Do not go gentle into that good night

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"Do not go gentle into that good night" is a villanelle written by Welsh poet Dylan Thomas (1914–1953), considered to be one of his finest works. Originally published in the journal Botteghe Oscure in 1951,[1] it also appeared as part of his 1952 collection In Country Sleep and other poems.

Written for his dying father, it is one of Thomas's most popular and accessible poems.[2] The poem has no title other than its first line, "Do not go gentle into that good night", a line which appears as a refrain throughout. The poem's other equally famous refrain is "Rage, rage against the dying of the light".

The poem was the inspiration for three paintings by Swansea-born painter and print-maker Ceri Richards.[3]

The poem was recited by the character Thornton Melon, played by Rodney Dangerfield, in the 1986 film Back to School where his English professor has him recite the poem to inspire him to complete an exam.


  1. ^ Ferris, Paul (1989). Dylan Thomas, A Biography. New York: Paragon House. p. 283. ISBN 1-55778-215-6. 
  2. ^ "Dylan Thomas: Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night". BBC WalesArts. 6 November 2008. Retrieved 18 December 2010. 
  3. ^ "Ceri Richards: 'Do not go gentle into that good night' 1956". Retrieved 22 October 2013. 

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