The subjunctive is often used in wishes or prayers.
1. Angels and ministers of grace defend us!
2. Heaven help him!
3. The saints preserve us!
4. God bless you!
5. Long live the king!
6. Oh! That I had listened to him!
7. Oh! That we were rid of him!
In the first five examples, the wish is expressed in an independent sentence. In the last two, the construction is subordinate - the THAT-CLAUSE being the object of an unexpressed I WISH.
The subjunctive BE is often omitted when it may easily be supplied.
1. Peace [be] to his ashes!
2. Honor [be] to his memory!
3. Honor [be] to whom honor is due!
Wishes are often introduced by MAY or WOULD.
1. May you never want!
2. Would that he were safe!
3. Would you were with us! [For Would that.]
MAY and WOULD in such expressions were originally subjunctives…would stands for I would, that is, I should wish. WANT in the first example is an infinitive without TO.
Exhortations in the first person plural sometimes take the subjunctive in elevated or poetical style.
1. Hear we the king!
2. Join we in a hymn of praise!
is ordinarily expressed by let us followed by the infinitive without TO.
1. Let us join hands.
2. Let us have peace.
3. Let’s camp here.
LET is a verb in the imperative mood, US is its object and the infinitive (join, have, camp) depends on let.
Exhortations To HOME PAGE