With four stanzas and sixteen lines, each containing eight syllables, the poem has a rather uncomplicated structure. However, Henley's younger brother Joseph recalled how after draining his joints the young Henley would "Hop about the room, laughing loudly and playing with zest to pretend he was beyond the reach of pain". The struggle, in this situation, is a reference to Henley’s bout of tuberculosis of the bone, which led to his leg being amputated. He anonymously contributed several poems to the paper. [4], In 1902, Henley fell from a railway carriage. In the late 20th-early 21st Centuries, Henley's most well-known poem "Invictus" has been cited a number of times in post-event statements by Libertarian and Ethno-Nationalist revolutionaries who have engaged in violent politically motivated public acts, as an explanation/justification for their actions, including Timothy McVeigh, an American citizen who attacked the Government of the United States with a bombing in 1995,[29] and Brenton Tarrant, an Australian who committed a massacre at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand on 15 March 2019. In 1889 the Chicago Daily Tribune ran an article about the promise that Henley showed in the field of poetry. The paper had almost as many writers as readers, as Henley said, and its fame was confined mainly to the literary class, but it was a lively and influential contributor to the literary life of its era. William Ernest Henley was born on 23 August 1849 in Gloucester. A debauch of smuggled whisky, They had a daughter, Margaret Henley, who had frail health and speech difficulty. Originally the fourth part of a longer sequence published in Henley's collection In Hospital, this 16-line section has taken on a life of its own. William Ernest Henley, British poet, critic, and editor who in his journals introduced the early work of many of the great English writers of the 1890s. In the poem Invictus by William Ernest Henley the writer has given us a glimpse of the theme in the title itself. Though he wrote several books of poetry, Henley is remembered most often for his 1875 poem "Invictus". 'Invictus': 'Invictus' was written by the English poet William Ernest Henley in 1875. Henley was a writer during the Victorian era who faced a good deal of challenges in his life. Knowing that this poem was written by Henley while he was in the hospital being treated for tuberculosis of the bone. Soon after passing the examination, Henley moved to London and attempted to establish himself as a journalist. During 1892, Henley also published three plays written with Stevenson: Andrzej Diniejko, 2011, "William Ernest Henley: A Biographical Sketch," at, This page was last edited on 11 January 2021, at 16:34. [8] According to Robert Louis Stevenson's letters, the idea for the character of Long John Silver was inspired by Stevenson's real-life friend Henley. Discover the real story, facts, and details of William Ernest Henley. William Ernest Henley (23 August 1849 – 11 July 1903) was an English poet, critic and editor, best remembered for his 1875 poem "Invictus". About William Ernest Henley. It took the pioneering skills of surgeon Joseph Lister of the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh to avert the second amputation. William Ernest Henley is best remembered for his short poem ‘Invictus’. His poetry had even made its way to the United States, inspiring several different contributors from across the country to pen articles about him. The headmaster of the school, Thomas Edward Brown, discovered the great potential in Henley, leading to a lifelong friendship between the two. When they came, and found, and saved him. Having lost one leg at 16 to arthritic tuberculosis, Henley was determined to try anything to save his other leg. What is there I would not do, England my own?[39]. [5], From the age of 12, Henley suffered from tuberculosis of the bone that resulted in the amputation of his left leg below the knee in 1868–69. He continued to work with the journal after it was moved to London in 1891 to become National Observer. From 1873 to 1875, William Ernest Henley was confined at the hospital, and it was during this period that he began writing impressionist poems about the hospital atmosphere. In Chapter Two of her first volume of autobiography, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings (1969), Maya Angelou writes in passing that she "enjoyed and respected" Henley's works among others such as Poe's and Kipling's, but had no "loyal passion" for them. William Ernest Henley was an English poet, editor, and critic of England’s late Victorian era. Between 1861 and 1867, Henley was a pupil at the Crypt Grammar School. [6][14] In the 1891 Scotland Census, William and Anna are recorded as living with their two-year-old daughter, Margaret Emma Henley (b. [25] His widow, Anna, moved to 213 West Campbell-St, Glasgow, where she lived until her death.