ἐν τῷ φρονεῖν μηδὲν: i.e., before there is any intelligent consciousness of joy or sorrow (555). 554 b [τὸ μὴ φρονεῖν γὰρ κ.τ.λ.] Such an unconsciousness is an ‘evil,’ as excluding “τὸ χαίρειν”, but ‘painless,’ as exempt from “τὸ λυπεῖσθαι”. This verse was probably written in the margin, as a parallel passage to v. 554, and then crept into the text. It may come (as Valckenär thought) from some other play of Sophocles; its tone seems less suggestive of Euripides. That it was a familiar quotation, may be seen from the way in which it is brought in by the novelist Eustathius (or Eumathius), in “τὸ καθ᾽ Ὑσμίνην καὶ Ὑσμινίαν σρᾶμα” (c. 1100 A.D. ?), ch. 2 § 7 (Erot. Scriptores vol. II. p. 174 ed. Hercher), “τοῦ ἔπους ἐμνήσθην ὡς τὸ μὴ φρονεῖν κάρτ᾽ ἀνώδυνον κακόν”. It is translated, along with v. 553, in the sentences of Publilius Syrus (c. 45 B.C.), 876 f., “Suavissima haec est vita, si sapias nihil: | Nam sapere nil doloris expers est malum.” But those two verses are doubtless later interpolations in the text of Publilius: they are wanting in the best MS. (Monac. lat. 6292).
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