This is a Poem ‘Invictus’ (Unconquered, Undefeated) by William Henley. Great South African Leader Nelson Mandela (Madiba) was inspired by the poem, and had it written on a scrap of paper on his prison cell while he was incarcerated for 27 years on Robben Island.
I am the master of my fate: I am the captain of my soul.
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.