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VERBS, MOODS OF:-- SUBJUNCTIVE: used optatively or imperatively

Subjunctive used optatively or imperatively. This was more common then than in modern poetry. “Who's first in worth, the same be first in place.” B. J. Cy.'s Rev. v. 1.


“Your own good thoughts excuse me, and farewell.

“O heavens, that they were living both in Naples,
The king and queen there! (provided) that they were, I wish
Myself were mudded in the oozy bed.

“No man inveigh against the wither'd flower,
But chide rough winter that the flower hath kill'd.

“In thy fats our cares be drowned,
With thy grapes our hairs be crowned.

The juxtaposition of an imperative sometimes indicates the imperative use.

“Touch you the sourest points with sweetest terms,
Nor (let) curstness grow to the matter.

“Good now, sit down, and tell me he that knows, &c.

“Take Antony Octavia to his wife.

“Run one before, and let the queen know.” Ib. iv. 8. 1.

“Thus time we waste, and longest leagues make short;
Sail seas in cockles, have an wish but for 't.

i.e. "Let any one but wish it, and we will sail seas in cockles."

Sometimes only the context shows the imperative use:

“For his passage,
(See that) The soldiers' music and the rites of war
Speak loudly for him.

The "and" is superfluous, or else "question" is imperative, in

Question, your grace, the late ambassadors,
And you shall find.

So in

“Hold out my horse and I will first be there.

“Then (see that) every soldier kill his prisoners.

On the other hand, "prove" is conditional (or "and" is omitted) in

“O my father!
Prove you that any man with me conversed,
Refuse me, hate me, torture me to death.

Often it is impossible to tell whether we have an imperative with a vocative, or a subjunctive used optatively or conditionally.

Melt Egypt into Nile, and kindly creatures
Turn all to serpents.

“That I shall clear myself,
Lay all the weight y<*> can upon my patience,
I make as little doubt as, &c.

“Now to that name my courage prove my title.

“Sport and repose turn from me day and night.

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