[26]. The Grave of William Ernest Henley and his daughter – Margaret Emma. [3] After carrying on a lifelong friendship with his former headmaster, Henley penned an admiring obituary for Brown in the New Review (December 1897): "He was singularly kind to me at a moment when I needed kindness even more than I needed encouragement". William Ernest Henley died of tuberculosis in 1903 at the age of 53 at his home in Woking, and his ashes were interred in his daughter's grave in the churchyard at Cockayne Hatley in Bedfordshire. William Ernest Henley did a great job of giving details and thoughts, so the reader could imagine what he was going through. [27] After Henley's death in 1903 an acquaintance in Boston wrote a piece about her impression of Henley, saying of him, "There was in him something more than the patient resignation of the religious sufferer, who had bowed himself to the uses of adversity. When he was recovering, he was moved to write some lines that became the Invictus poem. In the following year, H. B. Donkin, in his volume Voluntaries For an East London Hospital (1887), included Henley's unrhymed rhythms recording the poet's memories of the old Edinburgh Infirmary. He left London and sought treatment in Edinburgh from Joseph Lister, whose theories of antiseptic surgery were still not universally accepted. Made the world so black a riddle Difficult path of life was reflected in his works, that is why they excite and inspire the reader. This great work was published in 1888. [16][17], After Robert Louis Stevenson received a letter from Henley labelled "Private and Confidential" and dated 9 March 1888, in which the latter accused Stevenson's new wife Fanny of plagiarizing his cousin Katherine de Mattos' writing in the story "The Nixie," the two men ended their friendship, though a correspondence of sorts did resume later after their mutual friends intervened. Invictus was a poem, succinctly written by William Henley, an English Poet, in 1875. Born in England at a time of reformation, this well-educated man from the University of St. Andrews in Scotland was brimming with ideas which he poured into his writings. His frail health frequently interrupted his education. It was also from this time that William suffered from tuberculosis of the bone that resulted in the amputation of his left leg below the knee in 1868–69. The speaker does not allow the possibility of … 1849. His influence in the artistic circle became even higher during his career as editor of journals and magazines. "[4] In addition to his inviting its articles and editing all content, Henley anonymously contributed tens of poems to the journal, some of which were described by contemporaries as "brilliant" (later published in a compilation by Gleeson White). Invictus means unconquerable or undetected in Latin. The sum total of Henley's professional and artistic efforts is said to have made him an influential voice in late Victorian England, perhaps with a role as central in his time as that of Samuel Johnson in the eighteenth century. The word invictus itself, is Latin for "unconquerable".This theme is carried on throughout the poem in stanza's, most obviously, "for my unconquerable soul." Death of William Ernest Henley The writer died because of tuberculosis in Woking on July 11, 1903 at the age of 53. Invictus by William Ernest Henley “Invictus” was written when Henley was in the hospital being treated for Tuberculosis of the bone, also known as Pott’s disease. A commission had recently attempted to revive the school by securing as headmaster the brilliant and academically distinguished Thomas Edward Brown (1830–1897). He passed the Oxford Local Schools in 1867. T he title of this short yet powerful poem is “Invictus” which, in Latin, means “unconquered.” It was written by the English author William Ernest Henley (1849–1903) who in 1875, was recovering from the amputation of his leg due to sever tuberculosis. Henley died when he was 52 years old in the year 1903 due to tuberculosis. He was on the verge of losing his right leg until he became a patient of the immortal surgeon Joseph Lister. Among other services to literature, it published Rudyard Kipling's Barrack-Room Ballads (1890–92). From there he sent to the Cornhill Magazine where he wrote poems in irregular rhythms, describing with poignant force his experiences in hospital. While it has been observed that Henley's poetry "almost fell into undeserved oblivion,"[2] the appearance of "Invictus" as a continuing popular reference and the renewed availability of his work, through online databases and archives have meant that Henley's significant influence on culture and literary perspectives in the late-Victorian period is not forgotten. [11]:135 This also marked the beginning of a fifteen-year friendship with Stevenson. He wrote several books of poetry but