Of all objects that I have ever seen, there is none which affects my imagination so much as the sea or ocean. A troubled ocean, to a man who sails upon it, is, I think, the biggest object that he can see in motion, and consequently gives his imagination one of the highest kinds of pleasure that can arise from greatness.

—Joseph Addison, 1712

Seamen are the nearest to death and the furthest from God.

—Thomas Fuller, 1732

The sea receives us in a proper way only when we are without clothes.

—Pliny the Elder, 77

Never trust her at any time when the calm sea shows her false alluring smile.

—Lucretius, c. 60 BC

Seaward ho! Hang the treasure! It’s the glory of the sea that has turned my head.

—Robert Louis Stevenson, 1883

Anyone can hold the helm when the sea is calm.

—Publilius Syrus, c. 30 BC

I’ve been bathing in the poem

Of star-infused and milky sea

Devouring the azure greens.

—Arthur Rimbaud, 1871

I am ill every time it blows hard, and nothing but my enthusiastic love for the profession keeps me one hour at sea.

—Admiral Horatio Nelson, 1804

A fair complexion is unbecoming to a sailor: he ought to be swarthy from the waters of the sea and the rays of the sun.

—Ovid, c. 1 BC

Many, many steeples would have to be stacked one on top of another to reach from the bottom to the surface of the sea. It is down there that the sea folk live.

—Hans Christian Andersen, 1837

Take back your golden fiddles, and we’ll beat to open sea.

—Rudyard Kipling, 1892

Without a decisive naval force, we can do nothing definitive, and with it, everything honorable and glorious.

—George Washington, 1781

The legislator is like the navigator of a ship on the high seas. He can steer the vessel on which he sails, but he cannot alter its construction, raise the wind, or stop the waves from swelling beneath his feet.

—Alexis de Tocqueville, 1835