τυφώς, the whirlwind: the σκηπτός is the storm of dust (“κονιορτός”) which it lifts from the ground. The word “σκηπτός” usu.=‘a thunderbolt,’ and by its deriv. ought at least to mean a storm swooping on the earth from the sky; but the schol. attests its use in a larger sense; “σκηπτὸς δὲ λέγεται πᾶν πνεῦμα θυελλῶδες, ὅταν συνερείδῃ τῇ γῇ, καὶ πάλιν ἄνω αἴρη:ι τὸ δὲ τοιοῦτο καὶ στρόβι_λόν τινες καλοῦσι, παρὰ τὸ στροβεῖν.” οὐράνιον ἄχος, a trouble in the sky (cp. O. C. 1466 “οὐρανία...ἀστραπή”), since the cloud of dust darkened the sky: schol. “τὸ λυποῦν τὸν αἰθέρα, καθὸ ταράσσει αὐτόν”: only “ἄχος” is rather what annoys us than what annoys the (personified) “οὐρανός”. In these lines the poet describes the actual physical effects produced by the storm. He mentions the destruction of foliage; and we need some reference also to the main point of all—the obscuring of the air. Therefore I should not take “οὐράνιον ἄχος” as=‘a heaven-sent plague’; that is presently said by “θείαν νόσον” (421). A third version—‘a trouble rising high as heaven’ (like “οὐράνιον πήδημα”, etc.)—is also possible, but less suitable here than either of the others. In Aesch. Suppl. 809 “ἴυζε δ᾽ ὀμφὰν οὐρανίαν”, the adj. clearly=“οὐρανομήκη”, and so perh. in Pers. 572“ἀμβόασον οὐράνι᾽ ἄχη”, though there (as in Ai. 196 “ἄταν οὐρανίαν φλέγων”) ‘heaven-sent’ is at least equally fitting.—For the tribrach in the 5th place, see O. T. 719 n.
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