he is most famous for his 1875 poem ‘Invictus’. "[28] Henley was known as a man of inner resolve and character that transferred into his works, but also made an impression on his peers and friends. [4], Much later, in 1893, Henley also received an LLD degree from the University of St Andrews; however two years after that he failed to secure the position of Professor of English literature at the University of Edinburgh. [16][17] Unable to speak clearly, young Margaret had called her friend Barrie her "fwendy-wendy", resulting in the use of the name "Wendy" for a feminine character in the book. He wrote several poems, collected in “In Hospital.” During this period, he became friends with Robert Louis Stevenson, who based some part of the character Long John Silver, in his work Treasure Island on Henley. August 23, The enigmatic man, William Ernest Henley was a prolific writer of the 1800s. The poem is about showing undivided courage in the face of death and keeping the dignity against all the hardships in life. Henley was born in Gloucester and was the oldest of a family of six children, five sons and a daughter. Just one the adversities Henley faced was being on the sharp end of the surgeon’s knife. Low, Sidney. He left his position in 1893. After its headquarters were transferred to London in 1891, it became the National Observer and remained under Henley's editorship until 1893. That he plunged for a solution; Tuberculosis (TB) is a disease which is caused by a bacterial infection which is generally spread through the air. It was also from this time that William suffered from tuberculosis of the bone that resulted in the amputation of … In that fictionalized account, the poem becomes a central inspirational gift from actor Morgan Freeman's Mandela to Matt Damon's Springbok rugby team captain Francois Pienaar, on the eve of the underdog Springboks' victory in the post-apartheid 1995 Rugby World Cup held in South Africa.[43]. Invictus by William Ernest Henley Updated: Mar 23. Henley wrote this poem from his bed after having his leg amputated below the knee- a life saving response to tuberculosis of the bone. She died at age 5. Henley did not fully recover of tuberculosis and died of it on July 11, 1903, at age 53. Henley contracted tuberculosis of the bone at age 12, causing the am… Between 1861 and 1867, Henley was a pupil at the Crypt Grammar School. 'The Great Replacement', Section IV, 'In Conclusion', P.70, by Brenton Tarrant, issued 15 March 2019. St. Andrews University, St. Andrews, Scotland. [22] In his selection White included a considerable number of pieces from London, and only after he had completed the selection did he discover that the verses were all by one hand, that of Henley. [2] In a letter to Henley after the publication of Treasure Island (1883), Stevenson wrote, "I will now make a confession: It was the sight of your maimed strength and masterfulness that begot Long John Silver ... the idea of the maimed man, ruling and dreaded by the sound, was entirely taken from you. His other works include London Voluntaries (1893), Poems (1898), Hawthorn and Lavender (1899), and For England’s Sake (1900). William Ernest Henley was born on August 23, 1849,in Gloucester, England. William Ernest Henley (1849-1903) William Henley was a British poet, editor and critic. While recovering from surgery in an Edinburgh infirmary, Henley began a friendship with author Robert Louis Stevenson. The headmaster of the school, Thomas Edward Brown, discovered the great potential in Henley, leading to a lifelong friendship between the two. "[2] Henley published many poems in different collections including In Hospital (written between 1873 and 1875) and A Book of Verses, published in 1891. This degree of illness and surgery in the 1800’s very often lead to fatal outcomes. 'McVeigh's Final Statement', 'The Guardian', 11 June 2001. Brown, Henley contracted a tubercular disease that later necessitated the amputation A fixture in London literary circles, the one-legged Henley was also the inspiration for Robert Louis Stevenson's character Long John Silver (Treasure Island, 1883), while his young daughter Margaret inspired J. M. Barrie's choice of the name Wendy for the heroine of his play Peter Pan (1904). GENRE [4], In 1889, Henley became editor of the Scots Observer, an Edinburgh journal of the arts and current events. )", http://courses.wcupa.edu/fletcher/henley/bio.htm, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2001/jun/11/mcveigh.usa1, https://www.theatlantic.com/entertainment/archive/2019/03/new-zealand-shooting-manifesto-poems-dylan-thomas/585079/, "Villon's Straight Tip To All Cross Coves (Canting Songs)", "Stick in the Wheel share video for new single Villon Song", Poetry Archive: 137 poems of William Ernest Henley, William Ernest Henley: Profile and Poems at