William Ernest Henley 1849 - 1902

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Nice piece of work indeed
In 2004, at age 75, I was diagnosed with an aggressive form of prostate cancer. one of the things that helped me was remembering Invictus which I had memorized as a teenager. It gave me the inner strength and courage to fight back and survive!
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.
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