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Abyss   /əbˈɪs/   Listen
Abyss

noun
1.
A bottomless gulf or pit; any unfathomable (or apparently unfathomable) cavity or chasm or void extending below (often used figuratively).  Synonym: abysm.



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"Abyss" Quotes from Famous Books



... Such hangings for his cedar-house, That, when gold-robed he took the throne In that abyss of blue, the Spouse Might swear ...
— Browning's England - A Study in English Influences in Browning • Helen Archibald Clarke

... passing through ground which is not firm, and which they bear away with them by their rapidity. Sometimes they appear to be irrecoverably lost, then they reappear for a time, but it is only to precipitate themselves in another abyss, still deeper than the former one. It is the sport of these torrents to show themselves, to lose themselves, and to break themselves upon the rocks. Their course is so rapid as to be undiscernible; but finally, after many precipices ...
— Spiritual Torrents • Jeanne Marie Bouvires de la Mot Guyon

... triumph with a single scale? Whose heart sustains him to draw near? (41)Behold, Destruction yawns; his spacious jaws unfold, And, marshall'd round the wide expanse, disclose Teeth edg'd with death, and crowding rows on rows: What hideous fangs on either side arise! And what a deep abyss between them lies! Mete with thy lance, and with thy plummet sound, The one how long, the other how profound. His bulk is charg'd with such a furious soul, That clouds of smoke from his spread nostrils roll, As from a furnace; and, when rous'd his ire, (42)Fate ...
— The Poetical Works of Edward Young, Volume 2 • Edward Young

... underneath our financial arrangements. It is now an incredible promise. The value of a pound note waves about while you look at it. What will happen to it when peace comes no man can tell. Nor what will happen to the mark. The rouble has gone into the Abyss. Our giddy money specialists clutch their handfuls of paper and watch it flying down the steep. Much as we may hate the Germans, some of us will have to sit down with some of the enemy to arrange a common scheme for the preservation ...
— In The Fourth Year - Anticipations of a World Peace (1918) • H.G. Wells

... other idea than that the spiritual is a purer natural; consequently, that angels are in the ether or in the stars; and that the devil is either man's evil or if an actual existence, that he is in the air or the abyss; also that the souls of men, after death, are either in the interior of the earth, or in an undetermined somewhere till the day of judgment; and other like things deduced by fancy out of ignorance of the spiritual world ...
— Angelic Wisdom Concerning the Divine Love and the Divine Wisdom • Emanuel Swedenborg

... to a halt as a tinkling sound—the sound of a stringed instrument, gently thrummed, rose from out of the abyss. ...
— Major Vigoureux • A. T. Quiller-Couch

... they may take it in, and comprehend it all. They linger not outside, as it were upon the surface of it; but they go down into its profound depths, and enter into the joy of their Lord; some more, some less, according to the magnitude of the light of glory imparted to each. Immersed in this abyss, they lose themselves, and all created things; for all other good and joys seem to them as nothing by the side of this ocean of good and joys. In this abyss there is to them no darkness, no obscurity, such as now hangs over us about the Divinity; but all ...
— The Happiness of Heaven - By a Father of the Society of Jesus • F. J. Boudreaux

... himself that question, as I did, in bitter earnest, and fairly faced the answer, can know the horror, the blackness, the emptiness of the abyss into which it gives one a glimpse. Blackness of darkness—no standpoint, no vantage-ground—it is a horror of horrors; it haunted me then day and night, and constituted itself not only my companion but ...
— The First Violin - A Novel • Jessie Fothergill

... place among the planets; will she still journey with unmarked regularity round the sun; will the seasons change, the trees adorn themselves with leaves, and flowers shed their fragrance, in solitude? Will the mountains remain unmoved, and streams still keep a downward course towards the vast abyss; will the tides rise and fall, and the winds fan universal nature; will beasts pasture, birds fly, and fishes swim, when man, the lord, possessor, perceiver, and recorder of all these things, has passed away, as though he had never been? O, what mockery is this! Surely ...
— The Last Man • Mary Shelley

... little work was, during some years, a complete system of physics; but now all the Transactions of the several academies in Europe put together do not form so much as the beginning of a system. In fathoming this abyss no bottom has been found. We are now to examine what discoveries Sir Isaac Newton ...
— Letters on England • Voltaire

... now when I hear Anne cough as Emily coughed, I tremble lest there should be exquisite bitterness yet to taste. However, I must not look forwards, nor must I look backwards. Too often I feel like one crossing an abyss on a narrow plank—a glance round ...
— Charlotte Bronte and Her Circle • Clement K. Shorter

... she had good reason to believe that her father was already enjoying the bliss of Paradise. But how great was her consternation and grief when Our Lord, in company with St. Catherine, her patroness, led her one day, in spirit, to Purgatory. There she beheld her father in an abyss of torments, imploring her assistance. At the sight of the pitiful state the soul of her father was in, she melted into tears; she cast herself at the feet of her Heavenly Spouse, and begged Him, through ...
— Purgatory • Mary Anne Madden Sadlier

... in my 240 brain And pronounced on the rest of his handwork—returned him again His creation's approval or censure; I spoke as I saw; I report, as a man may of God's work—all's love, yet all's law. Now I lay down the judgeship he lent me. Each faculty tasked To perceive him, has gained an abyss, where a dewdrop was 245 asked. Have I knowledge? confounded it shrivels at Wisdom laid bare. Have I forethought? how purblind, how blank, to the Infinite Care! Do I task any faculty highest, to image success? I but open my eyes—and perfection, ...
— Selections from the Poems and Plays of Robert Browning • Robert Browning

... every foreign region of the globe the title of American citizen is held in the highest respect, and when pronounced in a foreign land it causes the hearts of our countrymen to swell with honest pride. Surely when we reach the brink of the yawning abyss we shall recoil with horror from ...
— State of the Union Addresses of James Buchanan • James Buchanan

