Invictus by William Ernest Henley

I just got back from watching Clint Eastwood’s (he directed) new movie, Invictus.  It was pretty good! I give it a B+/A-.  The title comes from a poem Nelson Mandela had while in prison for 27 years.  According to the movie Invictus gave him motivation to keep going without letting his own soul darken in feelings of revenge .  I couldn’t catch all the words in the movie (partly due to sitting on the second row!) so I looked it up and it is really good! The last two lines are especially amazing and so I share it with you. Enjoy!


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 Ernest Henley

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  1. Ashley Wick

     /  December 14, 2009

    I LOVE this…..

    Even though i keep singing “master of the house, quick to catch yer eye” afterwards, I loved it. Haha. As I read it, it brings feelings of dedication and self control and ambition. 🙂

  2. Justin F

     /  December 14, 2009

    I’ve always enjoyed this poem as well.

    Here’s what President Hinckley had to say about it in his 2000 Christmas Devotional:
    “It is a great poem. It places upon the individual the responsibility for what he does with his life. Through these many years, when I have been faced with difficult choices I have repeated these stirring words.

    But on the other hand, it may sound arrogant and conceited in terms of the Atonement. Orson F. Whitney, of the Quorum of the Twelve of many years ago, so regarded it and wrote a marvelous response using the same poetic meter and entitling his verse “The Soul’s Captain.”

    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 race
    What none but Him could bear–
    That 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.”

  3. Thank you SO much for posting this Adam. I linked you on my blog with a little more explanation. This poem is amazing.

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