What Is the Summary of “Hymn to Labor” by Jose Rizal?

The poem “The Hymn of Labor” by Jose Rizal is a call to labor that focuses on four different groups of Filipino society: the men, wives, maidens and children. Each of these groups has its own stanza and chorus in the hymn.

In the men’s chorus of the hymn, the group calls for their fellows to go out into the fields and till the land. The men say that their labor will sustain the Philippines and that they must overcome all odds, such as the hot rays of the sun and back-breaking work, in order to do so.

The women’s stanza of the hymn supports and fortifies the men’s will to work. The women’s chorus says that the men should “go to work with spirits high” because the women are at home watching over the house and the children. The women are tasked with teaching their children to love “virtue, knowledge and country.”

The maidens’ stanza further solidifies the importance of the young men’s labor. The maidens’ chorus states that the love of youth is sustained with the struggle and work of labor. The final stanza of the hymn is sung by the children, who ask for the older groups to teach them how to follow in their footsteps and finish their laborious tasks.

Rizal created the hymn in an effort to reshape the moral and ethical values of a Filipino society that was held under Spanish occupation at the time.