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Sea-girt Isle

England. So called because, as Shakespeare has it, it is “hedged in with the main, that water-wallëd bulwark” (King John, ii. 1).

This precious stone set in the silver sea, Which serves it in the office of a wall, Or as a moat defensive to a house, Against the envy of less happier lands.

Shakespeare: King Richard II., ii. 1.

Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894
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