Invictus (1875)

W.E. Henley

Oxford English Dictionary (OED) Links On

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.

Learn more about the language of this poem in the
Oxford English Dictionary:

pole, n.2  bludgeon, v.  shade, n.  strait, adj., n., and adv.