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Abyss   Listen
noun
Abyss  n.  
1.
A bottomless or unfathomed depth, gulf, or chasm; hence, any deep, immeasurable, and, specifically, hell, or the bottomless pit. "Ye powers and spirits of this nethermost abyss." "The throne is darkness, in the abyss of light."
2.
Infinite time; a vast intellectual or moral depth. "The abysses of metaphysical theology." "In unfathomable abysses of disgrace."
3.
(Her.) The center of an escutcheon. Note: This word, in its leading uses, is associated with the cosmological notions of the Hebrews, having reference to a supposed illimitable mass of waters from which our earth sprung, and beneath whose profound depths the wicked were punished.






Collaborative International Dictionary of English 0.48








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"Abyss" Quotes from Famous Books



... natural that we should remain at home, in our own world, as long as we can, as long as we are not violently driven from it by a series of irresistible and incontrovertible proofs coming from the neighbouring abyss. The survival of a spirit is no more improbable than the prodigious faculties which we are obliged to attribute to the mediums if we deny them to the dead. But the existence of mediums is beyond dispute, whereas that of spirits is not; and it is therefore for the spirits ...
— The Unknown Guest • Maurice Maeterlinck

... their thrones of state, and the table of the Caesars was spread below the Moon in the upper region of the air. The tyrants, who would have disgraced the society of gods and men, were thrown headlong, by the inexorable Nemesis, into the Tartarean abyss. The rest of the Caesars successively advanced to their seats; and as they passed, the vices, the defects, the blemishes of their respective characters, were maliciously noticed by old Silenus, a laughing ...
— The History of The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire - Volume 2 • Edward Gibbon

... and patches of snow. We were then on top of the Chinese Wall, and the view to the west was grand. At the moment hail was falling thick and white, and to stand above the streaked curtain, as it fell into the abyss was a strange new experience. Below, two thousand feet, lay the spruce forest, and it sloped and dropped into the White River Valley, which in turn rose, a long ragged dark-green slope, up to a bare jagged peak. Beyond this stretched range on range, dark ...
— Tales of lonely trails • Zane Grey

... so superior and lofty, yet without intending it, that he made no attempt to put himself in his father's place. He, in the exciting moments between the first cracking sound and the second, had had a vision of wrecked machinery and timber in an abyss at his feet. His father had had a vision far more realistic and terrifying. His father had seen the whole course of his printing business brought to a standstill, and all his savings dragged out of him to pay for reconstruction and for new machinery. His father had seen loss of life which might ...
— Clayhanger • Arnold Bennett

... prodigious height of unscalable, and often overhanging, cliff. Between the channel and the summit of the far extended precipices, were perpetually flying rooks and wood pigeons, and now and then a hawk, filling the profound abyss with their wild cawing, deep murmur, or shrilly shriek. Sometimes a heron would stand erect and still, on some little stone island, or rise up like a white cloud along the black walls of the chasm, and disappear. Winged creatures alone could ...
— McGuffey's Sixth Eclectic Reader • William Holmes McGuffey

... would have produced a many-sided, ideal Weltanschauung. The course of historical events from the first made such blending, which would doubtless have required great sacrifices on both sides, an impossible consummation. In point of fact, the events were such as to widen the abyss between the two systems. The meeting of Judaism and Hellenism unfortunately occurred at the very moment when the classical Hellenes had been supplanted by the hellenized Macedonians and Syrians, ...
— Jewish History • S. M. Dubnow

... this play sweeps past us like a torrent, which hurries along in its dark and resistless course all the personages of the drama towards a catastrophe that is not brought about by human will, but seems like an abyss ready dug to receive them, where the good and the wicked are whelmed together.[43] As the character of Hamlet has been compared, or rather contrasted, with the Greek Orestes, being like him, called on to avenge a crime by a crime, tormented by remorseful doubts, and pursued ...
— Characteristics of Women - Moral, Poetical, and Historical • Anna Jameson

... lay awake, pondering the new aspect which things had assumed, and gazing down the fearful abyss into which, in a spirit of self-devotion, she was seeking to ...
— Woman's Trials - or, Tales and Sketches from the Life around Us. • T. S. Arthur

... The little town with the pink and white houses Looses its hold on the ridge of hills And floats among cloud tops. A shaggy donkey, cropping grass in the sequestered church yard, Walks, with a leisurely air, Into a wind driven abyss. ...
— Precipitations • Evelyn Scott

... however, dispute the complete distinctness, here and now, of the ideas of "duty" and "interest" whatever may have been the origin of those ideas. No one pretends that ingratitude may, in any past abyss of time, have been a virtue, or that it may be such now in Arcturus or the Pleiades. Indeed, a certain eminent writer of the utilitarian school of ethics has amusingly and very instructively shown how radically distinct even in his own mind are the two ideas which he nevertheless endeavours ...
— On the Genesis of Species • St. George Mivart

... was wanting we contrived to balance ourselves on the rock by the help of our alpenstocks, having recourse as seldom as possible to one another's arms, for fear of dragging the whole company into the abyss. Hundreds of feet below us glittered the deep crevasses of the glacier, in which the rays of the sun disported. The cold winds, blowing from the frozen heights, scarcely cooled our foreheads. We were streaming with perspiration, but our gaiety increased, instead ...
— Celebrated Women Travellers of the Nineteenth Century • W. H. Davenport Adams

... possess my soul. Not yet have I attained the height of my ambition; that once achieved, I will stand firmly and without fear. Should I fall, should a thunder-clap, a storm-blast, ay, a false step of my own, precipitate me into the abyss, so be it! I shall lie there with thousands of others. I have never disdained, even for a trifling stake, to throw the bloody die with my gallant comrades; and shall I hesitate now, when all that is most precious in life is set upon ...
— Egmont - A Tragedy In Five Acts • Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