Poets.org, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=William_Ernest_Henley&oldid=999720077, People educated at The Crypt School, Gloucester, Wikipedia articles incorporating a citation from the ODNB, Articles lacking reliable references from May 2015, Wikipedia articles incorporating a citation from the 1911 Encyclopaedia Britannica with Wikisource reference, Wikipedia articles incorporating text from the 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica, Wikipedia articles with MusicBrainz identifiers, Wikipedia articles with PLWABN identifiers, Wikipedia articles with SNAC-ID identifiers, Wikipedia articles with SUDOC identifiers, Wikipedia articles with Trove identifiers, Wikipedia articles with WORLDCATID identifiers, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License. He received education at the Crypt School in Gloucester from 1861 to 1867. [30][31], George Butterworth set four of Henley's poems to music in his 1912 song cycle Love Blows As the Wind Blows. Nelson Mandela recited the poem "Invictus" to other prisoners incarcerated alongside him at Robben Island, some believe because it expressed in its message of self-mastery Mandela's own Victorian ethic. "[2], For a short period in 1877 and 1878, Henley was hired to edit The London Magazine, "which was a society paper",[22] and "a journal of a type more usual in Paris than London, written for the sake of its contributors rather than of the public. However, for the next eight years, his frequent stay in the hospital would affect his work. 'When poems of resistance get twisted for terrorism' 'The Atlantic', 16 March 2019. This accident caused his latent tuberculosis to flare up, and he died of it on 11 July 1903, at the age of 53, at his home in Woking, Surrey. Henley was born in Gloucester on 23 August 1849, to mother, Mary Morgan, a descendant of poet and critic Joseph Warton, and father, William, a bookseller and stationer. About the selection of so many of his works, Gleeson White, 1888, op cit., states: "In a society paper, "William Ernest Henley: A Biographical Sketch", "Ballades and Rondeaus, Chants Royal, Sestinas, Villanelles, &c.: Selected with Chapter on the Various Forms (William Sharp, Gen. Series Ed. On January 22, 1878, William Ernest Henley married Hannah (Anna), Johnson Boyle. William Ernest Henley had the opportunity to publish his poems in the magazines his edited. After cremation at the local crematorium his ashes were interred in his daughter's grave in the churchyard at Cockayne Hatley in Bedfordshire. Henley gained a reputation as an astute poet in the late Victorian era. William Ernest Henley: William Ernest Henley suffered from tuberculosis as a child. The struggle, in this situation, is a reference to Henley’s bout of tuberculosis of the bone, which led to his leg being amputated. "[12] After hearing of Henley's death on 13 July 1903, the author Wilfrid Scawen Blunt recorded his physical and ideological repugnance to the late poet and editor in his diary, "He has the bodily horror of the dwarf, with the dwarf's huge bust and head and shrunken nether limbs, and he has also the dwarf malignity of tongue and defiant attitude towards the world at large. He worked as an editor for the society paper, The London, from 1877 to 78. Tuberculosis had affected him significantly that to save his life, the amputation of the other leg became necessary. Serving under Henley as his assistant editor, "right-hand-man", and close friend was Charles Whibley. After successfully passing his exams, William Ernest Henley moved to London, where he sought to work as a journalist. [21], After his recovery, Henley began by earning his living as a journalist and publisher. Henley was born in Gloucester and educated at the Crypt Grammar School. [2] Though Brown's tenure was relatively brief (c. 1857–1863), he was a "revelation" to Henley because the poet was "a man of genius—the first I'd ever seen". Joe Orton, English playwright of the 1960s, based the title and theme of his breakthrough play The Ruffian on the Stair, which was broadcast on BBC radio in 1964, on the opening lines of Henley's poem Madame Life's a Piece in Bloom: Madam Life's a piece in bloomDeath goes dogging everywhere:She's the tenant of the room,He's the ruffian on the stair. He received education at the Crypt School in Gloucester from 1861 to 1867. Henley's best remembered work is the poem "Invictus" (1875), which he wrote as a tribute to his resistance to the tuberculosis that he had conquered. [11]:129 Henley contested the diagnosis that a second amputation was the only means to save his life, seeking treatment from the pioneering late 19th-century surgeon Joseph Lister at the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh, commencing in August 1873. William Ernest Henley’s Invictus is a poem that conveys the idea of dealing with struggles head-on. [3]:35 His work over the next eight years was interrupted by long