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734. II. The aorist ὤφελον, ought, and sometimes (in Homer) the imperfect ὤφελλον, of ὀφείλω (Epic ὀφέλλω), owe, debeo, may be used with the infinitive to express a present or past unattained wish. The present infinitive is used when the wish refers to the present or to continued or repeated past action, and the aorist (rarely the perfect) when it refers to the past.

Ὤφελον or ὤφελλον may be preceded by the particles of wishing, εἴθε and εἰ γάρ, and in negative wishes by μή (not οὐ). E.g. Ὤφελε τοῦτο ποιεῖν, would that he were (now) doing this (lit. he ought to be doing it), or would that he had (habitually) done this (lit. he ought to have done this). Ὤφελε τοῦτο ποιῆσαι, would that he had done this.

Ὧν ὄφελον τριτάτην περ ἔχων ἐν δώμασι μοῖραν ναίειν, οἱ δ᾽ ἄνδρες σόοι ἔμμεναι οἳ τότ᾽ ὄλοντο, O that I were living with even a third part, etc., and that those men were safe who then perished. Od. iv. 97.So Il. i. 415. Ἀνδρὸς ἔπειτ᾽ ὤφελλον ἀμείνονος εἶναι ἄκοιτις, ὃς ᾔδη νέμεσίν τε καὶ αἴσχεα πόλλ᾽ ἀνθρώπων, O that I were the wife of a better man, who knew, etc. Il. vi. 350. Τὴν ὄφελ᾽ ἐν νήεσσι κατακτάμεν Ἄρτεμις ἴῳ, O that Artemis had slain her, etc. Il. xix. 59. Αἴθ᾽ ὤφελλες στρατοῦ ἄλλου σημαίνειν. Il. xiv. 84. Αἴθ᾽ ἅμα πάντες Ἕκτορος ὠφέλετ᾽ ἀντὶ θοῇς ἐπὶ νηυσὶ πεφάσθαι, “would that ye all had been slain instead of Hector.” Il. xxiv. 253. Μηδ᾽ ὄφελες λίσσεσθαι ἀμύμονα Πηλεΐωνα, “would that you had not besought the son of Peleus.” Il. ix. 698. (See 736, below.) So xviii. 86; Od. viii. 312. Μηκέτ᾽ ἔπειτ᾽ ὤφειλον (?) ἐγὼ πέμπτοισι μετεῖναι ἀνδράσιν, ἀλλ᾽ πρόσθε θανεῖν ἔπειτα γενέσθαι, would that I were no longer living with this fifth race of men, but had either died before it or been born after it. HES. Op. 174. Ὀλέσθαι ὤφελον τῇδ᾽ ἡμέρᾳ, “O that I had perished on that day.” SOPH. O.T. 1157. Μή ποτ᾽ ὤφελον λιπεῖν τὴν Σκῦρον, “O that I never had left Scyros.” Id. Ph. 969.See Id. El. 1021. Εἴθ᾽ ὤφελ᾽ Ἀργοῦς μὴ διαπτάσθαι σκάφος Κόλχων ἐς αἶαν κυανέας Συμπληγάδας. EUR. Med. 1. Εἰ γὰρ ὤφελον οἷοί τε εἶναι οἱ πολλοὶ τὰ μέγιστα κακὰ ἐξεργάζεσθαι, O that the multitude were able, etc. PLAT. Crit. 44D. Εἰ γὰρ ὤφελον (sc. κατιδεῖν). Rep. 432C. Παθόντων μή ποτ᾽ ὤφελον (sc. παθεῖν), when they suffered what would they had never suffered. DEM. xviii. 288; so 320. So ὡς μήποτε ὤφελεν, XEN. Cyr. iv. 6, 3 (see 737).

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