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.

– William E. Henley

9 Comments on “Invictus”

  1. Charles Powell

    This Was the poem that Timothy McVeigh gave to the warden as he was being led to the death chamber. I think it sums up the attitude of the “My way ” theology. Dorthea Day penned a response from the Christian viewpoint. It follows.

    Out of the light that dazzles me,
    Bright as the sun from pole to pole,
    I thank the God I know to be
    For Christ the conqueror of my soul.

    Since His the sway of circumstance,
    I would not wince nor cry aloud.
    Under that rule which men call chance
    My head with joy is humbly bowed.

    Beyond this place of sin and tears
    That life with Him! And His the aid,
    Despite the menace of the years,
    Keeps, and shall keep me, unafraid.

    I have no fear, though strait the gate,
    He cleared from punishment the scroll.
    Christ is the Master of my fate,
    Christ is the Captain of my soul.

    Reply
  2. Kelly

    Nice!

    You might like this also…

    Response to Invictus

    Art thou in truth? Then what of him
    Who bought thee with his blood?
    Who plunged into devouring seas
    And snatched thee from the flood?

    Who bore for all our fallen raceĀ 
    What none but him could bear,
    The God who died that man might live,
    And endless glory share?

    Of what avail thy vaunted strength,
    Apart from his vast might?
    Pray that his Light may pierce the gloom,
    That thou mayest see aright.

    Men are as bubbles on the wave,
    As leaves upon the tree.
    Thou, captain of thy soul, forsooth!
    Who gave that place to thee?

    Free will is thine — free agency,
    To wield for right or wrong;
    But thou must answer unto him
    To whom all souls belong.

    Bend to the dust that head unbowed
    Small part of Life’s great whole!
    And see in him, and him alone,
    The Captain of thy soul.

    ~Orson F. Whitney
    (Improvement Era, April 1926, 611)

    Reply
    • JP

      Oh Kelly, the poem is close but rest assured that Orson F. Whitney had no idea who God is! The writing penned by a Mormon based on Mormon theology is no better than the heresy of invictus.

      Read your bible and ask a reformed believer what I’m talking about!

      Reply
      • Sam

        I’m curious if you would disagree with the content of this poem if you didn’t know the religious affiliation of the poet.

        Reply
      • Jesse

        It is unfortunate, JP, that you are so assured of your absolute right to judge others concerning their relationship with Christ. I find it unlikely that a Spirit of goodwill and charity was the moving power behind your comments. It is sad that someone can read a poem so eloquently devoted to the sacrifice and role of Jesus as the Redeemer and only find within those lines an opportunity to spread unrighteous judgement, a contentious spirit and, ultimately, hatred. Read your Bible and ask yourself if it was the Prince of Peace who motivated you to such a response.

        Reply
  3. Teresa

    Out of the night that covers me,
    Black as the Pit from pole to pole,
    I thank our God who lives in me
    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,
    He is the master of my fate:
    He is the captain of my soul.

    Reply
  4. Samuel Wells

    My heart breaks to see this wonderful poem about empowerment and determination misappropriated by religion.

    Reply

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