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William Ernest Henley (1849 – 1903)

English poet, critic and editor.
William Ernest Henley
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.
Henley quotes
Who says that we shall pass, or the fame of us fade and die,
While the living stars fulfil their round in the living sky?
Dear, was it really you and I?
In truth the riddle's ill to read,
So many are the deaths we die
Before we can be dead indeed.

Henley William Ernest quotes
From the winter’s gray despair,
From the summer’s golden languor,
Death, the lover of Life,
Frees us for ever.
Henley William Ernest
Life is (I think) a blunder and a shame.
William Ernest Henley quotes
Plainly Hugo was the greatest man of letters of his day. It has been given to few or none to live a life so full of effort and achievement, so rich in honour and success and fame. Born almost with the century, he was a writer at fifteen, and at his death he was writing still; so that the record of his career embraces a period of more than sixty years. There is hardly a department of art to a foremost place in which he did not prove his right. From first to last; from the time of Chateaubriand to the time of Zola, he was a leader of men; and with his departure from the scene the undivided sovereignty of literature became a thing of the past like Alexander's empire.
William Ernest Henley
Some starlit garden grey with dew,
Some chamber flushed with wine and fire,
What matters where, so I and you
Are worthy our desire?
Henley William Ernest quotes
My songs were once of the sunrise:
They shouted it over the bar;
First-footing the dawns, they flourished,
And flamed with the morning star.
Life — give me life until the end,
That at the very top of being,
The battle-spirit shouting in my blood,
Out of the reddest hell of the fight
I may be snatched and flung
Into the everlasting lull,
The immortal, incommunicable dream.
Henley William Ernest
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.
William Ernest Henley
Life — life — life! 'Tis the sole great thing
This side of death,
Heart on heart in the wonder of Spring!

William Ernest Henley quotes
Life — life — let there be life!
Better a thousand times the roaring hours
When wave and wind,
Like the Arch-Murderer in flight
From the Avenger at his heel,
Storm through the desolate fastnesses
And wild waste places of the world!
William Ernest Henley
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.
Henley quotes
Time's right-hand man, the sea
Laughs as in joy
From his millions of wrinkles:
Laughs that his destiny,
Great with the greatness
Of triumphing order,
Shows as a dwarf
By the strength of his heart
And the might of his hands.
Henley William Ernest
Those incantations of the Spring
That made the heart a centre of miracles
Grow formal, and the wonder-working bours
Arise no more — no more.
Henley William Ernest quotes
You played and sang a snatch of song,
A song that all-too well we knew;
But whither had flown the ancient wrong;
And was it really I and you?
O, since the end of life's to live
And pay in pence the common debt,
What should it cost us to forgive
Whose daily task is to forget?
William Ernest Henley
Into a land
Storm-wrought, a place of quakes, all thunder-scarred,
Helpless, degraded, desolate,
Peace, the White Angel, comes.
Her eyes are as a mother's. Her good hands
Are comforting, and helping; and her voice
Falls on the heart, as, after Winter, Spring
Falls on the World, and there is no more pain.
William Ernest Henley quotes
In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.
William Ernest Henley
Love, which is lust, is the Lamp in the Tomb.
Love, which is lust, is the Call from the Gloom.
Love, which is lust, is the Main of Desire.
Love, which is lust, is the Centric Fire.
So man and woman will keep their trust,
Till the very Springs of the Sea run dust.
Yea, each with the other will lose and win,
Till the very Sides of the Grave fall in.
For the strife of Love's the abysmal strife,
And the word of Love is the Word of Life.
And they that go with the Word unsaid,
Though they seem of the living, are damned and dead.
Henley William Ernest
What have I done for you,
England, my England?
What is there I would not do,
England, my own?

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