introduced by the interjection Oh (or O) or Ah. The construction is used only in the higher literary style. O, had he Uvedl Ten., The Brook.
O, brother, had you known pur mighty hall, | Which Merlin built for Arthur long ago! id, H o I y G r a 11, 225.
Ahl were she a Httle less glddy than she is, and had she but the sterling qualities of Cherry, myyoungfriendl Dick., Chuz, Ch. XVIII, 1576.
Obs. I. Idle wishes are often expressed, especially in rhetorical English, by exclamations which have the form of subordinate statements introduced by that, or of adverbial clauses introduced by if, the principal sentence being understood or, to a certain extent, represented by the interjection Oh.' or Ah! In these //-clauses the ad verb only (or but) is regularly used to express modesty.
i 01 that we, then, could come by Caesar's spirit, | And not dismember Caesar! Shak., JuI. C ae s., II, 1, 179.
"Ol that you could stay longer, dear Rebeccal" said Amelia. Thack., V a n. F a i r, I, Ch. IV, 32.
O mother! mother, that you were here! id. Pen d., II, Ch. XXXVII, 389.
Ah, Christ, that it were possible For one short hour to see | The souls we loved, that they might teil us | What and where they be! Ten., Maud., II, IV, III.
Oh, that 't were possible, | After long grief and pain, | To flnd the arms of my true love | Round me once more! ib.. II, IV, I.
ii Oh! if he would bat attach himself to any living thing — were it an animal — for something man must love I Thack., P e n d., I, Ch. IV, 46.
If I had only been there! Onions, Advanced Eng. Synt, § 42, 5.
Ah, if I had only knownl Beatr. Harraden, Ships, I, Ch. VI, 24.
II. Other forms of elliptical sentences expressing an idle wish are such as contain a detached infinitive, or a prepositional word-group with for.
i Oh, to be in England | Now that April's there! Browning, Home-thougbts from abroad, I.
Oh! to have been there! Onions, Advanced Eng. Synt, § 42.
ii O for another glimpse of it! Murray, s. v. o, int. 2.
Oh, for that ancient spirit which curbed the senate's willl | Oh, for the tents which in old time whitened the Sacred Hilll Mac, Lays of Anc. Rome, Virg., 101—2. Ah, foi some retreat | Deep in yonder sbining Oriënt, where my life began to beat! Ten., Locksley Hall, 154.