Leading Poems:• “Sa Aking Mga Kababata”• Rizal Loves Poetry.• “Education Gives Luster to the Motherland”• “To the Filipino Youth”• “To the Flowers of Heidelberg”• “Hymn to Labor”• “My Retreat”• “The Song of the Traveler”• “My Last Farewell”
“Sa Aking Mga Kababata”• Written when Rizal was 8 years old (1860) before he went to Binan to begin his formal schooling under Maestro Justiniano Cruz• Pointed out the nationalistic significance of the Mother tongue in the life of our people. If a country really loves her God-given tongue, she will surely yearn for freedom like the birds in the firmament. Kapag ang baya‟y sadyang umiibig Sa kanyang salitang kaloob ng langit Sariling kalayaa‟y nais rin magamit Katulad ng ibong nasa himpapawid.
• Rizal scorns those who refuse to love their native language when he said: Ang hindi magmahal sa sariling wika Mahigit sa hayop at malansang isda.• Rizal at an early age already felt that some of his countrymen have developed a colonial mentality to the prejudice of our native language. Besides praising nationalism, liberty and freedom, he advocated racial equality. He pointed out the equality of our language to Latin, English, and Spanish because God gave it to us. Our language like others have alphabets which, however, were lost and destroyed by invaders in the earlier years:
Ang wikang Tagalog tulad din sa Latin,Sa Ingles, Kastila at salitang Anghel,Sapagkat ang Poong maalam tumingin,Ang Siyang nanggawad, nagbigay sa atin.Ang salita nati‟y huwad rin sa ibaNa may alfabeto at sariling letra,Kaya nawala‟y dinatna ng signosAng lumbay sa lawa noong dakong una.
Rizal Loves Poetry• Literature as a course in the Ateneo included poetry and rhetoric which were studied and practiced on the model of the Greek and Latin classics.• His sensitiveness and self-assertiveness developed race-consciousness which was to color his whole life.• He found literature the means through which he channeled his responses on love and defense of country.
“Education Gives Luster to the Motherland”• At the early age of 16, Rizal was already aware of his Motherland and love of country was also awakened him.• Inspired by the gains he had through education, the young Rizal envisioned what education can do to a country if its leadership would be made up of a new breed of educated youth.• Rizal hoped his countrymen to seek knowledge in order to live a life of enlightenment which would make the country rise to the heights of honor and prestige.• He pictured beautifully education as the foundation of knowledge which gives endless glory.
• Rizal urged his fellow students to educate themselves because wise education gives birth to science and art. As the hope of the Motherland, they could do a lot to improve not only their lives but also the social conditions in the Philippines.• Through wise education, the youth is directed along the path of righteousness and goodness. If the youth follow the path, he will be inspired.• Reiterating the luster of wise education, Rizal ended his poem with a feeling of triumph. Comparing the wonderful gift of wise education to the Motherland with the gift of a golden sun to the world, he wrote:
And like the golden sun of the mornWhose rays resplendent shedding gold,And like fair aurora of gold and redShe overspreads her colors bold;Such true education proudly givesSuch pleasure of virtue to young and oldAnd she lightens our Motherland dearAnd she offers endless glow and luster.
“To the Filipino Youth”• The Liceo Artistico-Literario de Manila, an association of arts lovers in Manila regularly held literary contests to stimulate an develop literary talents. In 1879, it opened one for works in verse and prose with a special prize to Filipinos and half-breeds. Rizal participated in the contest by submitting a poem entitled, “To the Filipino Youth,” ( A La Juventud Filipina ).• Like his poem “Education Gives Luster to Motherland,” he inspired the youth to develop their talents, look forward and break the chain of their “bondage,” he called them “Bella esperanza de la patria mia” (“Fair hope of my Motherland”).
• Eager to shake off the belief among the Filipinos that the white man was superior to them, Rizal encouraged the “timid flowers, fair hope of my Motherland to lift up your radiant brow and show your talent resplendently and grand.”• He urged the youth to “fly swifter than the wind and descend with art and science to break the chain that has bound the poetic genius of the nation.”• In this poem:• Rizal called on the poet to open the horizon and write poetry about the country: Soar high, O genius great, And with noble thoughts fill their mind; The honor‟s glorious seat, May their virgin mind fly and find More rapidly than the wind.
