Learn More

William Ernest Henley

(1849 - 1902 / Gloucester / England)


Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the Pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
read full text »

Do you like this poem?
837 person liked.
44 person did not like.

Comments about this poem (Invictus by William Ernest Henley )

Enter the verification code :

  • Rookie Ricardo Leonardo (9/17/2013 8:54:00 PM)

    Yes, WEH just knew the life on earth. I appreciate and honor him because he understood what is 'soul'... (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Ezra The3rd (9/15/2013 2:15:00 PM)

    Bible Bashers, please read William Ernest Henley's bio and the hardships he went through before you condemn the man to hell. From the age of 12, Henley suffered from tuberculosis of the bone that resulted in the amputation of his left leg below the knee (in a time of limited/ineffective anaesthetic) , he had a further amputation of his other leg to save his life. He lost his daughter when she was five... he doesn't just talk of horrors, he has been through it. To have a fighting spirit like his is definitely a gift from God, and to those who are offended by the use of lowercase G, the originators of the word would call you blasphemers for even writing the full GOD, it was originally G-d because he is too great to be condensed into written form.

    This poem is a celebration of the God-given human spirit, if it offends you read something else. (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Hannah Stone (9/10/2013 7:07:00 PM)

    This poem is beautiful. I watched the movie Invictus about Nelson Mandela which inspired me to learn more about it. (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Jon Swan (9/4/2013 6:20:00 PM)

    People, please. Nothing about this poem is anti-religious other than your own interpretation of the poem. A simple Google search shows this. (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Gura Maso (8/31/2013 3:29:00 PM)

    as Marvin replied I didn't know that a single mom can make $4482 in a few weeks on the internet. did you read this web page http: //www.mac22.com (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Corwin Allen (8/21/2013 4:59:00 PM)

    I'm not a religious person. Nor do I attend church but I appreciate his passion and the real world thinking he had too. Some poems are just so surreal and out of this world but I enjoyed the relativity of it. Well written and such a smart man. (Report) Reply

  • Rookie N West (8/15/2013 8:25:00 AM)

    How can you thank God in a literary piece without giving Him enough respect to capitalize his name, but to emphasize horror with a capital H? We all know who the god of horror is. This poem is agnostic and no wonder christians don't approve. Also, the fact that he entitled the poem with a latin word (i.e. dead language; language of the Romans who killed Jesus Christ) speaks volumes. My daughter was supposed to memorize this poem for school but instead I have requested a conference with her teacher. It's one thing to go over this in a lesson plan but to have my daughter add this to their long time memory without even a mere explanation or debate amongst her peers just affirms for me that the secret society is thriving. Remember, Timothy McVeigh also invoked this poem before his execution. (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Jeff Hughes (8/6/2013 11:45:00 AM)

    Read Matthew 7: 21 for true meaning of Henley's poem. He is cursing Jesus Christ for saying that few enter heaven and that many enter hell. The punishment Henley alludes to is the judgement both old and new testament prophets warned about, and the Christ more than all the rest. this man is shaking his fist at God. He is saying I don, t care about all of your wanings, etc etc etc (Report) Reply

  • Rookie William Hauber (8/5/2013 4:07:00 PM)

    Erin: what gies you the idea English is moribund? It is the language of science and invention and has over two million meanings plus the ability to create words (very useful in these days of scientific progress) . The poem expresses the British (traditional) character perfectly: principle and determination, ruled by free will and respect for others' rights. Hats off to the poem and its author! (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Mohabeer Beeharry (7/29/2013 6:13:00 AM)

    Plausible strength and objectivity. I like this poem. Strength and determination have no colour or religion. It is belief in oneself.

