The Merchant of Venice (4.1.70-83)

70 ANTONIO. I pray you think you question with the Jew.
71 You may as well go stand upon the beach
72 And bid the main flood bate his usual height;
73 You may as well use question with the wolf
74 Why he hath made the ewe bleak for the lamb;
75 You may as well forbid the mountain pines
76 To wag their high tops, and to make no noise
77 When they are fretten with the gusts of heaven;
78 You may as well do any thing most hard
79 As seek to soften that—than which what’s harder?—
80 His Jewish heart. Therefore I do beseech you
81 Make no more offers, use no further means,
82 But with all brief and plain conveniency
83 Let me have judgment and the Jew his will.

Please don’t bother arguing with the Jew. You might as well go stand on the beach and ask the ocean to get smaller. You might as well ask a wolf why he killed the lamb and made its mother cry. You might as well tell the pine trees on the mountain to stop waving their treetops when the storms blow through them. You might as well do the impossible rather than try to soften his Jewish heart. It’s the hardest thing imaginable. Therefore I’m begging you, don’t make any more offers, don’t look for other ways to stop him. Just let me receive my punishment, and let the Jew take his penalty.

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Page Last Updated: 26 February 2013