Mi último adiós

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The autographed first stanza of "Mi último adiós"

Mi Último Adiós (Spanish, “My Last Farewell”) is a poem written by Philippine national hero Dr. José Rizal on the eve of his execution on 30 December 1896. The piece was one of the last notes he wrote before he was killed through Firing Squad; another that he had written was found in his shoe but because the text was illegible, its contents remain a mystery.

Title[edit]

Rizal did not ascribe a title to his poem. Mariano Ponce, his friend and fellow reformist, titled it Mi Último Pensamiento ("My Last Thought") in the copies he distributed, but this did not catch on.

"On the afternoon of Dec. 29, 1896, a day before his execution, Dr. José Rizal was visited by his mother, Teodora Alonzo, sisters Lucia, Josefa, Trinidád, Maria and Narcisa, and two nephews. When they took their leave, Rizal told Trinidád in English that there was something in the small alcohol stove (cocinilla), not alcohol lamp (lamparilla). The stove was given to Narcisa by the guard when the party was about to board their carriage in the courtyard. At home, the Rizal ladies recovered from the stove a folded paper. On it was written an unsigned, untitled and undated poem of 14 five-line stanzas. The Rizals reproduced copies of the poem and sent them to Rizal's friends in the country and abroad. In 1897, Mariano Ponce in Hong Kong had the poem printed with the title "Mi Ultimo Pensamiento." Fr. Mariano Dacanay, who received a copy of the poem while a prisoner in Bilibid (jail), published it in the first issue of La Independencia on Sept. 25, 1898 with the title "Ultimo Adios"." [1]

The cocinilla was not delivered to the Rizal's family until after the execution as he needed it to light the cell.

Political impact[edit]

After it was annexed by the United States as a result of the Spanish-American War, the Philippines was perceived as a community of "barbarians" incapable of self-government.[2][3] U.S. Representative Henry A. Cooper, lobbying for management of Philippine affairs, recited the poem before the United States Congress. Realising the nobility of the piece's author, his fellow congressmen enacted the Philippine Bill of 1902 enabling self-government (later known as the Philippine Organic Act of 1902), despite the fact that the 1882 Chinese Exclusion Act was still in effect and African Americans had yet to be granted equal rights as US citizens.[4] It created the Philippine Assembly, appointed two Filipino delegates to the American Congress, extended the US Bill of Rights to Filipinos, and laid the foundation for an autonomous government. The colony was on its way to independence. although relatively complete autonomy would not be granted until 4 July 1946 by the Treaty of Manila.

Indonesia[edit]

The poem was translated into Bahasa Indonesia by Rosihan Anwar and was recited by Indonesian soldiers before going into battle during their struggle for independence.[5]

Anwar recalled the circumstances of the translation:

“The situation was favorable to promote nationalism. [On 7 September 1944, Prime Minister Koiso of Japan declared that the ‘East Indies’ would become independent soon, an announcement that was received enthusiastically throughout the islands, and got ecstatic treatment in Asia Raja the following day.] In that context, I thought it would be good that I could disseminate this story about Jose Rizal among our younger people at that time. It was quite natural; I thought it would be good to tell the story of Jose Rizal, this rebel against the Spanish. And of course the climax, when he was already sentenced to death and then hauled off to face firing squad, and he wrote that [poem] ….”
“I translated it from the English. Because I do not know Spanish. I know French, I know German, but not Spanish. Then, according to the custom at that time, everything you want to say over the radio station or anything you wanted to publish in a newspaper … everything must go first to the censorship. I sent it to [the] censor, no objection, it’s okay. Okay. Then I made an arrangement, with my friend, [an] Indonesian friend, who worked at the radio station, where everything was supposed to be supervised by the Japanese. He gave me a chance to read it, which I did …”[6]

He read Mi último adiós over radio in Jakarta on Saturday, 30 December 1944–Rizal’s 48th death anniversary. That same day, the paper Asia Raja devoted almost half of its back page to a feature and poem on Rizal written by Anwar, accompanied by Anwar’s translation.

Poem[edit]

Spanish
José Gatmaitan
English

« Mi Último Adiós »

¡Adiós, Patria adorada, región del sol querida,
Perla del mar de oriente, nuestro perdido Edén!
A darte voy alegre la triste mustia vida,
Y fuera más brillante, más fresca, más florida,
También por ti la diera, la diera por tu bien.

En campos de batalla, luchando con delirio,
Otros te dan sus vidas sin dudas, sin pesar;
El sitio nada importa, ciprés, laurel o lirio,
Cadalso o campo abierto, combate o cruel martirio,
Lo mismo es si lo piden la patria y el hogar.

