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Full fathom five

Posted by Brian from Shawnee on April 25, 2003

In Reply to: Full fathom five posted by Gary on April 25, 2003

: : I just ran across the phrase "full fathom five", meaning something like "completely sunk into despair". I like the sound of it.

: : I took a look in the archives here but all I could find were two discussions about "sea-change". Apparently the phrases "full fathom five" and "sea-change" were spoken by Ariel in The Tempest.

: : But does anyone know the origina of "full fathom five"? Is it from The Tempest originally?

: This is Ariel's song from The Tempest:

: 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.
: Sea-nymphs hourly ring his knell

: Whether it originated with Shakespeare I don't know, although it seems likely.

Thanks, but I was hoping that someone might know the significance of "five fathoms". For example most of us would grasp "six feet under" as a typical burial depth for a deceased person. Could this be a typical depth for someone sent to Davy Jones' Locker?