... daughter whom he did not recognize as his own, but who, you must understand at once, was legitimately his. Not a person in Issoudun had noticed one of those capricious facts that make the whole subject of generation a vast abyss in which science flounders. Agathe bore a strong likeness to the mother of Doctor Rouget. Just as gout is said to skip a generation and pass from grandfather to grandson, resemblances not uncommonly ...
— The Two Brothers • Honore de Balzac

... double this formidable and almost unknown cape, owing to contrary winds and stormy weather, the waves rose mountain high. At one time his ships were heaved up to the clouds, and seemed the next moment precipitated into the bottomless abyss of the ocean. The wind was piercingly cold, and so boisterous that the commands of the pilot could seldom be heard amid the din of the warring elements; while the dismal and almost constant darkness increased the danger of their situation. ...
— A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels, Vol. II • Robert Kerr

... jumbling hither and thither for about three years to come, before making up their minds to a resolution: so intricate is the affair to the English Nation and them! Intricate indeed; and even imaginary,—definable mainly as a bottomless abyss of nightmare dreams to the English Nation and them! Productive of strong somnambulisms, ...
— History of Friedrich II. of Prussia, Vol. XI. (of XXI.) • Thomas Carlyle

... which the weather was blamed, and the constant friction he gave it, until his two doctors advised he should not race about so much; and so it came about that November was well on its way before the arm was well, and Inna saw that abyss of mystery, the Black Hole. Very like a lake, with an unfathomable hole in the centre—or said to be unfathomable, because it had been sounded by the villagers and no bottom found—over-spanned ...
— The Heiress of Wyvern Court • Emilie Searchfield

... jutted out from the main land a quarter of a mile, perhaps more. Wauna conducted me to the edge of the cliff and told me to look down. An ocean of whirlpools was before us. The maddened dashing and thundering of the mighty waters, and the awe they inspired no words can paint. Across such an abyss of terrors it was certain no vessel could sail. We took our glasses and scanned the opposite shore, which appeared to be a vast cataract as though the ocean was pouring over a precipice of rock. Wauna informed me that where the shore was visible ...
— Mizora: A Prophecy - A MSS. Found Among the Private Papers of the Princess Vera Zarovitch • Mary E. Bradley

... a consciousness, and the decision has to be instantaneous, irresolution is the portion of one whose weakness has placed him in subjection to another stronger will, and then we behold a subjection which has almost imperceptibly become an incubus: the victim has taken the first step towards an abyss where the feeble in will run the risk of perdition. Thus the more the young are placed in subjection, without power to exercise their own wills, the more easily do they fall a prey to the perils of which the world ...
— Spontaneous Activity in Education • Maria Montessori

... cross the abyss at two jumps. His fate would serve the purpose of an impressive warning if it might be clearly ascertained; but the earth having immediately pinched together again, the research of the moral ...
— Cobwebs From an Empty Skull • Ambrose Bierce (AKA: Dod Grile)

... like a huge living monster that had seen with its single eye the abyss of the broken bridge in time, had leaped the chasm and gone plunging and faring over the ties and rails a half mile beyond the wreck, with the engineer ...
— The One Woman • Thomas Dixon

... that that is not it; on the one side is as Heaven, if you have strength to keep silent and climb unseen; yet on the other side, yawning always at one's right hand and one's left, is the frightfullest Abyss and Pandemonium' (Dec. 8, 1837). Emerson's temperament and his whole method made the warning needless, and, as before, while 'vociferous platitude was dinning his ears on all sides,' a whole world of ...
— Critical Miscellanies, Vol. 1, Essay 5, Emerson • John Morley

... am drawing my picture in too fearful colors," he said, "and I shall refrain from telling of the other inhabitants of the abyss that we found in possession of what I, as a Frenchman, must call the most splendid capital that the ...
— The Second Deluge • Garrett P. Serviss

... drifted the snow over the edge of the precipice where some of it had clung. Farther and farther it had crept out, overhanging the abyss, its great weight slowly bending the cornice downward until it had at last ...
— A Mountain Boyhood • Joe Mills

... Brock soberly, when they were in the Rue de la Paix, after walking two blocks in contemplative silence, "my peace of mind is poised at the brink of an abyss. I have a feeling that I am ...
— The Husbands of Edith • George Barr McCutcheon

... Egypt;" the second had said, "We will strip them bare," and the third had said, "We will slay them all." The Lord blew upon the first with His breath, and the sea covered them; the second party He shook into the sea, and the third He pitched into the depths of the abyss. [51] He tossed them about as lentils are shaken up and down in a saucepan; the upper ones are made to fall to the bottom, the lower ones fly to the top. This was the experience of the Egyptians. And worse still, first the rider and his beast were whisked ...
— THE LEGENDS OF THE JEWS VOLUME III BIBLE TIMES AND CHARACTERS - FROM THE EXODUS TO THE DEATH OF MOSES • BY LOUIS GINZBERG

... laughed the Seraph; consoling himself that he had escaped the future chance of showing in the latter class of marital defrauded, by shying that proposal during the Symphony in A, on which his thoughts ran, as the thoughts of one who has just escaped from an Alpine crevasse run on the past abyss in which he had been so nearly lost forever. "I say, Beauty, were you ever near doing anything serious—asking anybody to marry you, eh? I suppose you have been—they do make such awful hard running on one" and the poor hunted Seraph stretched his magnificent limbs with the ...
— Under Two Flags • Ouida [Louise de la Ramee]

... loathsome to me, I could not have resisted her; whereas I was now in the quick-reviving agony of starvation. The Indian woman fed me with far greater care than I was worth, and hushed me, with some soothing process, into another abyss of sleep. ...
— Erema - My Father's Sin • R. D. Blackmore

