Invictus vs. My Captain

I recently reread William Ernest Henley’s “Invictus,” and it reminded me that I had once recorded a biblical parody of this dark poem in my journals. Here it is

Out of the night that covers me,                        Out of the light that dazzles me,
Black as the Pit from pole to pole,                     Bright as the sun from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be                            I thank the God I know to be
For my unconquerable soul.                               For Christ the conqueror of my soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance                     Since His the sway of circumstance,
I have not winced nor cried aloud.                   I would not wince nor cry aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance                    Under that rule which men call chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.                      My head with joy is humbly bowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears               Beyond this place of sin and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,                  That life with Him! And His the aid,
And yet the menace of the years                        Despite the menace of the years,
Finds and shall find me unafraid.                       Keeps, and shall keep me, unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,                    I have no fear, though strait the gate,
How charged with punishment the scroll,     He cleared from punishment the scroll.
I am the master of my fate                                    Christ is the Master of my fate,
I am the captain of my soul.                                 Christ is the Captain of my soul.

— William Ernest Henley                                           — Dorothea Day

What a stark difference between the Christian and the humanist!



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