It isn't modern English. It's a rather melodramatic way of saying, "Oh, I wish she were here with us now!"Hela said:Dear teachers,
Would you please explain this sturcture to me? What does "would that" mean exactly and why does it need the subjunctive?
My mother would know what to do. Oh, would that she WERE here with us now !
All the best,
Hi Hela,Hela said:My mother would know what to do. Oh, would that she WERE here with us now !
I would that it were soCould someone give me the meaning of "I would that it were so" mentionned by foxfirebrand above, please?
I am aweary, aweary, I would that I were dead! (Alfred, Lord Tennyson)
I would that my tongue could utter the thoughts that arise in me. (Alfred, Lord Tennyson)
I would that I had never, never come near it! (Charles Dickens)
Notice that the verb of the complement clause [are --> were, can --> could, have-->had...come] is always tense-shifted towards the past and is subjunctive (though only observably so in the case of are-->were!).I would that all men were even as I myself. (King James Bible)
My question is: Why does the author use the negative weren't here? Does she wish it weren't honorable to lie in that case? Thanks.Thus telling a falsehood to the Nazi guard, for instance, may indeed be honorable rather than shameful, but it's because something has gone awry: there is something badly amiss (namely, the Nazi's evil) from the moral point of view. (It is, if you will, a bad-making feature of the situation that lying is now a moral plus: would that it weren't honorable here to lie.) <Little, M. O. "Particularism and Moral Theory">
There is a Portuguese equivalent, but since this is a monolingual forum I cannot say what it is.Right, now I see: as you said, she means she wishes there were no Nazis.
I think it's a bit more complicated than that. She is sad that there can be a situation that is so bad that lying becomes an honorable act. It is a perversion of morality in response to an immoral situation. At least, that's how I read it. Both things are bad: the situation and lying in response to the situation. She would rather have a world where neither existed.Right, now I see: as you said, she means she wishes there were no Nazis.