φίλτροις δ᾽ ἐάν πως. The use of “ἐάν πως” is the same here as when it serves for the elliptical expression of a hope or aim ( O. C.1769“Θήβας δ᾽ ἡμᾶς” | ...“πέμψον, ἐάν πως” | “διακωλύσωμεν ἰόντα φόνον”. But μεμηχάνηται τοὔργον, since it follows the clause with “ἐάν πως”, is not really analogous to the verb which usually precedes such a clause; as “πέμψον” in O. C.1770.The constr. is not, “μεμηχάνηται τοὔργον, ἐάν πως ὑπερβαλώμεθα”, ‘the deed has been devised, in the hope that,’ etc. Rather the sense is: ‘But as to the possibility of prevailing by love-charms,— the means for that attempt have been devised.’ “μεμηχάνηται τοὔργον” is an abrupt substitute for “τοῦτο πειρᾶσθαι βούλομαι” or the like, and is prompted by her nervous sense that she has taken a bold step. The peculiar form of the sentence arises from the wish to emphasise “φίλτροις” as opposed to “κακὰς τόλμας”. ὑπερβαλώμεθα: the midd., in this sense, is more freq. than the act.; but the dat. usu. denotes the point of excellence ( Ar. Eq.409“οὔ τοί μ᾽ ὑπερβαλεῖσθ᾽ ἀναιδείᾳ”), and not, as here, the means. τὴν παῖδα, —strong in the charms of youth (547).— θέλκτροισι, a reiteration that the means are to be gentle: cp. Eur. Hipp.509“ἔστιν κατ᾽ οἴκους φίλτρα μοι θελκτήρια” | “ἔρωτος. —τοῖς ἐφ̓ Ἡρακλεῖ”, aimed at him, as the person whose love was to be won: cp. Apollod.2. 7. 6“εἰ θέλοι φίλτρον πρὸς Ἡρακλέα ἔχειν”. εἴ τι μὴ: “τι” (adv.)=‘perchance’: cp. 712: O. T.969: O. C.1450. μάταιον, culpably rash (cp. n. on 565). εἰ δὲ μή: ‘otherwise,’ after a negative: cp. Vesp. 434 “μὴ μεθῆσθε μηδενί:” | “εἰ δὲ μή, ᾿ν πέδαις παχείαις οὐδὲν ἀριστήσετε”. So Thuc.1. 28, Phaed.63D, etc. This rather clumsy formula was recommended by brevity: i.e., in Ar. l. c., the alternative was “εἰ δὲ μεθήσεσθε”, as here “εἰ δὲ δοκῶ.— πεπαύσομαι”: Soph. Ant.91 n.
This text is part of:
Table of Contents:
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.
An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.