... everywhere overlooks a steep, often a sheer, descent, save at one point, where an isthmus unites it to the mountains that rise behind. In places the bounding wall runs on the very edge of a precipice, and many a crazy house, overhanging, seems ready to topple into the abyss. The views are magnificent, whether one looks down the valley to the leafy shore, or, in an opposite direction, up to the grand heights which, at this narrowest point of Calabria, separate the Ionian from the Tyrrhene Sea. I could now survey the ravines ...
— By the Ionian Sea - Notes of a Ramble in Southern Italy • George Gissing

... accompanied the words was arrested ere it dawned, and involuntarily Sara drew back before the instant, startling change in Garth's face. It had grown suddenly ashen, and his eyes were like those of a man who, walking in some pleasant place, finds all at once, that a bottomless abyss has opened ...
— The Hermit of Far End • Margaret Pedler

... brought by those very maxims and councils which would now deter us from adopting the proposed Constitution; and which, not content with having conducted us to the brink of a precipice, seem resolved to plunge us into the abyss that awaits us below. Here, my countrymen, impelled by every motive that ought to influence an enlightened people, let us make a firm stand for our safety, our tranquillity, our dignity, our reputation. Let us at last break the fatal ...
— The Federalist Papers • Alexander Hamilton, John Jay, and James Madison

... magnolia shrub about ten paces away from us, casting a shadow so deep that the ground it covered looked like a bottomless abyss. But nevertheless, something bright moved in it—perhaps the sheen of that lone light in an upper window reflected on a knife-hilt or a button—something that moved in time to ...
— Affair in Araby • Talbot Mundy

... diameter; and their form is so perfectly spherical, that, as they appear to touch the soil only by a small number of points, it might be supposed, at the least shock of an earthquake, they would roll into the abyss. I do not remember to have seen anywhere else a similar phenomenon, amid the decompositions of granitic soils. If the balls rested on a rock of a different nature, as in the blocks of Jura, we might ...
— Equinoctial Regions of America V2 • Alexander von Humboldt

... thee it frighteneth?" And he replied: "The anguish of the place And those that dwell there thus hath painted me With pity, not with fear. But come apace; The spur of the journey pricks us." Thus did he Enter himself, and take me in with him, Into the first great circle's mystery That winds the deep abyss ...
— Emerson and Other Essays • John Jay Chapman

... horror and dismay; the quiet Gower, and the whole community to which he belonged, have suddenly been brought face to face with something unusual and terrifying even for that period. The earth shook, and a gulf opened; hundreds of victims, an archbishop of Canterbury among them, disappeared, and the abyss still yawns; the consternation is general, and no one knows what remedy to expect. Happily the two edges of the chasm have at last united; it has closed again, hiding in its depths a heaving sea of lava, the rumblings of which ...
— A Literary History of the English People - From the Origins to the Renaissance • Jean Jules Jusserand

... Between his mother and him lay a black abyss. What right had anything, holding part in that shadow, to look like his mother? He arose and almost snatched from the child the pail she had ...
— A Son of the Hills • Harriet T. Comstock

... ladders as old as Man, by slippery edges of the dreaded abyss, with an ominous dizziness about my heart and a feeling of horror in the soles of my feet, I clambered from tower to tower till I found the door that I sought; and it opened on to one of the upper branches of a huge and sombre pine, ...
— The Book of Wonder • Edward J. M. D. Plunkett, Lord Dunsany

... stand upon that rock firmer than ever; and whatever may be the defects of any particular constitution, those who live under it will prefer its continuance to the experiment of changes which may plunge them in the unfathomable abyss of revolution, or extricate them from it only to expose them to the terrors of military despotism. And to apply this to France, I see no reason to believe that the present usurpation will be more permanent than any other military despotism which has ...
— Selected Speeches on British Foreign Policy 1738-1914 • Edgar Jones

... Toby must be dreaming of his recent trouble, as he hung over that terrible abyss by his hold ...
— With Trapper Jim in the North Woods • Lawrence J. Leslie

... I was talking with your father. He is French, and he is rich. He was indignant against the government of his country for involving the nation in the European conflict in order to defend a distant and uninteresting people. He complains of the exalted patriots who have opened the abyss between Germany and France, preventing a reconciliation. He says that Alsace and Lorraine are not worth what a war would cost in men and money. . . . He recognizes our greatness and is convinced that we have progressed so rapidly ...
— The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse • Vicente Blasco Ibanez

... sweet companionship with Paul. I think we may go further and say, that most good men are in more danger from trivial faults than from great ones. No man reaches the superlative degree of wickedness all at once. Few men spring from the height to the abyss, they usually slip down. The erosive action of the sand of the desert is said to be gradually cutting off the Sphinx's head. The small faults are most numerous. We are least on our guard against them. There ...
— Expositions of Holy Scripture: The Acts • Alexander Maclaren

... ages with a tiara of never-dying beauty, whilst for those who have trampled on the truth of Christ, it shall spin from its terrible form toils of eternal funeral bands, darker and darker, till sunk to the lowest abyss of destiny." ...
— Talkers - With Illustrations • John Bate

... by one hill which drops three hundred feet in half a mile. Kysh had the thought to steer with his hand down the abyss, but the manner in which he took the curved bridge at the bottom brought my few remaining hairs much nearer ...
— Traffics and Discoveries • Rudyard Kipling

... hewing life to his theory—hammering substance to the form of his thought—yet he was tender, too, in the manner of a rainbow dancing over an abyss. For the moment he wanted to say, "Poor girlie, you do have a hard time, don't you, with me?" but he reflected instantly how such a remark would be received. He meditated, holding his book in his hand above his knee, looking at the purling water that flowed and flowed in sprinkling showers over ...
— The Titan • Theodore Dreiser

... very topmost pinnacle of a thorn-bush; halfway down he had leapt four feet on to a neighbouring hazel; he had looked back in self-congratulation at the abyss, and, when he had turned ...
— "Wee Tim'rous Beasties" - Studies of Animal life and Character • Douglas English

