by William Ernest Henley
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.
One last trip to the MetaFilter well, as user kimberussell suggests the last two lines of Invictus. No context, but none is needed — what more do you need?
Nothing like classic poetry to get you going. “I am the master of my fate; I am the captain of my soul.” DAMN STRAIGHT, WILLIAM ERNEST HENLEY.
Invictus: bloody, but unbowed
This is pretty super macho stuff for a guy who was nearly felled by tuberculosis as a child and spent his whole life a writer, editor and poet, but who cares? “Invictus” is Latin for “unconquered”, and it’s up to you to define the context of your… unconqueredness.
Let us all go forth and be masters of our fates! Huzzah!