Ovid's Metamorphoses : Daedalus and Icarus

                         But Daedalus abhorred the Isle of Crete--
                  290 and his long exile on that sea-girt shore,
                         increased the love of his own native place.
                         "Though Minos blocks escape by sea and land."
                         He said, "The unconfined skies remain
                         though Minos may be lord of all the world
                  295 his sceptre is not regnant of the air,
                         and by that untried way is our escape."
                         This said, he turned his mind to arts unknown
                         and nature unrevealed. He fashioned quills
                         and feathers in due order -- deftly formed
                  300 from small to large, as any rustic pipe
                         prom straws unequal slants. He bound with thread
                         the middle feathers, and the lower fixed
                         with pliant wax; till so, in gentle curves
                         arranged, he bent them to the shape of birds.
                  305 While he was working, his son Icarus,
                         with smiling countenance and unaware
                         of danger to himself, perchance would chase
                         the feathers, ruffled by the shifting breeze,
                         or soften with his thumb the yellow wax,
                  310 and by his playfulness retard the work
                         his anxious father planned.
                         But when at last
                         the father finished it, he poised himself,
                         and lightly floating in the winnowed air
                  315 waved his great feathered wings with bird-like ease.
                         And, likewise he had fashioned for his son
                         such wings; before they ventured in the air
                         he said, "My son, I caution you to keep
                         the middle way, for if your pinions dip
                  320 too low the waters may impede your flight;
                         and if they soar too high the sun may scorch them.
                         Fly midway. Gaze not at the boundless sky,
                         far Ursa Major and Bootes next.
                         Nor on Orion with his flashing brand,
                  325 but follow my safe guidance."
                         As he spoke
                         he fitted on his son the plumed wings
                         with trembling hands, while down his withered cheeks
                         the tears were falling. Then he gave his son
                  330 a last kiss, and upon his gliding wings
                         assumed a careful lead solicitous.
                         As when the bird leads forth her tender young,
                         from high-swung nest to try the yielding air;
                         so he prevailed on willing Icarus;
                  335 encouraged and instructed him in a]l
                         the fatal art; and as he waved his wings
                         looked backward on his son.
                         Beneath their flight,
                         the fisherman while casting his long rod,
                  340 or the tired shepherd leaning on his crook,
                         or the rough plowman as he raised his eyes,
                         astonished might observe them on the wing,
                         and worship them as Gods.
                         Upon the left
                  345 they passed by Samos, Juno's sacred isle;
                         Delos and Paros too, were left behind;
                         and on the right Lebinthus and Calymne,
                         fruitful in honey. Proud of his success,
                         the foolish Icarus forsook his guide,
                  350 and, bold in vanity, began to soar,
                         rising upon his wings to touch the skies;
                         but as he neared the scorching sun, its heat
                         softened the fragrant wax that held his plumes;
                         and heat increasing melted the soft wax--
                  355 he waved his naked arms instead of wings,
                         with no more feathers to sustain his flight.
                         And as he called upon his father's name
                         his voice was smothered in the dark blue sea,
                         now called Icarian from the dead boy's name.
                  360 The unlucky father, not a father, called,
                         "Where are you, Icarus?" and "Where are you?
                         In what place shall I seek you, Icarus?"
                         He called again; and then he saw the wings
                         of his dear Icarus, floating on the waves;
                  365 and he began to rail and curse his art.
                         He found the body on an island shore,
                         now called Icaria, and at once prepared
                         to bury the unfortunate remains;
                         but while he labored a pert partridge near,
                  370 observed him from the covert of an oak,
                         and whistled his unnatural delight.
                         Know you the cause? 'Twas then a single bird,
                         the first one of its kind. 'Twas never seen
                         before the sister of Daedalus had brought
                  375 him Perdix, her dear son, to be his pupil.
                         And as the years went by the gifted youth
                         began to rival his instructor's art.
                         He took the jagged backbone of a fish,
                         and with it as a model made a saw,
                  380 with sharp teeth fashioned from a strip of iron.
                         And he was first to make two arms of iron,
                         smooth hinged upon the center, so that one
                         would make a pivot while the other, turned,
                         described a circle. Wherefore Daedalus
                  385 enraged and envious, sought to slay the youth
                         and cast him headlong from Minerva's fane,--
                         then spread the rumor of an accident.
                         But Pallas, goddess of ingenious men,
                         saving the pupil changed him to a bird,
                  390 and in the middle of the air he flew
                         on feathered wings; and so his active mind--
                         and vigor of his genius were absorbed
                         into his wings and feet; although the name
                         of Perdix was retained.
                  395 The Partridge hides
                         in shaded places by the leafy trees
                         its nested eggs among the bush's twigs;
                         nor does it seek to rise in lofty flight,
                         for it is mindful of its former fall.