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442. The Optative Subjunctive is often preceded by the particle utinam; so regularly in the imperfect and pluperfect:—
  1. falsus utinam vātēs sim (Liv. 21.10.10) , I wish I may be a false prophet.
  2. utinam Clōdius vīveret (Mil. 103) , would that Clodius were now alive.
  3. utinam mortuum vīdissēs (Q. Fr. 1.3.1) , would you had seen me dead.
  4. utinam vērē scrīberem (Fam. 5.17.3) , would that I were not writing the truth.

Note.-- Utinam nōn is occasionally used instead of utinam : as, “utinam susceptus nōn essem(Att. 9.9.3) , would that I had not been born.

a. In poetry and old Latin utī or ut often introduces the optative subjunctive; and in poetry or ō with the subjunctive sometimes expresses a wish:—

  1. ut pereat positum rōbīgine tēlum (Hor. S. 2.1.43) , may the weapon unused perish with rust.
  2. ō angulus ille accēdat (id. 2.6.8), O if that corner might only be added!
  3. nunc nōbīs ille aureus rāmus ostendat (Aen. 6.187) , if now that golden branch would only show itself to us!

Note 1.--The subjunctive with utī ( ut ) or utinam was originally deliberative, meaning how may I, etc. (§ 444). The subjunctive with or ō is a protasis (§ 512. a), the apodosis not being expressed.

Note 2.--The subjunctive of wish without a particle is seldom found in the imperfect or pluperfect except by sequence of tenses in Indirect Discourse (§ 585): as,ac venerāta Cerēs, ita culmō surgeret altō (Hor. S. 2.2.124), and Ceres worshipped [with libations] that so she might rise with tall stalk. [I<*> addressing the goddess directly the prayer would be: ita surgās.]

b. Velim and vellem , and their compounds, with a subjunctive or infinitive, are often equivalent to an optative subjunctive:—

  1. velim tibi persuādeās (Fam. 9.13.2) , I should like to have you believe (I should wish that you would persuade yourself).
  2. Menedēmō vellem vērum fuisset, rēgīnā velim vērum sit (Att. 15.4.4) , about Menedemus I wish it had been true; about the queen I wish it may be.
  3. nōllem accidisset tempus (Fam. 3.10.2) , I wish the time never had come.
  4. māllem Cerberum metuerēs (Tusc. 1.12) , I had rather have had you afraid of Cerberus (I should have preferred that you feared Cerberus).

Note.-- Velim etc., in this use, are either potential subjunctives, or apodoses with the protasis omitted (§ 447. 1. N.). The thing wished may be regarded as a substantive clause used as object of the verb of wishing (§ 565. N.1).

Deliberative Subjunctive

hide References (2 total)
  • Commentary references to this page (2):
    • J. B. Greenough, G. L. Kittredge, Select Orations of Cicero, Allen and Greenough's Edition., AG Cic. 1.9
    • J. B. Greenough, G. L. Kittredge, Select Orations of Cicero, Allen and Greenough's Edition., AG Cic. 14.7
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