Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Master of Fate; Captain of Soul

The poem, 'Invictus', has always bothered me. It is so dark and despairing. . . .and yet people look at it like its meant to be victorious: "I am the captain of my fate; I am the master of my soul." That's supposed to be a good thing? "I thank whatever gods may be, for my unconquerable soul..." Hensley boasts. "...My head is bloody, but unbowed." 

This second poem, here, 'Conquered', is so beautifully true. It contrasts the hollowness of chance, or fate, without Christ. . . .with the jubilation of salvation through our Redeemer.

W.E. Hensley, Invictus:
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.

Dorothea Day, Conquered:
Out of the night that dazzles me,
Bright as the sun from pole to pole,
I thank the God I know to be
For Christ the conqueror of my soul.
Since His the sway of circumstance,
I would not wince nor cry aloud.
Under that rule which men call chance
My head with joy is humbly bowed.
Beyond this place of sin and tears
That life with Him! And His the aid,
Despite the menace of the years,
Keeps, and shall keep me, unafraid.
I have no fear, though strait the gate,
He cleared from punishment the scroll.
Christ is the Master of my fate,
Christ is the Captain of my soul.

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