by William Ernest Henley
About the Author
William Ernest Henley (1849-1903) was born in Gloucester, England. When he was twelve, he was diagnosed with a bad type of arthritis, and had to get one of his legs amputated. While recovering in the hospital, he started writing poetry, including "Invictus". In Robert Louis Stevenson's Treasure Island, he apparently created the Long John Silver character after Henley. He died because of tuberculosis in 1903.
The theme of this poem is that no matter what happens to a person, no matter what they have to deal with, they are in control of their lives. Thanks to the grace of God, they are the "master of their fate" and the "captain of their soul."