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.
YOU

COMMENTS (256)

From absolute darkness, the horrid travels through life, bludgeonings, and horrible happenings, he remains grateful to have returned in whole, and to remain unafraid.... I am the captain of my fate, I am the captain of my soul.... Oh how incredibly powerful this! I don't know who recorded this reading - but it was absolutely riveting! Thank you.
I was forced to memorize this poem in ninth grade. Like other poems we were assigned, this one turned me against poetry for years. Until I discovered Kahlil Gibran and then John Keats. Still, sixty years later, this poem represents to me what poetry should NOT be: a high-flown, abstract message spoken in bouncy rhythms and rhymes. No one, in the end, is the master of his fate or the captain of his soul: and no matter how strong and courageous, no one is always unbowed; no one can honestly always say, I have not winced or cried aloud. Give me Langston Hughes' Mother to Son for its honesty, simplicity, and linguistic authenticity: Life for me ain't been no crystal stair....
You have interpreted the poem incorrectly. The poet is delivering a rather beautiful message with simplicity and a flow of words; a human being is indeed the master of his soul. Life is not crystal stairs, but a rough, bouncy hill and it can break a human being down into pieces, mercilessly. The poet tells us how to be strong: to become the master of our own soul, of our hearts, of our emotions. Don't give in and keep fighting. Because Life? it will break you down, it will crush you anyway. The poet never said that life will be easy on you. But rather than letting yourself sink down, stand up and take control because your soul is unconquerable and you are stronger than you can imagine. That's the message. The structure and rhythm might not appeal to you, but I strongly disagree with your interpretation of this short, inspirational poem. Peace.
You have interpreted the poem incorrectly. The poet is delivering a rather beautiful message with simplicity and a flow of words; a human being is indeed the master of his soul. Life is not crystal stairs, but a rough, bouncy hill and it can break a human being down into pieces, mercilessly. The poet tells us how to be strong: to become the master of our own soul, of our hearts, of our emotions. Don't give in and keep fighting. Because Life? it will break you down, it will crush you anyway. The poet never said that life will be easy on you. But rather than letting yourself sink down, stand up and take control because your soul is unconquerable and you are stronger than you can imagine. That's the message. The structure and rhythm might not appeal to you, but I strongly disagree with your interpretation of this short, inspirational poem. Peace.
Mr Henley has done an incredible job with this poem. Among the favorites that I committed to memory years ago.
This is one of the best poem of the poet A cliff stood high
An all-time favourite of mine, the poem's about indomitable courage in the face of all odds. Incidentally, after I read it for the first time, it got etched in my psyche in such a way that I adopted its title, meaning 'unvanquished' in Latin, as a part of my Email ID. I'll always love this magnificent verse by Henley.