To My Fellow Children

by Dr. José Rizal

(English version of “Sa Aking mga Kababata”)

Whenever people of a country truly love
The language which by heav'n they were taught to use
That country also surely liberty pursue
As does the bird which soars to freer space above.

For language is the final judge and referee
Upon the people in the land where it holds sway;
In truth our human race resembles in this way
The other living beings born in liberty.

Whoever knows not how to love his native tongue
Is worse than any best or evil smelling fish.
To make our language richer ought to be our wish
The same as any mother loves to feed her young.

Tagalog and the Latin language are the same
And English and Castilian and the angels' tongue;
And God, whose watchful care o'er all is flung,
Has given us His blessing in the speech we calim,

Our mother tongue, like all the highest tht we know
Had alphabet and letters of its very own;
But these were lost -- by furious waves were overthrown
Like bancas in the stormy sea, long years ago.