... plunging spirit of party devotion," was never more happily exercised. In that word "plunging," he intended to condense all his horror and hatred of a transaction which he supposed calculated to throw the true principles of constitutional government into a bottomless abyss of personal government, where right constitutional principles would cease to have existence, as well as cease to ...
— The Great Speeches and Orations of Daniel Webster • Daniel Webster

... grip that dense-packed human throng. But it was only for a second. Then the avalanche leapt for the abyss. ...
— The Man in the Twilight • Ridgwell Cullum

... eyes and hands which here I find, These rosy cheeks wherewith my life begins— Where have ye been? Behind What curtain were ye from me hid so long? Where was, in what abyss, my speaking tongue? When silent I So many thousand, thousand years Beneath the dust did in a chaos lie, How could I smiles or tears Or lips or hands or eyes or ears perceive? Welcome ye treasures which I ...
— From a Cornish Window - A New Edition • Arthur Thomas Quiller-Couch

... which, when raised by the ring attached, exposed to view a steep and narrow descending staircase, leading apparently to some sally-port beyond the castle ditch. After carefully trimming his lamp, he was about to lead the way into this dark abyss, when a sound, sharp and sudden, as of something falling in the adjacent prison, caught his ear. Retracing his steps, he re-entered the apartment, where, after a brief search, he found beneath one of the embrasures ...
— Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine, No. 341, March, 1844, Vol. 55 • Various

... generations of men were separated by a wide impassable gulf—the rich and ruling class, the godless, on one side; the poor, the suffering and lowly—the to-be-saved,—on the other, and none ever passed across the deep abyss. He would have challenged any man who counted him, Father Johannes, in his hempen garment studded with thorns, ...
— The Royal Pawn of Venice - A Romance of Cyprus • Mrs. Lawrence Turnbull

... obstacle to his obtaining a hearing: there are too many "passions interested in supporting the system of the Illumines," too many deluded rulers imagining themselves enlightened ready to precipitate their people into the abyss, whilst "the heads of the Order will never relinquish the authority they have acquired nor the treasure at their disposal." In vain de Luchet appeals to the Freemasons to save their Order from the invading sect. "Would it not be possible," he asks, "to direct the Freemasons ...
— Secret Societies And Subversive Movements • Nesta H. Webster

... A ballet-girl, as Ariadne the second, climbed the rocks of the Island of Naxos, reaching the highest peak to catch the last glimpse of the vanishing vessel. The third Ariadne was a most lifelike lay figure, which, on a given signal, was hurled from the cliff, and seen to fall into the abyss below. ...
— A Book of the Play - Studies and Illustrations of Histrionic Story, Life, and Character • Dutton Cook

... 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 ...
— Waverley, Or 'Tis Sixty Years Hence, Complete • Sir Walter Scott

... some time, with the letter in his listless hands. The mist had lifted for a moment, and there was the abyss before him. ...
— The Valley of Fear • Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

... pit of Dannemora is situated; not a sign announced the vicinity of the mine, until they saw the machines for lifting the ore, and a few huts scattered about, when they found themselves standing on the brink of a vast pit or crater, whose black and precipitous walls fence an abyss of a mile in circumference, and a depth of 450 feet. Here and there in that cold region they perceived patches of perennial snow and along the black walls, the dark entrance to labyrinthine caves fringed with long stalactites of ice. In some of these hollows flames were seen creeping along the ...
— The Mines and its Wonders • W.H.G. Kingston

... one from heaven has said, There lies beyond that dreary bourn A region where the faithful dead Eternally forget to mourn, Welcome the scoff, the sword, the chain, The burning waste, the black abyss:— I shrink not from the path of pain, Which leads me to ...
— The Crown of Thorns - A Token for the Sorrowing • E. H. Chapin

... cry of amazement escaped me. I looked over into a fearful abyss. Below was a fertile valley, but so deep was it that the river looked only like a silver thread, and the trees but an inch in height. I was standing on the edge of a huge granite cliff that went down sheer into the valley, its face ...
— The Great White Queen - A Tale of Treasure and Treason • William Le Queux

... sleep by cries of terror from his wife; she had had a dream, she said, that her mother hung over a precipice, looking up to her for help, which, while she hastened to give, she saw her mother sink into the yawning abyss, uttering shrieks of agony. Hartley was beside himself with fright; he thought his wife would lose her reason, and so he quieted her by assuring her that he would write the next day to get information, acting on which he would set out immediately on his search. In the morning ...
— The Mysteries of Montreal - Being Recollections of a Female Physician • Charlotte Fuhrer

... he rode head-long at him, and ere he had time to make the least defence, hurled him over the precipice. The helplessness of the strong man was uttered in one single despairing cry as he shot into the abyss. Then all was still. The sound of his fall could not reach the edge of the gulf. Divining in a moment that the lady, whose name was Elsie, must have fled in the opposite direction, he reined his steed on his haunches. He could touch the precipice with his ...
— The Portent & Other Stories • George MacDonald

... subject; he was so clear or so shallow, that he saw to the bottom of all his thoughts: or, since Dr. Johnson tells us that "all shallows are clear," we may perhaps distinguish him by both epithets. Revelation to him, instead of being the abyss of God's counsels, with its dim outlines and broad shadows, was a flat, sunny plain, laid out with straight macadamised roads. Not, of course, that he denied the Divine incomprehensibility itself, with certain heretics of old; but he ...
— Loss and Gain - The Story of a Convert • John Henry Newman

... securing his somewhat precarious throne from the machinations of the Catholic bishops, his subjects. For he, too, was by profession an Arian, though of a tolerant type, and though he sometimes seemed on the point of crossing the abyss and declaring himself a convert to the Nicene faith. Theudegotho, sister of Arevagni, was given by her father, Theodoric in marriage to Sigismund, the ...
— Theodoric the Goth - Barbarian Champion of Civilisation • Thomas Hodgkin