... there were two worlds: in the South was Muspelheim, luminous and flaming, with Surt as a ruler; in the North was Niflheim, cold and dark, with the spring Hvergelmer, where the dragon Nidhugger dwells. Between these worlds was the yawning abyss Ginungagap. From the spring Hvergelmer ran icy streams into the Ginungagap. The hoarfrost from these streams was met by sparks from Muspelheim, and by the power of the heat the vapors were given life in the form ...
— Norwegian Life • Ethlyn T. Clough

... French philosophy are to be tolerated; then, I say, there is an end to social order and religion: Sansculotterie, Septemberising, and red night-caps, will flourish over once happy Europe; and the last and best of kings, and our most shining lights, will follow into the same bottomless abyss, which has already swallowed up ...
— The Uncollected Writings of Thomas de Quincey, Vol. 2 - With a Preface and Annotations by James Hogg • Thomas de Quincey

... enough to reflect on how it would be with us did God require us, as he has a perfect right to do, to pay our whole indebtedness, none being forgiven! grace enough to think whether we would not this very moment be in the abyss of hell! But so must it finally be with those who disregard the question and continually heap to themselves the wrath of God, being at the same time unwilling for him to deal otherwise with them than ...
— Epistle Sermons, Vol. III - Trinity Sunday to Advent • Martin Luther

... going to drop all of these characters into the nearest abyss," she repeated each time with greater intensity. "I shall never play them again after your drama is ready. My contract with Westervelt has really expired so far as his exclusive control over me is concerned, and ...
— The Light of the Star - A Novel • Hamlin Garland

... a strange and grotesque vision, or waking-dream, that she had dreamt a few nights before: of a vast abyss, black and silent, which had to be filled up to the top with the bodies of women, hurled down to the depths of the pit of darkness, in order that the survivors might, at last, walk over in safety. Human bodies take but ...
— The Daughters of Danaus • Mona Caird

... ask you to think how much God must know of which we know nothing. Think what an abyss of truth was our Lord, out of whose divine darkness, through that revealing countenance, that uplifting voice, those hands whose tenderness has made us great, broke all holy radiations of human significance. Think of his understanding, imagination, ...
— Unspoken Sermons - Series I., II., and II. • George MacDonald

... Lacey realised the danger, and saw the only way of escape. He swung open the door, even as the engine touched the edge of the abyss and shrieked its complaint under the hand of the terror-stricken driver, caught David's shoulder, and cried: "Jump-jump ...
— The Judgment House • Gilbert Parker

... heard from Roger?" asked Tom across the vast abyss of space separating them. "I've been trying to contact the Space Knight for the last six hours ...
— Treachery in Outer Space • Carey Rockwell and Louis Glanzman

... paces or so from the cell a tall cross is planted in the ground; and, at the other end of the platform, a gnarled old palm-tree leans over the abyss, for the side of the mountain is scarped; and at the bottom of the cliff the Nile swells, as ...
— The Temptation of St. Antony - or A Revelation of the Soul • Gustave Flaubert

... activities. Was this splendid figure of a man the vicious outlaw of wide and evil repute? The renegade thief? The persecutor of women? The pitiless butcher of defenseless men? Were those fine, clean-cut features but a mask that covered an abyss of black evil? Did that broad forehead actually conceal the crafty, degenerate brain that planned and executed the bloody and ...
— Fire Mountain - A Thrilling Sea Story • Norman Springer

... late, for I saw nothing but the looming figure of a second ruffian and his upraised arm; then painless darkness seemed to enfold me, and I was conscious of plunging down into a fathomless abyss. ...
— Jacqueline of Golden River • H. M. Egbert

... bounds of his province, there he made a halt, pausing a little, and considering, we may suppose, with himself the greatness of the enterprise which he had undertaken; then, at last, like men that are throwing themselves headlong from some precipice into a vast abyss, having shut, as it were, his mind's eyes and put away from his sight the idea of danger, he merely uttered to those near him in Greek the words, "Anerriphtho kubos," (let the die be cast,) and led ...
— Plutarch's Lives • A.H. Clough

... little ship (she was only 700 tons) appeared such an atom in comparison with the enormous mountains of water. At one moment we would be perched on the summit of a wave, seemingly hundreds of feet high, and immediately below a terrible abyss into which we were on the point of sinking; the next we would be placed between two mountains of water which ...
— Five Years in New Zealand - 1859 to 1864 • Robert B. Booth

... Is shackled by my smiling and implores My chaster, colder kiss and mounts to me. With pearls of white enchantment I bestrew The happy realms where lovers hunt their bliss; My ray is pale as frost and soft as dew; My path is woven in snow through the abyss. ...
— The Masque of the Elements • Herman Scheffauer

... the Gnostic view, God was represented as the immanent, incomprehensible and original source of all perfection; the unfathomable ABYSS ([Greek: βυθος].. buthos), according to Valentinus, exalted above all possibility of designation; of whom, properly speaking, nothing can be predicated; the [Greek: άκατονόμαστς] of Basilides, the [Greek: ών] of Philo. From this incomprehensible Essence of God, an immediate transition ...
— Morals and Dogma of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite of Freemasonry • Albert Pike

... brink of an abyss; and far beneath him flowed a stream through the blooming land; and over the waters moved proud vessels with their white sails ...
— The Nursery, April 1873, Vol. XIII. - A Monthly Magazine for Youngest People • Various

... we here? What hurricane has hurled us into this abyss? What tempest soon shall bear us away towards the forgotten ...
— Three short works - The Dance of Death, The Legend of Saint Julian the Hospitaller, A Simple Soul. • Gustave Flaubert

... rigid, her eyes wide, her nostrils dilated—a creature swaying upon the verge of an abyss, contemplating a plunge ...
— Max • Katherine Cecil Thurston

