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other hand, the speaker perhaps felt as ideal. The evidence for this is found in the contrast afforded by esset (823) and by nunc (829.)
Besides these moralizing passages there are several other cases of the present subjunctive in which the speaker's essential thought is conveyed whether the sentence be interpreted as ideal or unreal. The speaker may have felt these cases as definitely one or the other, but there seems no way of getting at the thought, if that be true. It is possible that the spoken language afforded some help we do not find on the written page. Amph. 904-7, Aul. 539-40, Capt. 632, Curc. 223-4, Ep. 589, Merc. 874, Mil. 293, 1429, Tri. 474, Truc. 616-7.
The unreal sentences form the last and (for this discussion) most interesting group. It seems to be taken for granted that the presence of nunc is sure evidence that the present subjunctive is the expression of the unreal thought-form ; but nunc as well as iam sometimes refers to the future.' In protasis its force is hard to determine. Ps. 415-7;'
Si damnoseis aut si de amatoribus
Nemo anteveniat filio credo meo.
Habeas ut nanctu's: nota mala res optumast.
Nam ego nunc si ignotam capiam, quid agam nesciam, Here a proposition to trade wives is being rejected. Why not 'If I should now take?' Asin. 188-9;
Si ecastor nunc habeas quod des, alia verba praehibeas.
Nunc quia nil habes, maledictis te eam ductare postulas. In this passage it is the second nunc that proves the unreality of line 188; for that line standing alone would bear either interpretation. This becomes perfectly clear when it is remembered that the idiomatic rendering of the si-clause in the ideal form would be ‘ If you should now get. Cf. Most. 912-4. In one case a pronoun seems to compel a reference to the present rather than to the future.
1 Undoubted cases are Tri. 156, 859, Merc. 927. 9 See Blase, Geschichte des Irrealis, p. 15.
Verum, ut ego opinor, si ego in istoc sim loco,
Dem potius aurum quam illum corrumpi sinam. The use of illum shows that the si-clause means “If I were in your place’and not 'If I should be in (i. e., get into) such a predicament as yours'; in this latter case some general expression like filium meum would be in order.
Still another test has been hinted at. Sometimes a contingency is so unlikely that we can hardly conceive of the speaker as regarding it among the future possibilities; this, in a way, shuts up a given sentence to the unreal form. But even when these tests have done all they can,. there still remain cases which do not answer to them, and which we yet instinctively (and rightly) feel are unreal. This feeling has its root in some special uses of the unreal conditional sentence, and I now turn to a consideration of these.
The gist of many conditional sentences is, 'If this takes place, something follows.' In the unreal form this becomes a speculation or assertion as to what would happen, if things were or had been so. Cas. 811;
Edepol, ne tu si equos esses, esses indomabilis.
Melius esset me quoque una si cum illo relinqueres. However, all present unreal conditional sentences are not of this type; for the unreal conditional sentence, by its very nature, implies the reality of the facts to which its protasis and apodosis are opposed, and language generally has availed itself of this peculiarity to make the unreal conditional sentence the vehicle of a thought that is no longer primarily conditional, but whose essence lies in the realities opposed and the relation they sustain to each other.
1. The Explanatory Use.
EP. Edepol te vocem lubenter, si superfiat locus.
GE. Quin tum stans obstrusero aliquid strenue. So far as form goes l. 592 could mean either 'I should be very glad to invite you, if there should prove to be a place to spare, or 'I should be very glad to invite you, if I had a place to spare. The reply in l. 593 leaves no doubt that the unreal sense is the one communicated to the hearer, for he replies, 'Oh, if that's the
case (tum), I shall be quite content to bolt something standing.' To attempt to fit this reply to the first interpretation makes nonsense of the passage. In the remark of the first speaker the apodosis and protasis are opposed to, and imply, the realities I do not invite you' and I have no place to spare.' The obvious relation between these two is 'I do not invite you because I have no place to spare." The conditional sentence as such is not the thing of primary importance here--Gelasimus does not care what Epignomus would do if the present state of affairs did not exist; but what the conditional sentence implies—that Epig. nomus is excusing himself from inviting him to dinner on the ground that his table is full—this touches him very closely, and to this he addresses his reply, in which he shows that the lack of a place at the table is no good reason (in his case) for withholding the invitation to dinner. As a description of its function, I have applied the name 'Explanatory' to this sub-type of the unreal conditional sentence.
Inasmuch as this peculiar use of the conditional sentence arises because it is unreal, we may assume as unreal those conditional sentences which we feel perform a like function, i. e., sentences (like the one above), which stand in such a context that they are manifestly an explanation of, or apology for, an existing state of affairs. Bacch 46;
Nam si haec habeat aurum quod illi renumeret, faciat lubens. Bacch. 635;
Si mihi sit, pollicear. Ep. 331;
Si hercle habeam, pollicear lubens.
Ni ex oculis lacrumae defendant, iam ardeat, credo, caput."
10r, ' The only reason I do not invite you is that I have no place to spare.' This type of sentence is much used (as in the present passage) to excuse someone from doing what he is asked or expected to do. The reason implied for not doing is intended by the speaker to be a sufficient one, Hence the full implication is 'I cannot invite you, because, etc.' I give the more general interpretation above not to obscure the fundamental by the incidental. The general situation, the speaker's tone of apology and the presence of such defining words as lubenter, are the outward expression of this added moment.
? Of course, humorous. Charinus has just said that he is on fire with love within, and adds that he supposes that the only thing that keeps his head from burning is his tears.
Misereat, si familiam alere possim misericordia.
Vocem te ad cenam, nisi egomet cenem foris.
Non graver, si possiem,
2. The Inferential Use. Mil. 1254-6;
MI. cur non pultas ?
Scio edepol + facio:
Nam odore nasum sentiat, si intus sit.
Nam si ames, extempulo
I hope that this description of the Explanatory and Inferential will make more tangible the ground for the feeling that certain of
1 See further A. J. P. XXI. pp. 264 ff.
the cases that use the present subjunctive are unreal to speaker and hearer.
B. Uses of the Imperfect Subjunctive. Omitting doubtful cases, as was done in the discussion of the present subjunctive, there are 27 examples of conditional sentences in Plautus which have the imperfect subjunctive in both protasis and apodosis. It was found that a large number of the present subjunctive cases had to be classed as doubtful because of the difficulty of deciding between ideal and unreal, either interpretation expressing well enough the speaker's essential thought. In only three or four cases does Plautus make his conditional thought-form clear in such situations by the use of the imperfect subjunctive. Bacch. 496;
Melius esset me quoque una si cum illo relinqueres.
Aliquanto amplius valerem, si hic maneres. In either of these examples had Plautus made use of the present subjunctive, it would have been very hard to determine the thought-form. Cf. Aul. 286, Ps. 1236.
The presence of nunc in the apodosis of Rud. 801-2, and the unlikelihood that the protasis of Cas. 811 would be viewed as a future possibility, would perhaps stamp these cases as unreal even though the present subjunctive had been used. Bacch. 486 ff., 916 ff. seem to refer to the past. The remaining cases (19), with perhaps two exceptions, are Explanatory and Inferential.
Mulier mitteretur ad te, numquam quicquam poscerem.
et si hoc meum esset, hodie
Numquam me orares quin darem. illum te orare meliust.
MI. Non video. ubist? Ac. Videres pol, si amares.
Nam egomet ductarem, nisi mi esset apud forum negotium.