Song of the Wanderer

In this poem, Rizal talks about the loneliness of being a wanderer and the heartbreak of being a stranger in his motherland after being away for so long.

Song of the Wanderer is a poem that talks about Jose Rizal himself as a wanderer or traveler. In this poem, Rizal describes the loneliness of being a wanderer (reflecting on his return to the Philippines from Europe) and, after being away from his homeland for a long time, the heartbreak of being a stranger in the land of his birth.


Dry leaf that flies at random
till it’s seized by a wind from above:
so lives on earth the wanderer,
without north, without soul, without country or love!

Anxious, he seeks joy everywhere
and joy eludes him and flees,
a vain shadow that mocks his yearning
and for which he sails the seas.

Impelled by a hand invisible,
he shall wander from place to place;
memories shall keep him company
of loved ones, of happy days.

A tomb perhaps in the desert,
a sweet refuge, he shall discover,
by his country and the world forgotten
Rest quiet: the torment is over.

And they envy the hapless wanderer
as across the earth he persists!
Ah, they know not of the emptiness
in his soul, where no love exists.

The pilgrim shall return to his country,
shall return perhaps to his shore;
and shall find only ice and ruin,
perished loves, and graves nothing more.

Begone, wanderer! In your own country,
a stranger now and alone!
Let the others sing of loving,
who are happy but you, begone!

Begone, wanderer! Look not behind you
nor grieve as you leave again.
Begone, wanderer: stifle your sorrows!
the world laughs at another’s pain.

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