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 unbow’d.
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 straight the gate,
How charged with punishment the scroll,
I am master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.
G. K. Chesterton described Henley as “a sad, sensitive and tender-hearted pessimist, who endured pain that came from nowhere, and enjoyed pleasure that came from nowhere, with the exquisite appreciation of some timid child.”