"My Last Farewell" by Jose Rizal is a poem about his imminent death written to commemorate his motherland, the pre-Hispanic Philippines, for which he was losing his life. He also used the poem to bid his friends, family, and loved ones farewell. "My Last Farewell" is obligatory reading in Philippine classrooms.
Rizal's death sentence was commuted to imprisonment during his lifetime, but the new government of President Elpidio Quirino would not revoke it. So Rizal spent his last days in prison, dying on August 28, 1896.
In the poem, Rizal imagines his death from several angles: as an end to his personal ambitions, dreams, and desires; as the end of his life as an officer and a gentleman; as the end of him as a son, a friend, and a lover.
He also looks back on his past career and life, taking stock of all that he had achieved until then. And finally, he asks God to forgive him for any sins he may have committed during his lifetime.
The last line of the poem is famous: "Lord, grant me the serenity to accept my fate and the courage to face it." This line has been often quoted by those who want to show their respect for Rizal's memory.
"My Last Farewell" is a 14-verse valedictory poem composed just before his execution. Love, death, unfathomable sadness, and a man certain of his own convictions are all expressed in this poetry. Rizal stated here that he would die without remorse in the name of the Philippines.
This poem was first published in the March 1887 issue of the bilingual journal La Solidaridad. It was then included in El Patriota, a poem by Rizal's friend Felipe Agoncillo y Oreto entitled "Oda a la Patria". This ode to his country is considered one of the most beautiful in the English language.
Here is the full text of Rizal's last poem:
My last farewell! I know it is forever.
I bid you an eternal farewell, my love for you will live on.
You are gone but not forgotten, mourned by no one but me.
The sun rises as always; nature has no idea that she is sharing her charms with a corpse.
The birds sing as if nothing had happened and the flowers bloom as usual despite the fact that their starshine lovesickness is dead.
A Tribute Jose Rizal is celebrated throughout the Philippines today for his intellect, heroism, nonviolent opposition to oppression, and compassion. Filipino students study his final literary masterpiece, "Mi Ultimo Adios" ("My Last Goodbye"), as well as his two most renowned novels. An annual national holiday recognizes his death on December 30, 1896.
During his life, Rizal was criticized by the Spanish government for his activism in seeking an independent nation for the people of the Philippines. He was arrested several times for writing articles and books that were considered subversive to the colonial regime. In addition, he was accused of plotting to overthrow the government and sentenced to die for his activities. However, the sentence was commuted to exile because of public outcry over his case.
After spending three years abroad, Rizal returned to the Philippines and began to have a major influence on society through his writings. He is regarded as one of the founders of modern Philippine literature.
Rizal has been called the Christopher Columbus of the Philippines because of his efforts to educate the people of the country about its history and culture. He is also praised for his contributions to reform legislation that abolished slavery, established civil rights for women, and provided free education for children.
The details in Rizal's "My Last Farewell," such as gloomy night, love, cries, the graveyard, and utter quiet, were very comparable to one of the poets mentioned, Jose de Espronceda's "La Despedida." He frequently displays his everlasting passion for liberty and his beloved nation. In conclusion, he hopes that both the country and himself will be free soon.
Here are some of the lines from the poem:
Dark and dismal was the night / When my own people took their farewell; / Wept, prayed, and made merry too; / All but me! I could not do so. / The hour they went away / Had not come yet, nor would ever; / Still at my post I stayed, / Wild with grief, and longing for a sight of them again!
Love had made us one soul, / Even though they went far away; / One heart still beating for freedom / From the Spaniards' cruel tyranny! / Oh, if only I could see them once more before I die!
Cries of "Freedom!" "Liberty!" rose high into the air / As loud as the wind which bore them there; / With these words my friends departed, / Leaving me alone with my sorrows there.
During his dying days at Fort Santiago, Manila, Rizal sent letters to his motherland and people. Mi ultimo adios, or My Last Farewell, is one of Rizal's last writings. It was written on December 30, 1896, just three weeks before his death.
Rizal's letter to his country describes the state of the nation after the revolution has failed and the new government has collapsed: "Our national hero fell asleep with his country in danger and his efforts unavailing to save it; but his spirit remains among us to inspire us to greater deeds."
Rizal also writes about his own life: "I have lived long enough to see my beloved country sink into the abyss of slavery... I could not survive this cruel separation from you any longer and so I came to die in your midst."
Finally, Rizal expresses his hope that his death will help bring about a revival in the spirit of patriotism among his fellow Filipinos: "Let me thus fall as a sacrificial offering upon the altar of my country. May my death be the beginning of a new life!"
Mi Ultimo Adios was originally published in La Solidaridad on January 1, 1897, four months after Rizal's execution.
"Mi ultimo adios" (English: "My Last Farewell") is a poem composed by Dr. Jose Rizal before to his execution by firing squad on December 30, 1896. The artwork was one of his final works before his death.
It has been described as a lament for the loss of Philippine independence and an ode to the nation for which he had fought. In addition to being used as a national anthem after its publication in 1897, it has also become a popular song text for those taking the college entrance examination in Japan.
Rizal's wife, Teodora de Jesús, discovered the poem when she went through her husband's papers after his death. She then took upon herself the task of publishing it so that Filipinos would have knowledge of its author's life and work. The poem became a national symbol of the Philippines and has been included in many educational books about Rizal. It has been cited by several presidents of the Philippines during ceremonies and state visits.
In response to this poem, President Elpidio Quirino created a gold medal called "La Medalla del Adiós" (The Medal of Farewell). The medal was awarded to people who had contributed to the country's advancement through science or art.