Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Orson F. Whitney's reply to Invictus: The Soul's Captain

Invictus
William Earnest 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. 
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 straight the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate,
I am the captain of my soul.


The Soul's Captain
Orson F. Whitney
Art thou in truth?
Then what of him who bought thee with his blood?
Who plunged into devouring seas
And snatched thee from the flood 
Who bore for all our fallen race
What none but him could bear--
The God who died that man might live
And endless glory share. 
Of what avail thy vaunted strength
Apart from his vast might?
Pray that his light may pierce the gloom
That thou mayest see aright. 
Men are as bubbles on the wave,
As leaves upon the tree,
Thou, captain of thy soul! Forsooth,
Who gave that place to thee? 
Free will is thine--free agency,
To wield for right or wrong;
But thou must answer unto him
To whom all souls belong. 
Bend to the dust that “head unbowed”,
Small part of life’s great whole,
And see in him and him alone,
The captain of thy soul.

Orson F. Whitney served as a member of the Council of the Twelve Apostles from 1906-1931.

Speaking of Invictus, President Gordon B. Hinkley said:
It is a great poem. It places upon the individual the responsibility for what he does with his life. Through these many years, when I have been faced with difficult choices I have repeated these stirring words. But on the other hand, it may sound arrogant and conceited in terms of the Atonement. Orson F. Whitney, of the Quorum of the Twelve of many years ago, so regarded it and wrote a marvelous response using the same poetic meter and entitling his verse “The Soul’s Captain.”  So it is. When all is said and done, when all the legions of the ages have passed in review, when man’s terrible inhumanity to man has been chronicled, when God’s great love for His children has been measured, then above all stands the lone figure of Jesus Christ, the Redeemer of the world, the Savior of mankind, the living Son of the living God, the Prince of Peace, the Holy One. (First Presidency Christmas Devotional, December 3, 2000)

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