... the dangers of France, Spain would add nothing to its resources. With what contemptuous bitterness did Spain, in fact, watch the long train of disasters which from the pinnacle of power brought Louis XIV. to the brink of an abyss by one of those vicissitudes the effect of which is never more rapid upon the popular mind than when fortune deserts men who have been long ...
— Political Women, Vol. 2 (of 2) • Sutherland Menzies

... him: he feels oppressed by what he hears, and is tormented by what he sees. He would rather be banished alone in some wild land, where no one would know where to seek for him, and where no man or woman would know of his whereabouts any more than if he were in some deep abyss. He hates nothing so much as he hates himself, nor does he know to whom to go for comfort in the death he has brought upon himself. But he would rather go insane than not take vengeance upon himself, deprived, as he is, of joy through his own fault. He rises from his place among the knights, ...
— Four Arthurian Romances - "Erec et Enide", "Cliges", "Yvain", and "Lancelot" • Chretien de Troyes

... wonderful to see him. The sledge stopped and we leapt aside. The situation was clear in another moment. We had been actually travelling along the bridge [or snow covering] of a crevasse, the sledge had stopped on it, whilst the dogs hung in their harness in the abyss, suspended between the sledge and the leading dog. Why the sledge and ourselves didn't follow the dogs ...
— The Worst Journey in the World, Volumes 1 and 2 - Antarctic 1910-1913 • Apsley Cherry-Garrard

... raised his head. His courage came back, the old insolent self-possession took hold of him again. The sentence which the Ry had passed was worse than death (and it meant death, too), for it made him an outcast from his people, and to be outcast was to be thrown into the abyss. It was as though a man without race or country was banished into desolate space. In a vague way he felt its full significance, and the shadow of ...
— The Judgment House • Gilbert Parker

... went on unflinchingly, and surely no goat could have climbed quicker than he did. Now standing over an abyss which made you silly to look down into; now pulling himself up by bush or branch; at other times scrambling over loose shale as though he had neither hands nor knees to cut, he might well have scared the ...
— The House Under the Sea - A Romance • Sir Max Pemberton

... time Yergunov began to think about Bogalyovka. It was a big village and it lay in a deep ravine, so that when one drove along the highroad on a moonlight night, and looked down into the dark ravine and then up at the sky, it seemed as though the moon were hanging over a bottomless abyss and it were the end of the world. The path going down was steep, winding, and so narrow that when one drove down to Bogalyovka on account of some epidemic or to vaccinate the people, one had to shout at the top of one's voice, or whistle all the way, ...
— The Horse-Stealers and Other Stories • Anton Chekhov

... And by good luck it is that thy enemies have been immersed in a sea of dangers that is difficult to cross. The sons of Pandu are now exposed to the fire of Durvasa's wrath. Through their own fault they have fallen into an abyss ...
— The Mahabharata of Krishna-Dwaipayana Vyasa, Volume 1 • Kisari Mohan Ganguli

... reported, is one of those singular coincidences which occasionally appear, differing so widely from ordinary calculation, yet without which irregularities human life would not present to mortals, looking into futurity, the abyss of impenetrable darkness which it is the pleasure of the Creator it should offer to them. Were everything to happen in the ordinary train of events, the future would be subject to the rules of arithmetic, like the chances of gaming. But extraordinary events and wonderful runs ...
— Guy Mannering, or The Astrologer, Complete, Illustrated • Sir Walter Scott

... dark she lay listening to the strange low hub-hub from outside. And it made her think of what she had seen an hour before, when at the open window, resting her elbows on the sill, she had begun to make her acquaintance with her backyard—a yawning abyss of brick and cement which went down and down to cement below, and up and up to a strip of blue sky, and to right and to left went stretching away with rows and rows of windows. And now as the murmurs and quick low cries, piano music, a baritone voice and a sudden burst ...
— His Second Wife • Ernest Poole

... When I examine them closely, I start back in terror, as before those crevices of Vesuvius, which give you a glimpse of the abyss below. ...
— The Roman Question • Edmond About

... her sudden brightness but hid a black abyss of bitterness and apprehension. What she had told me had somehow stricken me dumb. There seemed a stark sordidness in the situation that repelled me. She had arisen and was about to step over the fluke of the great anchor, ...
— The Trail of '98 - A Northland Romance • Robert W. Service

... fun in havin' it fetch away 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

... sister realizes that she does not hold me completely in her power, and she does not choose to startle me while I may still escape her. Once she has led me to the edge of the precipice, and once I turn giddy there, she will thrust me into the abyss." ...
— Columba • Prosper Merimee

... the other hand, if the blind acceptance of authority appears to him in its true colours, as mere private judgment in excelsis, and if he have the courage to stand alone, face to face with the abyss of the eternal and unknowable, let him be content, once for all, not only to renounce the good things promised by "Infallibility," but even to bear the bad things which it prophesies; content to follow reason and fact in singleness and honesty of purpose, wherever ...
— Darwiniana • Thomas Henry Huxley

... 1738, a man named George Manley was hanged for murder, and just before his execution he delivered an address to the crowd, as follows: "My friends, you assemble to see—what? A man leap into the abyss of death! Look, and you will see me go with as much courage as Curtius, when he leaped into the gulf to save his country from destruction. What will you say of me? You say that no man, without virtue, can be courageous! You see what I am—I'm a little fellow. What is the difference between running ...
— Bygone Punishments • William Andrews

... precipice, could not have sufficed to roll him there. Finding himself on his back, and trying to turn on his side in order to rise, his elbow found no support, and lifting his head a little, he looked down into a moon-pervaded abyss, where thin silvery vapours were stealing about. One turn, and he would have been on his way, plumb-down, to the valley below—say, rather, on his way off the face of the world into the vast that bosoms the stars and the systems and the cloudy worlds. His very ...
— The Flight of the Shadow • George MacDonald

