Recitation for Lenaia

Aristophanes, The Frogs (323-335; 340-353)
Ἴακχ᾽ ὦ πολυτίμητ᾽ ἐν ἕδραις ἐνθάδε ναίων,
Ἴακχ᾽ ὦ Ἴακχε,
ἐλθὲ τόνδ᾽ ἀνὰ λειμῶνα χορεύσων
ὁσίους ἐς θιασώτας,
πολύκαρπον μὲν τινάσσων
περὶ κρατὶ σῷ βρύοντα
στέφανον μύρτων, θρασεῖ δ᾽ ἐγκατακρούων
ποδὶ τὰν ἀκόλαστον
φιλοπαίγμονα τιμάν,
χαρίτων πλεῖστον ἔχουσαν μέρος, ἁγνάν, ἱερὰν
ὁσίοις μύσταις χορείαν.

ἔγειρε φλογέας λαμπάδας ἐν χερσὶ γὰρ ἥκει τινάσσων,
Ἴακχ᾽ ὦ Ἴακχε,
νυκτέρου τελετῆς φωσφόρος ἀστήρ.
φλογὶ φέγγεται δὲ λειμών:
γόνυ πάλλεται γερόντων:
ἀποσείονται δὲ λύπας
χρονίους τ᾽ ἐτῶν παλαιῶν ἐνιαυτοὺς
ἱερᾶς ὑπὸ τιμᾶς.
σὺ δὲ λαμπάδι φλέγων
προβάδην ἔξαγ᾽ ἐπ᾽ ἀνθηρὸν ἕλειον δάπεδον
χοροποιὸν μάκαρ ἥβαν.

Iakchos, much-loved resident of these quarters,
– Iakchos, O Iakchos! –
come to this field for the dance
with your holy followers,
setting in motion the crown
which sits on your head, thick
with myrtle-berries, boldly stamping the beat
with your foot in the unrestrained
fun-loving celebration –
the dance overflowing with grace,
dance sacred to the holy initiates!

Wake the fiery torches which you brandish in your hands,
– Iakchos, O Iakchos! –
brilliant star of the all-night celebration!
The meadow is aflame with light;
old men’s knees cavort!
They shake off the pain
of long years in old age
in their holy excitement.
Hold your light aloft
and lead the youthful chorus, Lord,
to the lush flowers of the sacred ground!


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