Dear Bingley: That Chaucer site is marvelous. If I read it right, Ariadne and her sister Phedre plot to give Theseus "balls of towe and wax" with which to choke the Minotaur, because in the Labyrinth there is not room to use a sword or spear. The word "clewe of twyne" is also used to help him find his way out, after killing the bull with a dagger (presumably) provided by the jailer.
I wonder why he used both words. Perhaps to fit his meter better?
And we shul make him balles eek also
Of wexe and towe, that, whan he gapeth faste,
(120) Into the bestes throte he shal hem caste
To slake his hunger and encombre his teeth;
And right anon, whan that Theseus seeth
The beste achoked, he shal on him lepe
To sleen him, or they comen more to-hepe.
2010 This wepen shal the gayler, or that tyde,
Ful privily within the prison hyde;
And, for the hous is crinkled to and fro,
And hath so queinte weyes for to go --
For hit is shapen as the mase is wroght --
(130) Therto have I a remedie in my thoght,
That, by a clewe of twyne, as he hath goon,
The same wey he may returne anoon,
Folwing alwey the threed, as he hath come.
And, what that he this beste hath overcome,
2020 Then may he fleen awey out of this drede,
And eek the gayler may he with him lede,
And him avaunce at hoom in his contree,
Sin that so greet a lordes sone is he.
This is my reed, if that he dar hit tak