Willian Ernest Henley, when writing the poem below, would never have dreamed that his verses could inspire a man of Nelson Mandela's greatness to endure, for twenty-seven years, captivity, condemned for his struggle against apartheid.
It was this same poem that gave the title to the 2009 film with Morgan Freeman and Matt Damon.
William Ernest Henley
Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the Pit 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.