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καὶ μάλιστα μέν—co-ordinate with δοῦλοι ὄντες. βουλόμενοι would have made the sentence more symmetrical, but cf. already Iliad IX. 656 οἱ δὲ ἕκαστος ἑλὼν . . ἴσαν. ἀνταγωνιζόμενοι τοῖς τοιαῦτα λέγουσι—i.e. τοῖς τοιούτοις ῥήτορσι, who applaud that one of their number who happens to be speaking; ‘vying with speakers who use such arguments,’ viz. ἄτοπα. (It is objected to τοιαῦτα that it cannot be referred to τὰ ἄτοπα only, after what has preceded. But it is to be noted that ὑπερόπται δὲ τῶν εἰωθότων is merely parenthetical: had there been a μέν after δοῦλοι, the objection would have been serious.) τῇ γνώμῃ—not to lag behind the rest ‘in insight.’ To understand ‘plan’ or ‘purpose’ of the speaker (γνώμῃ governed by ἀκολουθῆσαι) is not so good, because it is the external form, not the meaning, that rivets their attention. ὀξέως with λέγοντος, because λέγοντός τι cannot here mean ‘says something important or sensible.’ On the other hand, ὀξέως, when taken with λέγοντος, is rendered ‘shrewdly,’ ‘cleverly’; but (1) ὀξύ, adj., would be natural, and (2) it seems that λέγειν ὀξέως means not ‘speak shrewdly’ but ‘speak rapidly’; it is only with words denoting mind that βραδύς, ὀξύς mean ‘slow,’ ‘quick’ of wit. I should prefer to render ‘when any one is speaking rapidly.’ προεπαιϝέσαι — sc. δοκεῖν, generally understood ‘to approve’ it before it is uttered, but perhaps ‘to be first with their approval.’ πρόθυμοι εἶναι—this may depend on ἀνταψωνιζόμενοι or, more probably, on δοκεῖν, but, in either ease, (εἶναι) βραδεῖς does not give very good sense, and can hardly be excused on the ground that the main emphasis falls on πρόθυμοι εἶναι; for—to mention only one objection—προαισθέσθαι and προνοῆσαι are plainly meant to be equal in importance. We require εἰωθότες to make sound sense. The best solution proposed is to consider καί before προαισθέσθαι and εἶναι as spurious: the whole would then be closely connected with προεπαινέσαι.
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