Yo muero cuando veo que el cielo se colora
Y al fin anuncia el día tras lóbrego capuz;
si grana necesitas para teñir tu aurora,
Vierte la sangre mía, derrámala en buen hora
Y dórela un reflejo de su naciente luz.

Mis sueños cuando apenas muchacho adolescente,
Mis sueños cuando joven ya lleno de vigor,
Fueron el verte un día, joya del mar de oriente,
Secos los negros ojos, alta la tersa frente,
Sin ceño, sin arrugas, sin manchas de rubor

Ensueño de mi vida, mi ardiente vivo anhelo,
¡Salud te grita el alma que pronto va a partir!
¡Salud! Ah, que es hermoso caer por darte vuelo,
Morir por darte vida, morir bajo tu cielo,
Y en tu encantada tierra la eternidad dormir.

Si sobre mi sepulcro vieres brotar un día
Entre la espesa yerba sencilla, humilde flor,
Acércala a tus labios y besa al alma mía,
Y sienta yo en mi frente bajo la tumba fría,
De tu ternura el soplo, de tu hálito el calor.

Deja a la luna verme con luz tranquila y suave,
Deja que el alba envíe su resplandor fugaz,
Deja gemir al viento con su murmullo grave,
Y si desciende y posa sobre mi cruz un ave,
Deja que el ave entone su cántico de paz.

Deja que el sol, ardiendo, las lluvias evapore
Y al cielo tornen puras, con mi clamor en pos;
Deja que un ser amigo mi fin temprano llore
Y en las serenas tardes cuando por mí alguien ore,
¡Ora también, oh Patria, por mi descanso a Dios!

Ora por todos cuantos murieron sin ventura,
Por cuantos padecieron tormentos sin igual,
Por nuestras pobres madres que gimen su amargura;
Por huérfanos y viudas, por presos en tortura
Y ora por ti que veas tu redención final.

Y cuando en noche oscura se envuelva el cementerio
Y solos sólo muertos queden velando allí,
No turbes su reposo, no turbes el misterio,
Tal vez acordes oigas de cítara o salterio,
Soy yo, querida Patria, yo que te canto a ti.

Y cuando ya mi tumba de todos olvidada
No tenga cruz ni piedra que marquen su lugar,
Deja que la are el hombre, la esparza con la azada,
Y mis cenizas, antes que vuelvan a la nada,
El polvo de tu alfombra que vayan a formar.

Entonces nada importa me pongas en olvido.
Tu atmósfera, tu espacio, tus valles cruzaré.
Vibrante y limpia nota seré para tu oído,
Aroma, luz, colores, rumor, canto, gemido,
Constante repitiendo la esencia de mi fe.

Mi patria idolatrada, dolor de mis dolores,
Querida Filipinas, oye el postrer adiós.
Ahí te dejo todo, mis padres, mis amores.
Voy donde no hay esclavos, verdugos ni opresores,
Donde la fe no mata, donde el que reina es Dios.

Adiós, padres y hermanos, trozos del alma mía,
Amigos de la infancia en el perdido hogar,
Dad gracias que descanso del fatigoso día;
Adiós, dulce extranjera, mi amiga, mi alegría,
Adiós, queridos seres, morir es descansar.

"My Last Farewell"

Farewell, my adored Land, region of the sun caress'd,
Pearl of the Orient Sea, our Eden lost,
With gladness I give thee my Life, sad and repress'd;
And were it more brilliant, more fresh and at its best,
I would still give it to thee for thine welfare at most.

On the fields of battle, in the fury of fight,
Others give thee their lives without pain or hesitancy,
The place matters not: cypress, laurel, or lily;
Scaffold, open field, conflict or martyrdom's site,
It is the same if asked by home and Country.

I die as I see tints on the sky b'gin to show
And at last announce the day, after a gloomy night;
If you need a hue to dye your matutinal glow,
Pour my blood and at the right moment spread it so,
And gild it with a reflection of your nascent light!

My dreams, when scarcely a lad adolescent,
My dreams when already a youth, full of vigour to attain,
Were to see thee, Gem of the sea of the Orient,
Thy dark eyes dry, smooth brow held to a high plane
Without frown, without wrinkles and of shame without stain.

My life's fancy, my ardent, passionate desire,
Hail! Cries out the soul to thee, that will soon part from thee;
Hail! How sweet 'tis to fall that fullness thou may acquire;
To die to give thee life, 'neath thy skies to expire,
And in thy mystic land to sleep through eternity!

If over my tomb some day, thou wouldst see blow,
A simple humble flow'r amidst thick grasses,
Bring it up to thy lips and kiss my soul so,
And under the cold tomb, I may feel on my brow,
Warmth of thy breath, a whiff of thy tenderness.

