From Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea. The prolific father of modern science fiction wrote more than sixty novels in forty years as part of his Extraordinary Voyages series, including Around the World in Eighty Days and Master of the World.
The sea is everything. It covers seven tenths of the terrestrial globe. Its breath is pure and healthy. It is an immense desert where man is never lonely, for he feels life stirring on all sides. The sea is only the embodiment of a supernatural and wonderful existence. It is nothing but love and emotion; it is the “Living Infinite,” as one of your poets has said. The sea is the vast reservoir of Nature. The globe began with sea, so to speak; and who knows if it will not end with it? In it is supreme tranquility. The sea does not belong to despots. Upon its surface men can still exercise unjust laws, fight, tear one another to pieces, and be carried away with terrestrial horrors. But at thirty feet below its level, their reign ceases, their influence is quenched, and their power disappears. Ah! Sir, live—live in the bosom of the waters! There only is independence! There I recognize no masters! There I am free!