19 Jun

JOSE RIZAL, 150 YEARS YOUNG TODAY!

José RizalJosé Rizal, noted Filipino linguist, novelist, poet, scientist, doctor, painter, educator, reformer and visionary thought leader, turns 150 years old today. One of the t-shirts in our new shop, designed by Filipino artist Dan Matutina (interviewed here), was inspired by Rizal’s quote, “Ang hindi marunong magmahal sa sariling wika, ay higit pang amoy sa mabahong isda.” (Translation: “He who does not love his own language is worse than an animal and smelly fish.“) Why not help us get our Center built by purchasing it?

Check out the shirt after the break, and read an English translation of Rizal’s final poem, Mi Ultimo Adios (My Last Farewell).

Rizal Fish

Mi Ultimo Adios

by José Rizal, 1896, translated by Edwin Agustín Lozada

Farewell, beloved Country, treasured region of the sun,
Pearl of the sea of the Orient, our lost Eden!
To you eagerly I surrender this sad and gloomy life;
And were it brighter, fresher, more florid,
Even then I’d give it to you, for your sake alone.

In fields of battle, deliriously fighting,
Others give you their lives, without doubt, without regret;
The place matters not: where there’s cypress, laurel or lily,
On a plank or open field, in combat or cruel martyrdom,
It’s all the same if the home or country asks.

I die when I see the sky has unfurled its colors
And at last after a cloak of darkness announces the day;
If you need scarlet to tint your dawn,
Shed my blood, pour it as the moment comes,
And may it be gilded by a reflection of the heaven’s newly-born light.

My dreams, when scarcely an adolescent,
My dreams, when a young man already full of life,
Were to see you one day, jewel of the sea of the Orient,
Dry those eyes of black, that forehead high,
Without frown, without wrinkles, without stains of shame.

My lifelong dream, my deep burning desire,
This soul that will soon depart cries out: Salud!
To your health! Oh how beautiful to fall to give you flight,
To die to give you life, to die under your sky,
And in your enchanted land eternally sleep.

If upon my grave one day you see appear,
Amidst the dense grass, a simple humble flower,
Place it near your lips and my soul you’ll kiss,
And on my brow may I feel, under the cold tomb,
The gentle blow of your tenderness, the warmth of your breath.

Let the moon see me in a soft and tranquil light,
Let the dawn send its fleeting radiance,
Let the wind moan with its low murmur,
And should a bird descend and rest on my cross,
Let it sing its canticle of peace.

Let the burning sun evaporate the rains,
And with my clamor behind, towards the sky may they turn pure;
Let a friend mourn my early demise,
And in the serene afternoons, when someone prays for me,
O Country, pray to God also for my rest!

Pray for all the unfortunate ones who died,
For all who suffered torments unequaled,
For our poor mothers who in their grief and bitterness cry,
For orphans and widows, for prisoners in torture,
And for yourself pray that your final redemption you’ll see.

And when the cemetery is enveloped in dark night,
And there, alone, only those who have gone remain in vigil,
Disturb not their rest, nor the mystery,
And should you hear chords from a zither or psaltery,
It is I, beloved Country, singing to you.

And when my grave, then by all forgotten,
has not a cross nor stone to mark its place,
Let men plow and with a spade scatter it,
And before my ashes return to nothing,
May they be the dust that carpets your fields.

Then nothing matters, cast me in oblivion.
Your atmosphere, your space and valleys I’ll cross.
I will be a vibrant and clear note to your ears,
Aroma, light, colors, murmur, moan, and song,
Constantly repeating the essence of my faith.

My idolized country, sorrow of my sorrows,
Beloved Filipinas, hear my last good-bye.
There I leave you all, my parents, my loves.
I’ll go where there are no slaves, hangmen nor oppressors,
Where faith doesn’t kill, where the one who reigns is God.

Goodbye, dear parents, brother and sisters, fragments of my soul,
Childhood friends in the home now lost,
Give thanks that I rest from this wearisome day;
Goodbye, sweet foreigner, my friend, my joy;
Farewell, loved ones, to die is to rest.

