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have paid my debts" carries the condition back to a time that does not now exist. "If I durst speak, I could unfold a tale," and "If I durst have spoken I could have unfolded a tale,” are similar examples. Allow, grant, or any other request or command of a similar signification, may take place of the though or if, and even all of them may be dispensed with by placing the verb before its nominative, that is, in the Imperative form, the ordinary way in which a command, Thus: or request, is written. 66 Had he the money he would pay his debts." "Did you behave as you ought no one would complain." Although hypothetical sentences are usually formed by means of the auxiliary verbs, they are not necssarily so. The past tense of other verbs may be transposed into a present without such assistance. Thus: "If he loved me as much as I do him we might both be happier than we are.” "If he had loved me he would not have deserted me." Though he used me ill I did not complain." "Though he used me ill I would not complain." The latter sentence might be as well, or perhaps better, expressed by "Though he were to use me ill I would not complain;” and we shall find that were often produces an elegant variety in English composition. It is this form only of the past tense, which is employed when the Substantive Verb is necessary to produce
Thus: "Were he to reflect upon his own faults, he would not be so ready to quarrel with those of his neighbours." Here were is certainly the past tense, and yet the action is still unexerted. In the language of the schoolmen, we foresee the future without determining its accomplishment.
Comparative states of existence are expressed in the same manner as Conditionals. The past tenses of the Auxiliary Verbs are likewise rendered present, or predictive of the future; because such comparisons naturally include the idea of succession, although the latter may not depend upon what precedes. "I would rather go to Paris than to Amsterdam" intimates that of the two journeys I choose the former in the first instance, and the latter afterwards, if I must perform both. Milton's Satan thought it "better to reign in hell than serve in heaven;" that is, of the two states, which are both placed before us in imagination, he preferred the former. The import of the word than (or then) will be more clearly elucidated when we speak of the other Adverbs. The following are additional examples of the comparison of verbal clauses
66 He would sooner have died than have consented;" that is, it was his determination.
"He would sooner die than consent;" that is, it is his determination.
"He will sooner die than consent;" that is, it is his known determination.
"He should rather have died than have consented;" that is, he ought rather to have died.
"He should rather die than consent;" that is, he ought rather to die.
Should and would are, more than shall and will, confined to their original associations of compulsion and desire; because the latter are more frequently employed in the expression of contingent futures. The past tense, were, of the Substantive Verb is free from this embarrassment of referring to either to necessary or to voluntary actions, and often expresses contingencies with an elegant discrimination. In so far it evinces its relationship to the Saxon weorthan and the German werden, to become. The nearly obsolete Interjectional phrase "Woe WORTH thee," (may evil be to thee, or betide thee,) which is still common in the North, is another remnant of the Saxon Verb. Were, in the following examples, is generally resolvable by would be or should be, but unrestrained by the peculiar characteristics of the would and should.
"To mention more were but to perplexe the reader." Ben Jonson.
"To admit it for moment were to erect this
power, useful at home, into a legislature to govern mankind." Burke.
"It were better for him that a milstone were hanged about his neck and he cast into the sea than that he should offend one of these little ones." Luke, xvii. 2.
"Yet soon enforced to fly
Thence into Egypt, till the murderous king
"Were it not better done, as others use,
"I am not mad, I would to heaven I were,
If I were mad, I should forget my sonne,
From the preceding remarks, it appears that English Verbs have no change of form by which to express any variation of Moods. In their simple state, they are all Indicative (or direct) assertions; and phrases become Imperative, Subjunctive, Potential, &c. in consequence of the arrangement and modification of the principal
Verb in its junction with other words: and, particularly, with the Auxiliaries which are tied to the Verb in the Conjugations of other tongues.
There is one general Rule with respect to these arrangements. When the phrase is a direct assertion, the Nominative precedes; and in other cases it either follows the Verb, or is understood. Thus in the Imperative we say 'Go home,' Bear thou with him,' 'Let him go,' &c. Those are, in fact, imperfect sentences, where the words 'I command,' I order,' I desire,' or some similar Verb is understood to precede, and which, if prefixed, would transpose them into the Indicative Mood. 'I command you to go home,' 'I request that thou wilt bear with him,' and 'I desire you to let him go,' are Imperatives in meaning but Indicatives in form. On further analysis it will appear that, in Imperative sentences, the Verb is always in the Infinitive, to which the auxiliary Do is either prefixed, or understood. The person is called upon to do the act, and is not in that state which can be recognized as an agent, or Nominative to the Verb, because the time for exertion is not yet come: the Noun is in the Vocative. The Imperatives of the Grammars, Love thou,' or 'Do thou love,' are, therefore, equivalent to 'O thou, do love!' 'I wish I command you, to love.' The arrange