THE REPUBLIC OF 1946

by Luis G. Dato

This is the dawn we dreamed, the wished-for time,
That crowns with laurel flowers the past sublime,
When we for Home and Freedom strove with might,
For ages under Slavery’s dark night;
The hope fulfilled in Lapu-lapu’s breast,
Who grappled with the Iberian from the West;
This the Malayan vision, prospect fair,
Light that retrieves the dying’s soul despair;
This is the blossom breaking o’er the grave
Rizal mused of, and all the immortal brave;
Altar it is where fires of Freedom burned,
Balintawak redeemed, Tirad returned,
The road back to Bataan, deathless flame
Of glory, in wake of Nippon’s guilt and shame.
Do Thou, Lord God, the sovereign of earth,
Shed Thy blessed light upon our nation’s birth
Grant that Thy people in this Eastern land
In Thy commandments walk, united stand,
A beacon in this corner of mankind

For the free soul, the liberated mind;
Make this the land where endless Freedom lies
And Peace, beneath the world’s confounded skies,
Let Law and Reason dwell a welcome guest,
As the proud eagle in his eyrie’s nest,
Make it the land of pleasure, vales of bloom
And song, where only pleasant thoughts have room,
Where the world-weary stranger finds repose
And cool forgetfulness ‘neath skies of rose,
Or, hurrying from the crowds to be alone
Envisions round her shores an emerald throne;
Give to Thy people toil and pure delight
Which make insensible the swift time’s flight;
Exotic, orient land and amiable race,
Where the explosive years should hide their trace;
Grant that their Government, the Ship of State,
Avoid the rocks of conflict, reefs of hate,
But with complacence both to friend and foe,
A light upon the engulfing times bestow;
Where famine stints no man his daily bread,
Nor foul diseases rear their ugly head,
Grant that its rule be merciful and just,
And carry on when we have turned to dust,

Make it the fabled realm where Phoenix sings
Above the ashes of Malayan kings,
And then, transcending bounds of Race and Home,
A law of the united world become;
Grant us the morrow’s vision to behold,
But with feet firmly rooted in the old;
That in the eternal clash of cults and breeds,
We may hold steadfast to our ancient creeds,
And press on from our centuries past unbound
Until a fairer reign on earth be found
When o’er all lands and oceans are unfurled,
The standards of a federated world,
When frontiers vanish and all warfares cease,
And Liberty brings not the Sword but Peace.

But not for lone — America, the Land
Of light and freedom made us understand
That she had come not masters to enslave,
Not conquerors, but friends our land to save
From darkness and the clutch of tyranny,
On some not distant day to set us free.
America has kept with us her word —
The World War ended, by high-souled accord,
Fulfillment she has given to our dream,
Our flag today now flies, alone, supreme.
And so let us our independence bless,
America turn to with gratefulness,
The noblest role she has played in our fate,
All hail to her, magnanimous and great!
And last but not the least, hail, heroes, hail!
We see attained your long-sought Holy Grail,
Behold this day restored our Paradise,
O lift we up our banner to the skies!

Our flag emblazoned with its battle-star,
For centuries again, and yet again
We fought against the vaunted might of Spain.
And dungeons filled, in cells the martyr’s plight
Our heroes faced, nor wavered in affright —
Burgos, Rizal, Jacinto, they withstood
The foe, and dyed the loved soil with their blood.
The Kawit proclamation, how bizarre
Above the guns that belched forth war,
When Aguinaldo made known to the world
Our right, and challenge to our enemy hurled.
And then Halolos, brief and bitter glory
Enshrined forever in the nation’s story,
As the first asian nation to set high
The shining altar bright of liberty.
O bitter gloom of that dark night descending
On Bagumbayan field, the quest unending,
On rebel hosts defeated, in full flight,
On the horizon Freedom’s fading light!
And Freedom failed once more –our sun and stars
Bedimmed, our sires behind the prison bars.

Luis Dato
Luis Dato

Luis G. Dato (July 4, 1906 - January 29, 1985) was a poet, writer and educator from Sta. Cruz, Baao, Camarines Sur. He published books in English including Manila A Collection of verse (1926), My Book of Verses (1936) and the Land of Mai in 1975. He also wrote several books and text in Bikol such as, Vocabulario Bikol-Ingles-Kastila (1963), Cantahon na Bikol (1969), Morfologia kan Tataramon na Bikol (serialized in Naga Times), Patotodon sa Bikol (Bikol Mail) and Sarabihon sa Bikol.

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