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 actually 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).

Use in popular culture[edit]

  • 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]
  • The title of George R. R. Martin's first novel, the 1977 Dying of the Light, about a planet moving away from its life-supporting stars, was inspired by the poem.
  • Rodney Dangerfield recited the poem in the exam scene of the 1986 movie Back to School[7]
  • 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".[8]
  • Scottish-american band Garbage included the line "You rage against the dying/Rage against the dying light" in the song "Big Bright World", the second single from their 2012 album Not Your Kind of People.
  • It is used repeatedly by both the character Professor John Brand, played by Michael Caine, as well as several other supporting characters in the 2014 film Interstellar.[9][10]
  • It is used by artist Sarah Beck in her work The Light about the death of the tungsten light bulb in 2015.[11]
  • English synthpop duo Hurts included the line "Don't go gentle into that good night. Rage on against the dying light" in the song "Somebody to Die For", the third single from their 2013 album Exile
  • Rapper G-Eazy read part of the poem as the intro to his 2015 album When It's Dark Out
  • In the The Shakespeare Code, the second episode of the third season of Dr Who (2007), The Doctor quotes the line "Rage, rage against the dying of the light".


  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. ^ bobbyzinc2007 (2008-07-29), Rodney Dangerfield Dylan Thomas Do not go gentle into that good night Back to School, retrieved 2016-07-12 
  8. ^ 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)). 
  9. ^ 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. 
  10. ^ "IMDB Interstellar (2014) Quotes". 
  11. ^ "McMurray Musings: Fort McMurray, We Have Ignition". Retrieved 2016-02-15. 

External links[edit]