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Sea-change

Posted by ESC on April 09, 2000

In Reply to: Re: Coral posted by ESC on April 09, 2000

: : This is a very old phrase - some hundreds of years at least. My pal Dr Smith has noted it on his WWW page - Archaic Medical terms for Genealogists but has not been able to track it down. He suspects it may be Shakesperean. Somebody said they found it mentioned again in Treasure Island. I looked and guessed it may mean drowning; then again it may refer to battle at sea?

: : jon

: There's a reference in Shakespeare to a "sea-change" where a person's body is transformed, or maybe replaced is a better word, with various items from the sea.

Full fathom five thy father lies;
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.

From The Tempest, William Shakespeare.