(Those are pearls that were his eyes. Look!)
This line is from Shakespeare, the Tempest, Act II sc. 2.
Full fathom five thy father lies.
Of his bones are coral made.
Those are pearls that were his eyes.
Nothing of him that doth fade,
But doth suffer a sea-change
Into something rich and strange.
Sea-nymphs hourly ring his knell.
Hark! now I hear them,—Ding-dong, bell.
The line refers to the drowning (!) death of the king of Naples, a trading city/kingdom like Phoenicia.
(1 fathom = 6 feet)
The Tempest could be read as a vegetation myth as well, because the king of Naples did not actually drown as the characters are lead to believe, and ‘resurrects’ in a way when it becomes clear that he hadn’t.
To help improve the meaning of these lyrics, visit “The Waste Land” by T.S. Eliot and leave a comment on the lyrics box