Do not go gentle into that good night
"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). Though first published in the journal Botteghe Oscure in 1951, it was written in 1947 when Thomas was in Florence with his family. It was published, along with other stories previously written, as part of Thomas' In Country Sleep, And Other Poems of 1952.
It has been suggested that the poem was written for Thomas' dying father, although he did not die until just before Christmas 1952. It has no title other than its first line, "Do not go gentle into that good night", a line that appears as a refrain throughout the poem along with its other refrain, "Rage, rage against the dying of the light".
The villanelle consists of five stanzas of three lines (tercets) followed by a single stanza of four lines (a quatrain) for a total of nineteen lines. It is structured by two repeating rhymes and two refrains: the first line of the first stanza serves as the last line of the second and fourth stanzas, and the third line of the first stanza serves as the last line of the third and fifth stanzas. The rhyme-and-refrain pattern of the villanelle can be schematized as A1bA2 abA1 abA2 abA1 abA2 abA1A2 where letters ("a" and "b") indicate the two rhyme sounds, upper case indicates a refrain ("A"), and superscript numerals (1 and 2) indicate Refrain 1 and Refrain 2.
The pattern is below set against the poem:
Notable use in popular culture
- "Do not go gentle into that good night" 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.
- It was the inspiration for three paintings by Swansea-born painter and print-maker Ceri Richards, who drew them in 1954, 1956, and 1965 respectively.
- The title of George R. R. Martin's 1977 novel Dying of the Light references a line from the poem.
- It is the subject of a 1979 tone poem for wind ensemble by Elliot del Borgo.
- In the 1986 film Back to School, Thornton Melon, played by Rodney Dangerfield, recites the poem during an exam board.
- John Cale set the poem to orchestral music for his album Words for the Dying, released in 1989.
- 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."
- The poem is referenced in the 2001 Digimon anime episode "A Million Points of Light". After subduing the heroes and beginning to cloak the world in darkness, the villain MaloMyotismon muses, "The dying of the light, and nothing to rage against it!"
- The black metal band Anaal Nathrakh has a song called "Rage, rage against the dying of the light" from the 2004 album Domine Non Es Dignus.
- In the 2009 Square Enix RPG Final Fantasy XIII, Sazh tells Lighting that she doesn't "look ready to go quiet into that good night" as they board the train for the Purge.
- The poem is used as a main inspiration for the protagonist of the 2010 Ally Condie book Matched.
- The refrain is cited by English synth-pop duo Hurts in the song "Somebody to Die For" on their 2013 album Exile.
- In the video game League of Legends, the champion Aatrox references the poem in his quote: "Rage against the dying of the light."
- In Christopher Nolan's 2014 movie Interstellar, the poem is used repeatedly by Michael Caine's character Professor John Brand, as well as by several other supporting characters. In the same movie, leading actors Matthew McConaughey and Anne Hathaway are sent into hyper sleep with the final words "Do not go gentle into that good night."
- In the song "Even My Dad Does Sometimes" on his 2014 album X, Ed Sheeran paraphrases one of the poem's lines.
- In a 2015 episode of Doctor Who, "The Magician's Apprentice", Clara Oswald, played by Jenna Coleman, quotes the first line of this poem when she discovers where the Doctor is and what he is up to.
- The phrase "rage against the dying of the light" is used in the Metric song "Lie Lie Lie" from the 2015 album Pagans in Vegas.
- The poem is cited by G-Eazy in "Intro" on his 2015 album When It's Dark Out.
- In 2017 Irish broadcaster RTÉ Sport used the poem in a promotion for the World Cup qualifier second leg between Republic Of Ireland and Denmark, with Brendan Gleeson reading it as footage of famous Irish sporting moments were shown.
- In the Rise Against song "Sudden Life", from their 2014 album The Black Market, the poem is referenced in the final two verses.
- Issue 50 of The Transformers: More than Meets the Eye is the beginning of a story arc titled "The Dying of the Light". The titles of the stories in subsequent issues are taken from lines in the poem.
- In 2014, Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds released the album Chasing Yesterday, which contains the song "The Dying of the Light". This is a direct reference to this poem.
- The ninth novel of the Skulduggery Pleasant series of fantasy novels by Derek Landy is titled The Dying of the Light, in reference to a line from this poem.
- The band The World Is a Beautiful Place & I Am No Longer Afraid to Die has a song entitled "Rage Against the Dying of the Light" on their 2015 album Harmlessness.
- In the Parsonsfield song "Kick Out the Windows", which appears on their 2018 album WE, the poem is referenced in the refrain "In the light dying, we'll rage and fight, go kickin' and screamin', into that good night."
- 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.
|This article uses material from the Wikipedia article Villanelle, which is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License (view authors).|
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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.”
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