William Ernest Henley

(1849 - 1902 / Gloucester / England)

Invictus - Poem 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
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Comments about Invictus by William Ernest Henley

  • (5/17/2016 7:26:00 AM)

    Can someone explain to me why it's a freedom poem? (Report) Reply

    Jim O'quinn (12/9/2016 10:17:00 PM)

    Read DESTINY by Alvin Townley and you'll know, without doubt.

    R Soos R Soos (11/15/2016 7:39:00 AM)

    freedom is something we feel within despite the circumstances happening around us =: -)

    14 person liked.
    9 person did not like.
  • Woru Sulyman (4/9/2016 5:28:00 PM)

    a real inspiration seasoned with enough conviction.
    for I am the master of my fate
    for I am the captain of my soul.
    (Report) Reply

  • (3/30/2016 6:02:00 PM)

    Strangely enough, this poem got me through learning to walk again, and I only found out years later that Henley wrote this after losing his leg, and that he was friends with Robert Louis Stevenson, and was the inspiration for Long John Silver. (Report) Reply

    Kim Barney Kim Barney (11/7/2016 5:22:00 PM)

    I never knew those facts before. Thank you for the education.

  • Ahmed Gumaa Siddiek (3/4/2016 7:53:00 AM)

    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.

    Great poem which inspired Mandela all his life and gave him strength to endure imprisonment for 18 years and injustice of the apartheid regime.
    (Report) Reply

  • (3/1/2016 6:15:00 AM)

    May the gods that guides your quill save you from day to day. (Report) Reply

  • (12/28/2015 2:30:00 AM)

    Staying tough tough tough in all roughs. I am the master of my life. Great poem! (Report) Reply

  • Thomas Case (12/20/2015 9:22:00 AM)

    trudging the road of life...no regrets, no fear...complete confidence (Report) Reply

  • Fabrizio Frosini (11/20/2015 8:53:00 AM)


    Out of the night that covers me,
    - - Dal profondo della notte che mi avvolge,
    Black as the pit from pole to pole,
    - - nero come un pozzo da un polo a un altro,
    I thank whatever gods may be
    - - ringrazio qualunque dio possa esistere
    For my unconquerable soul.
    - - per la mia anima inespugnabile.

    In the fell clutch of circumstance
    - - Nella feroce morsa delle circostanze
    I have not winced nor cried aloud.
    - - non mi sono tirato indietro nè ho gridato forte.
    Under the bludgeonings of chance
    - - Sotto ai colpi d’ascia della sorte
    My head is bloody, but unbowed.
    - - il mio capo è sanguinante ma indomito.

    Beyond this place of wrath and tears
    - - Oltre questo luogo di collera e lacrime
    Looms but the Horror of the shade,
    - - incombe solo l’orrore delle ombre,
    And yet the menace of the years
    - - eppure la minaccia degli anni
    Finds and shall find me unafraid.
    - - trova, e mi troverà senza paura.

    It matters not how strait the gate,
    - - Non importa quanto sia stretta la porta,
    How charged with punishments the scroll,
    - - quanto piena di punizioni la pergamena,
    I am the master of my fate:
    - - io sono padrone del mio destino:
    I am the captain of my soul.
    - - io sono capitano della mia anima.
    (Report) Reply

  • Fabrizio Frosini (11/20/2015 8:51:00 AM)

    Il titolo della poesia, “Invictus”, fa riferimento al latino e significa “non vinto”; venne dato dal critico letterario Arthur Quiller-Couch, che riconobbe la grandezza della poesia aggiungendola alla sua antologia fondamentale delle poesie inglesi.
    All’età di 12 anni, William Ernest Henley rimase vittima del morbo di Pott, una grave forma di tubercolosi ossea. Nonostante ciò, riuscì a continuare i suoi studi e a tentare una carriera giornalistica a Londra. Il suo lavoro, però, fu interrotto continuamente dalla grave patologia, che all’età di 25 anni lo costrinse all’amputazione di una gamba per sopravvivere. Henley non si scoraggiò e continuò a vivere per circa 30 anni con una protesi artificiale, fino all’età di 53 anni.
    La poesia Invictus fu scritta proprio sul letto di un ospedale.
    La poesia era usata da Nelson Mandela per alleviare gli anni della sua prigionia durante l’apartheid.
    (Report) Reply

  • (11/18/2015 7:47:00 AM)

    ....a superb write ★
    I am the master of my fate
    (Report) Reply

  • Vivek Mishra (10/29/2015 11:39:00 AM)

    one of the absolute favourites :) (Report) Reply

  • (9/26/2015 4:35:00 PM)

    I love the line I thank whatever gods may be For my unconquerable soul. so much, am thinking of getting it as a tattoo (Report) Reply

  • (9/24/2015 7:05:00 AM)

    To me it seems a pity that this fine poem will always be associated with Timothy McVeigh, the Oklahoma City bomber, who chose the final couplet as his last words in the execution chamber. That said, he could hardly have chosen a more apposite poem to quote, given his circumstances and political beliefs.

    Knowing what McVeigh did, challenges the reader to consider whether unapologetic defiance - which resonates in the poem as a whole, and with which McVeigh met his end - is always the noblest instinct, or for that matter, justified.
    (Report) Reply

    Moira Cameron Moira Cameron (3/2/2016 11:06:00 PM)

    How interesting to read your comment. I read the poem for the first time moments ago. What it made me think of was my own spirit of survival in the face of the various crises in my life. I didn't interpret words as being about defiance, but rather of being proud of having an indomitable spirit. Thanks for offering another perspective. It is fascinating.

  • Seema Jayaraman (9/18/2015 8:30:00 AM)

    I am the captain of my soul..luv the confidence and in charge attitude.. (Report) Reply

  • (9/17/2015 1:52:00 AM)

    An amazing Poet , this was an masterpiece ! (Report) Reply

  • Dimond Vp (9/9/2015 9:45:00 AM)

    this is my all time favorite poem i memorized it all! ! ! (Report) Reply

  • Pamela Sinicrope (9/6/2015 1:01:00 PM)

    I love the drama of this poem...Fun to read aloud! (Report) Reply

  • (8/4/2015 3:32:00 AM)

    There is a movie called "invictus". Is that movie named after this poem? (Report) Reply

  • (7/16/2015 2:37:00 PM)

    i am the master of my soul. (Report) Reply

  • Ovi-enita Odiete (7/13/2015 8:45:00 PM)

    Such an enthralling poem. (Report) Reply

# 11 poem on top 500 Poems

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