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VERBS, MOODS OF:-- SUBJUNCTIVE: optative use, advantage of

This optative use of the subjunctive dispensing with "let," "may," &c. gives great vigour to the Shakespearian line:

“Judge me the world.

i.e. "let the world judge for me."

“Disorder, that hath spoil'd us, friend us now.

“Long die thy happy days before thy death.

“The worm of conscience still begnaw thy soul.” Ib. 222.

The reader of Shakespeare should always be ready to recognize the subjunctive, even where the identity of the subjunctive with the indicative inflection renders distinction between two moods impossible, except from the context. Thus:

“Therefore take with thee my most heavy curse,
Which in the day of battle tire thee more
Than all the complete armour that thou wear'st!
My prayers on the adverse party fight,
And there the little souls of Edward's children
Whisper the spirits of thine enemies,
And promise them success and victory.

Here, in the second line, "tire," necessarily subjunctive, impresses upon the reader that the co-ordinate verbs, "fight," &c., are also subjunctive. But else, it would be possible for a careless reader to take "fight," &c. as indicative, and ruin the passage.

This optative or imperative use of the subjunctive, though common in Elizabethan writers, had already begun to be supplanted by auxiliaries. Thus Wickliffe has (Coloss. ii. 16) "No man juge you," while all the other versions have "Let no man judge you."

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