The boy-king wanted to incinerate
A fell and meretricious thryrus.
His grandfather would venerate
The same staff, terrified of curses.
His mother’d slandered the drunk god,
But regretting feckless blasphemy
She counseled them to spare the rod,
Until they heard the divine decree.
Once the summoned prophet had appeared,
Blind, and clad in a frayed, goatskin cloak,
The monarch sputtered “It’s cursed, weird,
And wrong, burn it down to ash and smoke!”
The former monarch begged, “Appease
Bromius with primeval rite,
A lord who smites his enemies
A lord too terrible to fight.”
The daughter next, “His worshipers
Run mad, and slaughter their own kin,
Even children. The god massacres
Those who dispute his origin”
The prophet lifted up the staff
And tore the ivy from its tip.
“Rites, massacres, don’t make me laugh,
And immolation’s sponsorship.”
He swung the staff to test its heft,
And said, “I need a walking stick,
The drunkard has no bacchics left,
****** the goatish lunatic.”
At this, the grandfather turned pale,
And the repentant mother winced.
Matched severity cannot avail
If fear and butchery convinced.
A proverb soothes the quondam king
And the dowager, “He frightens you,
But moderation in each thing,
And that in moderation too.”
From Euripides' The Bacchae