previous next

740. It has been seen that the use of the moods and tenses in both classes of wishes with εἰ γάρ and εἴθε is precisely the same as in the corresponding forms of protasis (455; 410). The analogy with the Latin is also the same as in protasis:— εἰ γὰρ τοῦτο ποιοίη (or ποιήσειεν), O si hoc faciat, O that he may do this; εἰ γὰρ τοῦτο ἐποίει, O si hoc faceret, O that he were doing this; εἰ γὰρ τοῦτο ἐποίησεν, O si hoc fecisset, O that he had done this; εἰ γὰρ μὴ ἐγένετο, utinam ne factum esset, O that it had not happened.

It must be remembered that it is the futurity of the object of a wish, and not its probability or possibility, that requires the optative. No amount of absurdity or extravagance in a future wish can make anything but the optative proper in expressing it. As Aristotle says ( Eth. iii. 2, Eth. 7), βούλησις δ᾽ ἐστὶ τῶν ἀδυνάτων, οἷον ἀθανασίας, wish may refer to impossibilities, as that we may live for ever; but this very wish would require the optative. So no amount of reasonableness in a present or past wish can make the imperfect or aorist indicative improper; for we may wish that the most reasonable thing were or had been ours, only such wishing implies that we do not or did not have it.

Creative Commons License
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.

hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: