TO THE PHILIPPINE YOUTH Jose Rizal Flourish, O timid flower! Look up with a tranquil face, Philippine youth, on this day and shine, Manifesting the grace And gallantry of your line, Fair hope of this land of mine! Spirit of grandeur, uplift And fill them with a noble meditation That will launch with a force more swift Than the wind’s acceleration Their virgin mind to its glorious destination. Bearing the good light Of art and science, to the battleground Descend, O youth and smite: Loosen the heavy pound Of chains that keeps poetic genius bound. See how the light runs down The ardent zone where dwelt the shadows; and How Spain, a splendid crown, With pious and wise hand, Offers the scion of this Indian land.
You who, questing, rise Upon the wings of your rich fantasy Into Olympian skies In quest of poetry More luscious than the food of divinity; You of the heavenly strain, A most melodious rival of Philomel1, Whose manifold refrain On still nights audible Dissipates the pain of human hell; You who animate the hard rock with the impulse of intuition and can perpetuate with potent hand the vision of genius, for eternal recognition; And you whose hand transfers With magic brushes to a simple board The robe that nature wears And varied beauty stored In Phoebus2, whom divine Apelles3 adored: Make haste! The sacred flame Of genius, laurelled Glory comes to crown; While circulating Fame Publishes up and down The universe a mortal name’s renown. O happy, happy day Is this, sweet Philippines, to your descent! Bless the almighty sway Of God, whose love has sent Fortune shining upon you, and content!*
Philomel is a character in Greek Mythology who was turned into a nightingale. Phoebus is the sun god in Greek Mythology. 3 Apelles is a Greek painter who supposedly painted so well that even birds were deceived by the realistic qualities of the painting. * Translation by Nick Joaquin