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, and the most famous work of Welsh poet Dylan Thomas (1914–1953).[1] Though first published in the journal Botteghe Oscure in 1951,[2] it was written in 1947 when he was in Florence with his family. It was published, along with other stories previously written, as part of his In Country Sleep, And Other Poems in 1952.[1]

It has been suggested that it was written for Thomas' dying father, although he did not die until just before Christmas 1952.[3] 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. Its other refrain is "Rage, rage against the dying of the light".

The poem currently remains under copyright,[note 1] but was made publicly available here [1] at (with the copyright holder's permission).

In popular culture[edit]

  • Musician Richard Burmer recorded a track on his album Treasures of The Saints with this title. The track includes a recitation of the poem by Thomas himself recorded by the BBC in 1951.[citation needed]
  • It 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.[5]
  • It was the inspiration for three paintings by Swansea-born painter and print-maker Ceri Richards, in 1954, 1956, and 1965, respectively.[6]
  • In the 1995 film Dangerous Minds, LouAnne uses this poem extensively to teach her students about symbolism and metaphor.[citation needed]
  • In the 1996 film Independence Day, the President makes a rousing speech as he prepares to lead the attack against the alien invaders, adapting Thomas' line, saying, "We will not go quietly into the night".[7]
  • It was used as the title for the series finale of the TV series Roseanne which aired on 20 May 20 1997.[citation needed]
  • In the 2003 film The Rundown, Ewen Bremner's character Declan recites a part during the final fire fight, also showcasing a firearm with the branding "Do Not Go Gentle".[citation needed]
  • In the 2007 episode of Doctor Who, entitled "The Shakespeare Code ", the 10th Doctor, played by David Tennant, quotes the refrain "Rage, rage, against the dying of the light" to William Shakespeare.[citation needed]
  • In the 2010 novel Matched by Ally Condie, a Young Adult dystopia, the poem is exchanged and memorised between characters as an act of rebellion in a world in which only selected art is allowed.[citation needed]
  • In Christopher Nolans 2014 movie Interstellar it is used repeatedly by Michael Caine's character Professor John Brand, as well as by several other supporting characters.[8] Leading actors Matthew McConaughey and Anne Hathaway are sent into hyper sleep with the final words "Do not go gentle into that good night."


  1. ^ COPYRIGHT: from The Poems of Dylan Thomas, published by New Directions. Copyright © 1952, 1953 Dylan Thomas. Copyright © 1937, 1945, 1955, 1962, 1966, 1967 the Trustees for the Copyrights of Dylan Thomas. Copyright © 1938, 1939, 1943, 1946, 1971 New Directions Publishing Corp.[4]


  1. ^ a b "Dylan Thomas". Academy of American Poets. He took his family to Italy, and while in Florence, he wrote In Country Sleep, And Other Poems (Dent, 1952), which includes his most famous poem, “Do not go gentle into that good night.” 
  2. ^ Ferris, Paul (1989). Dylan Thomas, A Biography. New York: Paragon House. p. 283. ISBN 1-55778-215-6. 
  3. ^ "Dylan Thomas: Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night". BBC Wales. 6 November 2008. Archived from the original on 27 November 2012. Retrieved 18 December 2010. 
  4. ^ "Do not go gentle into that good night | Academy of American Poets". Retrieved 1 September 2015. 
  5. ^ Keller, Hans (1955). "In Memoriam Dylan Thomas: Strawinsky's Schoenbergian Technique". Tempo (35): 13–20. 
  6. ^ "Ceri Richards: 'Do not go gentle into that good night' 1956". Retrieved 22 October 2013. 
  7. ^ Mair, Jan (1998). "American rules, OK: Difference and otherness in 'Independence Day'". Futures. 30 (10): 981–991. doi:10.1016/s0016-3287(98)00100-1. (Subscription required (help)). 
  8. ^ Wade, Chris (5 November 2014). ""Do not go gentle into that good night" in Interstellar, Back to School, and many other movies: the supercut (VIDEO)". Slate. 
  9. ^ "The Magician’s Apprentice: The Fact File". BBC. Retrieved 10 May 2017. 
  10. ^ "Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night", Copyright 1979, Shawnee Press
  11. ^ "Aatrox's quotes".