I’m embarrassed to admit how I stumbled across this poem (one of the contestants on Bear Grylls’ ‘The Island’ quoted it) but now I have it, I find it truly inspiring, and so, apparently, do others!
C. S. Lewis has quoted it; it was Franklin D. Roosevelt’s favourite poem; Nelson Mandela recited it on Robben Island; and it was featured in ’30 Rock’ (huzzah!).
It’s the last two lines that really speak to me, but as a whole it’s pretty great too.
Written by William Ernest Henley in 1875, allow me to introduce you to ‘Invictus’.
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.