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739.Present Wishes in Homer.) In Homer a present unattained wish may be expressed by the present optative, like a present unfulfilled condition (438). Here εἴθε or εἰ γάρ generally introduces the wish. E.g.

Εἰ γὰρ ἐγὼν οὕτω γε Διὸς πάις αἰγιόχοιο εἴην ἤματα πάντα, τέκοι δέ με πότνια Ἥρη, τιοίμην δ᾽ ὡς τίετ᾽ Ἀθηναίη καὶ Ἀπόλλων, ὡς νῦν ἡμέρη ἥδε κακὸν φέρει Ἀργείοισιν,

O that I were the son of Zeus, and that Hera were my mother, and that I were honoured as Athena and Apollo are honoured, etc. Il. xiii. 825. (Here τέκοι is nearly equivalent to μήτηρ εἴη: cf. τεκοῦσα, O mother, quoted under 732.) Almost the same wish occurs in Il. viii. 538.

γέρον, εἴθ᾽ ὡς θυμὸς ἐνὶ στήθεσσι φίλοισιν ὥς τοι γούναθ᾽ ἕποιτο, βίη δέ τοι ἔμπεδος εἴη: ἀλλά σε γῆρας τείρει ὁμοίιον: ὡς ὄφελέν τις ἀνδρῶν ἄλλος ἔχειν, σὺ δὲ κουροτέροισι μετεῖναι,

would that, even as thy spirit is in thy breast, so thy knees obeyed and thy strength were firm. Il. iv. 313.At the end we have the more common form of a present wish, ὄφελέν τις ἄλλος ἔχειν, would that some other man had it (γῆρας).

Εἴθ᾽ ὣς ἡβώοιμι, βίη δέ μοι ἔμπεδος εἴη: τῷ κε τάχ᾽ ἀντήσειε μάχης κορυθαίολος Ἕκτωρ,

O that I were again so young, and my strength were firm, etc. Il. vii. 157.The same wish, in precisely the same words, occurs also in Il. xi. 670, Il. xxiii. 629, and Od. xiv. 468; also in Il. vii. 132 in the form αἲ γὰρ, Ζεῦ τε πάτερ, . . . ἡβῷμ᾽ ὡς ὅτ᾽ . . . μάχοντο. See Od. xiv. 503, ὣς νῦν ἡβώοιμι, repeating the idea of vs. 468. In Od. xviii. 79 we have νῦν μὲν μήτ᾽ εἴης, βουγάιε, μήτε γένοιο, better that thou wert not now, thou braggart, and hadst never been born, where γένοιο looks like a past wish; but not having been born may be included in the present wish of εἴης: compare τέκοι in Il. xiii. 826 (above). For αἲ γὰρ ἐλασαίατο, Il. x. 536, see 93 (end).

For the infinitive with γάρ in a past unattained wish in Homer, see 786.

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