I am the captain of my soul
Published Oct. 5, 2017
Coming Events – Friday, Oct. 6, 7:30 p.m., Karaoke with Fred and Linda, Monday Thanksgiving Day, closed.
Invictus, means “unconquerable” or “undefeated” in Latin. Invictus is a poem that focuses on the human spirit and its ability to overcome adversity. It is a rallying cry for those who find themselves in dark and trying situations, who have to dig deep and fight for their lives.
The poet (W.E.Henley) certainly knew hard times and needed all strength to battle against disease. He wrote Invictus while in hospital undergoing treatment for tuberculosis of the bones, specifically those in his left leg, which had to be amputated from the knee down. He managed to save his right leg by refusing surgery and seeking an alternative form of treatment from a Scottish doctor, James Lister. It was during his time in Edinburgh that Henley met the writer Robert Louis Stevenson. They became friends and corresponded on a regular basis. Stevenson later admitted he had based his character Long John Silver from the book Treasure Island on Henley. Henley’s personal experience on the operating table and in a hospital bed, facing possible death, certainly helped him create one of the most popular poems in the English language.
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 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.
W.E. Hendry 1888