Thursday, 25 December 2008

William Ernest Henley - "Invictus"

"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."

Written in 1875, Henley's poem (which is latin for 'Unconquered') still leaves a lasting impression on all those that read it, even after 100 years of it being written. Inspired by the resilience shown from his own leg amputation, it typifies the British 'stiff upper lip' and his use of war imagery is simple but engaging. One of my favourites.

- Invicted Shaheen

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