Henley’s most famous and inspirational poem, that resonates with people worldwide. He was an English poet, writer, critic, and editor in the late Victorian period. Throughout all that he has been dealt, the speaker has not even cringed or cried about what has happened. The head is still held high. Des Schicksals Schläg in … Invictus, meaning "unconquerable" or "undefeated" in Latin, is a poem by William Ernest Henley. Invictus, meaning “unconquerable” or “undefeated” in Latin, is a poem by William Ernest Henley. It was during his time in Edinburgh that Henley met the writer Robert Louis Stevenson. Meaning of the Poem ‘Invictus’ by William Ernest Henley 'Invictus', a poem said to have inspired great men, is a highly motivational piece of poetry that will surely boost your morale. Then he chose to travel to Edinburgh in August 1873 for treatment under the renowned English surgeon Joseph Lister. Invictus by William Ernest Henley is an inspirational poem. Invictus in Latin means unconquered. The ailment resulted in the amputation of his left leg below the knee in 1868-69. Whereas the tone of the first stanza is ironic and firm. He again tells his reader that he does not fear anything. Latin for "invincible", the poem "Invictus" is a deeply descriptive and motivational work filled with vivid imagery. The third stanza of ‘Invictus’ takes a darker turn, for the speaker refers to an afterlife that is filled with horror. William Ernest Henley, born August 23, 1849, was an influential British poet, perhaps best known for his poem “Invictus” (1875). Though at the actual event Mandela gave him a text of “The Man in the Arena” passage from Theodore Roosevelt’s “Citizenship in a Republic” speech delivered in France in 1910. According to the Online Etymology Dictionary, Invictus is a Latin adjective used to describe something or someone that is “unconquerable, unsubdued, or invincible.” The word combines the prefix in, meaning not, and victus, from the word vincere, meaning “to conquer or overcome.” Looking at W.E. The speaker looks into the future, taking into account all the anger and pain associated with life on earth, and particularly in places such as hospitals. He faces each challenge with courage and is not afraid, and he can surmount any hardship. The speaker implies that their unconquerable soul is a gift from a godly realm. Out of the night that covers me, Black as the pit from pole to pole, I thank whatever gods may be. But, it shall find the speaker, unafraid. It is said that William Ernest Henley wrote the poem in 1875 for a Scottish flour merchant named Robert Thomas Hamilton Bruce. The message is underlined - the speaker has a clear intention, to survive against all the odds. Times may be dark, the fates against you, but you know what? In the first stanza of ‘Invictus’, the speaker immediately sets the stage for his reader. According to the poet, one must act by his will and mind. We are the master of our destiny. You can read about 8 of the Best Self-Love Poems here. Hence the poem is written in iambic tetrameter. Moreover, when he is being judged, no matter how many punishments are listed, he will have decided his fate, and he will have steered his course. Here, the speaker talks about the sufferings in his life and how he conquered everything that came in his way to rampage his self-belief. Nelson Mandela has been depicted in films on multiple occasions. In the early 1870s, he faced a similar problem with his other leg. It seems as if the poet wrote this poem from the perspective of a person who is courageously fighting the odds of his or her life in a dark and upsetting phase. Many Victorian writers often incorporated nature into their poetry, and Henley continued this trend, which is quite evident in the lines of ‘Invictus’. And lines three and four acknowledge that help was given somewhere, somehow, perhaps by a deity or deities, not by any named god or specific creator. (Online Etymology Dictionary) “Invictus” by William Ernest Henley is a poem about not being afraid when the death is approaching, and holding on to one’s honor in spite of the discourtesy life places for us. The fourth stanza, while still fairly dark, is somewhat more uplifting, particularly in the last two lines of the poem. Every single person that visits PoemAnalysis.com has helped contribute, so thank you for your support. The poet certainly knew hard times and needed all his strength to battle against disease. Politicians and authors also love to quote the inspirational last two lines of the poem: In this poem, the speaker is faced with seemingly insurmountable challenges. Thereafter, by using the phrase “from pole to pole,” the poet conjures up an image of the world, and it gives an almost nautical feel to the poem. Ich dank, welch Gott es geben mag, dass unbezwungn ist meine Seel. One reason Henley may have chosen to capitalize “Pit” is to refer to Hell, which is considered to be the bleakest and blackest of places. The second edition of Henley’s Book of Verses added a dedication “To R. T. H. B.”—a reference to Robert Thomas … In the second line, there is a simile and the comparison is made between the darkness of night to the color of the pit. Henley's personal experience on the operating table and in a hospital bed, facing possible death, certainly helped him create one of the most popular poems in the English language. Thereafter the poet throws light on the theme of fate vs free will. Invictus is a poem which focuses on the human spirit and its ability to overcome adversity. The out-worldly agents have no control over one’s mind or soul. 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