While he pondered thus in mind and heart, Poseidon, the earth-shaker, made to rise up a great wave, dread and grievous, arching over from above, and drove it upon him. And as when a strong wind tosses a heap of straw that is dry, and some it scatters here, some there,
even so the wave scattered the long timbers of the raft. But Odysseus bestrode one plank, as though he were riding a horse, and stripped off the garments which beautiful Calypso had given him. Then straightway he stretched the veil beneath his breast, and flung himself headlong into the sea with hands outstretched,
ready to swim. And the lord, the earth-shaker, saw him, and he shook his head, and thus he spoke to his own heart:
“So now, after thou hast suffered many ills, go wandering over the deep, till thou comest among the folk fostered of Zeus. Yet even so, methinks, thou shalt not make any mock at thy suffering.”
So saying, he lashed his fair-maned horses, and came to Aegae
, where is his glorious palace.
But Athena, daughter of Zeus, took other counsel. She stayed the paths of the other winds, and bade them all cease and be lulled to rest;
but she roused the swift North Wind
, and broke the waves before him, to the end that Zeus-born Odysseus might come among the Phaeacians, lovers of the oar, escaping from death and the fates.
Then for two nights and two days he was driven about over the swollen waves, and full often his heart forboded destruction.
But when fair-tressed Dawn brought to its birth the third day, then the wind ceased and there was a windless calm, and he caught sight of the shore close at hand, casting a quick glance forward, as he was raised up by a great wave. And even as when most welcome to his children appears the life
of a father who lies in sickness, bearing grievous pains, long while wasting away, and some cruel god assails him, but then to their joy the gods free him from his woe, so to Odysseus did the land and the wood seem welcome; and he swam on, eager to set foot on the land.
But when he was as far away as a man's voice carries when he shouts, and heard the boom of the sea upon the reefs—for the great wave thundered against the dry land, belching upon it in terrible fashion, and all things were wrapped in the foam of the sea; for there were neither harbors where ships might ride, nor road-steads,
but projecting headlands, and reefs, and cliffs—then the knees of Odysseus were loosened and his heart melted, and deeply moved he spoke to his own mighty spirit: