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The text of this passage is, I believe, sound, though the diction is bold, and somewhat careless. The oneἥβη” (Iolè's) is growing to the perfect flower, while the other (Deianeira's) is declining. (Cp. Ar. Lys.596τῆς δὲ γυναικὸς σμικρὸς καιρός”.) In what follows, these points may be noted.

(1) ὧν, fem., refers to the two phases of “ἥβη” just mentioned. The gen. is partitive: ‘of (out of) these “ἧβαι”, the eye delights in the “ἄνθος”.’ Here “ἄνθος” is a shorter way of expressing “τὴν ἀνθοῦσαν”,—the “ἥβη” which is in its early bloom. ὧν could not, surely, refer to “τὴν μὲν ἕρπουσαν πρόσωonly, as if it meant “τῶν νέων γυναικῶν” (schol.): it must refer to “τὴν δὲ φθίνουσαν” also. Nor, again, could “ὦν” stand for “ὧν τῆς μέν”.

(2) τῶν δ᾽ ὑπεκτρέπει πόδα. Here “τῶν δ̓” ought in strictness to have been “τῆς δ̓”, sc.τῆς φθινούσης ἥβης”. But, in the poet's thought, “τῶν δ̓” means, ‘the other kind,’— i.e., the women who represent the “φθίνουσα ἥβη”. The subject to “ὑπεκτρέπει” is not “ὀφθαλμός”, but the man implied by it (“ ὁρῶν”). The eye, as being here the guide of the choice, might, indeed, be said to ‘turn the foot aside,’ in the sense of causing that movement; but this would be awkward. For the transition of thought from “ὀφθαλμός” to the person, cp. Eur. Med.1244(quoted by Wecklein), “ἄγ̓, τάλαινα χεὶρ ἐμή, λαβὲ ξίφος”, | “λάβ̓, ἕρπε πρὸς βαλβῖδα λυπηρὰν βίου”.

(3) ἀφαρπάζειν, said of the eye, means, to seize eagerly upon the beautiful sight (cp. Hor. Sat. 2. 5. 53Sic tamen ut limis rapias” etc.). So we can speak of ‘snatching’ a glance, or of the eyes ‘drinking in’ beauty. There is no allusion to the idea expressed by Aesch. Suppl. 663ἥβας δ᾽ ἄνθος ἄδρεπτον ἔστω”.

(4) ὀφθαλμὸς: the swift and ardent glance of the lover is often mentioned in Greek poetry: see esp. fr. 431 “τοιάνδ᾽ ἐν ὄψει λίγγα θηρατηρίαν” | “ἔρωτος, ἀστραπήν τιν᾽ ὀμμάτων, ἔχει”. Aesch. Suppl.1003καὶ παρθένων χλιδαῖσιν εὐμόρφοις ἔπι” | “πᾶς τις παρελθὼν <*>μματος θελκτήριον” | “τόξευμ᾽ ἔπεμψεν ἱμέρου νικώμενος”.

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hide References (5 total)
  • Commentary references from this page (5):
    • Aeschylus, Suppliant Maidens, 1003
    • Aeschylus, Suppliant Maidens, 663
    • Euripides, Medea, 1244
    • Aristophanes, Lysistrata, 596
    • Horace, Satires, 2.5.53
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