... frozen look struck over him from her opened eyes, as if one of the minutes of Time had yawned to show him its deep, mute, tragic abyss, and was extinguished. ...
— The Shaving of Shagpat • George Meredith

... small a part of Coxey's army that the main body would march on and never miss it. I had just gone through that long, soul-killing period of idleness and had barely managed to find a job before I collapsed. Now that we were to strike I would have to push that job aside and sink back into the abyss. ...
— The Iron Puddler • James J. Davis

... sounds, and knew that he was ascending. With what intelligence? What had he found in that awful abyss? This was the question which was suggested to every heart, but a question which no one could answer They lent their assistance, and pulled at the rope to help their companion. Nearer and nearer he came, and still nearer, until at last he was within reach. A few ...
— The Living Link • James De Mille

... won't hear anything about it. I should have to be crazy to believe such a thing. Could the earth turn over, and we not fall heels over head to the devil and clear down into the abyss? Ha, ha, ha! But, my Monsieur Berg, how is it that the moon is sometimes so small ...
— Comedies • Ludvig Holberg

... had just been in the act of signaling down to Walker, who was ready to ascend when he saw the flying figure dart forward and fling herself into the yawning abyss. ...
— The Underworld - The Story of Robert Sinclair, Miner • James C. Welsh

... her chamber, and embraces her with frantic passion, she pushes him backwards towards the balcony, and throws him over the parapet into the abyss, from whence his mutilated remains are dragged by his companions. They at once arm themselves against the presumed treachery, and call for vengeance; tumult and confusion fill the courtyard: the interrupted wedding ...
— My Life, Volume I • Richard Wagner

... people of Kansas for servitude by tempting them to sacrifice their self-respect and their honor. Let these miscreants make haste to seize the price of their perfidy before popular contempt and loathing shall sweep them forever out of sight into the abyss of infamy and forgetfulness which is appointed for the traitors to Liberty. If the question of the real will of the people of Kansas had been referred back to them for settlement, it would have been humiliating ...
— The Atlantic Monthly, Vol. II, No. 8, June 1858 • Various

... the acts of the Turks since the appearance of the Goeben in the Dardanelles had been committed under the pressure of Germany, but the efforts of the Turks to evade responsibility for these acts could not prevent them from falling into the abyss into which they were rolling. The events on the Russo-Turkish frontier, while covering Russian arms with fresh glory, will bring Russia nearer to the realization of the political and economic problems bound up with the question of Russia's ...
— New York Times Current History: The European War, Vol 2, No. 1, April, 1915 - April-September, 1915 • Various

... and rugged, some clothed with rich pasture. The voice of brooks, a sound rare in Africa, rises from the hidden depths of the gorges, and here and there torrents plunging over the edge of a basaltic cliff into an abyss below make waterfalls which are at all seasons beautiful, and when swollen by the rains of January majestic. Except wood, of which there is unhappily nothing more than a little scrubby bush in the sheltered ...
— Impressions of South Africa • James Bryce

... upheld above the depths of suffering and regret by the immortal power of a love so fervent, so pure, so self-forgetting, that it will be a millstone about the necks that disregard its tender clasping now, to sink them into a bottomless abyss in ...
— The Atlantic Monthly, Vol. IV, No. 22, Aug., 1859 • Various

... moments it seemed to her as though she were all alone in the world and that something had pinned her to the earth with an immense weight and was crushing her down, that she was falling with lightning speed to the bottom of some deep abyss where a grayish-green whirlpool was ...
— The Comedienne • Wladyslaw Reymont

... scoundrels, and her own desires, and the dark uncertainty of the future. And much as he loved Louise Graham, he could not snap that thread; much as he detested Ruth, he lacked the flintiness of heart to let her slip into the abyss. Nor would ...
— The Iron Furrow • George C. Shedd

... the road continues to ascend; in many places, a mere horse-track, cut in the mountain side, and fenced by a low wall from an abyss of fearful depth, in whose dark cavity is heard the roar of the torrent which afterwards converts the generic name of Gave into one peculiar to itself. The sides of the mountains are thickly clothed with box, which grows to a great height; and at this season the Autumn tint had given to ...
— Barn and the Pyrenees - A Legendary Tour to the Country of Henri Quatre • Louisa Stuart Costello

... know what he was doing. Then the fever awoke him and, at the same time awoke within him a certain dull feeling of despair, destruction, and perdition,—a feeling that all hope was already gone, extinguished and ended. He felt that about him was only night, night and darkness, a horrible abyss ...
— The Knights of the Cross • Henryk Sienkiewicz

... timidity, his lack of resourcefulness, his conscience. As I have said, they are not. The vast majority of those who appear in the public haunts of sin are there, not to engage in overt acts of ribaldry, but merely to tremble agreeably upon the edge of the abyss. They are the same skittish experimentalists, precisely, who throng the midway at a world's fair, and go to smutty shows, and take in sex magazines, and read the sort of books that our vice crusading friend reads. They like to conjure ...
— In Defense of Women • H. L. Mencken

... stories were circulated regarding it. There appeared in the papers caricatures of every gigantic and imaginary creature, from the white whale, the terrible "Moby Dick" of sub-arctic regions, to the immense kraken, whose tentacles could entangle a ship of five hundred tons and hurry it into the abyss of the ocean. The legends of ...
— Twenty Thousand Leagues under the Sea • Jules Verne

... few seconds seemed to last for ever so long; a black abyss of time separating what was past and gone from the reappearance of the governess and the reawakening of fear. And that woman was forcing the words through her set teeth: "You say I mustn't, I mustn't. ...
— Chance • Joseph Conrad

