by José Rizal
(A Translation from the Spanish by Nick Joaquin)
Why ask for those unintellectual verses
that once, insane with grief, I sang aghast?
Or are you maybe throwing in my face
my rank ingratitude, my bitter past?
Why resurrect unhappy memories
now when the heart awaits from love a sign,
or call the night when day begins to smile,
not knowing if another day will shine?
You wish to learn the cause of this dejection
delirium of despair that anguish wove?
You wish to know the wherefore of such sorrows,
and why, a young soul, I sing not of love?
Oh, may you never know why! For the reason
brings melancholy but may set you laughing.
Down with my corpse into the grave shall go
another corpse that's buried in my stuffing!
Something impossible, ambition, madness,
dreams of the soul, a passion and its throes
Oh, drink the nectar that life has to offer
and let the bitter dregs in peace repose!
Again I feel the impenetrable shadows
shrouding the soul with the thick veils of night:
a mere bud only, not a lovely flower,
because it's destitute of air and light
Behold them: my poor verses, my damned brood
and sorrow suckled each and every brat!
Oh, they know well to what they owe their being,
and maybe they themselves will tell you what.
Translated from the Spanish by Nick Joaquin