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William Ernest Henley

William Ernest Henley, who lived between 1849-1903, was an English poet, critic and editor and, in fact, introduced many young writers to the literary world, among them were Kipling, Wells and Yeats. Suffering from tuberculosis of the bone and having had his foot amputated, he comments on his tragedy in his famous poem Invictus (unconquerable) with a sense of bravado and spirit of defiance, for which he was known.

Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the Pit form 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.

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