Invictus by William Ernest Henley

This poem I heard about first in the movie Invictus about Nelson Mandela and the South African football team. Its an inspiring movie and the poem fits in perfectly.

Here is the poem Invictus by Henley.

~~~

Invictus by William Ernest Henley

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.

~~~

“At age 12 Henley was diagnosed with tubercular arthritis that necessitated the amputation of one of his legs just below the knee; the other foot was saved only through a radical surgery performed by Joseph Lister. As he healed in the infirmary, Henley began to write poems, including “Invictus,” which concludes with the oft-referenced lines “I am the master of my fate; / I am the captain of my soul.”

Henley’s poems often engage themes of inner strength and perseverance. His numerous collections of poetry include A Book of Verses (1888), London Voluntaries(1893), and Hawthorn and Lavender (1899).”

These lines always inspire me, especially when I’m going through tough times. I believe everyone goes through rough patches in life and we are all challenged in life in different ways. I firmly believe that it is up to each one of us to bravely face our demons and remind ourselves each day that we are the masters of our own fate!

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