Tuesday, October 15, 2013

La Boriqueña

The lyrics of "La Boriqueña" by Lola Rodríguez de Tió grace an East Harlem Wall.

¡Despierta, borinqueño

que han dado la señal!
¡Despierta de ese sueño

que es hora de luchar!

   
A ese llamar patriótico

¿no arde tu corazón?
¡Ven! Nos será simpático

el ruido del cañón.

Mira, ya el cubano

libre será;
le dará el machete
su libertad...
le dará el machete

su libertad.

   
Ya el tambor guerrero

dice en su son,
que es la manigua el sitio,
el sitio de la reunión,
de la reunión...

de la reunión.


El Grito de Lares

se ha de repetir,
y entonces sabremos

vencer o morir.

   
Bellísima Borinquén,

a Cuba hay que seguir;
tú tienes bravos hijos

que quieren combatir.

   
ya por más tiempo impávido

no podemos estar,
ya no queremos, tímidos

dejarnos subyugar.


Nosotros queremos

ser libre ya,
y nuestro machete
afilado está.
y nuestro machete

afilado está.


¿Por qué, entonces, nosotros

hemos de estar,
tan dormidos y sordos
y sordos a esa señal?

a esa señal, a esa señal?

   
No hay que temer, riqueños

al ruido del cañón,
que salvar a la patria

es deber del corazón!


ya no queremos déspotas,

caiga el tirano ya,
las mujeres indómitas

también sabrán luchar.


Nosotros queremos

la libertad,
y nuestros machetes
nos la darán...
y nuestro machete

nos la dará...


Vámonos, borinqueños,

vámonos ya,
que nos espera ansiosa,
ansiosa la libertad.

¡La libertad, la libertad!


– Lola Rodríguez de Tió



La Borinqueña the popular anthem of Puerto Rico first began life as a dance tune in 1860. It became a revolutionary call to arms when lyrics were added in 1868 by the nationalist Puerto Rican poet Lola Rodríguez de Tió (1843–1924). Twice exiled from her native homeland she began to sympathize with Cuban patriots in New York City in 1889. It is in New York where she is alleged to have inspired the future flag of Puerto Rico by inverting the colors of the Cuban flag.

Whether the legend of the flag is true or not it does help to strengthen the ties that Rodríguez de Tió had for native Puerto Rico and the island that she would eventually call home for the remainder of her life – Cuba. In 1901, Rodríguez de Tió founded the Cuban Academy of Arts and Letters as she continued to write patriotic poetry about the hopes and aspirations of her two nations. One of her better known offerings from this time, Cuba y Puerto Rico son... espouse these beliefs.

As for La Borinqueña, her lyrics were deemed to subversive and were replaced in 1903 with lyrics written by Manuel Fernández Juncos. Nationalist forces in Puerto Rico today use Rodríguez de Tió's version of La Borinqueña for their cause. The English translation of her lyrics follow.



Arise, Puerto Rican!

The call to arms has sounded!
Awake from this dream,

for it is time to fight!


Doesn't this patriotic call

set your heart alight?
Come! We will be in tune

with the roar of the cannon.


Come, the Cubans

will soon be free;
the machete will give him his
liberty.

Now the war drum

says with its sound,
that the countryside is the place
of the meeting...
of the meeting.

The Cry of Lares

must be repeated,
and then we will know:
victory or death.

Beautiful Puerto Rico

must follow Cuba;
you have brave sons
who wish to fight.

Now, no longer

can we be unmoved;
now we do not want timidly
to let them subjugate us.

We want

to be free now,
and our machete
has been sharpened.

Why then have we

been so sleepy
and deaf
to the call?

There is no need to fear, Puerto Ricans,

the roar of the cannon;
saving the motherland
is the duty of the heart.

We no longer want despots,

may the tyrant fall now;
the unconquerable women
also will know how to fight.

We want liberty,

and our machetes
will give it to us...
and our machetes
will give it to us...

Come, Puerto Ricans,

come now,
for freedom awaits for us
anxiously,
freedom, freedom!


– Lola Rodríguez de Tió