motes upon <the deep of Time>

park sang joon

Senior Member
The narrator recalls his adolescence.
He visited his hometown.

Early in the morning, I sauntered through the dear old tranquil streets, and again mingled with the shadows of the venerable gateways and churches. The rooks were sailing about the cathedral towers; and the towers themselves, overlooking many a long unaltered mile of the rich country and its pleasant streams, were cutting the bright morning air, as if there were no such thing as change on earth. Yet the bells, when they sounded, told me sorrowfully of change in everything; told me of their own age, and my pretty Dora's youth; and of the many, never old, who had lived and loved and died, while the reverberations of the bells had hummed through the rusty armour of the Black Prince hanging up within, and, motes upon the deep of Time, had lost themselves in air, as circles do in water.
[David Copperfield by Charles Dickens]
I'd like to know what "the deep of Time" means.
Thank you in advance for your help.
  • "Motes" are things which are so small they are almost impossible to see, like specks of dust. "The deep of time" to me conveys the vastness of time, the centuries that have passed. "The deep" is sometimes used to refer to the ocean. Things, people, change, pass away like specks of dust on the air.
    < Previous | Next >