,
From peaceful sleep to frantic cries awoke,
And straight inquired the meaning of the uproar.
“Sire, Bacchus’ ship has landed on our shore.
To him have all the women resorted,
And without license has he exhorted
That they abandon home and run about
And in the woods and mountains statutes flout;
To drink till they are drunken from the wine,
Which they have seasoned with extract of pine:
But they have not diluted it with snow;
With unmixed wine their giant cups o’erflow.
These drunken revels overthrow their sense:
Thus Bacchus’ has his rites at our expense.”
Lycurgus swelled with rage and was aghast:
“I’ll seize th’ invader and he’ll feel the blast
Of fury and of rage and martial skill;
He’ll flee or on the ground his blood I’ll spill.”
He seized an ox-goad then and hunted down
The rebel who with wine had tried to drown
All sense and reason for to overthrow
The kingdom, which by riot is brought low.
He found the Maenad followers and drove
Them into prison, cursing them by Jove:
But Bacchus to the border did he hound
And thought his tearful cries a joyful sound;
Though Bacchus claimed himself to be a god,
Yet flew he thence before Lycurgus’ rod.

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