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WILLIAM ERNEST HENLEY

1849-1903

853                                                 Invictus

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 unbowd.
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.

854                                          Margaritæ Sorori

A LATE lark twitters from the quiet skies:
And from the west,
Where the sun, his days work ended,
Lingers as in content,
There falls on the old, gray city
An influence luminous and serene,
A shining peace.
The smoke ascends
In a rosy-and-golden haze. The spires
Shine and are changed. In the valley
Shadows rise. The lark sings on. The sun,
Closing his benediction,
Sinks, and the darkening air
Thrills with a sense of the triumphing night
Night with her train of stars
And her great gift of sleep.
So be my passing!
My task accomplishd and the long day done,
My wages taken, and in my heart
Some late lark singing,
Let me be gatherd to the quiet West,
The sundown splendid and serene,
Death.

855                                        England, My England

WHAT have I done for you,
  England, my England?
What is there I would not do,
  England, my own?
With your glorious eyes austere,
As the Lord were walking near,
Whispering terrible things and dear
  As the Song on your bugles blown,
   England
  Round the world on your bugles blown!
Where shall the watchful sun,
  England, my England,
Match the master-work youve done,
  England, my own?
When shall he rejoice agen
Such a breed of mighty men
As come forward, one to ten,
  To the Song on your bugles blown,
   England
  Down the years on your bugles blown?
Ever the faith endures,
  England, my England:
Take and break us: we are yours,
  England, my own!
Life is good, and joy runs high
Between English earth and sky:
Death is death; but we shall die
  To the Song on your bugles blown,
   England
  To the stars on your bugles blown!
They call you proud and hard,
  England, my England:
You with worlds to watch and ward,
  England, my own!
You whose maild hand keeps the keys
Of such teeming destinies,
You could know nor dread nor ease
  Were the Song on your bugles blown,
   England,
  Round the Pit on your bugles blown!

Mother of Ships whose might,
  England, my England,
Is the fierce old Seas delight,
  England, my own,
Chosen daughter of the Lord,
Spouse-in-Chief of the ancient Sword,
Theres the menace of the Word
  In the Song on your bugles blown,
   England
  Out of heaven on your bugles blown!

 

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