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This represents a more "British" stoicism than early Greek Stoicism.

American fliers shot down during the Vietnam war and imprisioned for several years in solitary used "tap code" to communicate and found a source of inspiration in this poem. (Personal reflection heard from Lt. Coffey.)


William Ernest Henley


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 full 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.




Contact: Peter Eyland