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VERBS, AUXILIARY. Would for "will," "wish," "require"

Would for will, wish, require. Would, like should, could, ought, (Latin1 "potui," "debui,") is frequently used conditionally. Hence "I would be great" comes to mean, not "I wished to be great," but "I wished (subjunctive)," i.e. "I should wish." There is, however, very little difference between "thou wouldest wish" and "thou wishest," as is seen in the following passage:--

“Thou wouldst (wishest to) be great,
Art not without ambition, but without
The illness should (that ought to) attend it: what thou
wouldst highly
That thou wouldst holily, wouldst not play false,
And yet wouldst wrongly win.

As will is used for "will have it," "pretends," so would means "pretended," "wished to prove."

“She that would be your wife.

i.e. "She that wished to make out that she was your wife."


“One that would circumvent God.

Applied to inanimate objects, a "wish" becomes a "requirement:"

“I have brought
Golden opinions from all sorts of people,
Which would (require to) be worn now in their newest gloss.

Which would (require to) be howled out in the desert air.” Ib. iv. 3. 194.

“And so he goes to heaven,
And so am I revenged. That would (requires to) be scann'd.

“This would (requires to) be done with a demure abasing of
your eye sometimes.” B. E. 92. It is a natural and common mistake to say, "Would is used for should, by Elizabethan writers."

Would is not often used for "desire" with a noun as its object:

“If, duke of Burgundy, you would the peace.

1 Madvig, 348. 1.

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