The impressive grave of the poet William Ernest Henley (1849–1903) in the tiny Cockayne Hatley, Bedfordshire.
'SO BE MY PASSING
MY TASK ACCOMPLISHED AND THE LONG DAY DONE
MY WAGES TAKEN AND IN MY HEART
SOME LATE LARK SINGING
LET ME BE GATHERED TO THE QUIET WEST
THE SUNDOWN SPLENDID AND SERENE
ONLY CHILD OF WILLIAM ERNEST
AND ANNA HENLEY'
Margaret Henley, known to J. M. Barrie, is said to be the inspiration behind Barrie's Wendy of Peter Pan fame. Curiously, a village just a few miles from Cockayne Hatley is called Wendy.
Henley is most remembered for his poem 'Invictus' (1888):
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'.