by William Ernest Henley
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.
William Ernest Henley (1849–1903) was a late-Victorian poet and editor. (Interesting trivia: Henley was the inspiration for Robert Louis Stevenson’s character Long John Silver.)
The Ships That Won’t Go Down
by Henry Lawson
We hear a great commotion
’Bout the ship that comes to grief,
That founders in mid-ocean,
Or is driven on a reef;
Because it’s cheap and brittle
A score of sinners drown.
But we hear but mighty little
Of the ships that won’t go down.
Here’s honour to the builders—
The builders of the past;
Here’s honour to the builders
That builded ships to last;
Here’s honour to the captain,
And honour to the crew;
Here’s double-column headlines
To the ships that battle through.
They make a great sensation
About famous men that fail,
That sink a world of chances
In the city morgue or gaol,
Who drink, or blow their brains out,
Because of “Fortune’s frown.”
But we hear far too little
Of the men who won’t go down.
The world is full of trouble,
And the world is full of wrong,
But the heart of man is noble,
And the heart of man is strong!
They say the sea sings dirges,
But I would say to you
That the wild wave’s song’s a paean
For the men that battle through.
Henry Lawson (1867–1922) was an Australian writer and poet. . . .