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(1849 - 1902 / Gloucester / England)

Invictus

Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the Pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
........................
........................
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Comments about this poem (Apparition by William Ernest Henley )

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  • Pink Butterfly ... (7/6/2009 5:04:00 AM)

    This is the best poem ha had ever made!
    All lines were on it's extent emotion! Well, this is actually my second time to read this magnificent poem. I first read this from a literary book, and it absolutely caught my attention! He really expresses a lot of pain and braveness! I salute him for writing this one!

    3 person liked.
    0 person did not like.
  • Sheila Flowers Ritchie (6/10/2009 12:50:00 AM)

    When I was a freshman in high school, back in the stone age, my English teacher had us learn this poem. I never realized at that time that this poem would come back to haunt me some 40 plus years later. I was able to recite it all but the third verse. But upon seeing it, it all came back to me. I find now how much truth this poem holds. If that teacher was still alive, I would thank her. And let her know that she had made a lasting impression on one of her students.

  • Anna Mojica (5/17/2009 12:35:00 AM)

    This poem, if you read it very carefully and understand every verse, is full of passion and inspiration.It vividly expressed how he defiantly face all the struggles he went through.For me, Henley's poem has no intention to blaspheme any religion but his outlet to release the burdens he is going through at the time he was writing this poem.

    I first read the poem when I was in High School more than 2 decades ago....up to now it stayed in my heart and in my memory. A very powerful poem and I have recited it many times especially during the times I need to uplift myself in times of difficulties...it has helped me through the darkest times of my life, particularly the last 2 lines: I am the master of my fate: I am the captain of my soul...I love this poem very much.

  • Kiran Ashtekar (12/21/2008 9:19:00 AM)

    The beginning lines of the poem are more revealing than the ending ones, I feel. The poet expresses GRATITUDE, 'to whatever gods may be'. That feeling is genuine, something that anyone who has successfully struggled against heavy odds, can easily identify with. The success in this case is not an outward victory but clearly a moral or psychological one. Not a perfect poem, imho, but certainly very very moving.

  • Ellyse Ellyse (10/6/2008 4:51:00 PM)

    this poem is clearly not about god. it may have phrases that relate to the bible but Henley was not intentionally referring to god in his poem, any one who's done any research on Henley would know that he lost his leg and this poem is about his struggle through life. its in inner battle and although you can relate it to god, Henley’s intentions of the poem were not directed towards religion.

  • Ryan Salway (1/27/2008 12:42:00 AM)

    Some years ago an answer to 'Invictus' was given. Let me quote it to you:

    Art thou in truth?
    Then what of Him who bought thee with His blood?
    Who plunged into devouring seas
    And snatched thee from the flood,
    Who bore for all our fallen race
    What none but Him could bear-
    That God who died that man might live
    And endless glory share.
    Of what avail thy vaunted strength
    Apart from His vast might?
    Pray that His light may pierce the gloom
    That thou mayest see aright.
    Men are as bubbles on the wave,
    As leaves upon the tree,
    Thou, captain of thy soul! Forsooth,
    Who gave that place to thee?
    Free will is thine-free agency,
    To wield for right or wrong;
    But thou must answer unto Him
    To whom all souls belong.
    Bend to the dust that 'head unbowed, '
    Small part of life's great whole,
    And see in Him and Him alone,
    The captain of thy soul.

    ('The Soul's Captain')

    And who wrote that? Orson F. Whitney

    To me (a Christian) the two poems together are some of the most enlightened ever penned.

  • Tiffanie Lau (11/19/2007 7:52:00 AM)

    'i am the master of my fate,
    i am the captain of my soul'

    a most convincing way to complete the poem.

  • Nomer Arellano (8/14/2007 1:29:00 AM)

    perfect. this poem is one of a kind.

  • Alan Roche (5/21/2007 5:05:00 PM)

    There's no need for such hostility...

    'It matters not how strait the gate' is actually a bibilical reference to a quote attributed to Jesus in the King James Bible:

    'In the 1611 King James Version of Matthew 7: 13-14, following the Golden Rule, Jesus says, 'Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.''

    Henley was agnostic and was saying that in fact it _doesn't_ matter how strait the gate - you and not 'whatever gods may be' are the master of your soul and the captain of your fate.

    Personally I've never come across more beautiful or inspirational words in the English language.

  • Diowayne Dacayan (1/19/2007 7:15:00 AM)

    This is a very powerful poem and all the words are perfect. Hey Allan Robinson, can you read and UNDERSTAND the full text and the meaning of the words? ! Because every poet and writer (especially good ones) choose their words carefully. You said gate is supposed to be gait, please see the meaning of strait so you'll know why he used gate. Strait is a passage or a canal, so the gate is perfect and the gait you were suggesting means a way of walking. See the purpose of the words and it's connection, compared to your idiotic comment. UNDERSTAND THE MEANING AND ENJOY THE MASTERPIECE!

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