William Ernest Henley Poems

William Ernest Henley was a British critic, editor, and poet who lived in Victorian England. He is best remembered for his poem ‘Invictus’ published 1875. He died in 1903 at the age of 53.


by William Ernest Henley

‘Invictus’ is W.E. Henley’s most famous and inspirational poem, that resonates with people worldwide. He wrote the poem in 1875 and dedicated it Scottish flour merchant named Robert Thomas Hamilton Bruce.

Henley's 'Invictus,' has become one of his most popular and enduring works. His poetry is characterized by its strong and vigorous language, rich imagery, and exploration of themes such as courage, determination, and the resilience of the human spirit. This poem holds significant importance in the realm of poetry and has resonated with readers across generations. It has been widely anthologized and referenced in various contexts, including motivational speeches, self-help literature, and popular culture.

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.

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