Invictus – by William Ernest Henley

#20. I made it a point to memorize this poem. I find it powerful and poignant. At the time of its entry, I am writing this poem from complete memory. I hope I get it right.

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 bloodied, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears

Looms but the horror of the shade

And through 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.

Errors made: the third line of the third stanza should read: “And yet the menace of the years…”

My analysis: The aged old question looms: do we have free will or is everything predestined? The answer to both can be summed up by a simple yes. Despite the Creator’s omniscience, we do have an inherent volition to choose our perspective amidst and despite our circumstance.

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