Monday, 9 April 2012


Jenny Woolf left a comment on Meike's Mum's guest post the other day quoting the last two lines from a poem which, many years ago, I copied into my book of thoughts and writings.  I occasionally dip into the book even though I stopped writing in it many years ago. I thought that I would share it with you. Then, as I was writing this I suddenly had a moment of déjà vu.  Had I written this before? I Postvortered it and the answer was in the negative.   Then I remembered, of course, it could have been in Eagleton Notes.  Postvorta again.  There it was.  Oh well.  This is a different blog so I shall do it again.  I've just discovered, too, that Wikipedia has an entry on it .


William Ernest Henley, 1849-1903

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.

* translated as unconquered or unconquerable


  1. Oh, I remember memorizing this in high school English! Oh, my soul, over 50 years ago. Thanks for the pleasant nudge to a memory.

    1. Nothing like a bit of memory jogging is there?

  2. Thank you for posting it, Graham. When I saw my Mum yesterday (she hosted our Easter Sunday family gathering), she told me that she had looked it up and very much liked the poem, too.

    1. I think Jenny's awakened a few to this one.

  3. It's interesting, isn't it,. that he is not known for other poems, but he must have been a wonderful poet. according to Wikipedia, he had a very difficult life.

    1. I must see if I can find any of his other works.

  4. Wonderful poem. Thanks for sharing it GB!!