One’s fate is in your control!

By William Ernest Henley, 1875

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.

For discussion

There is an urgency within the poem. Invictus is translated from Latin for “undefeated” or “unconquerable.”

It is not how difficult one’s path is, it’s about one’s attitude to moving forward without submitting oneself to fate’s choice.

Hardships and problems are part of a person’s life. The question is to become a hapless victim or stand firm in the face of adversity. So, the rallying cry of Invictus is to never lose hope no matter the circumstances!


Night is the dark times and hardships experienced by the author. He lost a leg as the result of complications from tuberculosis.

The focus of the poem is on the human spirit and the rallying cry “One’s fate is in your control.”

Don’t have the mindset that makes on surrender in the face of challenges.