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What does "by heaven" mean here?

I should be far enough from imagining, he replied, that I knew the cause of any of them, by heaven I should;

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It's just an exclamation like 'indeed!' or 'forsooth!'. Kind of old-fashioned, not really used anymore. There's not much additional literal meaning to 'by heaven I should', it just means that the speaker is intensifying what he just said. –  Mitch Jan 2 at 14:02
    
It's shortened from something like "I swear by heaven/God/Jesus/etc." As reflected in other "minced oaths" such as archaic Egad! and Irish Bejasuz! –  FumbleFingers Jan 2 at 14:08

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up vote 0 down vote accepted

It means the same thing as "by God", and it probably came about because people wanted to avoid saying "God" in vain. Similar to words like "gosh" or "golly".

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youtu.be/lNPcqunKBvI?t=47s –  mplungjan Jan 2 at 14:24

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