Reading for the Day: Excerpts from Rafael Zulueta y da Costa’s “Like the Molave”

Note: This is only a series of excerpts. Self inserted asterisks to indicate a jump.


My American friend says:

show me one great Filipino speech to make your

people listen through the centuries;

 show me one great Filipino song rich with the

soul of your seven thousand isles;

 show me one great Filipino dream, forever

 sword and shield —

Friend, our silences are long but we also have our

Father, with my whole heart I forgive all.

 Believe me, your reverence.

Speeches short before the firing squad, and yet

    of love.


My American friend continues:

you are a nation being played for a sucker;

poor fish swallowing hook, line, and sinker.

And I answer with parable of analogy:

brown brother and packed for home,
one adventured into port and called us brothers;
we fed him the milk and honey of the land;
he filled his pockets by the sweat of the little
taking with him but one song for souvenir:
O the monkeys have no tails in Zamboanga.

The little brown brother opens his eyes to the


created equal;

sea where dwell his strong brothers.

sound of the Star-Spangled;
dreams to the grand tune of the American dream;
is proud to be part of the sweeping American

*     *     *
sings the American epic of souls conceived in liberty;
quivers with longing for the brotherhood of men
envisions great visions of the land across the
And then the fact. The crushing fact of a world no



shining through the exalted word;
the world where the deed is, the intolerable

*     *     *

The expatriate returns sullen and broken . . . We know



Filipino Pickpockets; the loneliness, the

woman denied.

the story, the black looks, the scowls, the

in the restaurants saying: Neither Dogs nor

Allowed; the warning at the fair: Beware of

Yet what say you, repatriate? America is a great


— Written 1940 by Rafael Zulueta y da Costa (1915- 1990)

Late Sixteenth-Century England

A time of religious upheaval. Shakespeare was a young man. A martyr named Compton, author of the Ten Reasons and a staunch and defiant Catholic, was given a show trial (attended by Queen Elizabeth herself), tortured, and then hanged. Here is how a saint was made. The following excerpt is from Stephen Greenblatt’s Will in the World: How Shakespeare Became Shakespeare:

They then brought Compton to the scaffold at Tyburn, hanged him, and chopped his body in quarters before a huge crowd of observers. One of the bystanders, a Protestant named Henry Walpole, was close to the place where the hangman was throwing the pieces of Campion’s body into a vat of boiling water. A drop of the water mixed with blood splashed out upon his clothes, and Walpole felt at once, he said, that he had to convert to Catholicism. He left for the Continent, became a Jesuit, and was sent back to England, where he too was arrested and executed as a traitor. Such are the works of saints and martyrs.

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