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732. I. The past tenses of the indicative with εἴθε or εἰ γάρ, in present and past wishes, correspond to the optative with these particles in future wishes. The construction was originally a protasis with its apodosis suppressed, εἰ γάρ με εἶδες meaning, O if you had seen me! This form of wish is common in the Attic writers, but is unknown to Homer (735).

The imperfect and aorist indicative are distinguished here as in the unreal condition (410). E.g. Ἰὼ γᾶ γᾶ, εἴθ᾽ ἔμ᾽ ἐδέξω, O Earth, Earth, would that thou hadst received me. AESCH. Ag. 1537.Εἰ γάρ μ᾽ ὑπὸ γῆν ἧκεν,” “O if he had sent me beneath the earth.” Id. Prom. 152. Εἴθε σε εἴθε σε μήποτ᾽ εἰδόμαν. SOPH. O.T. 1217. Εἴθ᾽ εὕρομέν ς᾿, Ἄδμητε, μὴ λυπούμενον. EUR. Alc. 536. Εἴθε σοι, Περίκλεις, τότε συνεγενόμην, “would that I had met you then.” XEN. Mem. i. 2, 46. Εἴθ᾽ εἶχες, τεκοῦσα, βελτίους φρένας, O mother, would that you had a better understanding. EUR. El. 1061. Εἰ γὰρ τοσαύτην δύναμιν εἶχον, “would that I had so great power.” Id. Alc. 1072. Εἴθ᾽ ἦσθα δυνατὸς δρᾶν ὅσον πρόθυμος εἶ. Id. Her. 731.

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