... and apparently crowding back the water, which struggles and leaps against their bases, warring with its bounds in the impatience of restraint, and madly leaping from its confines, a liquid emerald wreathed with foam, into the abyss beneath. The sentinel rocks, a hundred feet asunder, could easily be spanned by a bridge directly over and in front of the fall, and fancy led me forward to no distant period when such an effort of airy architecture would ...
— The Discovery of Yellowstone Park • Nathaniel Pitt Langford

... difficulty are found in narrow and deep canyons having no land for cultivation. A dangerous feat for man to descend these precipices, the passage by an animal of burden is almost impossible. The Rio Grande passes for eighty miles or more through its black abyss, with walls of seven or eight hundred feet in height, crowned with perpendicular cliffs of solid lava, two and three hundred feet high. Throughout the whole region there ...
— The Galaxy, Volume 23, No. 2, February, 1877 • Various

... of Nature there is a set of things that carry in their front, though not in capital letters, yet in stenography and short characters, something of divinity; which, to wiser reasons, serve as luminaries in the abyss of knowledge, and to judicious beliefs as scales to mount ...
— The Worlds Greatest Books, Volume XIII. - Religion and Philosophy • Various

... state is dissolved! the nation is mad." At last nothing but vituperation can express his feelings, and he roundly calls the members of the Convention "devils," and discovers that "democratical principles lead by a path of flowers into the abyss of hell." ...
— Gibbon • James Cotter Morison

... did not even climb down from his box! When I remarked to him that he might put himself out a bit, at least in the interests of my portmanteau, for which I had not the slightest desire to clamber down into the abyss, ...
— A Hero of Our Time • M. Y. Lermontov

... abyss of money-spending into which he had leaped, and the Brass-button Man was suspiciously wondering what this person wanted of him; but they crossed to the adjacent saloon, a New York corner saloon, which of course "glittered" with a large mirror, heaped glasses, and a long shining foot-rail ...
— Our Mr. Wrenn - The Romantic Adventures of a Gentle Man • Sinclair Lewis

... for themselves, but who made work for others by every means in their power, who soiled and spoiled every thing about them, who ate rich, dainty, and sweet viands, broke china, and flung to the dogs food which would have been a tidbit to this lad. If I had rescued him from the abyss, and had taken him to that nice place, then he must acquire those views which prevailed in the life of that nice place; but by these views, he understood that in that fine place he must so live that ...
— The Moscow Census - From "What to do?" • Lyof N. Tolstoi

... the "Knights of the Red Flag" profess for the laboring man. Such friendship, however, once it is understood will be spurned, for it is one which would plunge the sons of toil into a terrible abyss of injustice, deprivation and suffering—wrongs far greater than those endured from abuses of capitalism and partial corruption ...
— The Red Conspiracy • Joseph J. Mereto

... totally without means of repairing their errors. The Jacobins were preferred to them, because, said they, there would be no treaty to be made with any one at the moment of extricating the King and his family from the abyss in which ...
— Marguerite de Navarre - Memoirs of Marguerite de Valois Queen of Navarre • Marguerite de Navarre

... mountains: with the stars And the quick spirit of the universe He held his dialogues; and they did teach To him the magic of their mysteries; To him the book of night was opened wide, And voices from the deep abyss revealed A marvel and a ...
— Library of the World's Best Literature, Ancient and Modern, Vol. 7 • Various

... table, for the man has much to tell of his young brother Claude; of the ruin she has made of his life; of the little green devils that lurk in a glass of absinthe, and clutch their victim, and drag him down deeper, ever deeper, into the great, green abyss. ...
— Uncanny Tales • Various

... confused. It often happens thus. So real is this search for some truth outside of me, that it seems as if my soul were a thing apart from me, a thing which left me to go alone on its dim and perilous way. I behold it as it were a shadow floating away from me out into that abyss of shadows which are the thoughts of many men long dead. And on this occasion the silence into which the Searcher went forth was vaster and more obscure than ever before, filled with unfathomable darkness as a clear night might ...
— The Jessica Letters: An Editor's Romance • Paul Elmer More

... complain loudly and bitterly that she would not even love a child of his if she had one, and that he therefore thought it fortunate that she was not a mother. Astonished and saddened, I suddenly gazed into an abyss which was hidden here, as is often the case, under the appearance of a tolerably happy married life. About this time, and just as my visit, which had already lasted three weeks, was drawing to a close, I received a letter from my wife that could not have had a more ...
— My Life, Volume I • Richard Wagner

... I then began to descend as a snowball rolls down hill, and both of us could see that an abyss lay at the foot of the hill; but how were we to hold back, and what measures could we take? And it was utterly impossible to conceal this; my entire parish was greatly disturbed, and said: "The priest's son has gone mad; he is possessed of devils,—and ...
— A Reckless Character - And Other Stories • Ivan Turgenev

... enemy poured over the road, and the Prussian chasseurs separated into bands to arrest all those who straggled or remained behind. This road was like a bridge; all who did not keep on it fell into the abyss. ...
— Waterloo - A sequel to The Conscript of 1813 • Emile Erckmann

... making ideas square with practice, or one idea with another, has been considered as an exhibition of remarkable political common sense. The light-headed Frenchmen really believed in their ideas, and fell thereby into a shocking abyss of anarchy and fratricidal bloodshed, whereas we have avoided any similar fate by preaching a "noble national theory" and then practicing it just as far as it suited our interests or was not too costly in time and money. No doubt, we also have had our ...
— The Promise Of American Life • Herbert David Croly

... demon is hurled by an angel's spear, Heels over head, to his proper sphere,— Heels over head and head over heels, Dizzily down the abyss he wheels,— So fell Darius. Upon his crown, In the midst of the barn-yard, he came down, In a wonderful whirl of tangled strings, Broken braces and broken springs, Broken tail and broken wings, Shooting-stars, and various things, Barn-yard litter of straw and chaff, And much that wasn't so ...
— The Wit and Humor of America, Volume VIII (of X) • Various

