All throughout human history, the lure of the sea has been strong for sailors and travelers alike. The phrase sail the Seven Seas has had different meanings to different people at different times in history. It historically referred to bodies of water along trade routes and regional waters; although in some cases the seas are mythical and not actual bodies of water. Seven Seas has evolved to become a figurative term to describe a sailor who has navigated all the seas and oceans of the world, and not literally seven.
Below from Roberto Freitas: “US Frigate New Castle, New Hampshire” by John Samuel Blunt (1798–1835) signed J. S. Blunt and dated 1828, oil on canvas
In order to truly grasp man’s desire to conquer the oceans, let’s turn to the insight (and wit) of some of our greatest authors:
“Whenever I find myself growing grim about the mouth; whenever it is a damp, drizzly November in my soul; whenever I find myself involuntarily pausing before coffin warehouses, and bringing up the rear of every funeral I meet; and especially whenever my hypos get such an upper hand of me, that it requires a strong moral principle to prevent me from deliberately stepping into the street, and methodically knocking people’s hats off – then, I account it high time to get to sea as soon as I can.” – Herman Melville
Below from epoca: English oil painting of a schooner entering Liverpool harbor; signed and dated 1835
“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.” – Jules Verne
Below from Antonio’s Bella Casa: Grand, hand-beaded, crystal and gilt bronze, three-mast, galleon chandelier from Sicily.
“If you want to build a ship, don’t drum up people to collect wood and don’t assign them tasks and work, but rather teach them to long for the endless immensity of the sea.” – Antoine de Saint-Exupery
Below from Peter Fetterman Gallery: “The Mauretania” (1910) by Alfred Stieglitz, vintage photogravure from Camera Work 36© Estate of Alfred Stieglitz.
“He looked across the sea and knew how alone he was now. But he could see the prisms in the deep dark water and the line stretching ahead and the strange undulation of the calm. The clouds were building up now for the trade wind and he looked ahead and saw a flight of wild ducks etching themselves against the sky over the water, then blurring, then etching again and he knew no man was ever alone on the sea.” – Ernest Hemingway
Below from Roberto Freitas: “The Bark Columbia (Ships in New York Harbor)” by Antonio Nicolo Gasparo Jacobsen (1850 – 1921) signed Antonio Jacobsen and dated 1915, oil on board