Friday, May 23, 2008


I hope that fusionman has read the story of Daedalus and Icarus in Ovid's metamorphoses, and takes Daedalus' wise advice:

instruit et natum “medio” que “ut limite curras,
Icare,” ait “moneo, ne, si demissior ibis,
unda gravet pennas, si celsior, ignis adurat
inter utrumque vola. nec te spectare Booten
aut Helicen iubeo strictumque Orionis ensem:

me duce carpe viam!”

Daedalus equips his son, and says "Icarus, I warn you to fly by the middle course, so that the waves won't weigh down your wings, if you go too low, and so that the fire of the sun won't burn them, if you fly too high; fly between the two. I order you not to look at the bear-watcher, nor Helike, nor the drawn sword of Orion: take to the sky with me as your leader."

Of course, we all know what happened next:

cum puer audaci coepit gaudere volatu
deseruitque ducem, caelique cupidine tactus
altius egit iter. rapidi vicinia solis
mollit odoratas, pennarum vincula, ceras:
tabuerant cerae; nudos quatit ille lacertos
remigioque carens non ullas percipit auras,
oraque caerulea patrium clamantia nomen
excipiuntur aqua, quae nomen traxit ab illo.

The boy began to revel in his daring flight, and deserted his leader, and touched with a longing for the heavens, he steered his course higher. The nearness of the scorching sun softened the sweet-smelling wax, the bonds of the feathers: the wax melted; he shakes his bare arms, but lacking the power of his wings he cannot catch any air, and his mouth, calling the name of his father, is swallowed up by the dark-blue sea which now bears his name.

[Ovid, Metamorphoses VIII.204-9, 223-30]

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