William Ernest Henley

(1849 - 1902 / Gloucester / England)

William Ernest Henley Poems

121. Ballade Made In The Hot Weather 4/12/2010
122. Friends.... Old Friends...... 4/12/2010
123. Largo E Mesto 4/12/2010
124. Anterotics 4/12/2010
125. When You Are Old 4/12/2010
126. What Is To Come 4/12/2010
127. Double Ballad Of Life And Death 4/12/2010
128. Andante Con Moto 4/12/2010
129. As Like The Woman As You Can 4/12/2010
130. Thick Is The Darkness 4/12/2010
131. Last Post 4/12/2010
132. Villon's Straight Tip To All Cross Coves 1/1/2004
133. Attadale, West Highlands 4/12/2010
134. We Shall Surely Die 4/12/2010
135. Ballade Of Midsummer Days And Nights 4/12/2010
136. Over The Hills And Far Away 4/12/2010
137. I Gave My Heart To A Woman 4/12/2010
138. I. M. R. T. Hamilton Bruce (1846-1899) 1/1/2004
139. Ave, Caesar! 4/12/2010
140. In The Year That's Come And Gone 4/12/2010
141. London Voluntaries Iv: Out Of The Poisonous East 1/1/2004
142. Allegro Maestoso 4/12/2010
143. Croquis 1/3/2003
144. Apparition 4/12/2010
145. After 4/12/2010
146. Life Is Bitter 4/12/2010
147. Double Ballade On The Nothingness Of Things 1/3/2003
148. If It Should Come To Be 4/12/2010
149. A New Song To An Old Tune 4/12/2010
150. A Late Lark Twitters From The Quiet Skies 4/12/2010
151. A Dainty Thing's The Villanelle 4/12/2010
152. Kate-A-Whimsies, John-A-Dream 4/12/2010
153. Out Of The Night That Covers Me 4/12/2010
154. Operation 4/12/2010
155. A Desolate Shore 4/12/2010
156. There's A Regret 1/3/2003
157. Margaritae Sorori 1/4/2003
158. England, My England 1/4/2003
159. Barmaid 1/3/2003
160. If I Were King 1/3/2003

Comments about William Ernest Henley

  • 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.

    38 person liked.
    24 person did not like.
  • 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.

    41 person liked.
    12 person did not like.
  • Jed Mills (2/12/2013 4:00:00 PM)

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

    40 person liked.
    10 person did not like.
  • 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?

    52 person liked.
    56 person did not like.
  • 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! ! !

    72 person liked.
    19 person did not like.
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

If I Were King

If I were king, my pipe should be premier.
The skies of time and chance are seldom clear,
We would inform them all with bland blue weather.
Delight alone would need to shed a tear,
For dream and deed should war no more together.

Art should aspire, yet ugliness be dear;
Beauty, the shaft, should speed with wit for feather;
And love, sweet love, should never fall to sere,

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