While incarcerated on Robben Island prison, Nelson Mandela recited the poem to other prisoners and was empowered by its message of self-mastery. In the movie Invictus, Mandela gives the captain of the national South African rugby team the poem to inspire him to lead his team to a Rugby World Cup win, telling him how it inspired him in prison. In reality, as opposed to the movie, Mandela gave the captain, Francois Pienaar, a copy of the “The Man in the Arena” passage from President of the United States Theodore Roosevelt’s speech Citizenship in a Republic instead.- WIKI
Morgan Freeman was just on Charlie Rose…He repeated a poem, brought back memories, what a beautiful thing from poet 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.
In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeoning 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.
From President Roosevelt……It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.