Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Germany: Heidelberg, Jose Rizal, and A Las Flores de Heidelberg

 Cecilia within the Castle of Heidelberg grounds

I visited Heidelberg, Germany on October 18, 2014, knowing that the place had influenced the Philippine National Hero, Dr. Jose Rizal. From the time I was a child, Jose Rizal was held up as the epitome of what the Good Filipino could be. Called a Renaissance man, he was a doctor, writer, sculptor, painter, educator, historian, and nationalist, who was martyred by the Spanish colonizers.

Gate within the Castle of Heidelberg grounds

Fountain within the Castle of Heidelberg grounds

In February of 1886, the 25-year-old Jose Rizal arrived Heidelberg, Germany, from Paris, with the goal of furthering his study on ophthalmology. He attended lectures by Dr. Otto Becker, and Professor Wilhelms Kuehne at the Alte Universitat; and he trained in an eye clinic under Dr. Becker and Dr. Galezowsky.
Detail of Town

It was in Heidelberg where he penned the nostalgic poem "A Las Flores de Heidelberg" written on April 22, 1886. I'm including the English version of his poem in this blog.

Square near church

The old section of Heidelberg is small and lovely. The town is nestled under the watchful eye of the Castle of Heidelberg, which had its beginnings before 1214. The castle has undergone changes and has experienced a lot of history, but the castle remains standing on a hill overlooking a river and the picturesque university town.

I was part of an organized tour and could not wander off so I don't have pictures of where Rizal had lived and studied, but the pictures give you an idea of how charming Heidelberg is, and how it must have influenced Jose Rizal.

I'm sharing pictures of the old section of Heidelberg including the castle grounds, sites that Jose Rizal must have seen. 

Church, and the next two pictures show interior of the church

Bridge Gate to town

 Mansion across the river

Shot of the bridge and river from the Castle grounds

Some houses near the Castle

Building in town

University building with Castle above

Entry way from street

Group photo, Cecilia Brainard in red, front center, her friend Marily Orosa to her left.

Here is that poem that Rizal wrote when he was in Heidelberg, courtesy of Wikipedia

To the Flowers of Heidelberg
by Dr. Jose Rizal (English translation from Spanish by Nick Joaquin)
Go to my country, go, O foreign flowers,
sown by the traveler along the road,
and under that blue heaven
that watches over my loved ones,
recount the devotion
the pilgrim nurses for his native sod!
Go and say say that when dawn
opened your chalices for the first time
beside the icy Neckar,
you saw him silent beside you,
thinking of her constant vernal clime.
Say that when dawn
which steals your aroma
was whispering playful love songs to your young
sweet petals, he, too, murmured
canticles of love in his native tongue;
that in the morning when the sun first traces
the topmost peak of Koenigssthul in gold
and with a mild warmth raises
to life again the valley, the glade, the forest,
he hails that sun, still in its dawning,
that in his country in full zenith blazes.
And tell of that day
when he collected you along the way
among the ruins of a feudal castle,
on the banks of the Neckar, or in a forest nook.
Recount the words he said
as, with great care,
between the pages of a worn-out book
he pressed the flexible petals that he took.
Carry, carry, O flowers,
my love to my loved ones,
peace to my country and its fecund loam,
faith to its men and virtue to its women,
health to the gracious beings
that dwell within the sacred paternal home.
When you reach that shore,
deposit the kiss I gave you
on the wings of the wind above
that with the wind it may rove
and I may kiss all that I worship, honor and love!
But O you will arrive there, flowers,
and you will keep perhaps your vivid hues;
but far from your native heroic earth
to which you owe your life and worth,
your fragrances you will lose!
For fragrance is a spirit that never can forsake
and never forgets the sky that saw its birth. 
Read also

Tags: Jose Rizal, Cecilia Brainard, Heidelberg, Germany, #JoseRizal, #CeciliaBrainard

This is all for now,

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