... the gier-eagle why she stoops at once Into the vast and unexplored abyss, What full-grown power informs her from the first, Why she not marvels, strenuously beating The silent boundless ...
— An Introduction to the Study of Browning • Arthur Symons

... time to be prepared, and so they woke him. He stood on the deck and looked out into the wild confusion. He saw the moon fly from one wall of mist to the other, he saw dark monsters shoot up from the roaring abyss, and throw themselves on the ship with a crashing noise, and turn it on its side so that the masts almost touched the surface of the water, while birds of prey hovered above. The ship heaved from its inmost recesses, and cracked from end to end as if it would burst. ...
— I.N.R.I. - A prisoner's Story of the Cross • Peter Rosegger

... silence ensues. Barbara tries to get up a conversation with Mr. Courtenay, but that person, never brilliant at any time, seems now stricken with dumbness. Into this awkward abyss Mabel plunges this time. Evidently she has been dwelling secretly on Tommy's comments on their own cat, and is therefore full of thought about that ...
— April's Lady - A Novel • Margaret Wolfe Hungerford

... above the abyss, the officer lowered his field glasses and turned his face. Then he rose and moved over to where she was sitting. She stood up ...
— Special Messenger • Robert W. Chambers

... Distinct. The Intermediate Forms not Found. The Gradation Does not Begin with the Lowest Forms. Four Kingdoms from the Beginning. The New Species Began with the Giants. The Gaps Fatal to the Theory. The Abyss Between Death and Life. The Gulf Between the Plant and the Animal. The Gaps Between Species Which will not Breed Together. The Gaps Between Air Breathers and Water Breathers, &c. The Great Gulf Between the Brute ...
— Fables of Infidelity and Facts of Faith - Being an Examination of the Evidences of Infidelity • Robert Patterson

... know what only the modern telescope reveals, that the North is stretched out over the empty place? How did he know that there in the Northern sky there is a space where no star does shine —a dark abyss of fathomless night—as if, suddenly, the universe of worlds had ...
— Christ, Christianity and the Bible • I. M. Haldeman

... earth or sea, passing on the way through the kingdom of those good souls who spend their lives in felicity and ease. Soon they come to a frightful vacuity—a sort of vasty deep—over which is suspended a narrow wheel, which whirls round with great rapidity. This awful abyss is bridged by a rope, and guarded by seal sentinels. Taking the angekok by the hand, his torngak leads him on the rope over the chasm and past the sentinels into the ...
— Red Rooney - The Last of the Crew • R.M. Ballantyne

... skies! why did your clouds retain For peasants' fields their floods of hoarded rain? O pitiless earth! why opened no abyss To bury in its chasm a ...
— Tales of a Wayside Inn • Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

... lie hidden in the dark recess behind. I have not coolly weighed the chances of preserving liberty when the bonds that unite us together shall be broken asunder. I have not accustomed myself to hang over the precipice of disunion, to see whether, with my short sight, I can fathom the depth of the abyss below; nor could I regard him as a safe counsellor in the affairs of this government, whose thoughts should be mainly bent on considering, not how the Union may be best preserved, but how tolerable might be the condition of the people when it should be broken up and destroyed. While ...
— The Great Speeches and Orations of Daniel Webster • Daniel Webster

... startling bliss I forc'd my soul to fancy Death should give! But, whilst I shudd'ring bless The hopes—of—nothingness, A something sighs: "Beyond the grave I live!" Tophet! I thrill! for scorn'd Was the sere thought, though warn'd Ofttimes that Death, enclos'd that dread abyss! Now, by each burning vein And venom'd conscience—pain I know the terrors of that ...
— The Mirror of Literature, Amusement, and Instruction. - Volume XIII, No. 369, Saturday, May 9, 1829. • Various

... when a man was about half across, an' we may as well make th' thing sure." And then, as the chain still held firm under the double strain, he added, "Well, here goes;" and, so speaking, took a running start and went swinging out over the abyss. ...
— The Aztec Treasure-House • Thomas Allibone Janvier

... steps, to the very pinnacle of the tent. 'The Signor' announced that he was going to swing himself up upon these hanging bars until he reached the topmost, and from that he would leap through the air down, down into the lighted abyss below, and catch a rope that was stretched at the ...
— A Dozen Ways Of Love • Lily Dougall

... cry, of want, or of exultation, as the case might be, which it was very thrilling to hear. It was the sense of want and pain in Eleanor's mind; not spoken indeed except by her countenance; but that toned strongly with the notes of feeling that were uttered around her. As from the bottom of a dark abyss into which he had fallen, a person might look up to the bright sky, of which he could see but a little, which yet would give him token of all the firmamental light and beauty up there which he had not. From her darkness Eleanor saw it; saw it in the preacher's face and words; yes, and heard ...
— The Old Helmet, Volume I • Susan Warner

... rumbling sound which induced him to stop and cock his gun. A curious feeling of serio-comic awe crept over him as the idea of a fiery dragon leaped into his mind! At the same time, the fancy that the immense abyss of darkness might be one of the volcanic vents diminished the comic and increased the serious feeling. Ere long the sound assumed the definite tone of footsteps, and the dragon fancy seemed about to become a reality when he beheld a long narrow ...
— Blown to Bits - or, The Lonely Man of Rakata • Robert Michael Ballantyne

... lord, walking about among them, working for them as the nurses did, and sitting by some of them through awful hours, sometimes holding burning or slackening and chilling hands with a grip whose steadiness seemed to hold them back from the brink of the abyss they were slipping into. The mere ignorantly childish desire to do his prowess credit and to play him fair saved more than one man and woman from ...
— The Shuttle • Frances Hodgson Burnett

