I thought you might like to see the text of the poem that gives its name to one of this week’s big releases, “Invictus,” directed by Clint Eastwood. The poem was a source of inspiration to Nelson Mandela during his captivity and he wrote out a copy by hand for the captain of the rugby team to inspire him to lead them to the world championship. The title is Latin for “unconquered.” The poet, William Ernest Henley, wrote it from his hospital bed. His indomitable spirit led him to triumph over the amputation of his leg.
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.