    Mohabeer Beeharry (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Erin Thomas (7/22/2013 12:57:00 AM)

    The closing stanza of this poem will probably be remembered long after English has become a dead language. Very powerful. Very moving. (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Uriel Grey (7/12/2013 11:51:00 PM)

    some history on this poem from literature and life in England by dudley miles and robert pooley published 1948 lol love older books sorry no ISBN too old. anyway what it say about INVICTUS:

    [This poem and the next two (where forlorn sunsets, a late lark twitters) were written by a man whose portait is familiar to all readers of Treasurer Island, for Stevenson drew Long John Silver from his intimate friend, William (1849-1903) .
    The Cheerful courage of Henley becomes almost defiant in invictus. The title is a latin word meaning unconquered. The Poem was Written in the hospital where Henley had spent twenty months after he had lost a foot by a kind of tuberculosis.

    anyway there you go awesome love this poem and the where forlorn sunsets is good :) lol (Report) Reply

  • Rookie - 62 Points John Vincent (7/7/2013 8:36:00 AM)

    This is brilliant anti-religious poetry. Religions are pure sociopathic fatalism. This poetry smashes that lie. Inshallah? God willing? No. He is the master of his fate. He is the captain of his soul. (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Pari Nata (7/4/2013 5:07:00 PM)

    my friend's step-mother makes $66 hourly on the internet. She has been fired for 6 months but last month her paycheck was $20051 just working on the internet for a few hours. Read more on this web site http: //www.zee44.com (Report) Reply

  • Rookie John Hardesty (6/30/2013 4:05:00 PM)

    The poem bears mortality in a guessing gracious view of the blest life he has lived thus far! Either by luck or fate, he has sustained! ! (Report) Reply

  • Rookie L Garnham (6/28/2013 3:19:00 PM)

    also he's says he's thankful for the gods at the start, he uses what they have given him rather than expecting them to solve his problems for him. (Report) Reply

  • Rookie L Garnham (6/28/2013 3:17:00 PM)

    Seems there are a lot of Christians commenting on this, I like this poem, not because it is anti-religion or God, I don't see it as such but because I really admire the spirit of the character it is about. Someone who doesn't give up not matter what life throws at them, that struggles through and keeps going despite all the suffering and pain that they are put through. I see them as someone fighting either for a cause they really believe in or maybe for someone they love (not necessarily a partner, perhaps a child or a friend) .
    I like the message that when it comes down to it we have to solve our own problems we can't expect someone else, not even a god to do it for us. Perhaps that god will say to us I gave you the ability to help yourself and you didn't use it. Why then should I help you? (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Rachel Evans (6/25/2013 6:34:00 AM)

    Guys, do you not think that William Henley is entitled to his own view? Surely the theme of the poem is that we alone are masters of our fate. He has no belief in an afterlife but puts his faith in the courage of man when faced with adversity. I do think that to change the words of this poem simply to fit with your own religious belief is to dishonour not only the poet, but your fellow man. Is not each one of us entitled to our own beliefs? (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Don Mars (6/20/2013 4:41:00 PM)

    cmon people regardless of relision God has given us the gift and the freedom to chose how we want to live our lives. that is the basis of this masterpiece (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Eliza Burgess (6/20/2013 2:54:00 PM)

    Claire. true that Patricia`s stori is shocking, last thursday I got a great Ford Mustang after bringing in $4531 this last month and-a little over,10-k last munth. no-doubt about it, this really is the most financialy rewarding I have ever done. I began this 8-months ago and pretty much straight away was earning at least $78... per/hr., kep2.com (Report) Reply

Trending Poets

Trending Poems

  1. The Saddest Poem, Pablo Neruda
  2. Winter Solstice, Jacqueline C Nash
  3. Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening, Robert Frost
  4. Still I Rise, Maya Angelou
  5. I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings, Maya Angelou
  6. Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night, Dylan Thomas
  7. Fire and Ice, Robert Frost
  8. The Road Not Taken, Robert Frost
  9. A Dream Within A Dream, Edgar Allan Poe
  10. Annabel Lee, Edgar Allan Poe

Poem of the Day

poet Dante Gabriel Rossetti

A little while a little love
The hour yet bears for thee and me
Who have not drawn the veil to see
If still our heaven be lit above.
Thou merely, at the day's last sigh,
...... Read complete »


New Poems

  1. You will find, hasmukh amathalal
  2. Bale Visions, Adeosun Olamide
  3. The good theme, hasmukh amathalal
  4. Whatever The Outcome, Lawrence S. Pertillar
  5. I'm Scared Without You, Michael P. McParland
  6. Stars, Jordan Myrie
  7. farewell; to the lost love, ademola oluwabusayo
  8. I'll Always, Michael P. McParland
  9. Have Faith, Michael P. McParland
  10. Grace Me, Michael P. McParland
[Hata Bildir]