... thou that judgest another?' and warning us of the presence in our own heart of a sympathy, which we could not 'deny,' with the sadly questionable hero of the German epic, 'Reynard the Fox.' With our vulpine friend, we were on the edge of the very same abyss, if, indeed, we were not rolling in the depth of it. By what sophistry could we justify ourselves, if not by the very same which we had just been so eagerly condemning? And our conscience whispered to us that we had been swift to ...
— Short Studies on Great Subjects • James Anthony Froude

... himself, asking her pardon. She gave a long sigh. She had a strange sense of having climbed a long stair out of an abyss of misery. Now she was just at the top—just within light and welcome. But the dark was so close behind—one touch! and she was thrust down to ...
— Helbeck of Bannisdale, Vol. II • Mrs. Humphry Ward

... flat country adjacent to Yarmouth; and every sheet and puddle lashed its banks, and had its stress of little breakers setting heavily towards us. When we came within sight of the sea, the waves on the horizon, caught at intervals above the rolling abyss, were like glimpses of another shore with towers and buildings. When at last we got into the town, the people came out to their doors, all aslant, and with streaming hair, making a wonder of the mail that had come through ...
— David Copperfield • Charles Dickens

... a nation plunge more suddenly from the height of prosperity into the depth of misery than did France on that fourteenth of May, 1610, when Henry IV. fell dead by the dagger of Ravaillac. All earnest men, in a moment, saw the abyss yawning,—felt the State sinking,—felt themselves sinking with it. And they did what, in such a time, men always do: first all shrieked, then every man clutched at the means of safety nearest him. Sully rode through ...
— Atlantic Monthly, Vol. 9, No. 55, May, 1862 • Various

... Prussia retains him a prisoner in his dominions. And while he suffers this inconceivable persecution from the enemies without, the faction which reigns within keeps me a hostage at one hundred and twenty leagues from the capital. Judge, then, at what distance I am from him. In this abyss of misery, the idea of owing to the United States and to Washington the life and liberty of M. de Lafayette kindles a ray of hope in my heart. I hope everything from the goodness of the people with whom he has set an example of that liberty of which he is now made the victim. And shall I ...
— Washington and the American Republic, Vol. 3. • Benson J. Lossing

... entered, had encased his spiritual being in a sort of brazen armor, through which no ordinary blow of conscience could penetrate. Still he had fearful glimpses of recent events, and his soul, hanging as it was over the abyss of eternity, ...
— Graham's Magazine Vol XXXII. No. 3. March 1848 • Various

... that runs to her knees, With a shout for his mother, and kiss For the tear-drop that welling he sees To her eyes from her sorrow's abyss,— Though he blooms like a rose, the fair boy, No praise of his beauty is heard; None with him stays to jest or to toy, None to her gives a ...
— Modern Italian Poets • W. D. Howells

... anchor heave, And close upon my thunder-pulsing breast, O ship, Thou would'st tremble, nor repine, That being mine, Thy spars, Like long pale lights of falling stars, Plunged in the Stygian blackness of the sea, And to billowy ruin cast Thy tall and taper mast, Rushed shrieking headlong down to an abyss. O ship! O love! if Death Were such sure portion, thou could'st not refuse But thou would'st choose As mine to die, and call such choosing bliss; For thou for me Wert plann'd ...
— Old Spookses' Pass • Isabella Valancy Crawford

... monstrous Hydra with her fifty black yawning throats: and Tartarus' self gapes sheer and strikes into the gloom through twice the space that one looks upward to Olympus and the skyey heaven. Here Earth's ancient children, the Titans' brood, hurled down by the thunderbolt, lie wallowing in the abyss. Here likewise I saw the twin Aloids, enormous of frame, who essayed with violent hands to pluck down high heaven and thrust Jove from his upper realm. Likewise I saw Salmoneus in the cruel payment he gives for mocking Jove's flame and Olympus' ...
— The Aeneid of Virgil • Virgil

... prose or rhyme. And chiefly thou, O Spirit, that dost prefer Before all temples th' upright heart and pure, Instruct me, for thou know'st; thou from the first Wast present, and, with mighty wings outspread, Dove-like sat'st brooding on the vast Abyss, And mad'st it pregnant: what in me is dark Illumine, what is low raise and support; That, to the height of this great argument, I may assert Eternal Providence, And justify the ways of God to men. Say ...
— Paradise Lost • John Milton

... that food and company produced. It was not any recovered pleasure in life that he felt, but only a deeper withdrawal into himself. It was easier to go on automatically with the social gestures than to uncover to any human eye the abyss within him. ...
— Tales Of Men And Ghosts • Edith Wharton

... to the uninitiated that all this is a kind of smoke-screen of words to conceal our real ignorance of what we can never know and really have no need to know. It is evidently just an attempt to bridge the abyss between the immaterial and the material. If Theosophy wishes to bridge this abyss with conjecture, well and good, but its conjectures really leave us more deeply perplexed than we should be if we frankly recognized and accepted the limitations of our ignorance. Once within ...
— Modern Religious Cults and Movements • Gaius Glenn Atkins

... with an e. The moral scruples of these savages, under the influence of their evangelical training, betrayed queer freaks. One of them, says Mrs. Rowlandson, would rather die than eat horseflesh, so narrow and scrupulous was his conscience, although it was as wide as the whole infernal abyss, when it came to torturing white Christians. The student of history may have observed similar inconsistencies in the theories and conduct of people more enlightened than these poor red men. "There was another Praying ...
— The Beginnings of New England - Or the Puritan Theocracy in its Relations to Civil and Religious Liberty • John Fiske

... lost at the bottom of the ocean, far from the land, and in water about two miles in depth—a ship goes out, discovers the spot, and then grappling irons are lowered. Science with its long arm, as it were, reaches down the almost unfathomable abyss, and with its powerful hand secures and brings to the surface of the ocean the fractured cable, which is again made to connect the Old and New Worlds—thus verifying almost the words of Shakespeare, when he speaks of calling "spirits from the vasty deep." After ...
— Lectures on Popular and Scientific Subjects • John Sutherland Sinclair, Earl of Caithness

