Invictus, the poem that empowered and inspired Nelson Mandela

Posted: 8 December 2013 in life
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Invictus is a short poem by the English poet William Ernest Henley (1849–1903). Invictus (Latin for “unconquered”) was recited by Nelson Mandela, who was empowered by its message of self-mastery, to other prisoners during his incarceration on Robben Island prison. The poem also leant its title to the 2009 film Invictus, directed by Clint Eastwood and starring Morgan Freeman as Nelson Mandela.

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.


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