You, who heavenward rise On wings of your rich fantasy, Seek in the Olympian skies The tenderest poesy, More sweet than divine honey.• He urged the singer to dissipate man‟s sorrow: You, of heavenly harmony, On a calm unperturbed night, Philomel‟s match in melody, That in varied symphony Dissipate man‟s sorrow‟s blight.• To the sculptor Rizal‟s request was to animate the hard rock with life: You, at the impulse of your mind The hard rock animate.
• And to the painter, Rizal‟s request was to give beauty to his canvas: And you, your magic brush On canvas plain capture. . . the Mantle of Nature.• Rizal urged the youth to develop their talents and find out what genius would be proclaimed throughout the world for having served the country. They should take pride in their country. Run! For genius‟ sacred flame Awaits the artist‟s crowning Spreading far and wide the fame Throughout the sphere proclaiming With trumpet the mortal‟s name.• And when the youth answers the call, heaven should be thanked for the joy of his Motherland, the Philippines. The nationalistic poem ends with an expression of Rizal‟s deep sense of gratitude: Oh, joyful, joyful day, For you, fair Philippines! The Almighty blessed be Who, with loving eagerness Sends you lucks and happiness.
“To the Flowers of Heidelberg”• Fascinated by the beauty of German spring and a feeling of nostalgia, Rizal found inspiration in the beauty of the blooming flowers and the fragrance of the woods. This inspiration gave birth to a touching poem entitled, “To the Flowers of Heidelberg” which he wrote on April 24, 1886.• The poem exudes intense love of his native land, a love which has grown in intensity as he travelled from country to country. Rizal asked the flowers to imaginatively go to the Philippines and convey love for his country and loved ones Go to my country, exotic flow‟rs, Sown by the traveler on his path, And „neath her cerulean skies, That keep my loves in their bow‟rs, Tell them about the faith, For his native land, the pilgrim sighs!
• Rizal also asked the flowers to tell the Philippines how on early morning hours he also thought of his loved ones: Say thou that when the breeze That steals away your scents To you murmurs song of love a-playing Songs of romance in his native accents.• Rizal ended his poem by begging the flowers to bestow the Philippines and those he loved the kisses he gave to the flowers and tell them of his earnest love: Bring out thou with thee, oh flow‟rs Love to all my amours, Peace to my country with fecund soil To her women virtue, to her men faith, To sweet and good beings health That shelters the home holy and paternal. When upon the shore you alight, The kiss on you I press Place it on the wings of the breeze That is may go with its flight And kiss all that I love, adore and caress.
“Hymn to Labor”• Shortly before his second departure for Europe on February 3, 1888, Rizal wrote the poem upon the request of his friends from Lipa, Batangas in connection with their town fiesta.• Rizal extolled man‟s labor and industry, singing praise to labor, of the country, wealth and vigor. He awakened the youth to be worthy of their elders by following their footsteps. Teach us ye the laborious work To pursue your footsteps we wish, For tomorrow when country calls us We may be able your task to finish. And on seeing us the elders will say: Look, they‟re worthy „f their sires of yore! Incense does not honor the dead As does a son with glory and valor.
• Rizal stressed the role of labor in keeping up the dignity of man, keeping the family happy, and the country strong. For the labor of man sustains Fam‟ly, home and Motherland.
“My Retreat”• During his four-year exile in Dapitan, Rizal wrote “My Retreat” at the request of his mother who was eager to know how he lived there.• It is a sentimental, touching and exquisite poem describing his home and life in lonely Dapitan.• The imagery and melody of the poem displayed Rizal‟s descriptive power.• Here, he betrays no resentment against his unjust exile for he believed that the day would come when . . . o‟er brutal force idea would prevail.
• Let us listen to his graceful and delightful description of the lot and the house: Beside the wide expanse of fine and sandy shore And at the foot of the green covered mountain I built my hut in the groove‟s delightful core, To seek in the woodlands‟ tranquility serene, Repose for my mind and from my griefs refrain. Fragile nipa is its roof, bamboo frail its floor, With rough timber its pillars and its beams are made: But in the mountain lap in dreams it is laid, Day and night the sea lulls it and gives it serenade.• His life in exile is vividly described thus: Thus in my obscure retreat the days pass by, From the world where at one time I‟lived, torn away; For my fortune rare I admire God on high: A lost pebble, to be clad with moss wish I To hide from all the gifts I have in me.
