Do not go gentle into that good night

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"Do not go gentle into that good night" is a poem in the form of a villanelle, written by Welsh poet Dylan Thomas (1914–1953), and considered to be one of his finest works.[citation needed] 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.

The poem was written for Thomas's dying father.[2] It 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 refrain is "Rage, rage against the dying of the light".

Use in popular culture[edit]

  • The poem was used as the text for the 1954 In Memoriam Dylan Thomas (Dirge-Canons and Song) for tenor and chamber ensemble, by Igor Stravinsky. The piece was written soon after Thomas' death and first performed in 1954.[3]
  • The poem was the inspiration for three paintings by Swansea-born painter and print-maker Ceri Richards, in 1954, 1956 and 1965 respectively.[4]
  • The poem is 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.[5]
  • The poem is sung by John Cale on his 1989 album Words for the Dying.[6]
  • The Doctor quotes from the poem in the 2007 episode The Shakespeare Code of the series Doctor Who, humorously warning William Shakespeare that he can't use it as it's "someone else's".
  • The poem is referred to in the Matched novel trilogy by Ally Condie. The poem is given to Cassia by her grandfather, although she later destroys it. It is also referred to in the other books of the trilogy, Crossed and Reached.
  • The first line is quoted in the TV series Adventure Time by Princess Bubblegum in Sky Witch.
  • The poem is the inspiration for the Anaal Nathrakh song "Rage, Rage Against The Dying Of The Light", which appears on their album Domine Non Es Dignus.
  • The poem is featured in the TV spot for WWE 2K15, narrated by John Cena.
  • The poem is featured in the movie Dangerous Minds.
  • The poem is quoted by Gene Hackman in movie Loose Cannons (1990).
  • The poem is quoted by the band Chumbawamba in the song Rage, which appears on their 1994 album Anarchy.
  • The title of the poem is used as the name of Episode 20 of Season 3 in the show The Vampire Diaries.
  • Part of the poem is recited in episode 7, series 7 of Benidorm by the character of Glynn Flint.
  • The poem is recited near the end of the song Two-Twenty-Nine by the band Brave Saint Saturn, track 11 from their So Far from Home album released in 2000.
  • The poem is referenced in the song Sudden Life by Rise Against in their 2014 album The Black Market.
  • The poem is used repeatedly by the character Professor John Brand, played by Michael Caine, in the film Interstellar.[7]
  • The poem was used by Frank Gallagher, in March 2015, in the US series of Shameless (S5, E10).[citation needed]
  • The line "don't go gentle into the goodnight, rage on against the dying light" from the poem is used at the end of the song "Somebody to Die For" written and performed by British duo Hurts from their second studio album Exile.
  • In the episode "Fore Father" of the cartoon Family Guy, an ill Stewie Griffin tells himself: "Fight it Stewie, fight it. 'Do not go gentle into that good night,' to quote Bob Dylan. Wait, no, wait, Dylan Thomas."
  • The line "rage against the dying of the light" is referenced in the song "Even My Dad Does Sometimes" by Ed Sheeran.


  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. ^ Keller, Hans (1955). "In Memoriam Dylan Thomas: Strawinsky's Schoenbergian Technique". Tempo (35): 13–20. 
  4. ^ "Ceri Richards: 'Do not go gentle into that good night' 1956". Retrieved 22 October 2013. 
  5. ^ Dangerfield, Rodney; Fields, Greg; Snee, Greg (1986). Back to School. United States: Orion Pictures. 
  6. ^ "Dylan Thomas’ "Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night" Performed by John Cale (and Produced by Brian Eno)". Open Culture. 30 April 2014. Retrieved 22 November 2014. 
  7. ^ "IMDB Interstellar (2014) Quote". 

External links[edit]