“Invictus” by William Ernest Henley (1849–1903).

“Invictus” by William Ernest Henley (1849–1903)

At the age of 12, Henley became a victim of tuberculosis of the bone. In spite of this, in 1867 he successfully passed the Oxford local examination as a senior student. His diseased foot had to be amputated directly below the knee; physicians had announced that the only way to save his life was to amputate. Henley persevered and survived with one foot intact. He was discharged in 1875, and was able to lead an active life for nearly 30 years despite his disability. With an artificial foot, he lived until the age of 53. “Invictus” was written from a hospital bed despite Henley’s condition.

100 years later, this poem bring strength and courage to Mandela to eliminate the apartheid and unify his countrymen.


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.


Di dalam keadaan yang menimpaku
Aku tak mengeluh ataupun menangis
Di bawah tempaan takdir
Jiwaku berdarah namun tak terpatahkan

Di balik tempat amarah dan air mata ini
Hanya mengingtip horror kematian
Namun, ancaman bertahun-tahun akan menemukanku…
… dan pasti hanya akan menemukanku.., tanpa rasa takut

Seberapa pun kuatnya gerbang
Seberapa pun beratnya hukuman
Akulah penguasa takdirku
Akulah kapten jiwaku

by William Ernest Henley (1849–1903).

This entry was published on December 17, 2010 at 7:41 pm. It’s filed under Art, Poetry, wisdom and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

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