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Oh that the treasure had remained with the Phaeacians where it was, so had I come to some other of the mighty princes, who would have entreated me kindly and sent me on my way.
The Odyssey

I have a feeling that this is "I wish these things had remained with them and I had come to ..."

So, is "so had I..." the same as "so did I!" Is it a variation?

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2 Answers 2

So here has the meaning in that way or as a result of that:

I wish the treasure had remained where it was, with the Phaeacians; if things had fallen out that way I would have come to another one of the mighty princes ...

So is rarely used in this way today. Keep in mind that what you are reading is an 1879 translation, from a period when ‘poetic’ diction was regarded as a distinct register and translators sought to convey the impressive dignity and sonority they perceived in the Classics.

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So this "so" is "so that" and "had" is "would have done" and this inversion is because of "so that," which is an archaic type of inversion? –  user4215 Jun 8 at 12:53
    
@username901345 Not exactly. So that expresses purpose, and there is no agent in the clause which so refers to (unless you want to think that the clause referred to is the 'wish', and this expresses the 'purpose' behind that). A better paraphrase for so would be thus. The inversion is now archaic, but in literary contexts it was fairly common down to the last part of the 19th century when any constituent except the subject was put at the front of an independent clause. ... Note that this would look better to modern eyes with a semicolon rather than a comma before so. –  StoneyB Jun 8 at 13:10
    
But as you can see in this version, " I wished I had stayed with the Phaeacians, and then travelled on to some other great king’s palace, where I might have been a guest, then been helped on my homeward path. " the action of going to some other prince was not done, but it is subjunctive. –  user4215 Jun 8 at 13:20
    
@username901345 But that is a different translation, which understands the original Greek differently. You cannot assume that two translations express the same meaning, especially when the underlying text is written in a dead language. One of the translations I own, Rieu, agrees pretty closely with Kline's translation; another, Butler, is close to those in some respects, but disagrees both with them and with Lang & Butcher in others. —But that is all a question of Homer's meaning, which we cannot address here. Lang & Butcher's meaning is what your question addresses—and my answer. –  StoneyB Jun 8 at 13:41

Had Peter changed the oil in is car, it wouldn't have exploded.

Had we jumped from that rock, we would have died.

Had Jim said something, he would have been killed.

This form of have is an auxiliary verb, it is used to make Perfect tenses, and also to imply a subjunctive mood.

A subjunctive mood is when there is doubt in the phrase. All of the above phrases talk about events that have not happened. Nor do we know if they ever will.

The phrases are hypothetical to say the least.

You'll notice that every time the auxiliary form of to have is used, it is followed or preceded by **would**

Had I eaten that I would have been poisoned.

I would have been poisoned had I eaten that.

Each sentence means exactly the same thing, literally. Other than the word order, an English speaker will interpret both sentence to have no contextual difference.

Read up

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