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Invictus - Casey Rule

Digital Sheet Music

By Casey Rule

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Choir, SATB, SSAATTBB - Advanced Intermediate - Digital Download
Composed by Casey Rule. 21st Century, Post-Romantic. Score. 14 pages. Published by NoteNova Publishing (S0.205379).

Item Number: S0.205379

premiered by the Princeton Singers on June 28, 2014

This piece is a setting of the famed Victorian poem of the same name by William Ernest Henley. Henley grew up in poverty, the son of a stuggling bookseller who died when Henley was a teenager. As a child, Henley was diagnosed with tuberculosis of the bone which necessitated an amputation of one of his legs. Later, in his twenties, Henley was told he would have to lose the other leg as well, but instead sought an alternative treatment. Over the course of the next few years, Henley was treated at Edinburgh Royal Infirmary, where he began to write poetry, including this then-untitled poem. Decades later, Sir Arthur Quiller-Couch, when including it in his Oxford Book of English Verse, would title the poem “Invictus”, which in Latin means “unconquered”.

Performance note: While the E minor score may work best for experienced voices, the piece may sit a little high for high school or college singers. If performing this piece with younger singers, I would recommend using the D minor score. (Both scores are included with downloaded purchases.)


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 strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.

– William Ernest Henley (1849–1903)

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