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μήπω. The mere fact that “ὄλοιο” comes first means that the curse does pass his lips,—though it is instantly qualified by μήπω. Hence the effect of the Greek is not like this—‘I say not yet, Mayest thou perish’: but rather;—‘Perish !—no, not yet,’ etc. Just so in Eur. Med. 83ὄλοιτο μὲν μή: δεσπότης γάρ ἐστ᾽ ἐμός”, ‘curse him—I may not,’ etc. (In Soph. Tr. 383ὄλοιντο μή τι πάντες κ.τ.λ.”, the context is different.)

πρὶν μάθοιμ̓: the optat. is due to “ὄλοιο”: cp. 325 n.: Tr. 655μὴ σταίη” | ... “πρὶν ἀνύσειε”.

εἰ καὶ πάλιν. Nauck, referring to Porson's note on Eur. Phoen. 1464(=1450 Dind.)—as to which, see Appendix—says that καὶ cannot be right; and on that assumption various emendations have been proposed. The defence of the metre turns on the distinction between two classes of monosyllables: (1) those which count as belonging to the words after them, viz., the article; prepositions; “εἰ, , καί, μή, οὐ, ὡς”; and the interrogatives, “τίς, πῶς, ποῦ, ποῖ, πῇ”: (2) those which count as belonging to the words before them, viz., all enclitics, and such other words as cannot begin a sentence. Since εἰ and καὶ are both of the first class, εἰ καὶ πάλιν is metrically equivalent to a quadrisyllable like “αἱρούμενον”, and therefore the rule against a final cretic does not apply. On the other hand such an ending as “πρὶν μάθοιμ᾽ οὖν καὶ πάλιν” would be wrong, because “οὖν” is a monosyllable of the second class.

καὶ closely with πάλιν: cp. Plat. Menex. 249Eἵνα καὶ αὖθίς σοι...ἀπαγγέλλω”. This seems better than to take it with μετοίσεις (‘if thou wilt indeed change’). πάλιν μετοίσεις is pleonastic, since Ph. does not now suppose that N.'s purpose was ever honest: cp. 1270: Thuc. 2. 13μὴ ἐλάσσω ἀντικαταστῆσαι πάλιν”.

hide References (8 total)
  • Commentary references from this page (8):
    • Euripides, Medea, 83
    • Euripides, Phoenician Women, 1464
    • Plato, Menexenus, 249e
    • Sophocles, Philoctetes, 1270
    • Sophocles, Philoctetes, 325
    • Thucydides, Histories, 2.13
    • Sophocles, Trachiniae, 383
    • Sophocles, Trachiniae, 655
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