Comment & Trackback

Posted by Jerry Nelson on Jun 19 11 at 3:47 am

Les,
What a love this man had for his country! I understand he was executed, for what I do know. Maybe a short synopsis of his life from the Filipino viewpoint would be good for us not living over there.
It is such a dark but beautiful poem.
Thanks.

Posted by Jerry Nelson on Jun 19 11 at 3:49 am

It should read: For what I do NOT know. sorry.

Posted by Ayla on Oct 05 11 at 2:29 pm

Here is another translation of the same beautiful poem done by National Artist for Literature Nick Joaquin:

Jose Rizal’s Valedictory Poem

Land that I love: farewell: O land the sun loves:
pearl in the sea of the Orient: Eden lost to your brood!
Gaily go I to present you this hapless hopeless life:
were it more brilliant: had it more freshness, more bloom:
still for you would I give it: would give it for your good!

In barricades embattled, fighting in delirium,
others give you their lives without doubts, without gloom.
The site nought matters: cypress, laurel or lily:
gibbet or open field: combat or cruel martyrdom
are equal if demanded by country or home.

I am to die when I see the heavens go vivid,
announcing the day at last behind the dead night.
If you need color – color to stain that dawn with,
let spill my blood: scatter it in good hour:
and drench in its gold one beam of the newborn light.

My dreams when a lad, when scarcely adolescent:
my dreams when a young man, now with vigor inflamed:
were to behold you one day: Jewel of eastern waters:
griefless the dusky eyes: lofty the upright brow:
unclouded, unfurrowed, unblemished, unashamed!

Enchantment of my life: my ardent avid obsession:
To your health! cries the soul, so soon to take the last leap:
To your health! O lovely: how lovely: to fall that you may rise!
to perish that you may live! to die beneath your skies!
and upon your enchanted ground the eternities to sleep!

Should you find some day somewhere on my
gravemound, fluttering
among the tall grasses, a flower of simple fame:
caress it with your lips and you kiss my soul:
I shall feel on my face across the cold tombstone:
of your tenderness, the breath; of your breath, the flame.

Suffer the moon to keep watch, tranquil and suave, over me:
suffer the dawn its flying lights to release:
suffer the wind to lament in murmurous and grave manner:
and should a bird drift down and alight on my cross,
suffer the bird to intone its canticle of peace.

Suffer the rains to dissolve in the fiery sunlight
and purified reascending heavenward bear my cause:
suffer a friend to grieve I perished so soon:
and on fine evenings, when someone prays in my memory,
pray also – O my land! – that in God I repose.

Pray for all who have fallen befriended by no fate:
for all who braved the bearing of torments all bearing past:
for our poor mothers piteously breathing in bitterness:
for widows and orphans: for those in tortured captivity
and yourself: pray to behold your redemption at last.

And when in dark night shrouded obscurely the graveyard lies
and only, only the dead keep vigil the night through:
keep holy the peace: keep holy the mystery.
Strains, perhaps, you will hear-of zither, or of psalter:
It is I – O land I love! – It is I, singing to you!

And when my grave is wholly unremembered
and unlocated (no cross upon it, no stone there plain):
let the site be wracked by the plow and cracked by the spade
and let my ashes, before they vanish to nothing,
as dust be formed a part of your carpet again.

Nothing then will it matter to place me in oblivion!
Across your air, your space, your valleys shall pass my wraith!
A pure chord, strong and resonant, shall I be in your ears:
fragrance, light and color: whisper, lyric and sigh:
constantly repeating the essence of my faith!

Land that I idolize: prime sorrow among my sorrows:
beloved Filipinas, hear me the farewell word:
I bequeath you everything – my family, my affections:
I go where no slaves are – nor butchers: nor oppressors:
where faith cannot kill: where God’s the sovereign lord!

Farewell, my parents, my brothers – fragments of my soul:
friends of old and playmates in childhood’s vanished house:
offer thanks that I rest from the restless day!
Farewell, sweet foreigner – my darling, my delight!
Creatures I love, farewell! To die is to repose.

Posted by Lester on Oct 05 11 at 6:29 pm

Awesome, Ayla! Love it.


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