Inferno: Canto XI Upon the margin of a lofty bank Which great rocks broken in a circle made, We came upon a still more cruel throng; And there, by reason of the horrible Excess of stench the deep abyss throws out, We drew ourselves aside behind the cover Of a great tomb, whereon I saw a writing, Which said: "Pope Anastasius I hold, Whom out of the right way Photinus drew."
Various crimes Have sunk them deeper in the dark abyss.
We pick our steps, by lanthorn light indeed, and slowly, but still surely and safely, along a dark and difficult road: but just as we are beginning to pride ourselves on having found our way so cleverly, we come to an edge of darkness; and see before our feet a bottomless abyss, down which our feeble lanthorn will not throw its light a yard.
If she could only remain calm, she could look Into the black abyss with the eye of reason, rather than terror.
Few thought, as they smiled over this fairy tale of science, that some such panoramic survey of the story of the earth, and even of the heavens, might one day be made in a leisure hour by ordinary mortals; that in the soil on which they trod were surer records of the past than in its doubtful literary remains, and in the deeper rocks were records that dimly lit a vast abyss of time of which they never dreamed.
She knew that somewhere in the green abyss His body swung in curves of watery force, Now in a circle slow revolved, and now Swaying like wind-swung bell, when surface waves Sank their roots deep enough to reach the waif, Hither and thither, idly to and fro, Wandering unheeding through the heedless sea.
Across the chasm they could clearly see the trees and hills; yet these were fully thirteen miles distant, for here is one of the widest portions of the great abyss.
They look parallel now to the eye, but with a magnifying power a very little crook will seem a billowy wave, and a faint star will hide itself in one of the yawning abysses.
"We clambered over heaps of rocks, we descended ladders, wound through narrow passages, passed along chambers so low that we crouched for the whole length, entered upon lofty halls, ascended ladders, and crossed a bridge over a yawning abyss.
CANTO XI UPON the utmost verge of a high bank, By craggy rocks environ'd round, we came, Where woes beneath more cruel yet were stow'd: And here to shun the horrible excess Of fetid exhalation, upward cast From the profound abyss, behind the lid Of a great monument we stood retir'd, Whereon this scroll I mark'd: "I have in charge Pope Anastasius, whom Photinus drew From the right path.--Ere our descent behooves We make delay, that somewhat first the sense, To the dire breath accustom'd, afterward Regard it not."
If Dora and Amy needed a still lower abyss of humiliation, they found it in this last sentence of Tom's, which showed them plainly what poor creatures he thought they were "naturally" to Tilly.
And thy soul shall sink Down into the dark abyss, Into the infinite abyss, From which no plummet nor rope Ever drew up the silver sand of hope!
CANTO XXX Noon's fervid hour perchance six thousand miles From hence is distant; and the shadowy cone Almost to level on our earth declines; When from the midmost of this blue abyss By turns some star is to our vision lost.
He laboured as before; though when he would, With privilege, he took from hours of toil, When nothing pressed; and read within his room, Or wandered through the moorland to the hills; There stood upon the apex of the world, With a great altar-stone of rock beneath, And looked into the wide abyss of blue That roofed him round; and then, with steady foot, Descended to the world, and worthy cares.
I performed all evolutions there by means of that divine Soul which I fashioned there, and which had remained inoperative in the watery abyss.
No thunderbolt had blazed forth from that dome of cloudless blue; no marksman had approached the inaccessible spot; yet, without vestige of hurt, the eagle dropped lifeless, falling sheer down into the unfathomable abyss below.
Our hardy animals scrambled like chamois along, over the edges of the steep precipices, and carried us with safety past the terrible abyss, at the bottom of which the stream leapt, with a frightful roaring, from rock to rock.
Gradually, as I went onward, I noticed that the path trended steadily to the right, and so, after some minutes, I discovered that I was not going forward; but simply circling the huge abyss.
As Tarzan swung rapidly through the trees, little Tibo closed his eyes in terror rather than look longer down into the frightful abysses beneath.
When the exasperated soul abandons The body whence it rent itself away, Minos consigns it to the seventh abyss.
She had lived in that, from far back, from year to year, from day to day and from hour to hour--she had lived for it and literally by it, as who should say; but Mr. Pitman was somehow more illuminating than he knew, with the present lurid light that he cast upon old dates, old pleas, old values, and old mysteries, not to call them old abysses: it had rolled over her in a swift wave, with the very sight of him, that her mother couldn't possibly have been right about him--as about what in the world had she ever been right?--so that in fact he was simply offered her there as one more of Mrs. Connery's lies.
But Malebolge all toward the mouth Inclining of the nethermost abyss, The site of every valley hence requires, That one side upward slope, the other fall.
But far more touching than these mementoes of her love of Nature are the passages in this diary of her last year on earth, that express her love to Christ and testify to His presence and supporting grace in what she describes as "the fathomless abyss of misery" in which she was plunged.
For certain on the brink I found me of the lamentable vale, The dread abyss, that joins a thund'rous sound Of plaints innumerable.
He travels through primeval forests, stands upon dizzy abysses, plies through roaring whirlpools, all of which are symbolic of the soul's wayfaring, until at last,-- "When on the threshold of the green recess," his dying glance rests upon the setting moon and the sufferer finds eternal peace.
With a cunning and activity utterly new to him, he glided away, like a snake; downward over crags and boulders, he knew not how long or how far; all he knew was, that he was going down, down, down, into a dim abyss.
