would it were true


Senior Member
I've overheard an english native speaker say "would it were true" today, and was sort of confused byt this. What does it mean? I believe I've heard "would it be so" as well...
  • It's a little shorter version than what I'm used to:
    Would that it were true.

    Translation to modern English: I wish that it were true.
    It's an archaic way of forming the subjunctive, that I guess is still used every now and then.

    Would it were true = if (only) it were true
    'Would it were true' or 'would that it were true' was widely used in 19th century speech and literature - mostly in a romantic way.

    A 'would that it were' type of phrase is used in this extract from a poem, 'Lucinda', by Arthur Griffith.

    ''Oh! Lucinda!
    My beaming, gleaming star,
    I would that I were good enough
    To dwell in dear Rathgar.''


    Edit: 'Would it be so' - This is unfamiliar to me. I can understand 'would that it were so'.
    "The subjunctive is alive and is routinely taught in all UK schools."
    Would that it were so:)
    Yours archaically and (if LRV is right) romantically,