Let the moon with soft, gentle light me descry,
Let the dawn send forth its fleeting, brilliant light,
In murmurs grave allow the wind to sigh,
And should a bird descend on my cross and alight,
Let the bird intone a song of peace o'er my site.

Let the burning sun the raindrops vaporise
And with my clamour behind return pure to the sky;
Let a friend shed tears over my early demise;
And on quiet afternoons when one prays for me on high,
Pray too, oh, my Motherland, that in God may rest I.

Pray, thee, for all the hapless who have died,
For all those who unequalled torments have undergone;
For our poor mothers who in bitterness have cried;
For orphans, widows and captives to tortures were shied,
And pray too that thou may seest thine own redemption.

And when the dark night wraps the cemet'ry
And only the dead to vigil there are left alone,
Disturb not their repose, disturb not the mystery:
If thou hear the sounds of cithern or psaltery,
It is I, dear Country, who, a song t'thee intone.

And when my grave by all is no more remembered,
With neither cross nor stone to mark its place,
Let it be ploughed by man, with spade let it be scattered
And my ashes ere to nothingness are restored,
Let them turn to dust to cover thy earthly space.

Then it matters not that thou should forget me:
Thy atmosphere, thy skies, thy vales I'll sweep;
Vibrant and clear note to thy ears I shall be:
Aroma, light, hues, murmur, song, moanings deep,
Constantly repeating the essence of the faith I keep.

My idolised Country, for whom I most gravely pine,
Dear Philippines, to my last goodbye; oh, harken
There I leave all: my parents, loves of mine,
I'll go where there are no slaves, tyrants or hangmen
Where faith does not kill and where God alone doth reign.

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.

Translations[edit]

Mi último adiós engraved at the Rizal Shrine, Intramuros

Mi último adiós could be the most translated patriotic swan song in the world, and interpretations into 46 Filipino languages including Filipino Sign Language,[7] and as of 2005 at least 35 English translations known and published (in print). The most popular English iteration is the 1911 translation of Charles Derbyshire and is inscribed on bronze. Also on bronze at the Rizal Park in Manila, but less known, is the 1944 one of novelist Nick Joaquin. The latest translation is in Czech by former Czech ambassador to the Republic of the Philippines, H.E. Jaroslav Ludva,[8] and addressed at the session of the Senát.

Aside from those mentioned above, the poem has been translated into at least 30 other languages:

  • Bengali
  • Bulgarian
  • Burmese
  • Chinese
  • Danish
  • Dutch
  • Fijian
  • French
  • German
  • Greek
  • Hawaiian
  • Hebrew
  • Hindi
  • Hungarian
  • Igbo
  • Italian
  • Japanese
  • Javanese
  • Kannada
  • Korean
  • Latin
  • Māori
  • Norwegian
  • Portuguese
  • Romanian
  • Russian
  • Sanskrit
  • Sinhalese[9]
  • Somali
  • Tahitian
  • Thai
  • Tongan
  • Turkish
  • Urdu
  • Vietnamese
  • Wolof
  • Yoruba

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Philippine Daily Inquirer, dated 30 December 2002
  2. ^ Susan Brewer (2013). "Selling Empire: American Propaganda and War in the Philippines". The Asia-Pacific Journal 11 (40). 
  3. ^ Fatima Lasay (2003). "The United States Takes Up the White Man’s Burden". Cleveland Heights-University Heights City School District Library. Retrieved November 28, 2013. 
  4. ^ Pacis, Vicente Albano. "Rizal in the American Congress, December 27, 1952". The Philippines Free Press. Retrieved December 28, 2005. 
  5. ^ "Writer's Bio: Jose Rizal". PALH Books. 
  6. ^ Nery, John. "Column: Aquino and "the troublemaker"". Blog. Retrieved February 16, 2011. 
  7. ^ "First Ever Filipino Sign Language Interpretation". Deaf TV Channel. 2011-08-31. Retrieved 2014-07-09. 
  8. ^ Středa, L., Zima, T. (2011). José Ritzal, osobnost historie medicíny a národní hrdina Filipín.  (Czech)
  9. ^ http://www.boondi.lk/CTRLPannel/BoondiArticles.php?ArtCat=SOOK&ArtID=1533
  • Mauro Garcia (1961). 'Translations of Mi Ultimo Adios,' in Historical Bulletin Manila. Philippine Historical Association. 
  • Hilario, Frank A (2005). indios bravos! Jose Rizal as Messiah of the Redemption. Lumos Publishing House. 
  • Jaroslav Ludva (2006). Mi último adiós - Poslední rozloučení. Embassy of the Czech Republic in Manila. 
  • Multiple Authorship (1990). Mi Ultimo Adios in Foreign and Local Translations (2 vol). National Historical Institute. 
  • Sung by various Artists of Spanish language as a Tribute (more information needed!)

Resources[edit]