Sea change

Bosley_J (BosleyJ@ORE.PSB.BLS.GOV)
Tue, 21 Nov 1995 09:26:00 EST

(Copied from earlier post...)

Hi Cat - A very interesting commentary on this phrase. Just exactly
where in 'The Tempest' does the phrase occur?

On Mon, 20 Nov 1995, Dorothy J.
Cattle wrote:

> One answer to Doug Hanson's query about the origin of the phrase "sea
> change": We tracked down at least an important "origin" for the phrase;
> it comes from Shakespeare - The Tempest - Full fathom five ... If one
> looks it up in The Tempest, one'll understand the kind of
> "transformation" it started out to mean -- probably not what Bill Gates
> or Newt have in mind when they use it. A former Navy person hadn't a
> clue about the phrase but thought it plausible to come out of a past
> century's mariners observations/lore, etc. I do not believe it is a
> "new" phrase in American usage although it may be undergoing a resurgence
> now until overuse or misuse kills it back once again.

My .02 worth on this. I meant to look up the act and scene of this quote
last night but forgot. Will try to remember tonight.

Please recall that The Tempest is set in Bermuda-"the still-vexed
Bermoothes"--not the cold North Atlantic. The "Tempest" in fact is probably
a hurricane. I don't know how many of you have seen diving footage of
shipwrecks that have lain for a while on the bottom of tropical waters--the
ships' graveyard off Truk where many sunken Japanese vessels from WW II
comes to mind--but these sunken scaffolds come to assume fantastic shapes
from the encrustation of marine life that forms on them. "His eyes of coral
made..." and so on to return to the Bard... So I'm convinced that "sea
change" has nothing to do with the appearance of the surface of the sea but
rather the profound transformation of submerged objects as a result of both
the chemical action of the sea water and their gradual merging and blending
with the marine organisms on the ocean floor...