Translation:Metamorphoses/Daedalus and Icarus

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Metamorphoses by Ovid, translated from Latin by Wikisource
Daedalus and Icarus
Met. VIII. 183-235
Literal English Translation Original Latin Line

    Daedalus in the meantime, hating Crete and his long exile
and having been touched by the love of his birthplace[1],
had been closed in by the sea. He says, "Although Minos obstructs[2]
the land and waves, the sky at least lies open; we will fly there.
Minos may possess everything, but he does not possess the air."
He spoke and sends down his mind into unknown arts[3]
and changes his nature[4]. For he puts feathers in a row
beginning with the small [feathers], and the shorter following the long [feathers],
so that you may think that it has grown on an incline; in the same way that
a countryman's pipe gradually builds up with reeds of different lengths.
Then he binds the middle [feathers] with thread and the last feathers with wax
and then bends what he has created by a small curvature as
to mimic real birds. Together with his father, the boy Icarus
was standing nearby, unaware that he was facing danger,
now with a beaming face was capturing the feathers
which the wandering air has moved, with his thumb now was softening the yellow wax
and with his play he kept interrupting the marvelous work of his father.
After the finishing touch had been placed
on the work, the craftsman balanced his body
on the twin wings and suspended his body in the open air;
"I warn you to travel in the middle course, Icarus, so that the waves
may not weigh down your wings if you go too low,
and so that the sun will not scorch your wings if you go too high.
Stay between both. I order you not to look at Boötes,
or Helice, or the drawn sword of Orion.
Sieze the way that I lead!" He hands over at the same time the rules of flying
and fits the unknown wings on his shoulders.
Between the work and warnings the old cheeks grew wet,
and his fatherly hands trembled; He gave to his son kisses
not to be repeated, and having lifted himself up on his wings
he flies before and he fears for his comrade. Just as a bird
who has led forth a tender offspring from a high nest into the air,
and encourages [him] to follow and instructs [him] in the destructive arts
and he moves himself and looks back at the wings of his son.
Someone while catching fish with a trembling rod,
either a shepherd leaning on his staff or a plowman on a plow
saw these men and was stunned, and they who were able to snatch the sky,
he believed were gods. And now Juno's Samos was on the left
side (for Delos and Paros had been left behind)
and on the right was Lebynthos and Kalymnos rich in honey,
when the boy began to rejoice in his bold flight
and deserted his leader, and attracted by a desire for the sky
he took his path [went] higher. The vicinity of the sun
softens the fragrant wax, the chains of the feathers;
the wax melted: he shook his bare arms
and lacking oarage he takes up no air,
and his mouth shouting his father's name
is swept up in the blue sea, which takes its name from him.
But the unlucky father, and no longer a father, said, "Icarus,
Icarus, where are you? In what region shall I seek you?
Icarus!" he kept saying: he caught sight of feathers in the waves
and cursed his own arts and buried the body in a tomb,
and the land is called Icaria the name of the one buried there

  1. Daedalus was born in Athens
  2. 'obstructs' almost means 'controls'
  3. the art of flying
  4. his nature, as a human, is not to fly,
    but he will change his nature and fly anyway