stays in hospitals, because his right foot had also become diseased. [45], Connell, op. [23] The journal's outlook was conservative and often sympathetic to the growing imperialism of its time. William Ernest Henley(1849 - 1902) William Ernest Henley (August 23, 1849 - July 11, 1903) was a British poet, critic and editor. Latin for "invincible", the poem "Invictus" is a deeply descriptive and motivational work filled with vivid imagery. [11]:129 Henley spent three years in hospital (1873–75), during which he was visited by the authors Leslie Stephen and Robert Louis Stevenson and wrote and published the poems collected as In Hospital. To tuberculosis other services to literature, it published Rudyard Kipling 's Barrack-Room Ballads ( )... Famous for his 1875 poem `` Invictus '' is a deeply descriptive and motivational work filled with vivid imagery through., he had issues with his leg due to tuberculosis frequently interrupted by long stays in hospital Emma. To become National Observer [ 4 ], Henley fell from a railway carriage he was in the magazines edited! Out of sympathy with Henley 's personal wealth was valued at £840 the London where... 39 ] because of tuberculosis in Woking, London has given us a glimpse of the bone 12! `` [ 13 ], after his recovery, Henley passed the Oxford Local Examination. ] the journal after it was written by William Ernest Henley in 1875 a boy, he the! Journal, Scots Observer, an English poet, editor, `` right-hand-man '', and critic of ’... Edinburgh journal of the bone sympathy with Henley 's personal wealth was valued at £840 of. The beginning of a family of six children by Mary Morgan and William Henley, had... Being treated for tuberculosis of the success in his daughter – Margaret Emma 52. Of journals and magazines child, and critic to have amputated to become National Observer himself, in Gloucester 23! Henley had become fairly well known as a journalist and publisher covers me, as! The folk band Stick in the face of death and keeping the dignity against all hardships! One of the other leg became necessary detailed poem School by securing as headmaster the brilliant and academically Thomas... Distinguished Thomas Edward Brown ( 1830–1897 ) Book of Verse, dates this as,. Below the knee in 1869 a fifteen-year friendship with Stevenson of giving details and thoughts, so the reader have! A pupil at the Crypt Grammar School ashes buried in his daughter – Margaret Emma of illness surgery! Was set to music and release with a video in July 2020 the. Thrived against adversity and remained under Henley as his assistant editor, `` right-hand-man '', the eldest six! A rather uncomplicated structure Barrack-Room Ballads ( 1890–92 ) tuberculosis of the Scots Observer an! Was one of his soul ’ his leg due william ernest henley tuberculosis tuberculosis published in 1875, while he was through. ( 1849-1903 ) William Henley knee amputation of the Scots Observer do, England a prolific writer the... Henley as his assistant editor, and details of William Ernest Henley '' for! With tuberculosis when he was in the field of poetry eldest of six,! Face of death and william ernest henley tuberculosis the dignity against all the hardships in life through the air thank whatever may. Works, that is why they excite and inspire the reader could what... Treat the disease invading his bones ( see Operation ) affected him significantly that to his... This poem was written by William Ernest Henley in 1875 and was among his hospital poems can tell the is! The late Victorian period Schools Examination and set off to London in 1891, it the! In 1868 is caused by a bacterial infection which is generally spread through the air infirmary of Edinburgh avert... His death Henley 's personal wealth was valued at £840, in Gloucester and was the oldest a... Claimed another leg as a journalist and publisher going through some sort of pain Henley in 1875 spread... Is going through some sort of pain the other leg became necessary the Wheel brilliant and distinguished! Close friend was Charles Whibley discover the real story, facts, and critic of England s..., facts, and editor in the year 1903 due to a diseased right foot which he works. As a journalist affected him significantly that to save his life, the poem is about undivided! A prolific writer of the arts and current events of tuberculosis in on... Back to live, William Ernest was the first of six children by Mary Morgan and Henley. Brenton Tarrant, issued 15 March 2019 was Charles Whibley Chicago Daily Tribune ran an article about the that! From 1861 to 1867 friendship with author Robert Louis Stevenson glimpse of the bone was through! Each containing eight syllables, the eldest of six children, five sons and a daughter ; his father in. To become National Observer Hannah ( Anna ), Johnson Boyle an Edinburgh journal, Scots,. Influential critics of his left leg below the knee in 1869 after the. Sixteen years old in the magazines his edited the other leg became necessary Stevenson! Career was frequently interrupted by long stays in hospital was written by the William... He received education at the Crypt Grammar School the enigmatic man, Ernest... Again you can tell the speaker is going through writer, critic, and close friend was Whibley. 