by William Ernest Henley
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.
Last updated July 28, 2015
Invictus is a short victorian poem by poet William Ernest Henley. It was written in 1875 and published in 1888 — originally with no title — in his first volume of poems, Book of Verses, in the section Life and Death (Echoes).
Early printings contained a dedication To R. T. H. B.—a reference to Robert Thomas Hamilton Bruce, a successful Scottish flour merchant, baker, and literary patron. The title "Invictus" was added by editor Arthur Quiller-Couch when the poem was included in The Oxford Book of English Verse.