JOHN GOWER, Confessio amantis, 4, 1035-71


In hih astat it is a vice 

To go to lowe, and in service

It grieveth forto go to hye, 

Wherof a tale in poesie

I finde, how whilom Dedalus, 

Which hadde a Sone, and Icharus 

He hihte, and thogh hem thoghte lothe,

In such prison thei weren bothe 

With Minotaurus, that aboute 

Thei mihten nawher wenden oute; 

So thei begonne forto schape 

How thei the prison mihte ascape.

This Dedalus, which fro his yowthe 

Was tawht and manye craftes cowthe,

Of fetheres and of othre thinges

Hath mad to fle diverse wynges

For him and for his Sone also;

To whom he yaf in charge tho 

And bad him thenke therupon, 

How that his wynges ben set on

With wex, and if he toke his flyhte

To hyhe, al sodeinliche he mihte

Make it to melte with the Sonne.

And thus thei have her flyht begonne

Out of the prison faire and softe; 

And whan thei weren bothe alofte,

This Icharus began to monte,     

And of the conseil non accompte 

He sette, which his fader tawhte,

Til that the Sonne his wynges cawhte, 

Wherof it malt, and fro the heihte 

Withouten help of eny sleihte

He fell to his destruccion.

And lich to that condicion

Ther fallen ofte times fele

For lacke of governance in wele,

Als wel in love as other weie.