Pentheus set out, and I went behind him—
sightseers, with the Stranger as our guide.
When we had left the city of Thebes behind us
and crossed the river Asopus, we went up
and marched along a spur of Mount Cithaeron.
We settled first inside a grassy hollow
and kept our feet muted, our tongues in check,
so we could see and not ourselves be seen.
There was a rocky dale where springs were flowing,
and pines spread shade, that’s where we found the Maenads—
they all just sat there busying their hands
with pleasant tasks. Some of them wound the threadbare
wreaths atop their fennel stalks with ivy;
others, like fillies loosed from fancy saddles,
were singing Bacchic songs to one another.
Since he could not make out the band of females
well enough, poor Pentheus fretted, “Stranger,
from where we are, my eyes can’t quite discern
those phony Bacchants. If I climbed the tallest
fir tree on that ridge, though, I could fully
investigate the Maenads’ shameful acts.”