Hymn to Dionysus I
Hail, Dionysus! To you, the son of many mothers and the child of no father,
I turn my attention now. Even Zeus was your mother, cradling you in his thigh,
Zeus the lover and destroyer of your mother, earthly Semele, who became
heavenly Thyone, the raving queen. You freed her from the underworld
and exalted her to the stars, and you exalted your bride, too, Ariadne
of the labyrinth. So you always treat those who worship and honor you,
exalting the senses, exalting the spirit, making humans greater than mortal,
while you cast down those who reject you, who refuse your joyous dance.
You bear many names and bring many stories when you come dancing,
Dionysus, Bacchus, Liber, Bromios, Lyaios, Kissios, Anthion, Zagreus.
You deck your hair with grape vines or ivy or spring flowers; you carry
the thyrsos tipped with a pine cone and trailing vegetation. Sometimes
you come as Father Liber, bearded, bull-strong, and crowned with horns;
sometimes you are the pretty boy, the effeminate stranger, hair in ringlets,
eyes outlined with kohl. You are never more dangerous than when
you seem vulnerable, never more kind than when you are fierce,
O rule-breaking god, noise-maker, breath-taker. I welcome you
and your jug of wine, your prowling beasts, your star-crowned wife,
all your mothers and lovers, your labyrinthine stories, your masks and dances,
your songs and trances, I welcome you, god who has danced around my life
ever since I was a child, hail, Dionysus, hail, Dionysus, hail, Dionysus!