... languages must be, in comparison with our languages, like the wildest love-passion compared with marital custom."[238] Every word has a history of accidents which have befallen it, the beginnings of which are lost in the abyss of time.[239] In the Middle Ages the word "Word" came to mean the Word of God with such distinctness that the romance languages adopted parabola, or derivatives from it, for "word."[240] The students of linguistics recognize metaphor as another great mode of modifying the signification of ...
— Folkways - A Study of the Sociological Importance of Usages, Manners, Customs, Mores, and Morals • William Graham Sumner

... from Jack Ballard's own lips the story of Jerry Benham's first appearance in Broadway I was forcibly reminded of the opening cantos of the Divine Comedy where Dante follows the shade of Virgil into the abyss of hell. I had not let Jerry know of my presence in New York, for I believed that he would have wanted me with him and did not care to be placed in a position to refuse him. Indeed I can give no reason for my visit except ...
— Paradise Garden - The Satirical Narrative of a Great Experiment • George Gibbs

... experienced a "conversion" such as stands at the head of many a religious career. A sudden beam of light, he says, came to him at this time from God, putting him to the proof and showing him in how deep an abyss of error and of filth he had been living. He thereupon abandoned his ...
— The Age of the Reformation • Preserved Smith

... 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 are still heard, and give warning that it may burst forth at some future ...
— A Literary History of the English People - From the Origins to the Renaissance • Jean Jules Jusserand

... multitude that truth and common sense and humanity have to deal. And here, whether in Greece or in England, in Italy or in France, lies in the past an abyss of horror whose greatest wonder is, that we, who are only some three centuries distant, know so little of it. There is a favorite compensative theory that man is miraculously self-adaptive to all circumstances, and that deprived of modern comforts and luxuries he would only become ...
— Continental Monthly , Vol I, Issue I, January 1862 - Devoted to Literature and National Policy • Various

... is enough to show the abyss that separated Serbia from West Europe. Politics in the Near East are an obsession—a nervous disease which may end in ...
— Twenty Years Of Balkan Tangle • Durham M. Edith

... voice: and Helen's gentle kiss Fell on my cheek. As from a deep abyss, I drew my weary self from that strange sleep That rests not, nor refreshes. Scarce awake Or conscious, yet there seemed a heavy weight Bound on my breast, as by a cruel Fate. I knew not why, and yet I longed to weep. Some dark cloud ...
— Maurine and Other Poems • Ella Wheeler Wilcox

... river immediately under it is 250 feet! The view from it is magnificent; to the left the furious river, confined in a narrow space, rushes in rapids to the Whirlpool; and to the right the Horse-shoe Fall pours its torrent of waters into the dark and ever invisible abyss. When we reached the American side we had to declare to a custom-house officer that we were no smugglers; and then by an awful road, partly covered with stumps, and partly full of holes, over the one, and through the other, our ...
— The Englishwoman in America • Isabella Lucy Bird

... that followed! for amid the icy waste They a human shape discerned, madly, as by demons chased, Up the crystal ledges climbing, pausing now where ice-walls screen From the blast, then upward springing o'er abyss and dread ravine, Until silence, Glittering silence, Reigned amid ...
— Lippincott's Magazine of Popular Literature and Science - April, 1873, Vol. XI, No. 25. • Various

... they call in love," Jerome said to himself. He turned very pale, and looked away from Lucina. He felt as if suddenly he had come to the brink of some dread abyss ...
— Jerome, A Poor Man - A Novel • Mary E. Wilkins Freeman

... Was unlocks the riddle of Time Is, That offers choice of glory and of gloom; The solver makes Time Shall Be surely his.— But hasten, Sisters! for even now the tomb Grates its slow hinge and calls from the abyss." ...
— Atlantic Monthly, Volume 8, Issue 49, November, 1861 • Various

... ends. Now I say, one sees there an abyss of platitude open, and the German nature swimming calmly about in it, which seems in some way or other to have its entry screened off for the English nature. The English story leads with a direct issue ...
— Celtic Literature • Matthew Arnold

... stood, suspended over an abyss, smoking a cigarette, bravely forcing himself to an attitude of serene insouciance, while the basement yawned for him! Machine or no machine, how could any girl look upon such miraculous self-control unmoved? She could not. It was natural that a woman should be deeply ...
— The Green Mouse • Robert W. Chambers

... Socialist saw millions of tons of goods being loaded into steamships and sent to Europe to be destroyed in war; he saw the workers of Europe becoming enslaved by a bonded debt to a class of parasites in America, he saw America being drawn closer and closer to the abyss of the strife. The Socialist loved no part of this process. He clamoured for an embargo—not merely on munitions, but on food and everything, until the war-lords of Europe came to their senses. He ...
— Jimmie Higgins • Upton Sinclair

... followed led by a bare and more forbidding route to the place where the big man had rescued him, and he knew it must be the one by which he had come. A sense of what had happened came over him terrifyingly, and he shrank from the abyss, his body quivering and his head reeling. He would not look down into the blue depth, knowing that if he did so, by that way his sanity would leave him, but he crawled cautiously around the projecting cliff and wandered down the stony trail. ...
— The Eye of Dread • Payne Erskine

... 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! ...
— Among Famous Books • John Kelman

... followed; but, being a stranger to the real width of the chasm, perhaps of less nerve than his adversary, and certainly not stimulated by the same feelings, he only touched the opposite brink with his toes, and slipping downwards he clung by a slender shoot of hazel which grew over the tremendous abyss. Allan Dubh looking round on his pursuer and observing the agitation of the hazel bush, immediately guessed the cause, and returning with the ferocity of a demon who had succeeded in getting his victim into his fangs, hoarsely whispered, ...
— The Celtic Magazine, Vol. 1, No. 3, January 1876 • Various

