"Thou hast an heart of iron, terrour-proof."

— Cowper, William (1731-1800)

Place of Publication
Printed for Joseph Johnson
"Thou hast an heart of iron, terrour-proof."
Metaphor in Context
Wretched indeed! ah what must thou have felt!
How hast thou dared to seek alone the fleet
Of the Achaians, and his face by whom
So many of thy valiant sons have fallen?
Thou hast an heart of iron, terrour-proof.
Come--sit beside me--Let us, if we may,
Great mourners both, bid sorrow sleep awhile.
There is no profit of our sighs and tears;
For thus, exempt from care themselves, the Gods
Ordain man's miserable race to mourn.
Fast by the threshold of Jove's courts are placed
Two casks, one stored with evil, one with good,
From which the God dispenses as he wills.
For whom the glorious Thunderer mingles both,
He leads a life checquer'd with good and ill
Alternate; but to whom he gives unmixt
The bitter cup, he makes that man a curse,
His name becomes a by-word of reproach,
His strength is hunger-bitten, and he walks
The blessed earth, unblest, go where he may.
So was my father Peleus at his birth
Nobly endow'd with plenty and with wealth
Distinguish'd by the Gods past all mankind,
Lord of the Myrmidons, and, though a man,
Yet match'd from heaven with an immortal bride.
But even him the Gods afflict, a son
Refusing him, who might possess his throne
Hereafter; for myself, his only heir,
Pass as a dream, and while I live, instead
Of solacing his age, here sit, before
Your distant walls, the scourge of thee and thine.
Thee also, ancient Priam, we have heard
Reported, once possessor of such wealth
As neither Lesbos, seat of Macar, owns,
Nor Eastern Phrygia, nor yet all the ports
Of Hellespont, but thou didst pass them all
In riches, and in number of thy sons.
But since the Powers of Heaven brought on thy land
This fatal war, battle and deeds of death
Always surround the city where thou reign'st.
Cease, therefore, from unprofitable tears,
Which, ere they raise thy son to life again,
Shall, doubtless, find fresh cause for which to flow.
Searching "heart" and "iron" in HDIS (Poetry)
2 entries in ESTC (1791, 1792).

Text from The Iliad and Odyssey of Homer, Translated Into English Blank Verse, by W. Cowper, of the Inner Temple, Esq., 2 vols. (London: Printed for J. Johnson, No 72, St. Paul’s Church-Yard, 1791). <Link to ESTC>
Date of Entry

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