William Ernest Henley

(1849 - 1902 / Gloucester / England)

William Ernest Henley Poems

41. Double Ballade On The Nothingness Of Things 1/3/2003
42. Easy Is The Triolet 4/12/2010
43. England, My England 1/4/2003
44. Enter Patient 4/12/2010
45. Envoy--To Charles Baxter 4/12/2010
46. Epilogue 4/12/2010
47. Etching 4/12/2010
48. Fill A Glass With Golden Wine 4/12/2010
49. Fresh From His Fastnesses 4/12/2010
50. Friends.... Old Friends...... 4/12/2010
51. From A Window In Princes Street 4/12/2010
52. From The Break The Nightingale 4/12/2010
53. Grave 4/12/2010
54. Gull In An Aery Morrice 4/12/2010
55. Here They Trysted, And Here They Strayed 4/12/2010
56. House-Surgeon 4/12/2010
57. I Am The Reaper 1/1/2004
58. I Gave My Heart To A Woman 4/12/2010
59. I. M. R. T. Hamilton Bruce (1846-1899) 1/1/2004
60. If I Were King 1/3/2003
61. If It Should Come To Be 4/12/2010
62. In Fisherrow 4/12/2010
63. In Rotten Row 4/12/2010
64. In The Dials 4/12/2010
65. In The Placid Summer Midnight 4/12/2010
66. In The Waste Hour 4/12/2010
67. In The Year That's Come And Gone 4/12/2010
68. Interior 4/12/2010
69. Interlude 4/12/2010
70. Invictus 1/3/2003
71. It Came With The Threat Of A Waning Moon 4/12/2010
72. Kate-A-Whimsies, John-A-Dream 4/12/2010
73. Lady Probationer 4/12/2010
74. Largo E Mesto 4/12/2010
75. Last Post 4/12/2010
76. Let Us Be Drunk 4/12/2010
77. Life In Her Creaking Shoes 4/12/2010
78. Life Is Bitter 4/12/2010
79. London Types: 4/12/2010
80. London Types: Barmaid 4/12/2010

Comments about William Ernest Henley

  • Joseph Dela Sulh (losembe) Joseph Dela Sulh (losembe) (9/29/2015 2:14:00 PM)

    Nice piece of work indeed

    8 person liked.
    6 person did not like.
  • Manuel Rosenbaum (5/22/2014 4:36:00 PM)

    In 2004, at age 75, I was diagnosed with an aggressive form of prostate cancer. one of the things that helped me was remembering Invictus which I had memorized as a teenager. It gave me the inner strength and courage to fight back and survive!

  • Charles Darnell Charles Darnell (7/3/2013 4:12:00 PM)

    In answer to Suresh, I believe Henley was referring to death with no afterlife. If you place his life within a historical context, the theory of Evolution had emerged as a dominate force in science. Many people despaired that the theory killed the idea of God. They came to think that there was no God, heaven, or indeed any kind of life after death. I think Henley embraced this and hence the line. This idea is further re-enforced by his final line I am the captain of my soul...in other words, I am responsible for my life, my actions, my spirit and answerable to myself (not to God) .
    This is one of my all time favorite poems.

  • Sharon Coakley (3/19/2013 2:38:00 AM)

    to me this poet had a will to fight. he did not let his struggles no matter how hard it seemed conquered him. He seem very much in touch with pain and hardship and some how his spirit is unbreakable.

  • Jed Mills (2/12/2013 4:00:00 PM)

    I find that the life of this man is very interesting and sad.

  • Suresh Bala (7/5/2010 8:38:00 AM)


    Can someone elaborate the line about the 'Horror of the shade'? Is this a biblical reference?

  • Serene Waters (1/3/2010 2:18:00 AM)

    I just saw the phenomenal movie Invictus five hours ago. This movie, about Nelson Mandela and his ressurrection from being a prisoner to being the president of South Africa, show that iron bars can not stop some men.
    He rehearsed the words of hope from his prison cell in the Poem Invictus, and the power of spirit over matter was manifested. As president, he also quelled the post-apartheid tension, transforming enemies into friends. It is a story about someone with a vision of an ideal world who was able to embrace his nation, both black and white, as his family. His heart will not be forgotten, because without people like him a better world will never come. You will feel so uplifted by this movie! ! !

Best Poem of 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.

Read the full of Invictus


The beach was crowded. Pausing now and then,
He groped and fiddled doggedly along,
His worn face glaring on the thoughtless throng
The stony peevishness of sightless men.
He seemed scarce older than his clothes. Again,
Grotesquing thinly many an old sweet song,
So cracked his fiddle, his hand so frail and wrong,
You hardly could distinguish one in ten.
He stopped at last, and sat him on the sand,

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