... little while at high water. When the tide was low, or nearly so, the creek was a shining, slippery, red gash, twisting hither and thither through stretches of red-brown, sun-cracked flats, whitened here and there with deposited salt. Where the creek joined the Tantramar, its parent stream, the abyss of coppery and gleaming ooze revealed at ebb tide made a picture never to be forgotten; for the tidal Tantramar does not conform to conventional ideas of ...
— The Raid From Beausejour; And How The Carter Boys Lifted The Mortgage • Charles G. D. Roberts

... falling spar at the beginning of a week of which his Scottish captain used to say afterwards, 'Man! it's a pairfect meeracle to me how she lived through it!' spent many days stretched on his back, dazed, battered, hopeless, and tormented as if at the bottom of an abyss of unrest. He did not care what the end would be, and in his lucid moments overvalued his indifference. The danger, when not seen, has the imperfect vagueness of human thought. The fear grows shadowy; and Imagination, the enemy of men, the father of ...
— Lord Jim • Joseph Conrad

... casual globe-trotter. Spain has sunk from the proud position which she held during the Middle Ages, but much of the force and energy which charged the old-time Spaniard still remains, and there is to-day a determined upward movement out of the abyss into which despotism ...
— The Lost Art of Reading • Gerald Stanley Lee

... But what is this why? What is the sense of this world and its harrowings for a youth? If he be sincere and sound of mind, in what way can he interest himself in the coarse medley of nations standing head to head like stupid rams on the brink of an abyss, into which all are about to tumble? And yet the road was broad enough for all. Why then this madness to destroy oneself? Why these countries given over to pride, these States devoted to rapine, these peoples to whom is taught murder, as if murder ...
— Pierre and Luce • Romain Rolland

... the power of creation and formation.... Matter unintelligent and self-formed is nothing, and realizes existence only through the operation of the idea which gives it its form. Aristotle begins by rejecting all this phantasmagory of eternal and creative ideas. He fills the abyss between matter and spirit. God, pure thought and being preeminent, brings all into existence by his power of attraction which gives ...
— Delsarte System of Oratory • Various

... he pretended surrounded him; but soon he repented his inventive picturesque description, for the blind man, mentally affected by the supposed peril of his situation, became suddenly dizzy, and screaming with the apprehension that he was tumbling down the rocks into the abyss below, fell upon the ground. In cases of sleep-walking upon dangerous heights, there is no apprehension or fear—the mind is intently absorbed in the object pursued; all the muscular movements are performed with confidence and with unerring precision; and under these circumstances ...
— Harper's New Monthly Magazine, Vol. 3, July, 1851 • Various

... he spoke, struck a heavy blow on the floor with his foot, when there came a low rumbling sound like the roar of the wind through some subterraneous abyss, or the distant moan of the sea, driven on by the rushing tempest. The whole assembly stood aghast, save the king and ...
— Traditions of Lancashire, Volume 2 (of 2) • John Roby

... the poet understood,—a really marvelous occurrence, because poets, who understand everything else and can tell you why the condor flies so high, who soar to the skies and descend into the abyss and penetrate the secret thoughts of all created things, are not capable of realizing that there are times when their works do not please those who hear them. Our young man, whom we will call Inocencio, received back his manuscript somewhat peevishly, and for a while nothing further was heard ...
— First Love (Little Blue Book #1195) - And Other Fascinating Stories of Spanish Life • Various

... Tower of Triumph stands, All its pillars in a blaze With the many-coloured rays, Which lanthorns of ten thousand dyes Shed on ten thousand panoplies. But closest is the throng, And loudest is the song, In that sweet garden by the river side, The abyss of myrtle bowers, The wilderness of flowers, Where Cain hath built the palace of his pride. Such palace ne'er shall be again Among the dwindling race of men. From all its threescore gates the light Of gold and steel afar was thrown; Two hundred cubits rose in height The outer wall ...
— The Miscellaneous Writings and Speeches of Lord Macaulay, Vol. 3. (of 4) • Thomas Babington Macaulay

... narrate all the particulars of our journey through the dark abyss, particularly as nothing very important befell us, and one day passed like another. Now and then a small meteoric stone struck the car and ...
— A Trip to Venus • John Munro

... bestowed on him; of the silent question spoken by her lovely shy eyes. He guessed it to be: "Shall I really be happy once more? Dare I hope it? Is it indeed you who will bring me happiness?" Out of an unfathomable abyss of doubt and misery she appealed to ...
— 'Jena' or 'Sedan'? • Franz Beyerlein

... officials had repeatedly told them that the dam threatened destruction. They still perversely lulled themselves into a false security. The blow came, when it did, like a flash. It was as if the heavens had fallen in liquid fury upon the earth. It was as if ocean itself had been precipitated into an abyss. The slow but inexorable march of the mightiest glacier of the Alps, though comparable, was not equal to this in force. The whole of a Pyramid, shot from a colossal catapult, would not have been the petty charge of a pea shooter to it. Imagine Niagara, or a greater even than Niagara, ...
— The Johnstown Horror • James Herbert Walker

... harp was old, and had never seen the righteous forsaken, or his seed begging their bread; go, Teachers of content and honest pride, into the mine, the mill, the forge, the squalid depths of deepest ignorance, and uttermost abyss of man's neglect, and say can any hopeful plant spring up in air so foul that it extinguishes the soul's bright torch as fast as it is kindled! And, oh! ye Pharisees of the nineteen hundredth year of Christian Knowledge, who soundingly appeal to human nature, see that it be human ...
— Life And Adventures Of Martin Chuzzlewit • Charles Dickens

