C.N. Douglas, comp. Forty Thousand Quotations: Prose and Poetical. 1917.


Mystery of waters,—never slumbering sea!


He maketh the deep to boil like a pot.


He that will learn to pray, let him go to sea.

George Herbert.

Praise the sea, but keep on land.

George Herbert.

The sea, that home of marvels.

W. E. Gladstone.

The sea drinks the air and the sun the sea.


The sea is certainly common to all.


There is sorrow on the sea; it cannot be quiet.


  • O’er the glad waters of the dark blue sea,
  • Our thoughts as boundless, and our souls as free,
  • Far as the breeze can bear, the billows foam,
  • Survey our empire, and behold our home!
  • Byron.

    The garrulous sea is talking to the shore; let us go down and hear the graybeard’s speech.

    Alexander Smith.

    Surely oak and threefold brass surrounded his heart who first trusted a frail vessel to the merciless ocean.


    The ocean’s surfy, slow, deep, mellow voice, full of mystery and awe, moaning over the dead it holds in its bosom, or lulling them to unbroken slumbers in the chambers of its vasty depths.


  • Ours are the tears, though few, sincerely shed,
  • While ocean shrouds and sepulchres our dead.
  • Byron.

  • A wet sheet and a flowing sea,
  • A wind that follows fast,
  • And fills the white and rustling sail,
  • And bends the gallant mast.
  • Allan Cunningham.

  • Tumultuous waves embroil’d the bellowing flood,
  • All trembling, deafen’d, and aghast we stood!
  • No more the vessel plough’d the dreadful wave,
  • Fear seized the mighty, and unnerved the brave.
  • Pope.

  • The sea! the sea! the open sea!
  • The blue, the fresh, the ever free!
  • Without a mark, without a bound,
  • It runneth the earth’s wide region round,
  • It plays with the clouds; it mocks the skies,
  • Or like a cradled creature lies.
  • Barry Cornwall.

  • There shrinks no ebb in that tideless sea,
  • Which changeless rolls eternally;
  • So that wildest of waves, in their angriest mood,
  • Scarce break on the bounds of the land for a rood;
  • And the powerless moon beholds them flow,
  • Heedless if she come or go.
  • Byron.

  • Then rose from sea to sky the wild farewell—
  • Then shriek’d the timid, and stood still the brave,
  • Then some leap’d overboard with dreadful yell,
  • As eager to anticipate their grave;
  • And the sea yawn’d around her like a hell,
  • And down she suck’d with her the whirling wave,
  • Like one who grapples with his enemy,
  • And strives to strangle him before he die.
  • Byron.

    The sea has been called deceitful and treacherous, but there lies in this trait only the character of a great natural power, which, to speak according to our own feelings, renews its strength, and, without reference to joy or sorrow, follows eternal laws which are imposed by a higher Power.

    Wilhelm von Humboldt.

  • He knows enough, the mariner, who knows
  • Where lurk the shelves, and where the whirlpools boil,
  • What signs portend the storm: to subtler minds
  • He leaves to scan, from what mysterious cause
  • Charybdis rages in the Ionian wave;
  • Whence those impetuous currents in the main
  • Which neither oar nor sail can stem; and why
  • The roughening deep expects the storm, as sure
  • As red Orion mounts the shrouded heaven.
  • Armstrong.

  • I saw a thousand fearful wracks:
  • A thousand men that fishes gnaw’d upon:
  • Wedges of gold, great anchors, heaps of pearl,
  • Inestimable stones, unvalued jewels,
  • All scatter’d in the bottom of the sea.
  • Some lay in dead men’s skulls; and in those holes
  • Where eyes did once inhabit there were crept,
  • As ’twere in scorn of eyes, reflecting gems,
  • That woo’d the slimy bottom of the deep,
  • And mock’d the dead bones that lay scatter’d by.
  • Shakespeare.

    In the vast archipelago of the east, where Borneo and Java and Sumatra lie, and the Molucca Islands, and the Philippines, the sea is often fanned only by the land and sea breezes, and is like a smooth bed, on which these islands seem to sleep in bliss,—islands in which the spice and perfume gardens of the world are embowered, and where the bird of paradise has its home, and the golden pheasant, and a hundred others of brilliant plumage, whose flight is among thickets so luxuriant, and scenery so picturesque, that European strangers find there the fairy land of their youthful dreams.