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All he was looking for was peace of mind. And he did many things to attain that. He read various western intellects but peace of mind would not come.

I heard these words in a documentary film made in 1980's on a famous personality.

I am rather confused about the would not. As a modern learner I would have used did not in this context.

Is it a matter of formality?

Please explain.

Thanks in advance.

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Would not come = refused to come (speaking as though 'peace of mind' had a will of its own).

This is one of the various different uses of would. Here it is the past tense of will in the sense of am determined to.

'My cat will keep scratching.'

'Last year my cat would keep scratching.'

'Last year my cat would not stop scratching.'

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