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For as the Phaeacian men are skilled above all others in speeding a swift ship upon the sea, so are the women [110] cunning workers at the loom, for Athena has given to them above all others skill in fair handiwork, and an understanding heart. But without the courtyard, hard by the door, is a great orchard of four acres,1 and a hedge runs about it on either side. Therein grow trees, tall and luxuriant, [115] pears and pomegranates and apple-trees with their bright fruit, and sweet figs, and luxuriant olives. Of these the fruit perishes not nor fails in winter or in summer, but lasts throughout the year; and ever does the west wind, as it blows, quicken to life some fruits, and ripen others; [120] pear upon pear waxes ripe, apple upon apple, cluster upon cluster, and fig upon fig. There, too, is his fruitful vineyard planted, one part of which, a warm spot on level ground, is being dried in the sun, while other grapes men are gathering, [125] and others, too, they are treading; but in front are unripe grapes that are shedding the blossom, and others that are turning purple. There again, by the last row of the vines, grow trim garden beds of every sort, blooming the year through, and therein are two springs, one of which sends its water throughout all the garden, [130] while the other, over against it, flows beneath the threshold of the court toward the high house; from this the townsfolk drew their water. Such were the glorious gifts of the gods in the palace of Alcinous. There the much-enduring goodly Odysseus stood and gazed. But when he had marvelled in his heart at all things, [135] he passed quickly over the threshold into the house. There he found the leaders and counsellors of the Phaeacians pouring libations from their cups to the keen-sighted Argeiphontes, to whom they were wont to pour the wine last of all, when they were minded to go to their rest. But the much-enduring goodly Odysseus went through the hall, [140] wrapped in the thick mist which Athena had shed about him, till he came to Arete and to Alcinous the king. About the knees of Arete Odysseus cast his hands, and straightway the wondrous mist melted from him, and a hush fell upon all that were in the room at sight of the man, [145] and they marvelled as they looked upon him. But Odysseus made his prayer: “Arete, daughter of godlike Rhexenor, to thy husband and to thy knees am I come after many toils,—aye and to these banqueters, to whom may the gods grant happiness in life, and may each of them hand down to his children [150] the wealth in his halls, and the dues of honor which the people have given him. But for me do ye speed my sending, that I may come to my native land, and that quickly; for long time have I been suffering woes far from my friends.”

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load focus Notes (W. Walter Merry, James Riddell, D. B. Monro, 1886)
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