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Professor Randall's Note: As a teenager growing up in Texas, I could not have dreamed that one day I would be a law professor and travel the world.  At that time, I lived in constant fear and abuse, exploited and demoralized.  My only escape was my reading. I loved poetry. When I was about fifteen years old I read a  poem which became the cornerstone of my soul.  The single most important poem in my life has been Invictus.  Whenever, I felt my fear was overwhelming I would recite Invictus -- reminding myself  that:  

I am Master of my fate. . . I am the Captain of my soul.


NelsonMandela 02



William Ernest Henley 


Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the Pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods maybe 
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.