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So saying he sat down on the hearth in the ashes by the fire, and they were all hushed in silence. [155] But at length there spoke among them the old lord Echeneus, who was an elder among the Phaeacians, well skilled in speech, and understanding all the wisdom of old. He with good intent addressed the assembly, and said: “Alcinous, lo, this is not the better way, nor is it seemly, [160] that a stranger should sit upon the ground on the hearth in the ashes; but these others hold back waiting for thy word. Come, make the stranger to arise, and set him upon a silver-studded chair, and bid the heralds mix wine, [165] that we may pour libations also to Zeus, who hurls the thunderbolt; for he ever attends upon reverend suppliants. And let the housewife give supper to the stranger of the store that is in the house.” When the strong and mighty Alcinous heard this, he took by the hand Odysseus, the wise and crafty-minded, and raised him from the hearth, and set him upon a bright chair [170] from which he bade his son, the kindly1 Laodamas, to rise; for he sat next to him, and was his best beloved. Then a handmaid brought water for the hands in a fair pitcher of gold, and poured it over a silver basin, for him to wash, and beside him drew up a polished table. [175] And the grave housewife brought and set before him bread, and therewith dainties in abundance, giving freely of her store. So the much-enduring goodly Odysseus drank and ate; and then the mighty Alcinous spoke to the herald, and said: “Pontonous, mix the bowl, and serve wine [180] to all in the hall, that we may pour libations also to Zeus, who hurls the thunderbolt; for he ever attends upon reverend suppliants.” He spoke, and Pontonous mixed the honey-hearted wine, and served out to all, pouring first drops for libation into the cups. But when they had poured libations, and had drunk to their heart's content, [185] Alcinous addressed the assembly, and spoke among them: “Hearken to me, leaders and counsellors of the Phaeacians, that I may say what the heart in my breast bids me. Now that ye have finished your feast, go each of you to his house to rest. But in the morning we will call more of the elders together, [190] and will entertain the stranger in our halls and offer goodly victims to the gods. After that we will take thought also of his sending, that without toil or pain yon stranger may under our sending, come to his native land speedily and with rejoicing, though he come from never so far. [195] Nor shall he meanwhile suffer any evil or harm, until he sets foot upon his own land; but thereafter he shall suffer whatever Fate and the dread Spinners spun with their thread for him at his birth, when his mother bore him.

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