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λέχρια τἀν χεροῖν. “τἀν” seems right (see cr. n.): the MS. “τάδ᾽ ἐν” would come from ΤΑΕΝ. Creon is still touching the corpse of Haemon. The phrase “τὰ ἐν χεροῖν” would mean, figuratively, ‘the matters with which I am engaged’ (so “ἔχειν τι ἐν χερσί,Her. 1.35). Here, the words take a dramatic force from their literal sense. ‘All is amiss with that which I handle.’ Creon has, indeed, mismanaged the work which his hands found to do; and the proof of it is the corpse which he is touching. “λέχριος” =‘slanting,’ ‘oblique.’ As “ὀρθός” means either ‘straight’ or ‘upright,’ so “λέχριος” can mean either ‘moving sideways’ (O.C. 195), or, ‘not upright,’ ‘slanting.’ Cp. “πλάγιος”, the ordinary prose equiv. of “λέχριος”, which has the second sense in Philemon Ἀγύρτης 5 “σχήματα πλάγι᾽ ἐστὶ τἄλλα, τοῦτο δ᾽ ὀρθὸν θηρίον”, man alone is erect, while other creatures (i.e. quadrupeds) are bent earthward (cp. Sallust, Cat. 1pecora quae natura prona... finxit”). So, here, λέχρια means primarily ‘awry’:—“τὰ πράγματα οὐκ ὀρθῶς ἔχει”. Cp. Shaksp. Rich. II. 2. 4. 24And crossly to thy good all fortune goes.” But it is further tinged with the sense of ‘prone,’ applicable to the corpse. The Scholiast here has usu. been understood as explaining “λέχρια” by “πλάγια καὶ πεπτωκότα”. But he meant only “πλάγια” to explain “λέχρια”, while “πεπτωκότα” referred to “πότμος... εἰσήλατο”: this is clear (I think) from his whole phrase, “πλάγια καὶ πεπτωκότα, τὰ μὲν ἐν χερσί, τὰ δὲ ἐπὶ τῇ κεφαλῇ”.

τὰ δ᾽ ἐπὶ κρατί μοι κ.τ.λ., while on the other hand: for the adverbial “τὰ δ᾽”, see O. T. 666 n. These words refer to the deaths of Eurydicè and Antigone, as “τὰ ἐν χεροῖν” referred to the death of Haemon. It is quite possible to read τάδ᾽, as =‘thus’; but then τὰ ἐν χεροῖν would denote all his woes, and so we should lose the dramatic blending of a literal with a figurative sense.

εἰσήλατο: cp. on 1272 f.

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hide References (5 total)
  • Commentary references from this page (5):
    • Herodotus, Histories, 1.35
    • Sophocles, Oedipus at Colonus, 195
    • Sophocles, Oedipus Tyrannus, 666
    • Sallust, Catilinae Coniuratio, 1
    • William Shakespeare, Richard II, 2.4
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