A spirit of the air and guardian of innocence. He was enslaved
to the witch Sycorax, who overtasked him; and in punishment for not
doing what was beyond his power, shut him up in a pine-rift for twelve
years. On the death of Sycorax, Ariel became the slave of Caliban, who
tortured him most cruelly. Prospero liberated him from the pine-rift,
and the grateful fairy served him for sixteen years, when he was set
The sylph that watched over Belinda. (Pope: Rape of the Lock, i.)
One of the angels cast out of heaven. The word means lion of God. (Milton: Paradise Lost, book vi. 371.)
Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894
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