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.

by William Ernest Henley

Comments (258)

@BRANT KOHICK - I just don't think you understand the message he's trying to convey in this poem... First of all I just cant see how all those things you mentioned are relevant to this poem? I mean who is talking about creation in the first place? He actually thanks God for his ''unconquerable soul''.. But the main idea behind this poem is to encourage&inspire the reader by explaining that one can have control over their lives by being strong when facing problems/obstacles and overcoming those challenges in life without turning bitter, weak, and hopeless... Regardless of how hard life might get, he is not giving up - - ](''my head is bloody but unbowed'') by this he isn't at all rebelling against God... It just simply means, that he will stay strong P.S. I believe in God too, of course this (our universe) did not just happen by chance it would be impossible... You do not need to actually see God himself to be convinced of his existence, all you need to do is look out your window... Look at a tree or smt...concentrate on your heartbeat...Everything is a proof that God is The Lord!
The poem reminds me of Nelson Mandela's story. It's exquisite, powerful, highly inspirational, a master piece...
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....
Mr Henley has done an incredible job with this poem. Among the favorites that I committed to memory years ago.
See More