Rizal, ready and calm, took his position opposite his executioners. Roll of drums and a volley of artillery accompany the firing of the soldiers. And even at the moment of his fall, Rizal turns his body so that he ends up lying on his back, with his face to the sun. The elegant Spanish ladies wave their handkerchiefs, the Gentlemen applaud. And while the Filipinos see the execution in enraged silence, calls of "Viva España!" resound thunderously.
to die to give you life, to rest under your sky, and in your enchanted land forever sleep.
On the afternoon of Dec. 29, 1896, a day before his execution, Dr. Jose Rizal was visited by his mother, Teodora Alonzo, sisters Lucia, Josefa, Trinidad, Maria and Narcisa, and two nephews. When they took their leave, Rizal told Trinidad in English that there was something in the small alcohol stove (cocinilla), not alcohol lamp (lamparilla). The stove was given to Narcisa by the guard when the party was about to board their carriage in the courtyard. At home, the Rizal ladies recovered from the stove a folded paper. On it was written an unsigned, untitled and undated poem of 14 five-line stanzas. The Rizals reproduced copies of the poem and sent them to Rizal's friends in the country and abroad. In 1897, Mariano Ponce in Hong Kong had the poem printed with the title "Mi Ultimo Pensamiento." Fr. Mariano Dacanay, who received a copy of the poem while a prisoner in Bilibid(jail), published it in the first issue of La Independencia on Sept. 25, 1898 with the title "Ultimo Adios" (My Last Farewell). The poem later became the most translated and beloved patriotic swan song in the world.
My Last Farewell
Farewell, beloved Country, treasured region of the sun,
Pearl of the sea of the Orient, our lost Eden!
To you eagerly I surrender this sad and gloomy life;
And were it brighter, fresher, more florid,
Even then I’d give it to you, for your sake alone.
In fields of battle, deliriously fighting,
Others give you their lives, without doubt, without regret;
The place matters not: where there’s cypress, laurel or lily,
On a plank or open field, in combat or cruel martyrdom,
It’s all the same if the home or country asks.
I die when I see the sky has unfurled its colors
And at last after a cloak of darkness announces the day;
If you need scarlet to tint your dawn,
Shed my blood, pour it as the moment comes,
And may it be gilded by a reflection of the heaven’s newly-born light.
My dreams, when scarcely an adolescent,
My dreams, when a young man already full of life,
Were to see you one day, jewel of the sea of the Orient,
Dry those eyes of black, that forehead high,
Without frown, without wrinkles, without stains of shame.
My lifelong dream, my deep burning desire,
This soul that will soon depart cries out: Salud!
To your health! Oh how beautiful to fall to give you flight,
To die to give you life, to die under your sky,
And in your enchanted land eternally sleep.
If upon my grave one day you see appear,
Amidst the dense grass, a simple humble flower,
Place it near your lips and my soul you’ll kiss,
And on my brow may I feel, under the cold tomb,
The gentle blow of your tenderness, the warmth of your breath.
Let the moon see me in a soft and tranquil light,
Let the dawn send its fleeting radiance,
Let the wind moan with its low murmur,
And should a bird descend and rest on my cross,
Let it sing its canticle of peace.
Let the burning sun evaporate the rains,
And with my clamor behind, towards the sky may they turn pure;
Let a friend mourn my early demise,
And in the serene afternoons, when someone prays for me,
O Country, pray to God also for my rest!
Pray for all the unfortunate ones who died,
For all who suffered torments unequaled,
For our poor mothers who in their grief and bitterness cry,
For orphans and widows, for prisoners in torture,
And for yourself pray that your final redemption you’ll see.
And when the cemetery is enveloped in dark night,
And there, alone, only those who have gone remain in vigil,
Disturb not their rest, nor the mystery,
And should you hear chords from a zither or psaltery,
It is I, beloved Country, singing to you.
And when my grave, then by all forgotten,
has not a cross nor stone to mark its place,
Let men plow and with a spade scatter it,
And before my ashes return to nothing,
May they be the dust that carpets your fields.
Then nothing matters, cast me in oblivion.
Your atmosphere, your space and valleys I’ll cross.
I will be a vibrant and clear note to your ears,
Aroma, light, colors, murmur, moan, and song,
Constantly repeating the essence of my faith.
My idolized country, sorrow of my sorrows,
Beloved Filipinas, hear my last good-bye.
There I leave you all, my parents, my loves.
I’ll go where there are no slaves, hangmen nor oppressors,
Where faith doesn’t kill, where the one who reigns is God.
Goodbye, dear parents, brother and sisters, fragments of my soul,
Childhood friends in the home now lost,
Give thanks that I rest from this wearisome day;
Goodbye, sweet foreigner, my friend, my joy;
Farewell, loved ones, to die is to rest.
José Rizal, 1896