My Retreat

by Dr. José Rizal

(English version of “Mi Retiro”)

By the spreading beach where the sands are soft and fine,
At the foot of the mount in its mantle of green
I have built my hut in the pleasant grove's confine;
From the forest seeking peace and a calmness divine,
Rest for the weary brain and silence to my sorrow keen.

Its roof of the frail palm leaf and its floor the cane.
Its beams and posts of the unhewn wood;
Little there is of value in this hut so plain,
And better by far in the lap of the mount to have lain,
By the song and the murmur of the high sea's flood.

A purling brook from the woodland glade
Drops down o'er the stones and around it sweeps,
Whence a fresh stream is a drawn by the rough cane's aid;
That in the still night its' murmur has made,
And in the day's heat a crystal fountain leaps.

When the sky is serene how gently it flows,
And its zither unseen ceaselessly plays;
But when the rains fall a torrent it goes
Boiling and foaming through the rocky close,
Roaring uncheck'd to the sea's wide ways.

The howl of the dog and the song of the bird,
And only the kalao's hoarse call resound;
Nor is the voice of vain man to be heard;
My mind to harass or my steps to begird;
The woodlands alone and the sea wrap me round.

The sea, ah, the sea! for me it is all,
And it massively sweeps from the world's apart;
Its smile in the morn to my soul is a call,
And when in the evening my faith seems to pall,
It breathes with its sadness an echo to my heart.

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