Now when Zeus had thus brought Hektor and the Trojans to the ships, he left them to their never-ending toil [ponos], and turned his keen eyes away, looking elsewhere towards the horse-breeders of Thrace
, the Mysians, fighters at close quarters, the noble Hippemolgoi, who live on milk, and the Abians, the most just [dikaioi] of humankind. He no longer turned so much as a glance towards Troy
, for he did not think that any of the immortals would go and help either Trojans or Danaans.
But King Poseidon had kept no blind look-out; he had been looking admiringly on the battle from his seat on the topmost crests of wooded Samothrace
, whence he could see all Ida, with the city of Priam and the ships of the Achaeans. He had come from under the sea and taken his place here, for he pitied the Achaeans who were being overcome by the Trojans; and he was furiously angry with Zeus.
Presently he came down from his post on the mountain top, and as he strode swiftly onwards the high hills and the forest quaked beneath the tread of his immortal feet. Three strides he took, and with the fourth he reached his goal - Aigai
, where is his glittering golden palace, imperishable, in the depths of the sea. When he got there, he yoked his fleet brazen-footed steeds with their manes of gold all flying in the wind;
he clothed himself in raiment of gold, grasped his gold whip, and took his stand upon his chariot. As he went his way over the waves the sea-monsters left their lairs, for they knew their lord, and came gamboling round him from every quarter of the deep, while the sea in her gladness opened a path before his chariot. So lightly did the horses fly that the bronze axle of the car was not even wet beneath it; and thus his bounding steeds took him to the ships of the Achaeans.
Now there is a certain huge cavern in the depths of the sea midway between Tenedos
and rocky Imbros; here Poseidon lord of the earthquake stayed his horses, unyoked them, and set before them their ambrosial forage. He hobbled their feet with hobbles of gold which none could either unloose or break, so that they might stay there in that place until their lord should return. This done he went his way to the host of the Achaeans.
Now the Trojans followed Hektor son of Priam in close array like a storm-cloud or flame of fire, fighting with might and main and raising the cry battle; for they deemed that they should take the ships of the Achaeans and kill all their chiefest heroes then and there. Meanwhile earth-encircling Poseidon lord of the earthquake cheered on the Argives, for he had come up out of the sea and had assumed the form and voice of Kalkhas.
First he spoke to the two Ajaxes, who were doing their best already, and said, "Ajaxes, you two can be the saving of the Achaeans if you will put out all your strength and not let yourselves be daunted. I am not afraid that the Trojans, who have got over the wall in force, will be victorious in any other part, for the Achaeans can hold all of them in check, but I much fear that some evil will befall us here where furious Hektor, who boasts himself the son of great Zeus himself, is leading them on like a pillar of flame. May some god, then, put it into your hearts to make a firm stand here, and to incite others to do the like. In this case you will drive him from the ships even though he be inspired by Zeus himself."
As he spoke the earth-encircling lord of the earthquake struck both of them with his scepter and filled their hearts with daring. He made their legs light and active, as also their hands and their feet. Then, as the soaring falcon poises on the wing high above some sheer rock, and presently swoops down to chase some bird over the plain, even so did Poseidon lord of the earthquake wing his flight into the air and leave them. Of the two, swift Ajax son of Oileus was the first to know who it was that had been speaking with them, and said to Ajax son of Telamon, "Ajax, this is one of the gods that dwell on Olympus, who in the likeness of the seer is bidding us fight hard by our ships. It was not Kalkhas the seer and diviner of omens; I knew him at once by his feet and knees as he turned away, for the gods are soon recognized. Moreover I feel the lust of battle burn more fiercely within me, while my hands and my feet under me are more eager for the fray."