Monday, May 16, 2011

Rizal: "To The Filipino Youth"

I notice that in my lifetime that Filipino youths are slowly becoming unpatriotic and many lacks the basic knowledge of the Philippine history. Some could only remember the names of José Rizal and Andres Bonifacio. Some even thought that Emilio Aguinaldo being responsible for the murders of Gat Andres Bonifacio in the height of the Philippine Revolution and of General Antonio Luna in the height of the Philippine-American War was OK. Many of the modern Filipino youths these days will not be able to recognize those monuments in the parks and streets of Metro Manila. To some extent, others could only recognize the legendary boxer Manny Pacquiao but have no idea what Datu Lapu-Lapu and his men did in the beaches of Mactan or what Rajah Solaiman did in the Pasig River and his kingdom in Manila or what General Gregorio del Pilar did in Tirad Pass or what Private Tomas Claudio did in the battlefields of France or what the Filipinos had endured in the dark days of the Second World War or what the PEFTOK soldiers did in the Yultong River and the Eerie Hills.

Rizal once dedicated one of his poems to the Filipino youths, not only for the youths of his time or the generation after them but to all Filipino youths of the past, present and for future. Rizal wants to remind our young and future leaders that they are the future of the fatherland. Filipino youths these days seems not live up to what Rizal wanted them to be. Regardless, the youths of today are still the future of the fatherland but not the ideal youths that Rizal had hope.

Anyway, I'm going to post here Rizal's poem "To the Filipino Youth" (Spanish and English Version). In 1879, Rizal wrote that poem at the age of 18 in a literary contest, whom he won first prize. He also talks about a Filipino identity (before Rizal or even back in his days, only refers to the Philippine-born Spaniards) separate from the mother country while acknowledging Spain's contribution to that identity.

Here's the Poem:

“A La Juventud Filipina”
(Spanish Version/Original Version)

Alza su tersa frente,
Juventud Filipina, en este dia!
Luce resplandeciente
Tu rica gallardia,
Bella esperanza de la Patria Mia!

Vuela, genio grandioso,
Y les infunde noble pensamiento,
Que lance vigoroso,
Mas rapido que el viento,
Su mente virgen al glorioso asiento.

Baja con la luz grata
De las artes y ciencias a la arena,
Juventud, y desata
La pesada cadena
Que tu genio poetico encadena.

Ve que en la ardiente zona
Do moraron las sombras, el hispano
Esplendente corona,
Con pia sabia mano,
Ofrece al hijo de este suelo indiano.

Tu, que buscando subes,
En alas de tu rica fantasia,
Del Olimpo en las nubes
Tiernisima poesia
Mas sabrosa que nectar y ambrosia.

Tu, de celeste acento,
Melodioso rival Filomena,
Que en variado concento
En la noche serena
Disipas del mortal la amarga pena.

Tu que la pena dura
Animas al impulso de tu mente ,
Y la memoria pura
Del genio refulgente
Eternizas con genio prepotente.

Y tu, que el vario encanto
De Febo, amado del divino Apeles,
Y de natura el manto
Con magicos pinceles
Trasladar al sencillo lienzo sueles.

Corred! que sacra llama
Del genio el lauro coronar espera,
Esparciendo la Fama
Con trompa pregonera
El nombre del mortal por la ancha espera.

Dia, dia felice,
Filipinas gentil, para tu suelo!
Al Potente bendice
Que con amante anhelo
La ventura te envia y el consuelo.

“To the Filipino Youth”
(English version)

Unfold, oh timid flower
!Lift up your radiant brow,
This day, Youth of my native strand !
Your abounding talents show
Resplendently and grand,
Fair hope of my Motherland !

Soar high, oh 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.

Descend with the pleasing light
Of the arts and sciences to the plain,
Oh Youth, and break forthright
The links of the heavy chain
That your poetic genius enchain.

See that in the ardent zone,
The Spaniard, where shadows stand,
Doth offer a shining crown,
With wise and merciful hand
To the son of this Indian land.

You, who heavenward rise
On wings of your rich fantasy,
Seek in the Olympian skies
The tenderest poesy,
More sweet than divine honey;

You of heavenly harmony,
On a calm unperturbed night,
Philomel’s match in melody,
That in varied symphony
Dissipate man’s sorrow’s blight;

You at th’ impulse of your mind
The hard rock animate
And your mind with great pow’r consigned
Transformed into immortal state
The pure mem’ry of genius great;

And you, who with magic brush
On canvas plain capture
The varied charm of Phoebus,
Loved by the divine Apelles,
And the mantle of Nature;

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

Oh, joyful, joyful day,
The Almighty blessed be
Who, with loving eagerness
Sends you luck and happiness

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