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νεφέλη δ᾽ ὀφρύων ὕπερ, a cloud of grief (resting) on her brow,—as dark clouds rest on a mountain-summit: cp. Eur. Hipp. 173στυγνὸν δ᾽ ὀφρύων νέφος αὐξάνεται”: Aesch. Theb. 228τὰν ἀμήχανον κἀκ χαλεπᾶς δύας ὕπερθ᾽ ὀμμάτων κρημναμέναν νεφέλαν”: so “συννεφής συνωφρυωμένος”. Cp. Deme supercilio nubem ( Hor. Ep. 1. 18. 94). The cloud of sorrow is associated with the rain of tears: cp. Shaksp. Ant. 3. 2. 51Will Caesar weep?—He has a cloud in 's face.

αἱματόεν, here, ‘suffused with blood,’ darkly flushed. This application of “αἱματόεις” to the human face seems unparalleled, though in Anthol. P. 6. 154 Leonidas of Tarentum (c. 280 B.C.) has “φύλλα τε πεπταμένων αἱματόεντα ῥόδων”. Eur. Phoen. 1487 was less daring when he called a dark blush “τὸν ὑπὸ βλεφάροις φοίνικ᾽” (‘crimson’), “ἐρύθημα προσώπου”. It recalls the well-known fragment of Ionin Athen. 603 E, where the schoolmaster objects to Phrynichus's “ἐπὶ πορφυρέαις παρῇσι”, on the principle, “οὐ κάρτα δεῖ τὸ καλὸν τῷ μὴ καλῷ φαινομένῳ εἰκάζειν”,—and Sophocles makes a lively defence of it. Shaksp. uses ‘bloody’ for ‘blood-red’: Hen. V. 1. 2. 101unwind your bloody flag.

ῥέθος = πρόσωπον, as H. F. 1203 “πάρες ἀπ᾽ ὀμμάτων πέπλον, ἀπόδικε, ῥέθος ἀελίῳ δεῖξον”. Cp. Eustathius 1090, 27 “ἰστέον ὅτι ῥέθεα οἱ μὲν ἄλλοι τὰ μέλη φασίν, Αἰολεῖς δὲ μόνοι, κατὰ τοὺς παλαιούς, τὸ πρόσωπον ῥέθος καλοῦσιν”. This suggests that the Attic dramatists had lyric precedent for this use of “ῥέθος”: as Lycophron (173) may also have had for using it as =“σῶμα”. The Homeric use is confined to the phrase “ἐκ ῥεθέων” (thrice in Il., never in Od.).

αἰσχύνει, i.e. overcasts its sunny beauty: cp. Thomson, Spring 21, Winter ...b<*> his driving sleets Deform the day delightless.


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hide References (5 total)
  • Commentary references from this page (5):
    • Aeschylus, Seven Against Thebes, 228
    • Euripides, Hippolytus, 173
    • Euripides, Phoenician Women, 1487
    • William Shakespeare, Henry V, 1.2
    • William Shakespeare, Anthony and Cleopatra, 3.2
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