Tag Archives: Master

‘The Master of my Soul’

6 Nov

Hopefully you regular readers on Another King won’t see me as a movie junkie due to my other posts about classic film lines, however I felt this one was begging to be doneas i’ve been hearing it a lot recently. My focus isn’t exactly on a film, it is on the poem, ‘Invictus’, written by Victorian writer William Ernest Henley in 1875 and this has been more recently made famous by Clint Eastwood’s production in 2009, where he captures the poem being used in South Africa as they won the 1995 Rugby World Cup against all the odds. Perhaps you’ve seen the film or heard a few lines, but never got a chance to read the whole thing, well here’s your opportunity!

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.


A poem that is filled with rich language and it’s all pretty emotional when it is used against the backdrop of a South African nation over coming apartheid and social inequality to go on and conquer some of the biggest names in world rugby, however that’s not what I wish to focus on. The last two lines have become very popular in recent months, many people have quoted them, have them scribbled down on their notepads or merely just thinking them to themselves in testing circumstances.

But when we stop to think about the implications of those last two lines, we see the utter foolishness of mankind creeping in. Psalm 14:1 states ‘The fool says in his heart, there is no God’, and the words of this poem seem to show up this flaw in man’s heart. Man thinks we’re able to control our own future, we think we’re able to go against whatever circumstances beset us, because we are the ‘captain of our souls’.

We see many modern minds telling the masses of people in this world that because there is nothing out there, nothing eternal to worry about, then why shouldn’t every man and woman be in charge of themselves? No matter what is happening, they can turn it around because of their inward pride, because of their belief in no deity and their belief in their own strenght….

Of course, those readers of the scriptures know this to be nonsense….Psalm 128:1 ‘Blessed is everyone who fears the Lord, who walks in his ways!’ Psalm 46:1 ‘God is our refuge and our strength, a very present help in trouble.’ We must acknowledge that God is the master of our fates, he alone is the only one who can be a comfort in the midst of troubles and he alone is the only one that man can find refuge in on that great and terribly judgement day that is coming. May we continue to realise our own stupidity in placing trust in our own works and turn to an increased faith in God and his saving power.

As with all poems, lots of people can have lots of various takes on them so upon reading Invictus you feel some thing sticking out at you, drop us a comment and feel free to share!