"Invictus" is a short Victorianpoem by the English poet William Ernest Henley (1849–1903). It was written in 1875 and published in 1888 in his first volume of poems, Book of Verses, where it is the fourth poem in the section Life and Death (Echoes). It originally had no title. Early printings contained only the dedication To R. T. H. B.—a reference to Robert Thomas Hamilton Bruce (1846–1899), a successful Scottish flour merchant and baker who was also a literary patron. The title "Invictus" (Latin for "unconquered") was added by editor Arthur Quiller-Couch when the poem was included in The Oxford Book of English Verse .
In the 1942 film Casablanca, Captain Renault, an official played by Claude Rains recites the last two lines of the poem when talking to Rick Blaine, played by Humphrey Bogart, referring to his power in Casablanca.
In the 1945 film Kings Row, Parris Mitchell, a psychiatrist played by Robert Cummings, recites the first two stanzas of "Invictus" to his friend Drake McHugh, played by Ronald Reagan, before revealing to Drake that his legs were unnecessarily amputated by a cruel doctor.
The Burmese opposition leader and Nobel Peace laureate Aung San Suu Kyi stated, "This poem had inspired my father, Aung San, and his contemporaries during the independent struggle, as it also seemed to have inspired freedom fighters in other places at other times."
The poem's last stanza was quoted by US President Barack Obama at the end of Obama's speech at Nelson Mandela's memorial service (10 December 2013) in South Africa and published on the front cover of the December 14, 2013 issue of The Economist.