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VERBS, AUXILIARY. Would not used for "should"

"Would" not used for "should." Would seems on a superficial view to be used for should, in

“You amaze me; I would have thought her spirit had been
invincible against all assaults of affection.

But it is explained by the following reply: "I would have sworn it had," i.e. "I was ready and willing to swear." So, "I was willing and prepared to think her spirit invincible."

So in

“What power is in Agrippa,
If I would say, 'Agrippa, be it so,'
To make this good?

'If I would say" means "If I wished, were disposed, to say."

“Alas, and would you take the letter of her?

i.e. "Were you willing," "Could you bring yourself to."

To take would for should would take from the sense of the following passage:

“For I mine own gain'd knowledge should profane
If I would time expend with such a snipe,
But for my sport and profit.

i.e. "If I were willing to expend."

Would probably means "wish to" or "should like to," in

“You could, for a need, study a speech which I would set down
and insert in't, could you not?


Prince. What wouldest thou think of me, if I should weep?
Poins. I would think thee a most princely hypocrite.

the second would is attracted to the first, and there is also a notion of determination, and voluntary "making up one's mind" in the reply of Poins.

So "be triumphant" is equivalent to "triumph," in which willingness is expressed, in

“Think you, but that I know our state secure,
I would be so triumphant as I am?

i.e. "think you I would triumph as I do?"


“I would be sorry, sir, but the fool should be as oft with your
master as with my mistress,

it must be confessed there seems little reason for would. Inasmuch, however, as the fool is speaking of something that depends upon himself, i.e. his presence at the Count's court, it may perhaps be explained as "I would not willingly do anything to prevent," &c., just as we can say "I would be loth to offend him," in confusion between "I should be loth to offend him" and "I would not willingly, or I would rather not, offend him."


“And how unwillingly I left the ring,
When nought would be accepted but the ring,

there seems, as in our modern "nothing would content him but," some confusion between "he would accept nothing" and "nothing could make itself acceptable."

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