William Ernest Henley


Crosses and Troubles

I gave my heart to a woman

Margaritae Sorori

England, My England

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.



Crosses and Troubles
Crosses and troubles a-many have proved me. One or two women (God bless them) have loved me. I have worked and dreamed, and I’ve talked at will. Of art and drink I have had my fill. I’ve comforted here, and I succored there. I’ve faced my foes, and I backed my friends. I’ve blundered, and sometimes made amends. I’ve prayed for light, and I’ve known despair. Now I look before, as I look behind, Come storm, come shine, whatever befall, With a grateful heart and a constant mind, For the end I know is the best of all.



I gave my heart to a woman
I gave my heart to a woman – I gave it her, branch and root. She bruised, she wrung, she tortured, She cast it under foot. Under her feet she cast it, She trampled it where it fell, She broke it all to pieces, And each was a clot of hell. There in the rain and the sunshine They lay and smouldered long; And each, when again she viewed them, Had turned to a living song.



Margaritae Sorori
A late lark twitters from the quiet skies: And from the west, Where the sun, his day's 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 accomplish'd and the long day done, My wages taken, and in my heart Some late lark singing, Let me be gather'd to the quiet west, The sundown splendid and serene, Death.



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 you've 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 mail'd 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 Sea's delight, England, my own, Chosen daughter of the Lord, Spouse-in-Chief of the ancient Sword, There 's the menace of the Word In the Song on your bugles blown, England— Out of heaven on your bugles blown!


"Henley, William Ernest (1849–1903), English poet, 
critic, and editor. 
Although crippled by tuberculosis of the bone, 
he led an active, vigorous life. 
As editor of several reviews successively, 
he introduced to the public a galaxy of young 
writers, including Kipling, Wells, and Yeats. 
Although his verse is noted for its bravado 
and spirit of defiance, his poetry could be 
equally delicate and lyrical. His best-known 
poems include "England, My England," and 
"Invictus," which concludes with the famous 
lines "I am the master of my fate, I am 
the captain of my soul." Henley's volumes 
of verse include A Book of Verses 
(1888), The Song of the Sword (1892), and 
For England's Sake (1900). 
He collaborated on four plays with Robert 
Louis Stevenson, with whom he enjoyed a long 
©Source: Columbia Encyclopedia.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. 
Copyright © 2007, Columbia University Press. 
All rights reserved.

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