"Forgive, O king, if as a man I feel, / I bear no bosom of obdurate steel"

— Mickle, William Julius [formerly William Meikle] (1734-1788)

"Forgive, O king, if as a man I feel, / I bear no bosom of obdurate steel"
Metaphor in Context
Where foaming on the shore the tide appears,
A sacred fane its hoary arches rears:
Dim o'er the sea the evening shades descend,
And at the holy shrine devout we bend:
There, while the tapers o'er the altar blaze,
Our prayers and earnest vows to heaven we raise.
"Safe through the deep, where every yawning wave
"Still to the Sailor's eye displays his grave;
"Through howling tempests, and through gulphs untry'd,
"O! mighty God! be thou our watchful guide."
While kneeling thus before the sacred shrine,
In Holy Faith's most solemn rite we join;
Our peace with heaven the bread of peace confirms,
And meek contrition every bosom warms:
Sudden the lights extinguish'd, all around
Dread silence reigns, and midnight gloom profound:
A sacred horror pants on every breath,
And each firm breast devotes itself to death,
An offer'd sacrifice, sworn to obey
My nod, and follow where I lead the way;
Now prostrate round the hallow'd shrine we[1] lie,
Till rosy morn bespreads the eastern sky;
Then, breathing fixt resolves, my daring mates
March to the ships, while pour'd from Lisbon's gates,
Thousands on thousands crowding, press along,
A woeful, weeping, melancholy throng.
A thousand white-robed priests our steps attend,
And prayers, and holy vows to heaven ascend;
A scene so solemn, and the tender woe
Of parting friends, constrained my tears to flow.
To weigh our anchors from our native shore--
To dare new oceans never dared before--
Perhaps to see my native coast no more--
Forgive, O king, if as a man I feel,
I bear no bosom of obdurate steel.

(The godlike hero here supprest the sigh,
And wiped the tear-drop from his manly eye;
Then thus resuming--) All the peopled shore
An awful, silent look of anguish wore;
Affection, friendship, all the kindred ties
Of spouse and parent languish'd in their eyes:
As men they never should again behold,
Self-offer'd victims to destruction sold,
On us they fixt the eager look of woe,
While tears o'er every cheek began to flow;
When thus aloud, Alas! my son, my son,
An hoary Sire exclaims, oh! whither run,
My heart's sole joy, my trembling age's stay,
To yield thy limbs the dread sea-monster's prey!
To seek thy burial in the raging wave,
And leave me cheerless sinking to the grave!
Was it for this I watch'd thy tender years,
And bore each fever of a father's fears!
Alas! my boy!--His voice is heard no more,
The female shriek resounds along the shore:
With hair dishevell'd, through the yielding crowd
A lovely bride springs on, and screams aloud;
Oh! where, my husband, where to seas unknown,
Where would'st thou fly me, and my love disown!
And wilt thou, cruel, to the deep consign
That valued life, the joy, the soul of mine:
And must our loves, and all our kindred train
Of rapt endearments, all expire in vain!
All the dear transports of the warm embrace,
When mutual love inspired each raptured face!
Must all, alas! be scatter'd in the wind,
Nor thou bestow one lingering look behind!
Searching "bosom" and "steel" in HDIS (Poetry)
At least 6 entries in ECCO and ESTC (1770, 1776, 1777, 1794, 1798).

Text from The Lusiad; or, the Discovery of India. An Epic Poem. Translated from The Original Portuguese of Luís de Camões (Oxford: Printed by Jackson and Lister, and sold by Cadell, 1776). <Link to LION>

See also The First Book of the Lusiad, Published As a Specimen of a Translation of That Celebrated Epic Poem. By William Julius Mickle, Author of the Concubine, &c. (Oxford: printed by W. Jackson; and sold by Mess. Fletcher, Prince, and Bliss; T. and J. Merril in Cambridge; Cadell, Pearch, &c. London; and by Kincaid and Bell in Edinburgh, [1770?]).
Date of Entry

The Mind is a Metaphor is authored by Brad Pasanek, Assistant Professor of English, University of Virginia.