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Even as thus he spoke the great wave smote him from on high, rushing upon him with terrible might, and around it whirled his raft. [315] Far from the raft he fell, and let fall the steering-oar from his hand; but his mast was broken in the midst by the fierce blast of tumultuous winds that came upon it, and far in the sea sail and yardarm fell. As for him, long time did the wave hold him in the depths, nor could he [320] rise at once from beneath the onrush of the mighty wave, for the garments which beautiful Calypso had given him weighed him down. At length, however, he came up, and spat forth from his mouth the bitter brine which flowed in streams from his head. Yet even so he did not forget his raft, in evil case though he was, [325] but sprang after it amid the waves, and laid hold of it, and sat down in the midst of it, seeking to escape the doom of death; and a great wave ever bore him this way and that along its course. As when in autumn the North Wind bears the thistle-tufts over the plain, and close they cling to one another, [330] so did the winds bear the raft this way and that over the sea. Now the South Wind would fling it to the North Wind to be driven on, and now again the East Wind would yield it to the West Wind to drive. But the daughter of Cadmus, Ino of the fair ankles, saw him, even Leucothea, who of old was a mortal of human speech, [335] but now in the deeps of the sea has won a share of honor from the gods. She was touched with pity for Odysseus, as he wandered and was in sore travail, and she rose up from the deep like a sea-mew on the wing, and sat on the stoutly-bound raft, and spoke, saying: “Unhappy man, how is it that Poseidon, the earth-shaker, [340] has conceived such furious wrath against thee, that he is sowing for thee the seeds of many evils? Yet verily he shall not utterly destroy thee for all his rage. Nay, do thou thus; and methinks thou dost not lack understanding. Strip off these garments, and leave thy raft to be driven by the winds, but do thou swim with thy hands and so strive to reach [345] the land of the Phaeacians, where it is thy fate to escape. Come, take this veil, and stretch it beneath thy breast. It is immortal; there is no fear that thou shalt suffer aught or perish. But when with thy hands thou hast laid hold of the land, loose it from thee, and cast it into the wine-dark sea [350] far from the land, and thyself turn away.” So saying, the goddess gave him the veil, and herself plunged again into the surging deep, like a sea-mew; and the dark wave hid her. Then the much-enduring, goodly Odysseus pondered, [355] and deeply moved he spoke to his own mighty spirit: “Woe is me! Let it not be that some one of the immortals is again weaving a snare for me, that she bids me leave my raft. Nay, but verily I will not yet obey, for afar off mine eyes beheld the land, where she said I was to escape. [360] But this will I do, and meseems that this is best: as long as the timbers hold firm in their fastenings, so long will I remain here and endure to suffer affliction; but when the wave shall have shattered the raft to pieces, I will swim, seeing that there is naught better to devise.”

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load focus Notes (W. Walter Merry, James Riddell, D. B. Monro, 1886)
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  • Commentary references to this page (2):
    • Sir Richard C. Jebb, Commentary on Sophocles: Oedipus at Colonus, 1241
    • Walter Leaf, Commentary on the Iliad (1900), 13.772
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    • A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities (1890), NAVIS
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