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    #1

    Would God that (...) were stained

    Another passage from The Name of the Rose.
    I was told that years later, the new general of the order, Raymond Gaufredi, found these prisoners in Ancona and, on freeing them, said: "Would God that all of us and the whole order were stained by such a sin."
    I don't understand the guy's sentence at all. I can't recognize the grammatical structure he uses.
    PS: I guess it's some kind of third person imperative or subjunctive, but still I have no idea what that 'would' is supposed to mean. Some more eloquent volitive 'will' maybe?
    Last edited by mmasny; 03-Apr-2010 at 15:11.

  1. euncu's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: Would God that (...) were stained

    It seems to me that we need a verb here, like; Would God forbid ...

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    #3

    Re: Would God that (...) were stained

    That's what I thought too... But it's not there...

  2. bhaisahab's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: Would God that (...) were stained

    Quote Originally Posted by mmasny View Post
    That's what I thought too... But it's not there...
    It's a way of wishing that god would make it so. In the case of your text, that "the whole order were stained by such a sin". If you google it you will probably find quite a few examples.

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    #5

    Re: Would God that (...) were stained

    Thank you. There are some examples indeed, and they certainly mean what you said. But in this particular context, I still don't understand. How is Raymond supposed to have wished that they all, him included, had been guilty of a sin?

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    #6

    Re: Would God that (...) were stained

    Quote Originally Posted by mmasny View Post
    Thank you. There are some examples indeed, and they certainly mean what you said. But in this particular context, I still don't understand. How is Raymond supposed to have wished that they all, him included, had been guilty of a sin?
    It's 25 years since I last read that book and I don't remember it very well. For me to answer that question you'd have to tell me what happens before.

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    #7

    Re: Would God that (...) were stained

    OK, I'll type more.
    In the final thirty years of the last century, the Council of Lyons rescued the Franciscan order from its enmies, who wanted to abolish it, and allowed it ownership of all property in its use (already the law for older orders). But some monks in the Marches rebelled, because they believed that the spirit of the Rule had been forever betrayed, since Franciscans must own nothing, personally or as a convent or as an order. These rebels were put in prison for life. It does not seem to me that they were preaching things contrary to the Gospel, but when the possesion of earthly things is in question, it is difficult for men to reason justly. I was told that years later, the new general of the order, Raymond Gaufredi, found these prisoners in Ancona and, on freeing them, said: "Would God that all of us and the whole order were stained by such a sin."
    I think however that more important is what I found somewhere else. I'll translate to English the Polish translation of this sentence:
    "God willed that all of us and the whole order were stained by such a sin."
    So in Polish translation, it's a statement, and not an expression of a wish. Maybe then, it's another meaning of the phrase "would God that"?

  4. bhaisahab's Avatar
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    #8

    Re: Would God that (...) were stained

    Quote Originally Posted by mmasny View Post
    OK, I'll type more.
    I think however that more important is what I found somewhere else. I'll translate to English the Polish translation of this sentence:
    So in Polish translation, it's a statement, and not an expression of a wish. Maybe then, it's another meaning of the phrase "would God that"?
    That's very interesting, thanks. Perhaps "God would wish/want that all of us..." is a good interpretation.

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    #9

    Re: Would God that (...) were stained

    In answer to your previous question, I would say that "Would God that all of us and the whole order were stained by such a sin." is ironic, he is saying that to deny possessions is not a sin.

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    #10

    Re: Would God that (...) were stained

    Quote Originally Posted by bhaisahab View Post
    That's very interesting, thanks. Perhaps "God would wish/want that all of us..." is a good interpretation.
    Do you mean the past-making 'would'?
    It's 'volesse Dio che...' in Italian. Again this construction with the imperfect subjunctive is unknown to me.

    Quote Originally Posted by bhaisahab View Post
    In answer to your previous question, I would say that "Would God that all of us and the whole order were stained by such a sin." is ironic, he is saying that to deny possessions is not a sin.
    You could be right. It would mean that the Polish translator didn't catch the meaning correctly. But shouldn't there be a question mark there in this case?

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