Invictus is the title of a poem written by British poet William Ernest Henley in 1875. Henley was recovering in a hospital at the time, having undergone a foot amputation caused by a bone disease.
This poem was very dear to Nelson Mandela, who often read it for comfort throughout his years in prison during the South African apartheid.
I composed this piece for Norway’s Defrost Youth Choir, conducted by Thomas Caplin.
Here is the text of this magnificent and touching poem:
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 matter 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.