With this, bright-eyed
, and vanished over the barren sea.
’ glorious halls. He stood there reflecting, before
crossing the bronze threshold, since the radiance of sun or moon shone over the vaulted
halls of valiant Alcinous. The walls that ran from the entrance to the innermost room
were topped with a frieze of blue enamelling. Gold doors fronted the well-built house,
with silver doorposts set in the bronze sill. The lintel above was silver too, and the door-
handle of gold. Gold and silver dogs stood either side, fashioned by
consummate skill, to guard valiant Alcinous’ palace. They were ageless and immortal.
with cleverly woven fabrics worked by the women. There the
sit, eating and drinking, living lavishly. Golden statues of youths on solid pedestals stood
there, with flaming torches in their hands, to light the banqueting hall by night.
And Alcinous had fifty housemaids, some of whom ground golden corn on the
poplar, while the smooth bleaching olive oil dripped down. As the Phaeacian men are
skilled at handling ships on the sea, so the women are clever workers at the loom, for
Athene has given them knowledge of beautiful arts, and great application.
Beyond the courtyard, near to the doors, lies a large four-acre orchard, surrounded
glossy fruit, sweet figs and dense olives. The fruit never rots or fails, winter or summer. It
lasts all year, and the West Wind’s breath quickens some to life, and ripens others, pear
on pear, apple on apple, cluster on cluster of grapes, and fig on fig. There is Alcinous’
fertile vineyard too, with a warm patch of level ground in one part set aside for drying the
grapes, while the labourers gather and tread others, as the foremost rows of unripe grapes
shed their blossom, and others become tinged with purple. Beyond the furthest row again
are neat beds with every kind of plant, flowering all year round, and there are two springs
in the orchard, one flowing through the whole garden, while the other runs the opposite
way, under the courtyard sill, near where the people of the city draw their water, towards