By William Shakespeare.
Ariel is an androgynous airy spirit (It can take male or female forms.) It has just returned from a task Prospero sent it to perform, a tempest. In this monologue Ariel relates the story to Prospero, taking the opportunity to brag.
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 curl'd clouds, to thy strong bidding task
Ariel and all his quality.
Perform'd to point the tempest thy bade me.
I boarded the king's ship; now on the beak,
Now in the waist, the deck, in every cabin,
I flam'd amazement: sometime I'd divide,
And burn in many places; on the topmast,
The yards and boresprit, would I flame distinctly,
Then meet, and join. Jove's lightnings, the precursors
O' th' dreadful thunder-claps, more momentary
And sight-outrunning were not: the fire and cracks
Of sulphurous roaring the most mighty Neptune
Seem to besiege, and make his bold waves tremble,
Yea, his dead trident shake!!
Not a soul but felt a fever of the mad, and play'd
Some tricks of desperation. All but mariners
Plung'd in the foaming brine, and quit the vessel,
Then all afire with me: the King's son, Ferdinand,
With hair-upstaring,-then like reeds, not hair-
Was the first man that leap'd, cried, "Hell is empty,
And all the devils are here!!"
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