as his eye sweeps down the St. Lawrence

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Senior Member
Hi folks, this is cited from Redburn by Hermann Melville (1849)

Context: It is about some soldiers recruited by sweet words.

What does “sweep down” mean here? To look the St. Lawrance (must be a river) from the high place?

There, as his eye sweeps down the St. Lawrence, whose every billow is bound for the main that laves the shore of Old England; as he thinks of his long term of enlistment, which sells him to the army as Doctor Faust sold himself to the devil; how the poor fellow must groan in his grief, and call to mind the church-yard stile, and his Mary
  • kentix

    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    As he scans the river from one end to the other in a continuous motion/movement (the part he can see) from close to him to the part downriver farthest away from him.
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