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οὐκ ἔστι (“τοιοῦτος ἀνθρώπου βίος”), “ὁποῖον οὔτ᾽ αἰνέσαιμι ἄν ποτε οὔτε μεμψαίμην στάντα”: there is no kind of human life that I would ever praise, or complain of, as fixed. The partic. στάντα has a causal force, giving the ground for the praise or blame. Prosperity may seem secure, or misery irremediable; but no condition can be regarded as really stable (“στάσιμον”). Soph. has given us a perfect comment on στάντα (which Nauck calls ‘undoubtedly’ corrupt) in fr. 786, and it is strange that it should have escaped notice:—“ἀλλ᾽ οὑμὸς ἀεὶ πότμος ἐν πυκνῷ θεοῦ τρόχῳ κυκλεῖται, καὶ μεταλλάσσει φύσιν: ὥσπερ σελήνης δ᾽ ὄψις εὐφρόνας δύο στῆναι δύναιτ᾽ ἂν οὔποτ᾽ ἐν μορφῇ μιᾷ”,—cannot remain fixed in one phase.

βίον is the antecedent drawn into the clause and case of the relative: O. C. 56ὃν δ᾽ ἐπιστείβεις τόπον ...καλεῖται” etc.: ib. 907νῦν δ᾽ οὕσπερ αὐτὸς τοὺς νόμους εἰσῆλθ᾽ ἔχων”.—The only other tenable view would be: “οὐκ ἔστι” (“βίος τοιοῦτος στὰς”) “ὁποῖον αἰνέσαιμι ἄν”: there is no life so situated that I could praise it. On this view, “στάντα” would cohere closely with “ὁποῖον”, having been attracted into the acc. like “βίον” itself. This is not impossible; but, if this were the construction, I should wish to read ὁποίᾳ: cp. Ai. 950οὐκ ἂν τάδ᾽ ἔστη τῇδε μὴ θεῶν μέτα”.


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  • Commentary references from this page (2):
    • Sophocles, Ajax, 950
    • Sophocles, Oedipus at Colonus, 56
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