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Monday, 11 June, 2001, 14:39 GMT 15:39 UK
McVeigh's final statement
Timothy McVeigh
McVeigh gave the poem to the warden
Timothy McVeigh did not utter any last words or wishes before he was administered the lethal injection that killed him.

Before his execution he did, however, deliver the prison warden a poem, Invictus, written in 1875 by the British poet William Ernest Henley.

Henley, a poet, author, editor and critic, was born in Gloucester on 23 August 1849 and died in Woking, near London, on 11 July 1903.

As a child, he suffered from a tubercular disease that later necessitated the amputation of his foot.

During his nearly two-year stay in a hospital in Edinburgh (1873-1875), he wrote poetry about his experience in the infirmary, his thirst for life, and the struggle against his disease.

It was his most popular poem from that period, Invictus, that McVeigh chose to use as his final statement:

Invictus is the Latin word for unconquerable.

Invictus
Out of the night that covers me,
Black as a 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 1875

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See also:

04 Jun 01 | Americas
Prosecutors oppose McVeigh delay
31 May 01 | Americas
McVeigh's on-off date with death
16 May 01 | Americas
FBI admits McVeigh blunder
12 Apr 01 | Americas
Live from death row
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