An unequalled anthology of poetry and prose from Homer to T.S. Eliot, describing the sea in all its moods and man’s experience of it. Travelers, novelists, poets, small-boat sailors, oceanographers, deep-sea captains, have all fallen under the spell of the sea. They have been drawn by its sacred qualities, by its beauty; they have been fascinated by it, terrified by it, and experienced its loneliness and danger. And it is always seen as a metaphor for the human condition. This anthology is not about naval battles or great voyages, but the sea itself, its moods, its color, its immediate and daily effects on those who sailed on it, and those who, living on its edge, have felt its influence, whether benign or malign.
Homer, Sophocles, Shakespeare, Daniel Defoe, Milton, Byron, Shelley, Keats, Lewis Carroll, Tennyson, Wordsworth, Walt Whitman, Dickens, Thomas Hardy, Joseph Conrad, Rupert Brooke, and T.S. Eliot are just some of the writers featured in this anthology. But seamen themselves have also taken up the pen, and by sampling the writings of Raleigh, Drake, Hawkins, Captain Cook and R.H. Dana, this anthology contains some of the most authentic writing on the sea ever collected, drawn from the experiences of these legendary sailors. Organized into chapters by theme, sections include ‘Fair Weather’, ‘Foul Weather’, ‘Shipwreck’, ‘Daily Life’ and ‘Strange Adventures’, and give a flavor of the sea in all its varied states. This outstanding collection of poetry and prose makes perfect reading for anyone who has fallen under the spell of ships and the sea, whether land-lubber, sailor or seaman, but the many powerful and sometimes disturbing evocative passages make any reader appreciate Sophocles’s fragment:
‘What greater pleasure than to be safe ashore again,
Drowsily listening to the patter of rain on the roof.’
PB 376 pages