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Would that I could...

Posted by Monica on February 13, 2008 at 08:16:

Searching for the origin of the phrase "Would that I could, but I can't, so I shan't." I may be misquoting a bit. "That" could be replaced with "if," etc. I recently used "Would that I could..." in a opinion piece for my local paper and my editor questioned it. I don't know that he had ever heard it, but I was at something of a loss to explain it. Now I'm curious. Any help would be appreciated.