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 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.[1] The poem was also included in Collected Poems, 1934–1952, first published by Dent in 1952.[3]

It has been suggested that the poem was written for Thomas' dying father, although he did not die until just before Christmas 1952.[4][5] 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 poem currently remains under copyright,[note 1] although the text is available online.[6]


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.[7] 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.[7] The rhyme-and-refrain pattern of Do not go gentle into that good night 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. See scheme below.[8]

Notable use in popular culture[edit]


  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.


  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. ^ "Collected Poems 1934-1952 by Thomas, Dylan".
  4. ^ "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.
  5. ^ * Thomas, David N. (2008). Fatal Neglect: Who Killed Dylan Thomas?. Seren. p. 19. ISBN 978-1-85411-480-8.
  6. ^ "Do not go gentle into that good night | Academy of American Poets". Retrieved 1 September 2015.
  7. ^ a b Strand et al. 2001 p. 7
  8. ^ "Poetic Form: Villanelle". Academy of American Poets. Archived from the original on 13 October 2012. Retrieved 23 June 2018.
  9. ^ Keller, Hans (1955). "In Memoriam Dylan Thomas: Strawinsky's Schoenbergian Technique". Tempo (35): 13–20.
  10. ^ "Ceri Richards: 'Do not go gentle into that good night' 1956". Retrieved 22 October 2013.
  11. ^ "Do Not Go Gentle into That Good Night", copyright 1979, Shawnee Press.
  12. ^ Schaeffer, John (27 October 2015). "Five Songs For Dylan Thomas". NPR. Retrieved 16 August 2017.
  13. ^ "Do Not Go Gentle into That Good Night - Richard Burmer | Song Info". AllMusic.
  14. ^ 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.
  15. ^ Two-Twenty-Nine on YouTube
  16. ^ 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.
  17. ^ "The Magician's Apprentice: The Fact File". BBC. Retrieved 10 May 2017.
  18. ^ Thompson, Ben (6 December 2015). "G-Eazy: When It's Dark Out review – almost a crossover home run". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 18 August 2017.
  19. ^ Denmark v Republic of Ireland preview – Rage against the dying of the light.... on YouTube
  20. ^ Parsonsfield (8 February 2018). "Kick Out the Windows (lyric video)". Retrieved 12 August 2018 – via YouTube.
  21. ^ Cheromcha, Kyle. "This Poetic Ford Mustang Ad Is Banned in Great Britain For Promoting 'Unsafe Driving'". The Drive. Retrieved 29 September 2020.
  22. ^ Petrusich, Amanda (29 August 2019). "The Survival of Iggy Pop". The New Yorker. Retrieved 19 September 2019.
  23. ^ [1]

External links[edit]