Invictus by William Ernest Henley

William Ernest Henley

William Ernest Henley

 

William Ernest Henley (23 August 1849 – 11 July 1903) was an English poet, critic and editor. Invictus is a short Victorian poem by the English poet William Ernest Henley (1849–1903). It was written in 1875 and published in 1888. It originally had no title. The title “Invictus” (Latin for “unconquered”) was added by editor Arthur Quiller-Couch when the poem was included in The Oxford Book of English Verse .William Ernest Henley is best known by virtue of this single poem.

 

Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds, and shall find, me unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate,
I am the captain of my soul.

 

Portrait of William Ernest Henley by Leslie Ward published in Vanity Fair

Portrait of William Ernest Henley by Leslie Ward published in Vanity Fair

 

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About the alchemist

Out beyond ideas of wrong doing and right doing, there is a field. I'll meet you there. When the soul lies down in that grass, the world is too full to talk about. Ideas, language, even the phrase each other doesn't make any sense. ~Rumi
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3 Responses to Invictus by William Ernest Henley

  1. intrepidjane says:

    One of my favourites!

  2. socialbridge says:

    Yet another gem. Thanks.

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