• There was a holy humility in the life of Rizal who recounted memories of those whom he loved: I live with the mem‟ries of those I have loved before, And their names by others uttered now and then I hear: Now some are dead, others think of me no more; But what does it matter? I live with the thoughts of yore And no one can wrest from me the yesteryears.• Rizal, too, recounted the memory of the love he bore for one who had forsaken him: It is my faithful friend which hurts me ne‟er Which when it sees me and always consoles my soul, Which in my sleepless night watches me with pray‟r With me, and in my exile dwells in my sylvan lair, It alone infuses me with faith when I‟m doubted by all.
• Then Rizal recalled how he left his country full of bright illusions spending the spring of his life in foreign lands. Then he returned and cast upon on far-flung rock with no hope but the memory of the beliefs of a youth so vigorous and hearty.
“The Song of the Traveler”• On December 17, 1895, Rizal wrote Governor-General Ramon Blanco. He applied as a physician in the medical corps of the Spanish army in Cuba. Because of his thought of travelling again, he wrote the “The Song of the Traveler”.• One feels the restlessness of the traveler seeking a heaven of happiness – but happiness flies as he comes.• Full of tender thoughts, Rizal described himself as: A dry leaf that hesitantly flies And smarched by hurricanes away, This lives on earth the traveler
• Rizal never found happiness outside his own country. He felt he will die in foreign shores (Cuba) unremembered by his country for which he greatly suffered• Looking back at his country, he wrote of his ruined home (persecution of his family) and lost love (Leonor Rivera). To his country the pilgrim will return And perhaps he will return to his home, And he‟ll find everywhere all snow and ruins, Lost love, sepulcher, everything gone.• Rizal ended his poem by giving himself the push – a stronger will to travel. He left to others the love and joys of his native land. There was no more turning back If he leaves it is to drown his griefs and sorrows.
“My Last Farewell”• Rizal‟s last poem was untitled and unsigned.• It has come down to us as “My Last Farewell” (Mi Ultimo Adios), the title given by Mariano Ponce when he read a copy of the poem.• The poem was given by Rizal to his sister, Trinidad who came with Dona Teodora and her daughters, on the eve his execution, December 29, 1896. It was in a little alcohol cooking stove and lamp. Rizal whispering in English to Trinidad said: “There is something in it.”• The poetry and martyr bade farewell to hid country, his family and his friends in lines of dignity and grace devoid of bitterness. His resignation to his fate could be sensed in his willingness to die for his dearly beloved country he
• In reading the poem you could hear two voices speaking. The first, is the voice of the patriot who gladly offered his life for love of country. Farewell, my adored land, region of the sun caressed, Pearl of the Orient Sea, our Eden lost, With gladness I give you my life, sad and repressed; And where it more brilliant, more fresh and at its best, I would still give it to you, for your welfare at most. Hail! How sweet „tis to fall that fullness you may acquire
• Although Rizal never advocated actual armed revolution, he pictured battlefields where others willingly gave their lives in answer to the call of the Motherland regardless of place, martyrdom, defeat or victory.• Ardently, even after death, he wanted her to hear his song, and feel his presence to his “dust” that covers her earthly space.• Finally, in bidding her goodbye, he consoled her with the thought that he was going to a place of faith and justice.
• The second voice of Rizal is found in the last stanza. It is a voice of a dutiful son, the understanding brother, the ardent lover and the faithful friend: Farewell, parents, brothers, beloved by me, Friends of my childhood, in the home distressed; Give thanks that now I rest from the wearisome day, Farewell, sweet stranger, my friend, who brightened my way; Farewell, to all I love. To die is to rest.• Rizal manifested his magnanimity in ending his poem. Resigned, devoid of remorse and full of tender love, and understanding compassion, he accepted his fate and offered his life so that his country might live. Prophetically, he saw the final victory; he died as he saw “tints of the sky begin to show and at last announce the
• And his humble offering of this new day becomes more sublime because he sanctified it with sacrificial love: If you need a hue to dye your matutinal grow, Pour my blood and at the right moment spread it so, And gild it with a reflection of your nascent light!