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    #1

    Thou couldst wouldst

    For the first twenty years since yesterday
    I scarce believed thou couldst be gone away;
    For forty more I fed on favors past,
    And forty on hopes that thou wouldst they might last.
    Tears drowned one hundred, and sighs blew out two,
    A thousand, I did neither think nor do,
    Or not divide, all being one thought of you,
    Or in a thousand more forgot that too.
    Yet call not this long life, but think that I
    Am, by being dead, immortal. Can ghosts die?


    I can't understand this "....that thou wouldst they might last".
    Is it a mistake there?

    I read it as "....that you would they might last" and it doesn't sound right.

    What would you say, please?

    Thank you.

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    #2

    Re: Thou couldst wouldst

    Please cite the source and author of your quotation.

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    #3

    Re: Thou couldst wouldst

    John Donne
    I saw it online and copied from there.
    It is called "Computation".

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    #4

    Re: Thou couldst wouldst

    Thou wouldst they might last could mean, in modern English, "you wish that they have an opportunity to continue to exist."
    I am not a teacher.

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    #5

    Re: Thou couldst wouldst

    "You wish they might last" sounds fine

    So, "wouldst" is for "wish" and "would"?

    Many thanks.

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    #6

    Re: Thou couldst wouldst

    I was impressed by the economy of words in Donne's poem. He exchanged comprehensibility for brevity.
    I am not a teacher.

  1. Tarheel's Avatar
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    #7

    Re: Thou couldst wouldst

    It's beautiful.

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