QUEEN ANGELICA I

By Luis G. Dato

Tonight, Queen Angie dear, it is for me
A pleasure great, as well an honor high,
To soar with wings the realms of fantasy
And chant in verse your beauty to the sky.

An honor high, as well a pleasure great,
On this occasion festive here to stand,
The lyre to strum its strings at Heaven’s gate
And with your praises fill this pleasant land.

For pleasant is indeed your barrio now,
Your quiet woods bedecked with red wild-flowers,
And sweetest songs of birds upon each bough
Transform your homes to nigh celestial bowers.

And yet not always such your barrio sweet
In bygone days now in oblivion cast,
When we all grovelled ‘neath the foeman’s feet
In nights of horror that, thank God, are past.

Your barrio still through thirty years shall hold
A niche in memory that shall not fade,
In desperate times your people, valiant, bold,
Atrocities hazarding, history made.

Against the darkness of a fearful time
When Liberty it seemed had all withdrawn from sight,
Abandoned to your fate but so sublime,
You stood heroic in the gloom-surrounded night.

And men whose crime was only that they loved
And prized their freedom in unequal strife,
Were hounded in the night and then removed
Like beasts, and tortured till they gave up life.

Laut, Badiola, Amilano, and
Still others who to the samurai fell,
They through the years compose a shining band
Who died and passed we know not through what hell.

Today the fields and woods again are green
As though no swords of horror once passed here,
And in your homes and faces so serene
The scars of cruel war no more appear.

For rather than the three decades recall,
Today you take and your tomorrow face
And live life to the full, each one and all,
And with the present the dead past erase.

And this is as should be, for we have faith
In God and freedom that no foe can blight,
Which ever springs triumphant over death,
And all immortal vanquishes its night.

And so we hold our fiestas, choose our queen
And princesses to make our joys complete,
And take the fairest that our eyes have seen,
Crowns on their brows and flowers at their feet.

In nights like this to warm the blood with wine
Till the cocks tell that dawn has come too soon,
Round the beloved the fond arms to entwine
In dance, ‘neath a romantic, yellow moon.

For beauty is to us obsession true,
The charm of face and limb we prize still most,
And render it the homage that is due,
With fanfare, pageantry whate’er the cost.

The beauty that is physical is part,
Found in the rosy cheek, the fragrant hair,
The statuesque form, the gleams that start
From black eyes splendorous as they are fair.

And now today when yet another foe
On the horizon looms, and at our door,
Less cruel than Nippon for all we know,
But to turn back so difficult far more -­

The enemy who is none other than
(As you might guess if you but use your mind)
The next-door neighbor, fellow countrymen,
Bent on misrule, a sudden wealth to find,

Our callous rulers from the President down
To mayor, councilor (except a few)
Who taxes have increased in city, town,
To draw payrolls excessive and undue -­

Who else may give us strength our lot to bear,
And courage to take up the gauntlet great,
If not our queen and princesses so fair,
And fight that we may seek a better fate?

Therefore, Angelica, O queen most fair,
Upon your brow we lay our brightest crown,
As symbol of our pride and loving care
And herald far and near your great renown.

And you, the first and second princesses,
Your highness, Mary, Trining, too,
To both as well we give our praise no less,
And give likewise the tributes that are due.

May you our people cherish now and ever,
May you redemption from their sufferings give,
May spirit of no faction come to sever
Their unity that should forever live.

May your reign come to rescue us from sorrow
And liberate us, captives of despair,
May it soon usher in a bright tomorrow
Where peace abides and all are free from care.

And when this glorious night at last is ended,
The glitter and the light and music go,
Departing, nay our hearts as one be blended
With Angie I in endless rendezvous!

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