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for male voice choir and piano

Year:  2021   ·  Duration:  3m 30s
Instrumentation:  TBB choir, piano

Year:  2021
Duration:  3m 30s
Instrumentation  TBB choir, piano

David Hamilton

Composer:   David Hamilton


Victorian poet William Ernest Henley (1849-1903) is best remembered for this short poem, originally part of a longer work. He had suffered from tuberculosis from a young age, which eventually lead to the amputation of one leg and the possible loss of the second.
“Invictus” is a poem about resilience in the face of suffering. The poem talks at first about the darkness of the poet’s circumstances and appeals to any god that may help. Looking back, he acknowledges that while life has been hard, it has not damaged his resolve and spirit. Looking forward, he affirms that any suffering to come will not frighten him. The final stanza confirms that the poet believes he is the master of his destiny, and like a captain he is in charge of his ‘inner life’.

The score is available from the composer (contact

Dedication note

Invictus was written for Grammar Voices 2021 and conductor Emma Roxburgh.

Text note

Text by William Ernest Henley