The Headland Journal

I am the captain of my soul — Invictus

How to hold on to your own dignity through life's challenges.

Invictus was written by William Ernest Henley in 1875. I found this copy of this poem by chance, hanging in the rain, damp and tattered from a tree on North Head. I thank whoever placed it in my path...

The dog-eared copy of 'Invictus' is now attached to my desk lamp


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.


I do not know who put it there, or who it was for, but as it was starting to rain heavily I popped in my pocket to save it from turning into sodden pulp. Today it's attached to a lamp on the side of my desk and I read it every day. Powerful stuff.

It was made famous by Nelson Mandela who relied on this poem for strength while imprisoned on Robben Island for 27 years. In this video Morgan Freeman provides insight and recites it by heart:

If you feel like you are no longer the captain of your soul get in touch and book yourself a free consultation to see how Headland can help you to become the master of your fate!

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