It’s been a beautiful summer here in Southern Wisconsin. Such delightful, gentle days bring to mind a snippet of verse from The Tempest, where the forces of Nature, including Prospero’s magical island, almost act as one of the characters. Caliban and Ariel, both preternatural creatures, are manifestations of that island, and in the opening of the final act, Ariel sings a song:
Where the bee sucks, there suck I:
In a cowslip’s bell I lie;
There I couch when owls do cry.
On the bat’s back I do fly
After summer merrily.
Merrily, merrily shall I live now
Under the blossom that hangs on the bough.
–The Tempest, Act V, Scene i
And why shouldn’t Ariel sing? For it’s in this scene that Prospero promises Ariel her freedom after decades of servitude the Prospero the Sorcerer.
The image comes from Southern Wisconsin’s very own American Players Theatre, with Susan Shunk as Ariel and Kenneth Albers as Propsero from the troupe’s 2011 production of The Tempest.