"The darts of destiny have almost pierc'd / My marble heart."

— Home, John (1722-1808)

Work Title
Place of Publication
Printed for G. Hamilton
Performed Dec 1756, published 1757
"The darts of destiny have almost pierc'd / My marble heart."
Metaphor in Context
Child that I was, to start at my own shadow,
And be the shallow fool of coward conscience!
I am not what I have been; what I should be.
The darts of destiny have almost pierc'd
My marble heart.
Had I one grain of faith
In holy legends, and religious tales,
I should conclude there was an arm above,
That fought against me, and malignant turn'd,
To catch myself, the subtle snare I set.
Why, rape and murder are not simple means!
Th'imperfect rape to Randolph gave a spouse;
And the intended murder introduc'd
A favourite to hide the sun from me;
And worst of all, a rival. Burning hell!
This were thy centre, if I thought she lov'd him!
Tis certain she contemns me; nay commands me,
And waves the flag of her displeasure o'er me,
In his behalf. And shall I thus be brav'd?
Curb'd, as she calls it, by dame chastity?
Infernal fiends, if any fiends there are
More fierce than hate, ambition, and revenge,
Rise up and fill my bosom with your fires,
And policy remorseless! Chance may spoil
A single aim; but perseverance must
Prosper at last. For chance and fate are words:
Persistive wisdom is the fate of man.
Darkly a project peers upon my mind,
Like the red moon when rising in the east,
Cross'd and divided by strange-colour'd clouds.
I'll seek the slave who came with Norval hither,
And for his cowardice was spurned from him.
I've known a follower's rankled bosom breed
Venom most fatal to his heedless Lord.
(Act II, pp. 27-8)
C-H Lion
At least 10 entries in ESTC (1757, 1764, 1768, 769, 1770, 1773, 1775).

Douglas: A Tragedy. As it is Acted at the Theatre-Royal in Covent-Garden (Edinburgh: Printed for G. Hamilton, 1757). <Link to ESTC>
Date of Entry

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