ἀλεὴς ὕπνος ἐσθλός. If these words are right, they can mean only, ‘sleep in the heat is sound,’—a parenthetic comment on the preceding “ἐκτέταται νύχιος”. In the excitement of the Chorus, it is perhaps not strange that they should use a phrase scarcely consistent with their own “ὕπνος ἄϋπνος” (848). Cp. Theocr. 7. 21 “μεσαμέριον” .. | “ἁνίκα δὴ καὶ σαῦρος ἐφ᾽ αἱμασίαισι καθεύδει”. We certainly cannot render (with Cavallin), ‘a warm sleep (i.e. a sound one, in which a gentle warmth pervades the body) is favourable to our plan.’ ἀλεής occurs only here, though Hesych. has “ἀλεός”= “ἀλεεινός”. It is, however, a correct formation from “ἀλέα”: and ἀλέας (gen.) is not a probable correction. The easy emendation ἀδεὴς (“Δ” for “Λ”) would give the sense, ‘'tis a secure (i.e. tranquil), sound sleep.’ This may be right; but I have preferred to keep the MS. reading. The addition of δ̓ after ἀλεὴς might seem desirable in such a parenthesis: cp. Dem. or. 18 § 308 “ἢ ἄλλο τι δύσκολον γέγονε”, (“πολλὰ δὲ τὰ ἀνθρώπινα”,) “εἶτ᾽ ἐπὶ τούτῳ τῷ καιρῷ κ.τ.λ.” Some reject ἀλεὴς ὕπνος ἐσθλός as a mere gloss. But a marginal commentator might have been expected to use more prosaic language,—e.g., “ὁ μεσημβρινὸς ὕπνος βαθύς”. Dobree, reading ἀδεὴς, supposed the following process. (1) In v. 864 Soph. wrote ἀδεὴς πόνος ἐσθλός. This was supplanted by a gloss, πόνος ὁ μὴ φοβῶν κράτιστος, which now stands there. (2) Then the displaced ἀδεὴς πόνος ἐσθλός was corrupted into “ἀλεὴς ὕπνος ἐσθλός”, and inserted in the text after “νύχιος”. This hypothesis is very ingenious, but it seems much too complex to be probable.
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