... bubbles of the fall subsided, was so exquisitely clear that, although it was of great depth, the eye could discern each pebble at the bottom. Eddying round this reservoir, the brook found its way as if over a broken part of the ledge, and formed a second fall, which seemed to seek the very abyss; then, wheeling out beneath from among the smooth dark rocks which it had polished for ages, it wandered murmuring down the glen, forming the stream up which Waverley had just ascended. [Footnote: See Note 24.] The borders of this romantic reservoir corresponded in beauty; but it was beauty of a ...
— Waverley, Or 'Tis Sixty Years Hence, Complete • Sir Walter Scott

... Quakers; cloves smelling of dust. Oh, dusty world! May herself looked of that complexion; so did Lizzy; so did all the houses, windows, chickens, children, trees, and pigs in the village; so above all did the shoes. No foot could make three plunges into that abyss of pulverised gravel, which had the impudence to call itself a hard road, without being clothed with a coat a quarter of an inch thick. Woe to white gowns! woe to black! Drab was your ...
— Our Village • Mary Russell Mitford

... wall Streams the bright flood, Then spreadeth gently In cloudy billows O'er the smooth rock, And welcomed kindly, Veiling, on roams it, Soft murmuring, Tow'rd the abyss. ...
— The Poems of Goethe • Goethe

... repeated a number of times, audibly: "God! God!" Then she rested her elbows on the arms of the chair, covered her face with both palms, the broad sleeves of her dress fell from her arms like broken wings. Thus, altogether motionless, she dropped into an abyss of regrets, reminiscences, and fears. The night flowed on. The clock among the flowers in that study struck the first hour after midnight, then the second hour, and each time in the darkness of the drawing-rooms another clock answered in tones which were ...
— The Argonauts • Eliza Orzeszko (AKA Orzeszkowa)

... the latter, patting BEN's head kindly with the handle of his umbrella, "I know. Hence my application to your skill. That presumptuous idea revealed as in a lightning flash the abyss on the brink of which I stood. This demon of perverse pride must be laid; humbled for ever. So ply your brushes, and see you spare ...
— Punch, Or The London Charivari, Vol. 100., February 7, 1891 • Various

... transient thing; its roots are in the past, its hopes in the future. "If all depends on the slender thread of the fleeting moment of the present, which illumines and endures merely for a twinkling of an eye, but to sink into the abyss of nothingness, then all life would mean a mere exit into death.... Without connection there is no content of life." We are apt to look on the past as something dead, but it exists in living evidence in our souls to-day. It oppresses us or stimulates us to action, it ...
— Rudolph Eucken • Abel J. Jones

... upon the volcano again. The "cellar" was tolerably well lighted up. For a mile and a half in front of us and half a mile on either side, the floor of the abyss was magnificently illuminated; beyond these limits the mists hung down their gauzy curtains and cast a deceptive gloom over all that made the twinkling fires in the remote corners of the crater seem countless leagues removed—made them seem like the camp-fires of a ...
— Innocents abroad • Mark Twain

... abyss of heaven Hath swallow'd up thy form: yet on my heart Deeply hath sunk the lesson thou hast given, ...
— The Children's Garland from the Best Poets • Various

... member's of the new Government, after having examined all the difficulties, nay, let me add, all the horrors of their situation, resolved to confront all obstacles, and that they would either deliver France from the abyss in which she was plunged or perish in the attempt? They drew up on a sheet of letter-paper the act by which they declared themselves constituted, and immediately forwarded ...
— The Memoirs of Napoleon Bonaparte • Bourrienne, Constant, and Stewarton

... so eloquently said, "it is in this abyss that the problem of our condition gathers its complications and intricacies, so that man is more inconceivable without this mystery than this mystery is inconceivable to man;" but the truth of the fall and of original sin is one of those against which human pride has ...
— The Contemporary Review, Volume 36, September 1879 • Various

... two. The greater number—those who had submitted to the "first purification," conferring upon them the "lesser seal"—had lost testicles and scrotum. These people are said to have lost the "keys of hell," but to retain the "key of the abyss" (female genitals). As instruments of excision the hot iron, pieces of glass, old wire, sharpened bone, and old razors are used. Only nine fatal cases resulting from the operation are known. At St. Petersburg Liprandi ...
— Anomalies and Curiosities of Medicine • George M. Gould

... what a day is this, My vengeance shall be sated. Thou treadest on an abyss! For now thy doom ...
— Operas Every Child Should Know - Descriptions of the Text and Music of Some of the Most Famous Masterpieces • Mary Schell Hoke Bacon

... landlady so much money now, he felt in honor bound to board with her and give her all his earnings. He felt himself sinking into an abyss and he didn't have the strength to fight ...
— The Man in Gray • Thomas Dixon

... that rode sublime Upon the seraph-wings of Ecstasy The secrets of the Abyss to spy: He pass'd the flaming bounds of Place and Time: The living Throne, the sapphire-blaze Where Angels tremble while they gaze, He saw; but blasted with excess of light, Closed his eyes in endless night. Behold where Dryden's less presumptuous ...
— The Golden Treasury - Of the Best Songs and Lyrical Poems in the English Language • Various

... sway their bodies and heavy sacks in such a manner as to pass us safely, except one. He, more stupid or more unlucky than the rest, struck us a full broad-side as he went by jolting us hard against the hill, and well-nigh jolting himself down the craggy descent into the abyss below. One leg hung a moment over the precipice, but the poor beast suddenly threw his whole weight forward, and by a desperate leap, obtained sure foothold in the path, and again trudged along ...
— The Anti-Slavery Examiner, Omnibus • American Anti-Slavery Society

... In the fire of her impatience, she pressed the king onward toward the door. Suddenly she paused, and giving him an enchanting smile, she said, "I am, without doubt, much indebted to you; you have warned me of a danger, and in fact guarded me from an abyss. Truly I think this was not done for my sake, but because your king had commanded that I should dance. Your reasons were well grounded, and I thank you sincerely. I pray you, sir, give me your name, that I may guard it in my memory as the only ...
— Berlin and Sans-Souci • Louise Muhlbach

