ἀνδρός τοι τὰ μὲν ἔνδικ᾽ αἰὲν εἰπεῖν. Arndt thus amends the MS. ἀνδρός τοι τὸ μὲν εὖ δίκαιον εἰπεῖν. The change involved is very slight, τὰ for τὸ, ν for υ, and ε for ο. The sense is:— ‘The part of a (true) man is ever to assert what is right, but to do so without adding invectives.’ That is, Philoctetes is justified in expressing his sense of the wrong done to him; but not in reviling Odysseus. Odysseus was merely the agent of the Greek army, and acted for the public good. Cp. O. T. 1158“μὴ λέγων γε τοὔνδικον”: Eur. Tro. 970“καὶ τήνδε δείξω μὴ λέγουσαν ἔνδικα”. Nauck objects that with αἰὲν we ought to have the pres. inf. λέγειν. But αἰὲν εἰπεῖν=‘to assert on each occasion,’—the aor. inf. marking the moment of the assertion. The combination of “αἰέν” with the aor. is therefore no less correct than (e.g.) in Il. 21. 263“ὡς αἰεὶ Ἀχιλῆα κιχήσατο κῦμα ῥόοιο”. The only sound version of the vulgate, ἀνδρός τοι τὸ μὲν εὖ δίκαιον εἰπεῖν, is Hermann's:—‘It is the part of a man to say that what is expedient (quod utile est) is just’:—i.e., Philoctetes, if he is a true man, ought to remember that the act of taking him to Troy is for the public good (τὸ εὖ); and ought therefore to admit that it is just. But we may object:—(1) This sense of τὸ εὖ is too obscure. (2) The Chorus may properly remonstrate with Philoctetes on his invectives against Odysseus; but they could scarcely require him to allow that his treatment had been “δίκαιον”. (3) The antithesis between the first clause and the second (εἰπόντος δὲ κ.τ.λ.) thus loses its force; for a man who conceded the justice of the act would not revile the agent.—Other versions of the vulgate, and other emendations, will be found in the Appendix.
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