Friezes from Tadmor and Persepolis -- From Balbec, and the stilly, clear abyss Of beautiful Gomorrah!
All of us move darkly in that awful abyss of Self, and as the fourth Maxim says, "When a Man hath travelled never so far, and discovered never so much in the world of Self-love, yet still the Terra Incognita will take up a considerable part of the Map."
Blissful, they turned them to go: but the fair-tressed Pallas Athene Rose, like a pillar of tall white cloud, toward silver Olympus; Far above ocean and shore, and the peaks of the isles and the mainland; Where no frost nor storm is, in clear blue windless abysses, High in the home of the summer, the seats of the happy Immortals, Shrouded in keen deep blaze, unapproachable; there ever youthful Hebe, Harmonie, and the daughter of Jove, Aphrodite, Whirled in the white-linked dance with the gold-crowned Hours and the Graces, Hand within hand, while clear piped Phoebe, queen of the woodlands.
Never any bridge but this Could stand across the wild abyss; All the rest, of wood or stone, By the Devil's hand were overthrown.
During four days I had seen not one sign of present life on the Norway coast, only hills, hills, dead and dark, and floating craft, all dead and dark; and my eyes now, I found, had acquired a crazy fixity of stare into the very bottom of the vacant abyss of nothingness, while I remained unconscious of being, save of one point, rainbow-blue, far down in the infinite, which passed slowly from left to right before my consciousness a little way, then vanished, came back, and passed slowly again, from left to right continually; till some prick, or voice, in my brain would startle me into the consciousness that I was staring, whispering the profound confidential warning: You must not stare so, or it is over with you!'
Close to Nevada, they reached a famous viewpoint, and Nick took Angela off her pony that she might stand near the edge and see the white torrent plunge over an unthinkable abyss.
He was clinging to the fragments of his beliefs, he remained hanging there, not daring to stir, to think, or to turn, for fear of rolling to the bottom of some unknown abyss.
To the success of such undertakings perhaps some degree of fortuitous happiness is necessary, which no man can promise or procure to himself; and therefore doubt and irresolution may be forgiven in him that ventures into the unexplored abysses of truth, and attempts to find his way through the fluctuations of uncertainty, and the conflicts of contradiction.
We may not be able to launch the bark of our affections on the ocean-tide of humanity, we may be forced to paddle along its shores, or shelter in its creeks and rivulets: but we have no right to reproach the bold and adventurous pilot, who dared us to tempt the uncertain abyss, with our own want of courage or of skill, or with the jealousies and impatience, which deter us from undertaking, or might prevent us from accomplishing the voyage!
Now, when the further side of the abyss came into view, Leothric saw a chamber that opened with innumerable arches upon the twin abysses, and the pillars of the arches went away into the distance and vanished in the gloom to left and right.
Nothing could be more suggestive of haughtiness and arrogance: the conquered vessel, the triumphant abyss.
There had been a short touch of cold in the air at the end of August, and breezes from the north that poured down from the heights behind the castle, into the tremendous abyss below, and shot up again to the walls and the windows, even as high as the dungeon tower.
These two, who stood heart hammering against heart, saw for an instant Jehan Kuypelant's lean face silvered by the moonlight, his mouth a tiny abyss.
The younger girl took a glance at the terrifying abyss and shrank back to Edith's side.
His angels are superhuman, but hardly angelic: and while in Raphael's angels we do not feel the want of wings, we feel while looking at those of Michael Angelo that not even the "sail-broad vans" with which Satan laboured, through the surging abyss of chaos could suffice to lift those Titanic forms from earth, and sustain them in mid-air.
Such ideas of a hierarchy of subordinate emanations to fill the supposed abyss between the Infinite and the Finite were eagerly adopted and developed by the pseudo-philosophers called Gnostics, on both sides of the boundary between the Church and the World.
The two men could not live in the midst of these successive abysses, and after several attempts they let themselves slide on one of the slopes of the hill.
This is the knowledge I have wrung from pain: We, yea, all lovers, are not one, but twain, Each by strange wisps to strange abysses drawn; But through the black immensity of night Love's little lantern, like a glowworm's, bright, May lead our steps to some stupendous dawn.
Every sheaf of wires laid down in the deep sea, occupying the bottom of soundless abysses to which human sight has never penetrated, and carrying the electric pulse, charged with the burden of human thought, from continent to continent, from the Old World to the New, is a testimonial to his greatness.... The Latin inscription in the church of St. Paul's in London, referring to Sir Christopher Wren, its architect,--'If you would behold his monument, look around you,'--may be applied in a far more comprehensive sense to our friend, since the great globe itself has become his monument."
Thence she could see far off, not only down the dim, sombre abyss, but out to the blue Mediterranean beyond, now calmly lying in swathing-bands of purple, gold, and orange, while the smoky cloud that overhung Vesuvius became silver and rose in the evening light.
I was in a somber abyss again.
Man has danced upon the verge of a social abyss, and, as previously suggested, the dancing has, both in form and in accompanying music, lost its former grace and reverted to the primitive forms of crude vulgarity.
They had profited by a hole in the rocks, and chopped away the stunted scrubs to enlarge it into a snug artificial abyss.
With the air of a reigning princess, preceded by the captain and followed by the officials, she went over the two decks, entered the galleries of the engine room and the four-sided abyss of the hatchways, sniffing the musty odor of the hold.