Lola Rodríguez de Tió

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Lola Rodríguez de Tió
Lola Rodríguez de Tió
Lola Rodríguez de Tió
Born Dolores Rodríguez de Astudillo y Ponce de León
September 14, 1843
San Germán, Puerto Rico
Died November 10, 1924
Havana, Cuba
Occupation poet
Nationality Puerto Rican

Lola Rodríguez de Tió,[note 1] (September 14, 1843 – November 10, 1924), was the first Puerto Rican-born woman poet to establish herself a reputation as a great poet throughout all of Latin America.[1] A believer in women's rights, she was also committed to the abolition of slavery and the independence of Puerto Rico.

Early years[edit]

Rodríguez de Tió was born Dolores Rodríguez de Astudillo y Ponce de León [note 2] in San Germán, Puerto Rico. Her father, Sebastián Rodríguez de Astudillo, was one of the founding members of the Ilustre Colegio de Abogados de Puerto Rico (literally, "Illustrious College of Attorneys," the governing body for Spanish attorneys in Puerto Rico, similar to a bar association).[2] Lola's mother, Carmen Ponce de León, was a descendant of Juan Ponce de León, who was an explorer, and the first Spanish Governor of Puerto Rico. She too was a native of the town of San Germán. Rodríguez de Tió received her education at home where she was home-tutored. She developed a lifelong love for literature, especially for the works of Fray Luis de León which were to serve her as a source of inspiration. She was very assertive in her early years, at the age of seventeen she demanded to be allowed to wear her hair short, which went against the conventional norm of the time, a personal trademark that she kept through her life.

Political activist[edit]

Bust of Lola Rodríguez de Tió

Rodríguez de Tió moved to Mayagüez, with her family. There she met Bonocio Tió Segarra, whom she married in 1863. Rodríguez de Tió became a writer and book importer who often wrote articles in the local press and was as much of an activist against the Spanish regime as was allowed by the government. After marrying Tió, she published her first book of poetry, "Mis Cantos", which sold the then amazing amount of 2,500 copies.[3]

Grave at Colon Cemetery in Havana

In 1867 and then again in 1889, Rodríguez de Tió and her husband were banished from Puerto Rico by the Spanish appointed Governors. On their first exile they went to Venezuela and on their second banishment they first moved to New York where she helped José Martí and other Cuban revolutionaries, and later to Cuba, where the couple resided until their respective deaths. Their home became a gathering point for politicians and intellectuals as well as exiled Puerto Ricans. In 1868, inspired by Ramón Emeterio Betances's quest for Puerto Rico's independence and by the attempted revolution called the Grito de Lares, she wrote the patriotic lyrics to the existing tune of La Borinqueña. In 1901, Rodríguez de Tió founded and was elected member to the Cuban Academy of Arts and Letters. She was also an inspector of the local school system. She was well known in Cuba for her patriotic poetry about Puerto Rico and Cuba.[3] Some of Rodríguez de Tió's best known works are "Cuba y Puerto Rico son..." (Cuba and Puerto Rico are..) and "Mi Libro de Cuba" (My Book about Cuba).

In 1919, Rodríguez de Tió returned to Puerto Rico where she was honored with a great banquet at the Ateneo Puertorriqueño after she recited her "Cantos a Puerto Rico". Lola Rodríguez de Tió died on November 10, 1924 and is buried at the Colón Cemetery in Havana, Cuba.[3]

Legacy[edit]

It is believed by some that the design and colors of the Puerto Rican Flag, which were adopted in 1954, came from Rodríguez de Tió's idea of having the same flag as Cuba with the colors reversed. Puerto Rico has honored Lola's memory by naming schools and avenues after her.[4]

In May 29, 2014, The Legislative Assembly of Puerto Rico honored 12 illustrious women with plaques in the "La Plaza en Honor a la Mujer Puertorriqueña" (Plaza in Honor of Puerto Rican Women) in San Juan. According to the plaques the 12 women, who by virtue of their merits and legacies, stand out in the history of Puerto Rico. Rodríguez de Tió was among those who were honored.[5]

Lyrics to the revolutionary version of "La Boriqueña"[edit]

External audio
You may listen to Rodríguez de Tió's version of the "La Borinqueña" on YouTube interpreted by Puerto Rican singer Danny Rivera.

The following are the lyrics to Lola Rodríguez de Tió's 1868 revolutionary version of "La Boriqueña":

Revolutionary version of "La Boriqueña"
by Lola Rodríguez de Tió
Spanish
(original version)
English
translation

¡Despierta, borinqueño
que han dado la señal!
¡Despierta de ese sueño
que es hora de luchar!

Arise, Puerto Rican!
The call to arms has sounded!
Awake from this dream,
for it is time to fight!

A ese llamar patriótico
¿no arde tu corazón?
¡Ven! Nos será simpático
el ruido del cañón.

Doesn't this patriotic call
set your heart alight?
Come! We will be in tune
with the roar of the cannon.

Mira, ya el cubano
libre será;
le dará el machete
su libertad...
le dará el machete
su libertad.

Come, the Cubans
will soon be free;
the machete will give him his
liberty.

Ya el tambor guerrero
dice en su son,
que es la manigua el sitio,
el sitio de la reunión,
de la reunión...
de la reunión.

Now the war drum
says with its sound,
that the countryside is the place
of the meeting...
of the meeting.

El Grito de Lares
se ha de repetir,
y entonces sabremos
vencer o morir.

The Cry of Lares
must be repeated,
and then we will know:
victory or death.

Bellísima Borinquén,
a Cuba hay que seguir;
tú tienes bravos hijos
que quieren combatir.

Beautiful Puerto Rico
must follow Cuba;
you have brave sons
who wish to fight.

ya por más tiempo impávido
no podemos estar,
ya no queremos, tímidos
dejarnos subyugar.

Now, no longer
can we be unmoved;
now we do not want timidly
to let them subjugate us.

Nosotros queremos
ser libre ya,
y nuestro machete
afilado está.
y nuestro machete
afilado está.

We want
to be free now,
and our machete
has been sharpened.

¿Por qué, entonces, nosotros
hemos de estar,
tan dormidos y sordos
y sordos a esa señal?
a esa señal, a esa señal?

Why then have we
been so sleepy
and deaf
to the call?

No hay que temer, riqueños
al ruido del cañón,
que salvar a la patria
es deber del corazón!

There is no need to fear, Puerto Ricans,
the roar of the cannon;
saving the motherland
is the duty of the heart.

ya no queremos déspotas,
caiga el tirano ya,
las mujeres indómitas
también sabrán luchar.

We no longer want despots,
may the tyrant fall now;
the unconquerable women
also will know how to fight.

Nosotros queremos
la libertad,
y nuestros machetes
nos la darán...
y nuestro machete
nos la dará...

We want liberty,
and our machetes
will give it to us...
and our machetes
will give it to us...

Vámonos, borinqueños,
vámonos ya,
que nos espera ansiosa,
ansiosa la libertad.
¡La libertad, la libertad!

Come, Puerto Ricans,
come now,
for freedom awaits for us
anxiously,
freedom, freedom!

Ancestry[edit]

See also[edit]

19th Century female leaders of the Puerto Rican Independence Movement

Female members of the Puerto Rican Nationalist Party

Articles related to the Puerto Rican Independence Movement

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ This name uses Spanish marriage naming customs; the first is the maiden family name "Rodríguez" and the second or matrimonial family name is "Tió".
  2. ^ This name uses Spanish naming customs: the first or paternal family name is Rodríguez de Astudillo and the second or maternal family name is Ponce de León.

References[edit]