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γὰρ refers to “ῥᾳδίως”. “"(Outrage is lightly committed), for the gods are late, though they are sure, in visiting sin,"” and so the hope of present impunity emboldens the wicked. See 1370. The remark is general, but Oed. is thinking especially of his unnatural sons; the divine vengeance has long been delayed, but is now at hand. Cp. Orac. Sibyll. 8. 14 “ὀψὲ θεῶν ἀλέουσι μύλοι, ἀλέουσι δὲ λεπτά”. Longfellow, “"Retribution"”: “"Though the mills of God grind slowly, yet they grind exceeding small"” (from the German of F. von Logau, Sinngedichte 3. 2. 24). Hor. Carm. 3. 2. 32pede Poena claudo.

εὖ μὲν ὀψὲ δ̓. When two clauses are co-ordinated by μέν and δέ, if we wish to subordinate one to the other we must take care that the subordinated clause is that which has μέν. Thus here:—“"late, though surely."” “"Surely, though late,"” would be ὀψὲ μὲν εὖ δέ. So O. T. 419 (n.) “βλέποντα νῦν μὲν ὄρθ᾽, ἔπειτα δὲ σκότον”,=sightless then, though seeing now. It is the necessity of giving the chief emphasis to ὀψέ, not to εὖ, that decides the true relation of this verse to the preceding.

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    • Sophocles, Oedipus Tyrannus, 419
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