“Invictus” is a short Victorian poem written by William Ernest Henley and published in 1888. He wrote this piece during a lengthy hospital stay for tuberculosis, after he underwent a leg amputation as a result of the infectious disease. Despite the turmoil in his life, he wrote this poem as a message to stay optimistic, to keep your head up at all times.


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 or 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.

Read more about William Ernest Henley and his work here.

Image credit: Hartwig HKD on Flickr