Twelve steeds unmatch’d in fleetness and in force,
And still victorious in the dusty course;
(Rich were the man whose ample stores exceed
The prizes purchased by their winged speed;)

Extract from Pope's translation of the Iliad.

Have I correctly identified the bold verb as a subjunctive?

  • 1
    Yes, but knowing that won't help you understand how real English works today. Quite possibly Pope had to bite the bullet and use were rather than would be for the sake of scansion / metre. I certainly wouldn't expect to encounter this usage often, if at all (even allowing for the fact that I'll read anything from Shakespeare to today's newspaper! :) – FumbleFingers Jan 28 at 14:22

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