The Spirit Ariel

The Spirit Ariel - With shaping your dull mouth to the call...

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“The Spirit Ariel” ( On Reading Shakespeare’s Tempest ) Sometime, somewhere, you had set him free With a jolt, with which we tear ourselves away From youth, to greatness: from all consideration. Then, he was willing: and since then he’s served, Impatient, after every task, for freedom. 5 And half imperiously, half almost ashamed, You put it to him you’ve still need of him, For this and that, ah, and must tell him How you helped him. And yet you feel yourself That all that’s held back here, with him, 10 Is missing from the air. So tempting, sweet, To let him go – and then, there’s no more magic: Committing yourself to Fate like all the others, Knowing that his weightless friendship, Lacking strain, with no more obligation, 15 An excess of the space you breathe, Works on, without thought, in the Element. Dependent now, and no longer gifted
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Unformatted text preview: With shaping your dull mouth to the call At which he dived. Powerless, ageing, poor, 20 Yet breathing him, like an incomprehensible Far-flung fragrance, that makes the unseen Complete. Smiling that you once could so Summon him, used so easily to such Great undertakings. Perhaps weeping too, 25 Remembering how he loved, and wished To leave you, always both at once. (Have I loosed him, already? This man, become A duke again, terrifies me. How gently He draws the wire through his head 30 And hangs himself beside the other Figures, and brings forward his speech And asks for mercyWhat an epilogue, Of consummate power. Throwing off, standing Naked, with only ones strength: which is most faint.) 35--Rainer Maria Rilke, 1913 Twenty More Poems, trans. A.S. Kline, 2004...
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This note was uploaded on 02/20/2011 for the course ENGL 220 taught by Professor Blah during the Fall '08 term at CUNY Hunter.

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