Monday, August 5, 2013


William Ernest Henley wrote the poem now known as Invictus after he had part of his leg amputated due to complications associated with tuberculosis. William was only 17 years old, but by all accounts, his surgery was bloody and torturous. Yet his spirit and his defiance inspired him to write the following verse:

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 change
My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menance of the years
Finds and shall find me unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishment the scroll,
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.

These words are stirring, even today. Invictus in Latin means unconquerable. Yet I don't feel that these words were written with any measure of haughtiness of spirit or ink-stained pride. Too often though, I fall into believing that the good things that have come my way in life are due fully to my own efforts. Though, I am getting better with age, from time to time I still find I have a touch of ego. Yet my hope is that whatever circumstances I find myself in, I will turn to God first and be fully satisfied with what I find in Him.