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C.D. Warner, et al., comp.  The Library of the World’s Best Literature.
An Anthology in Thirty Volumes.  1917.
 
Songs and Their Settings
Ariel
By William Shakespeare (1564–1616)
 
From ‘The Tempest

Present: Prospero.  Enter Ariel

ARIEL—All hail, great master; grave sir, hail. I come
To answer thy best pleasure; be ’t to fly,
To swim, to dive into the fire, to ride
On the curled clouds: to thy strong bidding task
Ariel, and all his quality.
  Prospero—                        Hast thou, spirit,
        5
Performed to point the tempest that I bade thee?
  Ariel—To every article.
I boarded the king’s ship; now on the beak,
Now in the waist, the deck, in every cabin,
I flamed amazement: sometimes I’d divide,        10
And burn in many places; on the topmast,
The yards and bowsprit, would I flame distinctly,
Then meet and join. Jove’s lightnings, the precursors
O’ the dreadful thunder-claps, more momentary
And sight-outrunning were not; the fire, and cracks        15
Of sulphurous roaring, the most mighty Neptune
Seem to besiege, and make his bold waves tremble,—
Yea, his dread trident shake.
  Prospero—                        My brave spirit!
Who was so firm, so constant, that this coil
Would not infect his reason?
  Ariel—                        Not a soul
        20
But felt a fever of the mad, and played
Some tricks of desperation. All but mariners
Plunged in the foaming brine, and quit the vessel,
Then all a-fire with me: the king’s son, Ferdinand,
With hair up-staring (then like reeds, not hair),        25
Was the first man that leaped; cried, “Hell is empty,
And all the devils are here.”
  Prospero—                        Why, that’s my spirit!
But was not this nigh shore?
  Ariel—                        Close by, my master.
  Prospero—But are they, Ariel, safe?
  Ariel—                    Not a hair perished;
On their sustaining garments not a blemish,        30
But fresher than before: and as thou bad’st me,
In troops I have dispersed them ’bout the isle.
The king’s son have I landed by himself,
Whom I left cooling of the air with sighs
In an odd angle of the isle, and sitting,        35
His arms in this sad knot.
  Prospero—                        Of the king’s ship,
The mariners say how thou hast disposed,
And all the rest o’ the fleet?
  Ariel—                            Safely in harbor
Is the king’s ship; in the deep nook, where once
Thou call’dst me up at midnight to fetch dew        40
From the still-vexed Bermoothes, there she’s hid:
The mariners all under hatches stow’d;
Whom, with a charm joined to their suffered labor,
I have left asleep; and for the rest o’ the fleet,
Which I dispersed, they all have met again,        45
And all upon the Mediterranean float,
Bound sadly home for Naples,
Supposing that they saw the king’s ship wrecked,
And his great person perish.
 
 
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