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φίλτροις δ᾽ ἐάν πως. The use of “ἐάν πως” is the same here as when it serves for the elliptical expression of a hope or aim ( O. C.1769Θήβας δ᾽ ἡμᾶς” | ...“πέμψον, ἐάν πως” | “διακωλύσωμεν ἰόντα φόνον”. But μεμηχάνηται τοὔργον, since it follows the clause with “ἐάν πως”, is not really analogous to the verb which usually precedes such a clause; as “πέμψον” in O. C.1770.The constr. is not, “μεμηχάνηται τοὔργον, ἐάν πως ὑπερβαλώμεθα”, ‘the deed has been devised, in the hope that,’ etc. Rather the sense is: ‘But as to the possibility of prevailing by love-charms,— the means for that attempt have been devised.’ “μεμηχάνηται τοὔργον” is an abrupt substitute for “τοῦτο πειρᾶσθαι βούλομαι” or the like, and is prompted by her nervous sense that she has taken a bold step. The peculiar form of the sentence arises from the wish to emphasise “φίλτροις” as opposed to “κακὰς τόλμας”.

ὑπερβαλώμεθα: the midd., in this sense, is more freq. than the act.; but the dat. usu. denotes the point of excellence ( Ar. Eq.409οὔ τοί μ᾽ ὑπερβαλεῖσθ᾽ ἀναιδείᾳ”), and not, as here, the means.

τὴν παῖδα, —strong in the charms of youth (547).— θέλκτροισι, a reiteration that the means are to be gentle: cp. Eur. Hipp.509ἔστιν κατ᾽ οἴκους φίλτρα μοι θελκτήρια” | “ἔρωτος. —τοῖς ἐφ̓ Ἡρακλεῖ”, aimed at him, as the person whose love was to be won: cp. Apollod.2. 7. 6εἰ θέλοι φίλτρον πρὸς Ἡρακλέα ἔχειν”.

εἴ τι μὴ: “τι” (adv.)=‘perchance’: cp. 712: O. T.969: O. C.1450.

μάταιον, culpably rash (cp. n. on 565).

εἰ δὲ μή: ‘otherwise,’ after a negative: cp. Vesp. 434 “μὴ μεθῆσθε μηδενί:” | “εἰ δὲ μή, ᾿ν πέδαις παχείαις οὐδὲν ἀριστήσετε”. So Thuc.1. 28, Phaed.63D, etc. This rather clumsy formula was recommended by brevity: i.e., in Ar. l. c., the alternative was “εἰ δὲ μεθήσεσθε”, as here “εἰ δὲ δοκῶ.— πεπαύσομαι”: Soph. Ant.91 n.

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hide References (10 total)
  • Commentary references from this page (10):
    • Pseudo-Apollodorus, Library, 2.7.6
    • Aristophanes, Knights, 409
    • Euripides, Hippolytus, 509
    • Sophocles, Antigone, 91
    • Sophocles, Oedipus at Colonus, 1450
    • Sophocles, Oedipus at Colonus, 1769
    • Sophocles, Oedipus at Colonus, 1770
    • Sophocles, Oedipus Tyrannus, 969
    • Thucydides, Histories, 1.28
    • Sophocles, Trachiniae, 712
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