... 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

... falling into an abyss of vast uncertainties. The blue lips dabbled with foam can frame no more coherent words. Only the brain behind the dying eyes is alive to understand when Saxham approaches his own livid face and blazing eyes to the face upon ...
— The Dop Doctor • Clotilde Inez Mary Graves

... however, all three joined in a short prayer. The young men had not yet forgotten the pious precepts of their father. Prayer is beautiful everywhere, but nowhere is it so beautiful as on the open sea, with infinity above and an abyss beneath. Then, when all is silent save the roar of the waves and the howling of the winds, it is sublime to hear the humble voice of the sailor murmuring, "Star of the night, pray ...
— Willis the Pilot • Paul Adrien

... by suspending a person over the cliff by a rope. They offered a Highland boy, who was near by, a handsome sum of money to undertake the difficult and dangerous task. The boy looked down into the awful abyss that yawned below, and shrunk from the undertaking; but the money was tempting. Could he confide in the strangers? Could he venture his life in their hands? He felt that he could not; but he thought of his father, and, looking once more ...
— Life and Literature - Over two thousand extracts from ancient and modern writers, - and classified in alphabetical order • J. Purver Richardson

... husband was as nothing to the brotherhood, or perhaps I should say the sisterhood, of the friends of the wife. Like the Kent Mulvilles I belonged to both fraternities, and even better than they I think I had sounded the abyss of Mrs. Saltram's wrongs. She bored me to extinction, and I knew but too well how she had bored her husband; but there were those who stood by her, the most efficient of whom were indeed the handful of ...
— The Coxon Fund • Henry James

... seem 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 ...
— Modern Religious Cults and Movements • Gaius Glenn Atkins

... feet in width, with an inclination of about 20 deg.N. 51 deg.E. As soon as I had gratified the first feelings of curiosity, I descended, and each man ascended in his turn; for I would only allow one at a time to mount the unstable and precarious slab, which it seemed a breath would hurl into the abyss below. We mounted the barometer in the snow of the summit, and, fixing a ramrod in a crevice, unfurled the national flag to wave in the breeze where never flag waved before. During our morning's ascent, we had met no sign of animal life, except the small sparrow-like bird ...
— The Exploring Expedition to the Rocky Mountains, Oregon and California • Brevet Col. J.C. Fremont

... which they stood was so narrow that there was no room for two to walk beside each other. Lifting the gentle form in one arm, he swung her over the abyss at his feet and placed her on the ledge ...
— The Land of Mystery • Edward S. Ellis

... afterwards to meet her. Before the year was out Choiseul fell; and for the remaining four years that were left to the king France was governed by the milliner Du Barry and her precious trio, D'Aiguillon, Terray, and Maupeou; and rushed towards the abyss. ...
— Vigee Le Brun • Haldane MacFall

... chrysoprase; and how, ever and anon, startling you with its white 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 flushing alternately through ...
— Modern Painters Volume I (of V) • John Ruskin

... rose up like the tumult of many voices calling to her, calling to her. The depth beneath her feet widened to an abyss that yawned to engulf her. With a sick sense of horror she realized that ghastly, headlong fall—from warm, throbbing life on the enchanted height to instant and terrible destruction upon the green, slimy boulders over which the water ...
— The Lamp in the Desert • Ethel M. Dell

... electrical fire upon the ocean. As we stood, silent with amazement, upon the quarter-deck, this sheet of bluish flame suddenly vanished, over at least ten square miles of water, causing, by its almost instantaneous disappearance, a sensation of total blindness, and leaving the sea, for a moment, an abyss of blackness. As the pupils of our eyes, however, gradually dilated, we saw, as before, the dark shining mirror of water around the ship, while far away on the horizon rose the faint luminous appearance which had first attracted our attention, and which was evidently ...
— Tent Life in Siberia • George Kennan

... thing. When he launches a sentiment that you think will float him triumphantly for once to the bottom of the stanza, he stops short at the end of the first or second line, and stands shivering on the brink of beauty, afraid to trust himself to the fathomless abyss. Tutus nimium, timidusque procellarum. His very circumspection betrays him. The poet, as well as the woman, that deliberates, is undone. He is much like a man whose heart fails him just as he ...
— Lectures on the English Poets - Delivered at the Surrey Institution • William Hazlitt

... their wretched offspring, but sickness and suffering, premature decrepitude, and untimely death? In this, as in every other institution of civilised society, avarice, luxury, and disease constitute the TRIANGULAR HARMONY of the life of man. Avarice conducts him to the abyss of toil and crime: luxury seizes on his ill-gotten spoil; and, while he revels in her enchantments, or groans beneath her tyranny, disease bursts upon him, and sweeps ...
— Headlong Hall • Thomas Love Peacock

... the shortest way to the chamber where he had shown his companion that it was no cul de sac, but the entrance to the grotto where nature had effected all the mining, and at last the great abyss where the sound of the falling water filled the air was reached. Here Dummy seated himself, with his legs swinging over the edge, and ...
— The Black Tor - A Tale of the Reign of James the First • George Manville Fenn

... light began to pierce the darkness, and I perceived that I stood on the lowest step of a staircase, vast as the foot of a mountain. Behind me were thousands of steps of lurid iron; before me, nothing but a void—an abyss, and ether; the blue gloom of midnight beneath my feet, as above my head. I became delirious, and quitting that staircase, which methought it was impossible for me to reascend, I sprung forth into the void with an execration. But, ...
— The Paris Sketch Book Of Mr. M. A. Titmarsh • William Makepeace Thackeray



Words linked to "Abyss" :   chasm, abysm



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