Oh that men would praise Him

deny80

Senior Member
Italian - Italy
"Oh that men would praise Him"
It is a line of a gospel song. It's a single sentence, unrelated to others.
Does it mean something like "Oh, se gli uomini lo adorassero"?
I can't understand the usage of "that".

Thanks
 
  • Siberia

    Senior Member
    UK-Wales - English
    It's a vocative usage - Oh that it be soon! Vorrei che fosse presto! Un modo di esprimere un desiderio. Dopo può esserci il congiuntivo o il condizionale che comunque funge da congiuntivo.
     

    TimLA

    Member Emeritus
    English - US
    "Oh that men would praise Him"
    It is a line of a gospel song. It's a single sentence, unrelated to others.
    Does it mean something like "Oh, se gli uomini lo adorassero"?
    I can't understand the usage of "that".
    Thanks
    This type of construction is very common in Gospel songs.
    It's almost the grammatical "imperative" - lo lodate!
    One might guess that it comes from something like:

    Oh, (we hope/we wish/we pray) that men would praise Him (the Lord).

    Maybe something in Italian like:

    Che gli uomini siano tranquilli..

    ?????????????
     

    virgilio

    Senior Member
    English UK
    deny80,
    Yes, you've got it, I think. Nell'inglese di una volta si sentiva dalle labbra della gente erudita "Oh that..." oppure "Would that......." nel senso di "magari....+ imperfetto del congiuntivo"
    ad es.
    "Have you any grandchildren?" "Ha dei nipoti?"
    "Would that I had!" "Magari avessi!"
    "Oh that I had!"
    "I am not a rich man - would that I were - but..........."

    Oggi queste espressioni suonano erudite e quindi molta gente le evitano.

    Virgilio
     
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