“When the late Captain Audley Coote was laying the cable from New Caledonia to Sandy Cape, at the north end of Fraser Island, on the South Queensland coast, he passed a submerged mountain 6000 feet in height, and found a tremendous chasm, so deep that they could find no bottom, and had to work the cable round the edge. When he reached the coast of Fraser Island he got the same soundings as Cook and Flinders and the Admiralty survey in the ’sixties, six to eight fathoms, but there came a break in the cable in after years, located in that six and eight fathom area, and they found the broken cable hanging over a submarine precipice of eight hundred feet!Author and Full Source Text
Soft fall the Holy Oils, their dripAuthor and Full Source Text
Peaceful as Jesus sleeping on the ship.
Our eyes, so restless and so full of grip,
Reflecting as the sea,
Give up their range and their possession, free
As if to sleep–the sleep of Deity.
Upon the ears a lull that dowers
With gentleness of bees in laurel-flowers;
So that it gives to Quiet breeding powers,
A future wrought of gold,
When we shall hear what never hath been told,
And fathom sound it takes all heaven to hold.
Common teachers or critics are always asking “What does it mean?” Symphony of fine musician, or sunset, or sea-waves rolling up the beach–what do they mean? Undoubtedly in the most subtle-elusive sense they mean something–as love does, and religion does, and the best poem;–but who shall fathom and define those meanings? (I do not intend this as a warrant for wildness and frantic escapades–but to justify the soul’s frequent joy in what cannot be defined to the intellectual part, or to calculation.)Author and Full Source Text
Five fathoms out there. Full fathom five thy father lies. At one, he said. Found drowned. High water at Dublin bar. Driving before it a loose drift of rubble, fanshoals of fishes, silly shells. A corpse rising saltwhite from the undertow, bobbing a pace a pace a porpoise landward. There he is. Hook it quick. Pull. Sunk though he be beneath the watery floor. We have him. Easy now.Author and Full Source Text
Full fathom five thy father lies.Author and Full Source Text
Of his bones are coral made.
Those are pearls that were his eyes.
Nothing of him that doth fade
But doth suffer a sea-change
Into something rich and strange.
Sea-nymphs hourly ring his knell:
Hark! now I hear them: ding-dong, bell.
Here’s another ballad, of a fish that appeared upon the coast on Wednesday the fourscore of April, forty thousand fathom above water, and sung this ballad against the hard hearts of maids. It was thought she was a woman, and was turned into a cold fish for she would not exchange flesh with one that loved her. The ballad is very pitiful, and as true.Author and Full Source Text
“All over! all over! He has deserted me. No hope for me now unless I do it for myself!” Then suddenly turning to me in a resolute way, he said:Author and Full Source Text
“Doctor, won’t you be very good to me and let me have a little more sugar? I think it would be good for me.”
“And the flies?” I said.
“Yes! The flies like it, too, and I like the flies; therefore I like it.” And there are people who know so little as to think that madmen do not argue. I procured him a double supply, and left him as happy a man as, I suppose, any in the world. I wish I could fathom his mind.
I don’t know where the rope was got, and doubt if I much cared. It was not that which gravelled me, but whether, now that we had it, it would serve our turn. Its length, indeed, we made a shift to fathom out; but who was to tell us how that length compared with the way we had to go? Day after day, there would be always some of us stolen out to the Devil’s Elbow and making estimates of the descent, whether by a bare guess or the dropping of stones. A private of pioneers remembered the formula for that—or else remembered part of it and obligingly invented the remainder.Author and Full Source Text
‘You came, you saw, you conquered,’ flourished Gordon, in high good humour with his own wit and grace. ‘We toasted you, madam, in the carriage, in an excellent good glass of wine; toasted you fathom deep; the finest woman, with, begad, the finest eyes in Grünewald. I never saw the like of them but once, in my own country, when I was a young fool at College: Thomasina Haig her name was. I give you my word of honour, she was as like you as two peas.’Author and Full Source Text
‘O ye, all ye that walk in Willow-wood,Author and Full Source Text
That walk with hollow faces burning white;
What fathom-depth of soul-struck widowhood,
What long, what longer hours, one lifelong night,
Ere ye again, who so in vain have wooed
Your last hope lost, who so in vain invite
Your lips to that their unforgotten food,
Ere ye, ere ye again shall see the light!
—How men are perjured when they swear our eyesAuthor and Full Source Text
Have meaning in them! they’re just blue or brown,—
They just can drop their lids a little. In fact,
Mine did more, for I read half Fourier through,
Proudhon, Considerant, and Louis Blanc,
With various others of his socialists;
And if I had been a fathom less in love,
Had cured myself with gaping. As it was,
I quoted from them prettily enough,
Perhaps, to make them sound half rational
To a saner man than he, whene’er we talked,
(For which I dodged occasion)—learnt by heart
His speeches in the Commons and elsewhere
Upon the social question; heaped reports
Some waltz; some draw; some fathom the abyssAuthor and Full Source Text
Of metaphysics; others are content
With music; the most moderate shine as wits;
While others have a genius turn’d for fits.
In her mild lights the starry spirits dance,Author and Full Source Text
The sunbeams of those wells which ever leap
Under the lightnings of the soul–too deep
For the brief fathom-line of thought or sense.
