The undisputed masterwork of Francisco “Balagtas” Baltazar, the prince of Tagalog poets, Florante at Laura is at once a sweeping metrical romance and an allegory on the condition of the Philippines under Spanish colonial rule.
Set in a time rife with religious wars, the poem opens in a grim and desolate wood, where Florante, a young Christian nobleman, has been bound to a tree and left to be eaten by two lions. Condemned to die by a rival who has murdered his father and stolen Laura, his lover, Florante is rescued by an unlikely savior: Aladin, a Muslim prince banished from his own kingdom. As the newfound friends exchange stories of bitter love, betrayal and exile, they learn that they are not the only ones fate has brought to the forest. Their discovery drives the plot of this hallmark of Philippine literature to its resolution.
This electronic edition of Florante at Laura features the foreword and annotations by Carlos Ronquillo from the 1921 print edition, as well as an introductory essay by Bienvenido A. Lumbera entitled “Florante at Laura: The Formalization of Tradition in Tagalog Poetry.”