Peroration (ἐπίλογος). I have explained without shirking the policy which I am convinced is best, though I know that I may suffer for it. May your decision be guided aright.

τι ἂν μὴ ... , ‘save in so far as I have been convinced that it would serve your best interests as well’ (as afford gratification). The primary form is employed, as often, in the subordinate clause, after the historic εἱλόμην. Here perhaps it is intended to imply that the speaker's conviction still holds.

οὐδὲν ὑποστειλάμενος, ‘without reserve.’ The metaphor is from shortening sail.

ἥδιον εἶχον, ‘I should have been better pleased.’ Elsewhere ἡδέως ἔχειν is found with the dative or πρὸς and the accusative (of a person). The reading is not quite certain. All MSS. except S give εἶπον, to which the objection is that the imperfect would be more natural here than the aorist.

ἐπ᾽ ἀδήλοις οὖσι. For this use of ἐπὶ with the dative of attendant circumstances or conditions (‘with the results to myself uncertain’) and a predicative adjective, cf. Dem. 21. 30 ἐπ᾽ ἀδήλοις μὲν τοῖς ἀδικήσουσιν, Soph. Ant. 556ἀλλ᾽ οὐκ ἐπ̓ ἀρρήτοις γε τοῖς ἐμοῖς λόγοις”. In the following clause ἐπὶ has not quite the same force: ἐπὶ τῷ πεπεῖσθαι=‘on the strength of my conviction.’

Demosthenes is not perhaps thinking of any evil consequences more definite than unpopularity, but the fear of a γραφὴ παρανόμων can never have been far from the mind of an Athenian who had to propose any measure likely to give offence.

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  • Commentary references from this page (1):
    • Sophocles, Antigone, 556
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