And from the silver beach’s sideAuthor and Full Source Text
Still was the prow three fathom wide,
When lightly bounded to the land
The messenger of blood and brand.
“The entire purpose of a great thinker may be difficult to fathom, and we may be over and over again more or less mistaken in guessing at his meaning; but the real, profound, nay, quite bottomless and unredeemable mistake, is the fool’s thought, that he had no meaning.”Author and Full Source Text
As motionless we thus reclined, Media turned and muttered:–“Brother gods, and demi-gods, it is not well. These mortals should have less or more. Among my subjects is a man, whose genius scorns the common theories of things; but whose still mortal mind can not fathom the ocean at his feet. His soul’s a hollow, wherein he raves.”Author and Full Source Text
“I will fathom to the bottom of this intrigue,” cried he; and quitting Jerome abruptly, with a command to remain there till his return, he hastened to the great hall of the castle, and ordered the peasant to be brought before him.Author and Full Source Text
Each different distance is a different modification of space; and each idea of any different distance, or space, is a SIMPLE MODE of this idea. Men having, by accustoming themselves to stated lengths of space, which they use for measuring other distances–as a foot, a yard or a fathom, a league, or diameter of the earth–made those ideas familiar to their thoughts, can, in their minds, repeat them as often as they will, without mixing or joining to them the idea of body, or anything else; and frame to themselves the ideas of long, square, or cubic feet, yards or fathoms, here amongst the bodies of the universe, or else beyond the utmost bounds of all bodies; and, by adding these still one to another, enlarge their ideas of space as much as they please. The power of repeating or doubling any idea we have of any distance, and adding it to the former as often as we will, without being ever able to come to any stop or stint, let us enlarge it as much as we will, is that which gives us the idea of IMMENSITY.Author and Full Source Text
And as My Armes unfolded stand,Author and Full Source Text
To fathom out
The Latitude, as’t were,
‘Twixt the Beds either side Meridian:
Let my Thoughts sore about
Unparalleld for Grace: and stretch to be
Embracers of those Mercies did extend
Beyond all sounding Plummet or degree,
And thither all my Kids and Fatlings send.
From since Astraea fled to heaven, I sitAuthor and Full Source Text
Her Deputy on Earth, I hold her skales
And weigh mens Fates out, who have made me blind
Because themselves want eyes to see my causes;
Call me inconstant, ’cause my workes surpasse
The shallow fathom of their humane reason;
Yet here, like blinded Iustice, I dispence
With my impartiall hands their constant lots,
And if desertlesse, impious men engrosse
My best rewards, the fault is yours, you gods,
That scant your graces to mortality,
And niggards of your good, scarce spare the world
One vertuous for a thousand wicked men;
How come they to dig up fish bones, shells, beams, ironworks, many fathoms under ground, and anchors in mountains far remote from all seas? 3036 Anno 1460 at Bern in Switzerland 50 fathom deep a ship was digged out of a mountain, where they got metal ore, in which were 48 carcasses of men, with other merchandise. That such things are ordinarily found in tops of hills, Aristotle insinuates in his meteors, 3037 Pomponius Mela in his first book, c. de Numidia, and familiarly in the Alps, saith 3038 Blancanus the Jesuit, the like is to be seen: came this from earthquakes, or from Noah’s flood, as Christians suppose, or is there a vicissitude of sea and land, as Anaximenes held of old, the mountains of Thessaly would become seas, and seas again mountains?Author and Full Source Text
As once the high God boundAuthor and Full Source Text
With many a rivet round
Man’s saviour, and with iron nailed him through,
At the wild end of things,
Where even his own bird’s wings
Flagged, whence the sea shone like a drop of dew,
From Caucasus beheld below
Past fathoms of unfathomable snow;
No Cornwall miner ever sunk so deep a shaft beneath the sea, as Love will sink beneath the floatings of the eyes. Love sees ten million fathoms down, till dazzled by the floor of pearls. The eye is Love’s own magic glass, where all things that are not of earth, glide in supernatural light. There are not so many fishes in the sea, as there are sweet images in lovers’ eyes. In those miraculous translucencies swim the strange eye-fish with wings, that sometimes leap out, instinct with joy; moist fish-wings wet the lover’s cheek. Love’s eyes are holy things; therein the mysteries of life are lodged; looking in each other’s eyes, lovers see the ultimate secret of the worlds; and with thrills eternally untranslatable, feel that Love is god of all. Man or woman who has never loved, nor once looked deep down into their own lover’s eyes, they know not the sweetest and the loftiest religion of this earth. Love is both Creator’s and Saviour’s gospel to mankind; a volume bound in rose-leaves, clasped with violets, and by the beaks of humming-birds printed with peach juice on the leaves of lilies.Author and Full Source Text
…but her eyes were open looking at the stars, it was as if the stars were lying with her and entering the unfathomable darkness of her womb, fathoming her at last.Author and Full Source Text
“Cast not your pearls down before swine!”Author and Full Source Text
The words are Thine!–
Listen, cast not
The treasure of a white sea-grot,
An uncontaminate, round loveliness,
A pearl of ocean-waters fathomless,
A secret of exceeding, cherished light,
A dream withdrawn from evening infinite,
A beauty God gave silence to–cast not
This wealth from treasury of Indian seas,
Or Persian fisheries,
Down in the miry dens that clot
The feet of swine, who trample, hide and blot.