To the Philippine Youth

At the age of eighteen years of age, Rizal won first prize for his poem “To the Philippine Youth”  in 1879 in  a poetry contest organized for Filipino poets by the Manila Lyceum of Art and Literature. This poem is one of his most famous poems. 

Hold high the brow serene,
O youth, where now you stand;
Let the bright sheen
Of your grace be seen,
Fair hope of my fatherland!

Come now, thou genius grand,
And bring down inspiration;
With thy mighty hand,
Swifter than the wind’s violation,
Raise the eager mind to higher station.

Come down with pleasing light
Of art and science to the fight,
O youth, and there untie
The chains that heavy lie,
Your spirit free to blight.
See how in flaming zone
Amid the shadows thrown,
The Spaniard’a holy hand
A crown’s resplendent band
Proffers to this Indian land.

Thou, who now wouldst rise
On wings of rich emprise,
Seeking from Olympian skies
Songs of sweetest strain,
Softer than ambrosial rain;
Thou, whose voice divine
Rivals Philomel’s refrain
And with varied line
Through the night benign
Frees mortality from pain;

Thou, who by sharp strife
Wakest thy mind to life ;
And the memory bright
Of thy genius’ light
Makest immortal in its strength ;

And thou, in accents clear
Of Phoebus, to Apelles dear ;
Or by the brush’s magic art
Takest from nature’s store a part,
To fig it on the simple canvas’ length ;

Go forth, and then the sacred fire
Of thy genius to the laurel may aspire ;
To spread around the fame,
And in victory acclaim,
Through wider spheres the human name.

Day, O happy day,
Fair Filipinas, for thy land!
So bless the Power to-day
That places in thy way
This favor and this fortune grand!

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