"Thou must dwell no longer with this man," said Hester, slowly and firmly. "Thy heart must be no longer under his evil eye!"
"It were far worse than death!" replied the minister. "But how to avoid it? What choice remains to me? Shall I lie down again on these withered leaves, where I cast myself when thou didst tell me what he was? Must I sink down there, and die at once?"
(Nathaniel Hawthorne,The Scarlet Letter)
There is ‘were’ instead of ‘was’ after it. Is the sentence a kind of subjunctive?