    Daedalus intereā Creten longumque perōsus
exilium tactusque locī nātālis amōre
clausus erat pelagō. "terrās licet" inquit "et undās
obstruat: et cælum certē patet; ībimus illac:
omnia possideat, nōn possidet āera Mīnos."
dīxit et ignōtās animum dīmittit in artēs
natūramque novat. nam pōnit in ordine pennās
ā minimā cœptās, longam breviōre sequentī,
ut clīvō crēvisse putēs: sīc rūstica quondam
fistula disparibus paulātim surgit avēnīs;
tum līnō mediās et cērīs alligat īmās
atque ita conpositās parvō curvāmine flectit,
ut vērās imitētur avēs. puer Īcarus ūna
stābat et, ignārus sua sē tractāre pericla,
ore renīdentī modo, quās vaga mōverat aura,
captābat plūmās, flāvam modo pollice cēram
mollībat lūsūque suō mīrābile patris
impediēbat opus. postquam manus ultima cœptō
inposita est, geminās opifex librāvit in ālās
ipse suum corpus mōtāque pependit in aurā;
instruit et nātum "mediō" que "ut līmite currās,
Īcare," ait "moneō, nē, sī dēmissior ībīs,
unda gravet pennās, sī celsior, ignis adūrat:
inter utrumque volā. nec tē spectāre Boōten
aut Helicen iubeō strictumque Orīonis ensem:
mē duce carpe viam!" pariter praecepta volandī
tradit et ignōtās umerīs accommodat ālās.
inter opus monitūsque genae maduēre senīlēs,
et patriae tremuēre manūs; dedit oscula nātō
nōn iterum repetenda suō pennīsque levātus
ante volat comitīque timet, velut āles, ab altō
quae teneram prolem prōduxit in āera nīdō,
hortāturque sequī damnōsāsque ērudit artēs
et movet ipse suās et nātī respicit ālās.
hōs aliquis tremulā dum captat harundine piscēs,
aut pastor baculō stivāve innixus arātor
vidit et obstipuit, quique æthera carpere possent,
crēdidit esse deōs. et iam Iūnōnia lævā
parte Samōs (fuerant Dēlosque Parōsque relictae)
dextra Lebinthos erat fēcundaque melle Calymnē,
cum puer audācī cœpit gaudēre volātū
deseruitque ducem cælīque cupīdine tractus
altius ēgit iter. rapidī vīcīnia sōlis
mollit odōrātās, pennārum vincula, cērās;
tabuerant cēræ: nūdōs quatit ille lacertōs,
remigiōque carēns non ullās percipit aurās,
oraque cæruleā patrium clāmantia nōmen
excipiuntur aquā, quae nōmen traxit ab illō.
at pater infēlix, nec iam pater, "Īcare," dīxit,
"Īcare," dīxit "ubi es? quā tē regiōne requīram?"
"Īcare" dīcēbat: pennās aspexit in undīs
devōvitque suās artēs corpusque sepulcrō
condidit, et tellūs ā nōmine dicta sepultī.


edit AP Latin Syllabus
Vergil: Aeneid Book 1 (lines 1-519), Book 2 (lines 1-56, 199-297, 469-566, 735-804), Book 4 (lines 1-448, 642-705), Book 6 (lines 1-211, 450-476, 847-901), Book 10 (lines 420-509), Book 12 (lines 791-842, 887-952)
Catullus: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, (6), 7, 8, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14a, 16, (21), 22, 30, 31, (34), 35, 36, 39, 40, 43, 44, 45, 46, 49, 50, 51, 52, 53, 56, 58, 60, 62, 64, 65, 68, 69, 70, 72, 73, 75, 76, 77, 79, 81, 83, 84, 85, 86, 87, 92, 93, 96, 101, 107, 109, 116.
Cicero: Pro Archia Poeta; De Amicitia 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 100, 101, 102, 103, 104; Pro Caelio 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 41, 42, 43, 47, 48, 49, 50, 56, 57, 58, 61, 62, 63, 66, 67, 74, 75, 76, 77, 79, 80
Horace: Sermones 1.9; Odes 1.1, 1.5, 1.9, 1.11, 1.13, 1.22, 1.23, 1.24, 1.25, 1.37, 1.38, 2.3, 2.7, 2.10, 2.14, 3.1, 3.9, 3.13, 3.30, 4.7
Ovid: Daphne and Apollo, Pyramus and Thisbe, Daedalus and Icarus, Baucis and Philemon, Pygmalion; Amores 1.1, (1.2), 1.3, (1.4), (1.5), (1.6), (1.7), 1.9, 1.11, 1.12, (1.14), (1.15), 3.15