Evoe! "Many Are the Wand-Bearers, Few Are the True Bacchanals"

Many are the wand-bearers, few are the true bacchanals.”


MANY are the wand-bearers;
Their windy shouts I hear,
Along the hillside vineyard,
And where the wine runs clear;
They show the vine-leaf chaplet,
The ivy-wreathen spear.
But the God, the true Iacchus,
He does not hold them dear.


Many are the wand-bearers,
And bravely are they clad;
Yes, they have all the tokens
His early lovers had.
They sing the master-passions,
Themselves unsad, unglad;
And the God, the true Iacchus —
He knows they are not mad!


Many are the wand-bearers;
The fawn-skin bright they wear;
There are among them mænads
That rave with unbound hair.
They toss the harmless firebrand —
It spends itself in air:
And the God, the true Iacchus,
He smiles — and does not care.


Many are the wand-bearers.
And who (ye ask) am I?
One who was born in madness,
“Evoe!" my first cry —
Who dares, before your spear-points,
To challenge and defy;
And the God, the true Iacchus,
So keep me till I die!


Many are the wand-bearers.
I bear with me no sign;
Yet, I was mad, was drunken,
Ere yet I tasted wine;
Nor bleeding grape can slacken
The thirst wherewith I pine;
And the God, the true Iacchus
Hears now this song of mine.