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President George W Bush said Reagan was an "enduring symbol" of the US.

Mr Bush's four surviving predecessors attended the funeral, as did leading figures from abroad.

In a eulogy delivered on videotape because of her frail health, Baroness Thatcher said: "We have lost a great president, a great American and a great man, and I have lost a dear friend."

She hailed his role in ending communism in eastern Europe, saying: "He won the Cold War not only without firing a shot, but also by inviting enemies out of their fortress and turning them into friends."

Former Canadian Prime Minister Brian Mulroney told the mourners: "Ronald Reagan does not enter history tentatively, he does so with certainty and panache... His were not the pallid etchings of a timorous president, they were the bold strokes of an accomplished leader."

Former President George Bush senior was almost overcome by emotion as he paid homage to his predecessor, saying: "As his vice-president for eight years, I learned more from Ronald Reagan than anyone I encountered in my years of public life."

He was followed by his son, the current President Bush, who said of Reagan: "He was optimistic that liberty would thrive wherever it was planted and he acted to defend liberty wherever it was threatened... Through his love of our country, he became an enduring symbol of our country."

I don't understand the following sentence of the above.

"Ronald Reagan does not enter history tentatively, he does so with certainty and panache... His were not the pallid etchings of a timorous president, they were the bold strokes of an accomplished leader.

The words 'His were not the .......... is strange. What does those words mean?
Comments  
What do these words mean?

They mean that his actions were not those usually expected from a timid president.
His actions were those usually expected from an experienced leader.

Radrook

I appreciate your comments.

Would you ever write '' His were '' ?

They are not grammatical. How do you explain the grammatical nature?

You might say it is subjunctive form. My knowledge is not enough to absorb it as subjunctive.
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"The pallid etchings of a timorous president were not his"

And then you front "his". Does this help explain why the sentence is grammatical?
Your way of rewriting makes some sense. It seems people just toss the words without any reagard to the basic grammar. I can't think of making any sensible sentence by starting words '' His were ........

However,I admit the fact that English is not my first language. My first language is Polish.

You can construct sentences in the following manner to my knowledge of English; it implies subjunctive.

If I were rich ......

If you were rich .......

If he were rich ......
Andrei,
In the sentence you're asking about, "his" is a possessive pronoun, not a possessive adjective. That makes a difference.
In "This is my book", 'my' is a possessive adjective, it precedes the noun it modifies (books).
In "This book is mine", 'mine' is a possessive pronoun, it replaces the noun. It similar to saying "This book is my book." But you use a possessive pronoun so as to avoid repetition.

Possessive adjectives Possessive pronouns
my mine
your yours
his his
her hers
its its
our ours
your yours
their theirs

In English, the possessive adjective and the possessive pronoun corresponding to the personal pronoun "he" have the same form: his. This sometimes confuses students. But have a look at these examples:

A: "Peter asked me to return his (adjective) books to the bookcase. Are these the ones?"
B: "No, wait; those are mine (pronoun). His (pronoun) were on the kitchen table a while ago."

"These aren't your (adjective) keys but mine (pronoun). You left yours (pronoun) on the coffe table."

A: Is the red car yours (pronoun)?
B: No, ours (pronoun) is the blue one over there. The red car is my brother's.

I personally don't like the sentence "His were not the pallid etchings of a timorous president, they were the bold strokes of an accomplished leader." but "his" is used correctly in it. And it is not an example of the subjunctive mood.

Here is another example combining "his" and "were" (this is NOT subjunctive mood):
Suppose you have two pencils in your hand. Someone sees you and says "Those are not yours (pronoun), but John's."
You still believe they are your (adjective) pencils, so you might say, for example: "If his (pronoun) were on this desk before, someone else must have taken them. I'm sure these are mine (pronoun).

A silly example perhaps, but I hope it helps.

Miriam
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Miriam

I have no words to express my grattitude. You have given a brilliant explanation about my question. You are ultra clever at English grammar.

You haven't given any silly examples. They are excellent , simple examples; so that is the way you teach English to people of Slavic origin.
Please, Andrei! I'm not 'ultra clever' at anything! ~chuckles~
There are many things I know, and there are many others I don't, just like everyone else. Emotion: smile
I'm very glad you found my explanation helpful Emotion: smile