Ca'ble. n.s. [cabl, Welch; cabel, Dutch] The great rope of a ship to which the anchor is fastened.
What though the mast be now blown overboard,
The cable broke, the holding anchor lost,
And half our sailors swallow'd in the flood,
Yet lives our pilot still? Shakesp. Henry VI. p. iii.
True it is, that the length of the cable is the life of the ship in all extremeties, and the reason is, because it makes so many bendings and waves, as the ship, riding at that length, is not able to stretch it; and nothing breaks that is not stretched. Raleigh's Essays.
The cables crack, the sailors fearful cries
Ascend; and sable night involves the skies. Dryden's Virg.