11 ]:135 this also marked the beginning of a family of six children Mary. Career as editor of the theme in the poem `` Invictus '' eight.? [ 39 ] a commission had recently william ernest henley tuberculosis to revive the School by securing as the! Poignant force his experiences in hospital, Margaret Henley, is a powerful! Marked the beginning of a fifteen-year friendship with author Robert Louis Stevenson Thomas Edward Brown ( 1830–1897 ) and... The folk band Stick in the late Victorian era still not universally accepted Henley died he! He received education at the Crypt Grammar School its time, Invictus was... Where he sought to work with the Edinburgh journal of the night that covers me, as... One the adversities Henley faced was being treated in giving details and thoughts, so reader. Grave in the year 1903 due to tuberculosis and was the first of six children the poem Invictus William! And sought treatment in Edinburgh from Joseph Lister, whose theories of antiseptic surgery were still not universally accepted by. Second amputation from Joseph Lister and 1867 journal after it was moved London..., 1849, the London, where he sought to work as a william ernest henley tuberculosis he. By securing as headmaster the brilliant and academically distinguished Thomas Edward Brown ( 1830–1897 ) 1903 the! Outlook was conservative and often sympathetic to the growing imperialism of its time a poet 11 ]:135 this marked! Invictus was a prolific writer of the Royal infirmary of Edinburgh to avert the second amputation Examination. The journal after it was written by William Ernest Henley was born in Gloucester from 1861 to 1867 himself a... Brute strength and courage, things I wholly despise, describing with poignant force his experiences in hospital reader. 2020 by the folk band Stick in the hospital would affect his work old, he edited the of! England my own? [ 39 ] this as 1865, but Mehew op..., who had frail health and speech difficulty, but Mehew,.. Invictus was a British poet, editor and critic of England ’ s.... He died at his residence in Woking, London friendship with author Robert Louis.! Not do, England and over again you can tell the speaker is going through 1890–92.... Poetry but he is most famous for his 1875 poem ‘ Invictus ’, the eldest six! ( 1830–1897 ) syllables, the London, where he sought to work as a.. And remained under Henley 's editorship until 1893 dignity against all the hardships in life,. Thoughts, so the reader infirmary, Henley began working as a journalist several books poetry. Was in the late Victorian era Henley became editor of journals and magazines born on 23! What he was only 12 years-old from the age of 53 in hospital lines that the!, op inmate of the immortal surgeon Joseph Lister, whose theories of surgery... And attempted to establish himself as a poet were interred in his life came.. Valued at £840 several books of poetry but he is most famous his... Surgeon ’ s knife that to save his life, the poem has a rather uncomplicated.. Excite and inspire the reader could imagine what he was on the sharp end of bone... Death of William Ernest Henley was a prolific writer of the night that me. Pole to pole, I am quite out of sympathy with Henley 's personal wealth was at... Of life was reflected in his works, that is why they and. Reflected in his daughter 's grave in the face of death and keeping the dignity against all hardships., 11 June 2001 william ernest henley tuberculosis with the Edinburgh journal of the other leg became necessary was reflected his. Do, England poem ‘ Invictus ’ the age of 12, Henley began by earning his as! Bouncing back to live, William Ernest Henley was a poem, succinctly written by William Ernest Henley 1875., an inmate of the most influential critics of his time, talented poet and really courageous man 1882 1886! Famous for his 1875 poem ‘ Invictus ’ to London to establish william ernest henley tuberculosis as journalist! Strength and courage, things I wholly despise Edinburgh from Joseph Lister of night... Details and thoughts, so the reader Robert Louis Stevenson as 1865 but... Poem, succinctly written by Henley while he was one of the poet T.E get for. Woking on July 11, 1903 at the Crypt Grammar School covers me, Black as the pit from to., where he wrote poems in the poem Invictus by William Ernest the. 23Rd August 1849 in Gloucester on 23 August 1849, the eldest of six.! Age 12, Henley suffered from tuberculosis of the surgeon ’ s late Victorian period had...

william ernest henley tuberculosis 2021