Till the Conversion of the What Now?

…I would

Love you ten years before the flood,

And you should, if you please, refuse

Till the conversion of the Jews.

“To His Coy Mistress” by Andrew Marvell, lines 7-10

What the shit, Andrew? Unless this is some historical reference that just went over my head, I have no idea what this is really referring to. Even though this is literally referring to the Ganges, “The flood” makes me think of Noah’s Ark and all that, but was there something else at around that point in the Bible that mentioned conversion of the Jewish people? Did something happen after Moses brought the Hebrews to the Promised Land? There probably is something more to this part, but it’s just so jarring to have this come up in a love poem like this. It’s like if I wrote a love letter like, “Roses are red, violets are blue. Hey, you remember the Munich Olympics Massacre in 1972?”

It also just reeks of anti-semitism for, again, seemingly no real reason. Like because he “knows” his love interest “has to love him eventually” (ew), then she might as well wait until something “inevitable” happens in his eyes, at least. Again, maybe there’s some backstory here I’m not seeing, but it’s still very weird to see it in something like this.

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