... under his feet from every shore, like the rolling thunder of a ten-pin ball. With a loud cry to the dogs he darted forward, but it was too late. Behind him the ice crashed like brittle glass, and he saw sledge and dogs disappear as if into an abyss. In an instant he had begun a mad race to the shore a hundred feet ahead of him. Ten paces more and he would have reached it, when the toe of his snow-shoe caught in a hummock of snow and ice. For a flash it stopped him, and the moment's pause ...
— Philip Steele of the Royal Northwest Mounted Police • James Oliver Curwood

... this. Hunting around until a chip from one of the boulders was found, Jack tossed it across the abyss. It fell as he expected, proving that, wonderfully deceptive as is the atmosphere of the West, it cannot mislead in instances like ...
— Two Boys in Wyoming - A Tale of Adventure (Northwest Series, No. 3) • Edward S. Ellis

... Having read the letter once, she did not trouble herself to read it again. It was the sort of letter Bertha always wrote—the letter which meant temptation, the letter which seemed to drag its victim to the edge of an abyss. ...
— The Time of Roses • L. T. Meade

... flash, a jet of spray leaps hissing out of the fall, like a rocket, bursting in the wind, and driven away in dust, filling the air with light; and how, through the curdling wreaths of the restless, crashing abyss below, the blue of the water, paled by the foam in its body, shows purer than the sky through white rain-cloud, while the shuddering iris stoops in tremulous stillness over all, fading and flashing alternately through the choking spray and shattered sunshine, ...
— Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine, No. CCCXXXVI. October, 1843. Vol. LIV. • Various

... it sounds as if someone were writing in the dark. Out in the street men seem to be running to and fro and muttering hoarsely in each other's ears. The church clocks strike one after another, thrice, four times—one cannot tell how often. The time is horribly long and the night is an abyss of blackness. ...
— The Day of Wrath • Maurus Jokai

... well as in the study of vast natural phenomena. The farthest limit we have reached, with the most gigantic standard of measurement we could well employ, in gauging the greatness of the universe, only leaves us with an overwhelming consciousness of the awful greatness—the abyss of the infinite—that lies beyond, and which our minds can never measure. The indefinite has a limit somewhere; but it is not the indefinite, it is the measureless, the infinite, that vast extension forces upon our minds. In like manner, the immeasurable in minuteness is an inevitable mental ...
— Scientific American Supplement, Vol. XIX, No. 470, Jan. 3, 1885 • Various

... to the one faculty of memory, and to that mainly by means of birch-rods, increase the rebellion, and the sense of restraint is brought to a climax when at last old Andreas dies. Then "the dark bottomless Abyss, that lies under our feet, had yawned open; the pale kingdoms of Death, with all their innumerable silent nations and generations, stood before him; the inexorable word NEVER! now ...
— Among Famous Books • John Kelman

... occurrence saved her. The men of the revolution had now attained the summit of their power, and, as there was no standing still for them, they sank into the abyss which themselves ...
— Queen Hortense - A Life Picture of the Napoleonic Era • L. Muhlbach

... brought you, sir, a letter from Mr. Gammon, of the firm of Quirk, Gammon, and Snap, solicitors, Saffron Hill," said the stranger, unconscious that his words shot a flash of light into a little abyss of grief and despair before him. "He begged me to give this letter into your own hands, and said he hoped you'd send him an answer by the first ...
— Ten Thousand a-Year. Volume 1. • Samuel Warren

... pressure chamber. There was hardly need to close the door after us. I stood gripping him as he opened the small outer slides. The abyss was at our feet; the outgoing wind tore at us like a gale, so that we stood ...
— Wandl the Invader • Raymond King Cummings

... this pleasure the thought of Mr. Thorold brought with it. The life I was living now was so very far from his life, and so unlike; my part of the world was now so very distant from his, - there was such an abyss between; - and yet the Swiss hills were so glorious, and I was enjoying them. I began to wonder, as we were sailing towards home in the end of the day, what work I had to do in this new and strange place; why was I here? Perhaps, to learn patience, ...
— Daisy in the Field • Elizabeth Wetherell

... envelop you. It is said that walls have ears. They have also voices, a mute eloquence. Everything that a dwelling contains is bathed in an ether of personality. And I find proof of its quality even in the apartments of bachelors and solitary women. What an abyss between one room and another room! Here, all is dead, indifferent, commonplace: the device of the owner is written all over it, even in his fashion of arranging his photographs and books: All is the same to me! There, one breathes in animation, a contagious joy in life. The visitor ...
— The Simple Life • Charles Wagner

... rage, Resistless, overwhelming; horrors seize The mariners; Death in their eyes appears, They stare, they lave, they pump, they swear, they pray; Vain efforts! still the battering waves rush in, Implacable, till, deluged by the foam, The ship sinks foundering in the vast abyss. ...
— Specimens with Memoirs of the Less-known British Poets, Complete • George Gilfillan

... slowly, and left him transfixed, there in the silence and gloom, his eyes staring wide into blackness at nothing, his jaw set and rigid, his forehead knotted and damp with sweat, his hands so clenched that the nails bit deep into his palms; while he looked back over the abyss yawning between the Lone Wolf of tonight and the man who had, within the week, knelt in that spot in company with the woman he loved, bent on making restitution that his soul might be saved through ...
— The Lone Wolf - A Melodrama • Louis Joseph Vance

... that even Laura herself might by any choice of her own, still stand hopelessly beyond his reach. The thing that troubled him was the knowledge of his own impetuous emotions—with the shield of Madame Alta withdrawn was it not possible that a sudden passion might plunge him headlong even into the abyss of marriage? ...
— The Wheel of Life • Ellen Anderson Gholson Glasgow



Words linked to "Abyss" :   abyssal, oceanic abyss



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