Full fifty female menials servd the King
In household offices; the rapid mills
These, turning, pulverize the mellowd grain,
Those, seated orderly, the purple fleece
Wind off, or ply the loom, restless as leaves
Of lofty poplars fluttering in the breeze;
Bright as with oil the new-wrought texture shone.
Far as Phæacian mariners all else
Surpass, the swift ship urging through the floods,
So far in tissue-work the women pass
All others, by Minervas self endowd
With richest fancy and superior skill.
Without the court, and to the gates adjoind
A spacious garden lay, fenced all around
Secure, four acres measuring complete.
There grew luxuriant many a lofty tree,
Pomegranate, pear, the apple blushing bright,
The honied fig, and unctuous olive smooth.
Those fruits, nor winters cold nor summers heat
Fear ever, fail not, wither not, but hang
Perennial, whose unceasing zephyr breathes
Gently on all, enlarging these, and those
Maturing genial; in an endless course.
Pears after pears to full dimensions swell,
Figs follow figs, grapes clustring grow again
Where clusters grew, and (evry apple stript)
The boughs soon tempt the gathrer as before.
There too, well-rooted, and of fruit profuse,
His Vineyard grows; part, wide-extended, basks,
In the suns beams; the arid level glows;
In part they gather, and in part they tread
The wine-press, while, before the eye, the grapes
Here put their blossom forth, there, gather fast
Their blackness. On the gardens verge extreme
Pope has given no translation of this line in the text of his work, but has translated it in a note. It is variously interpreted by commentators; the sense which is here given of it is that recommended by Eustathius.
Flowrs of all hues smile all the year, arranged
With neatest art judicious, and amid
The lovely scene two fountains welling forth,
One visits, into evry part diffusd,
The garden-ground, the other soft beneath
The threshold steals into the palace-court,
Whence evry citizen his vase supplies.
Such were the ample blessings on the house
Of King Alcinoüs by the Gods bestowd.
Ulysses wondring stood, and when, at length,
Silent he had the whole fair scene admired,
With rapid step enterd the royal gate.
The Chiefs he found and Senators within
Libation pouring to the vigilant spy
Mercurius, whom with wine they worshippd last
Of all the Gods, and at the hour of rest.
Ulysses, toil-worn Hero, through the house
Passd undelaying, by Minerva thick
With darkness circumfusd, till he arrived
Where King Alcinoüs and Areta sat.
Around Aretas knees his arms he cast,
And, in that moment, broken clear away
The cloud all went, shed on him from above.
Dumb sat the guests, seeing the unknown Chief,
And wondring gazed. He thus his suit preferrd.
Areta, daughter of the Godlike Prince
Rhexenor! suppliant at thy knees I fall,
Thy royal spouse imploring, and thyself,
(After ten thousand toils) and these your guests,
To whom heavn grant felicity, and to leave
Their treasures to their babes, with all the rights
And honours, by the peoples suffrage, theirs!
But oh vouchsafe me, who have wanted long
And ardent wishd my home, without delay
Safe conduct to my native shores again!
Such suit he made, and in the ashes sat
At the hearth-side; they mute long time remaind,
Till, at the last, the antient Hero spake
Echeneus, eldest of Phæacias sons,
With eloquence beyond the rest endowd,
Rich in traditionary lore, and wise
In all, who thus, benevolent, began.
Not honourable to thyself, O King!
Is such a sight, a stranger on the ground
At the hearth-side seated, and in the dust.
Meantime, thy guests, expecting thy command,
Move not; thou therefore raising by his hand
The stranger, lead him to a throne, and bid
The heralds mingle wine, that we may pour
To thunder-bearing Jove, the suppliants friend.
Then let the catress for thy guest produce
Supply, a supper from the last regale.
Soon as those words Alcinoüs heard, the King,
Upraising by his hand the prudent Chief
Ulysses from the hearth, he made him sit,
On a bright throne, displacing for his sake
Laodamas his son, the virtuous youth
Who sat beside him, and whom most he lovd.
And now, a maiden chargd with golden ewr
And with an argent laver, pouring, first,
Pure water on his hands, supplyd him, next,
With a resplendent table, which the chaste
Directress of the stores furnishd with bread
And dainties, remnants of the last regale.
Then ate the Hero toil-inured, and drank,
And to his herald thus Alcinoüs spake.
Pontonoüs! mingling wine, bear it around
To evry guest in turn, that we may pour
To thunder-bearer Jove, the strangers friend,
And guardian of the suppliants sacred rights.
He said; Pontonoüs, as he bade, the wine
Mingled delicious, and the cups dispensed
With distribution regular to all.
When each had made libation, and had drunk
Sufficient, then, Alcinoüs thus began.
Phæacian Chiefs and Senators, I speak
The dictates of my mind, therefore attend!
Ye all have feastedTo your homes and sleep.
We will assemble at the dawn of day
More senior Chiefs, that we may entertain
The stranger here, and to the Gods perform
Due Sacrifice; the convoy that he asks
Shall next engage our thoughts, that free from pain
And from vexation, by our friendly aid
He may revisit, joyful and with speed,
His native shore, however far remote.
No inconvenience let him feel or harm,
Ere his arrival; but, arrived, thenceforth
He must endure whatever lot the Fates
Spun for him in the moment of his birth.
But should he prove some Deity from heavn
Descended, then the Immortals have in view
Designs not yet apparent; for the Gods
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