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[345] “So I spoke, and she straightway swore the oath to do me no harm, as I bade her. But when she had sworn, and made an end of the oath, then I went up to the beautiful bed of Circe. “But her handmaids meanwhile were busied in the halls, four maidens who are her serving-women in the house. [350] Children are they of the springs and groves, and of the sacred rivers that flow forth to the sea, and of them one threw upon chairs fair rugs of purple above, and spread beneath them a linen cloth; another drew up before the chairs tables [355] of silver, and set upon them golden baskets; and the third mixed sweet, honey-hearted wine in a bowl of silver, and served out golden cups; and the fourth brought water, and kindled a great fire beneath a large cauldron, and the water grew warm. [360] But when the water boiled in the bright bronze, she set me in a bath, and bathed me with water from out the great cauldron, mixing it to my liking, and pouring it over my head and shoulders, till she took from my limbs soul-consuming weariness. But when she had bathed me, and anointed me richly with oil, [365] and had cast about me a fair cloak and a tunic, she brought me into the hall, and made me sit upon a silver-studded chair—a beautiful chair, richly wrought, and beneath was a foot-stool for the feet. Then a handmaid brought water for the hands in a fair pitcher of gold, and poured it over a silver basin [370] for me to wash, and beside me drew up a polished table. And the grave housewife brought and set before me bread, and therewith meats in abundance, granting freely of her store. Then she bade me eat, but my heart inclined not thereto. Rather, I sat with other thoughts, and my spirit boded ill. [375] “Now when Circe noted that I sat thus, and did not put forth my hands to the food, but was burdened with sore grief, she came close to me, and spoke winged words: “‘Why, Odysseus, dost thou sit thus like one that is dumb, eating thy heart, and dost not touch food or drink? [380] Dost thou haply forbode some other guile? Nay, thou needest in no wise fear, for already have I sworn a mighty oath to do thee no harm.’ “So she spoke, but I answered her, and said:‘Circe, what man that is right-minded could bring himself to taste of food or drink, [385] ere yet he had won freedom for his comrades, and beheld them before his face? But if thou of a ready heart dost bid me eat and drink, set them free, that mine eyes may behold my trusty comrades.’

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