INVICTUS - A Poem by William Ernest Henley

‘INVICTUS’ – A Poem by William Ernest Henley

‘INVICTUS’ – A Poem by William Ernest Henley


Generations have drawn on the words of William Ernest Henley’s poem for strength during times of adversity. Henley was himself an amputee and the poem reflects his long battle with illness. The title means “unconquered” and the 16 short lines of the poem encapsulate the indefatigable human spirit, which is at the heart of the Invictus Games.

Invictus Games Athletes holding medal at 2014 Invictus Games 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.


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