Song of the Wanderer

by Dr. José Rizal

(English version of “El Canto del Viajero”)

Dry leaf that flies at random
till it’s seized by a wind from above:
so lives on earth the wanderer,
without north, without soul, without country or love!

Anxious, he seeks joy everywhere
and joy eludes him and flees,
a vain shadow that mocks his yearning
and for which he sails the seas.

Impelled by a hand invisible,
he shall wander from a place;
memories shall keep him company –
of loved ones, of happier days.

A tomb perhaps in the desert,
a sweet refuge, he shall discover,
by his country and the world forgotten…
Rest quiet: the torment is over.

And they envy the hapless wanderer
as across the earth he persists!
Ah, they know not of the emptiness
in his soul, where no love exists.

The pilgrim shall return to his country,
shall return perhaps to his shore;
and shall find only ice and ruin,
perished loves, and graves – nothing more.

Begone, wanderer! In your own country
a stranger now and alone!
Let the other sing of loving, who are happy – but you, begone!

Begone, wanderer! Look not behind you
nor grieve as you leave again.
Begone, wanderer: stifle your sorrows!
The world laughs at another’s pain.

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