#1526 Invictus

By William Ernest Henley

In our last several +1s, we’ve explored some of the most all-time inspiring poems.

We soaked in the wisdom from If by Rudyard Kipling, Dreams by Langston Hughes, and The Road Not Taken by Robert Frost.

Today we’re going to wrap up that quick tour with what is arguably THE most inspiring poem ever.

Although originally published without a title, the poem is now known as Invictus.

Invictus is Latin for “unconquered.”

William Ernest Henley wrote the poem in 1875.

At the time, he was recovering from surgeries to prevent the amputation of his leg. He had ALREADY lost ONE leg a decade earlier when he was a 16-year-old battling tuberculosis.

Here’s the poem that Nelson Mandela recited to his fellow prisoners at Robben Island, that James Stockdale and his fellow prisoners of war passed to one another (written with rat droppings on toilet paper) and that Winston Churchill paraphrased in his iconic speech to the House of Commons on September 9th, 1941…

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.

That’s Today’s +1.

We are masters of our fate. We are captains of our soul.

We, my beloved Heroes, are UNCONQUERABLE.

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