The Works of W. E. Henley: Poems
“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, "Echoes of Life and Death"
William Ernest Henley is probably best known for his poem "Invictus". However as a popular poet and a central literary figure of his day he wrote several other poems on the same carpe diem theme. The poem below is one of those inspirational verses.
Henley was editor for Kipling, Yeats and others, and his close friendship with Robert Louis Stevenson led to collaboration on a handful of plays. Among his poems one of my favorites is "Between the Dusk of a Summer Night,":
Between the dusk of a summer night
And the dawn of a summer day,
We caught at a mood as it passed in flight,
And we bade it stoop and stay.
And what with the dawn of night began
With the dusk of day was done;
For that is the way of woman and man,
When a hazard has made them one.
Arc upon arc, from shade to shine,
The World went thundering free;
And what was his errand but hers and mine --
The lords of him, I and she?
O, it's die we must, but it's live we can,
And the marvel of earth and sun
Is all for the joy of woman and man
And the longing that makes them one.
William Ernest Henley