Ancient Nahuatl Poetry
Daniel G. Brinton
Part 2 out of 3
1. Tlaocoya in noyollo nicuicanitl nicnotlamatia, yehua za yey
xochitl y zan ye in cuicatlin, ica nitlacocoa in tlalticpac ye nican,
ma nequitocan intech cocolia intech miquitlani moch ompa onyazque
cano y ichan, ohuaya.
1. My heart grieved, I, the singer, was afflicted, that these are the
only flowers, the only songs which I can procure here on earth; see
how they speak of sickness and of death, how all go there to their
2. I inquemanian in otonciahuic, in otontlatzihuic tocon ynayaz in
momahuizco in motenyo in tlalticpac, ma nenquitocane, ohuaya, etc.
2. Sometimes thou hast toiled and acquired skill, thou takest refuge
in thy fame and renown on earth; but see how vain they speak, alas.
3. Inin azan oc huelnemohuan in tlalticpac mazano ihuian yehuan Dios
quiniquac onnetemoloa in tiaque in canin ye ichan, ohuaya.
3. As many as live on earth, truly they go to God when they descend
to the place where are their homes, alas.
4. Hu inin titotolinia ma yuhquitimiquican ma omochiuh in mantech
onittocan in tocnihuan in matech onahuacan in quauhtin y a ocelotl.
4. Alas, we miserable ones, may it happen when we die that we may see
our friends, that we may be with them in grandeur and strength.
5. Mazo quiyocoli macaoc xictemachican, can antlahuicaya y caya
amechmotlatili in ipalnemohuani, ohuaya.
5. Although He is the Creator, do not hope that the Giver of Life has
sent you and has established you.
6. Ay ya yo xicnotlamatican Tezcacoacatl, Atecpanecatl mach nel
amihuihuinti in cozcatl in chalchihuitli, ma ye anmonecti, ma ye
6. Be ye grieved, ye of Tezcuco and Atecpan, that ye are intoxicated
with gems and precious stones; come forth to the light, come and
1. Nicchocaehua, nicnotlamati, nicelnamiqui ticauhtehuazque yectliya
xochitl yectli yancuicatl; ma octonahuiacan, ma oc toncuicacan cen
tiyahui tipolihui ye ichan, etc.
1. I lift my voice in wailing, I am afflicted, as I remember that we
must leave the beautiful flowers, the noble songs; let us enjoy
ourselves for a while, let us sing, for we must depart forever, we
are to be destroyed in our dwelling place.
2. Achtleon ah yuhquimati in tocnihuan cocoya in noyollo qualani
yehua ay oppan in tlacatihua ye ay oppa piltihuaye yece yequi
2. Is it indeed known to our friends how it pains and angers me that
never again can they be born, never again be young on this earth?
3. Oc achintzinca y tetloc ye nican tenahuacan aic yezco on aic
nahuiaz aic nihuelamatiz.
3. Yet a little while with them here, then nevermore shall I be with
them, nevermore enjoy them, nevermore know them.
4. In can on nemian noyollo yehua? Can huel ye nochan? Can huel
nocallamanian? Ninotolinia tlalticpac.
4. Where shall my soul dwell? Where is my home? Where shall be my
house? I am miserable on earth.
5. Zan ye tocontemaca ye tocontotoma in mochalchiuh, ye on
quetzalmalintoc, zacuan icpac xochitl, za yan tiquinmacayan tepilhuan
5. We take, we unwind the jewels, the blue flowers are woven over the
yellow ones, that we may give them to the children.
6. In nepapan xochitl conquimilo, conihuiti ye noyollo niman
nichocaya ixpan niauh in tonan.
6. Let my soul be draped in various flowers; let it be intoxicated by
them, for soon must I weeping go before the face of our mother.
7. Zan nocolhuia: ipalnemohua ma ca ximozoma, ma ca ximonenequin
tlalticpac, mazo tehuantin motloc tinemican y, zan ca ye moch ana
7. This only do I ask:--Thou Giver of Life, be not angry, be not
severe on earth, let us live with thee on earth, take us to the
8. Azo tle nello nicyaitohua nican ipalnemohua, zan tontemiqui y, zan
toncochitlehuaco, nicitoa in tlalticpac ye ayac huel tontiquilhuia ye
8. But what can I speak truly here of the Giver of Life? We only
dream, we are plunged in sleep; I speak here on earth; but never can
we speak in worthy terms here.
9. In manel ye chalchihuitl, mantlamatilolli, on aya mazo ya
ipalnemohuani ayac hueltic ilhuia nicana.
9. Although it may be jewels and precious ointments (of speech), yet
of the Giver of Life, one can never here speak in worthy terms.
_XOPANCUICATL NENONOTZALCUICATL IPAMPA IN AQUIQUE AMO ON MIXTILIA IN
_A SPRING SONG, A SONG OF EXHORTATION, BECAUSE CERTAIN ONES DID NOT
GO TO THE WAR._
1. Nictzotzonan nohuehueuh nicuicatlamatquetl ic niquimonixitia ic
niquimitlehua in tocnihuan in atle in yollo quimati in aic tlathui
ipan inin yollo yaocochmictoque in inpan motimaloa in
mixtecomatlayohualli anen niquito huay motolinia y, maquicaqui qui y
xochitlathuicacuicatl occeh tzetzeuhtimania huehuetitlana, ohuaya,
1. I strike on my drum, I the skillful singer, that I may arouse,
that I may fire our friends, who think of nothing, to whose minds
plunged in sleep the dawn has not appeared, over whom are yet spread
the dark clouds of night; may I not call in vain and poorly, may they
hear this song of the rosy dawn, poured abroad widely by the drum,
2. Tlahuizcalteochitla oncuepontimani in ixochiquiyaopan in tloque in
nahuaque, onahuachtotonameyotimani in teyolquima; ma xiqualitacan in
atle ipan ontlatao, zannen cuepontimanio ayac mahaca quelehuiao in
antocnihuan amo zannen ya xochitl yoliliztlapalneucxochitla e.
2. The divine flowers of dawn blossom forth, the war flowers of the
Cause of All; glittering with dew they scatter abroad their
fragrance; bring them hither that they be not hidden nor bloom in
vain, that they may rejoice you our friends, and not in vain shall be
the flowers, the living, colored, brilliant flowers.
3. Quiyolcaihuintiaya in teyolia, zan oncan ye omania, zan oncan ye
oncuepontimania quauhtepetitlan in ya hualiuhcancopa y
ixtlahuatlitica oncan inemaya oc teoatl tlachinolli a. Oncan in
epoyahuayan in teoquauhtli oncan iquiquinacayan, in ocelotl,
ipixauhyan in nepapan tlazomaquiztetl, in emomolotzayan in nepapan
tlazopilihuitl, oncan teintoque oncan xamantoque in tepilhuan.
3. They intoxicate the soul, but they are only found, they blossom
only on the lofty mountains, on the broad plains where glorious war
finds its home. There is where the eagles gather in bands of sixties,
there the tigers roar, there the various beloved stones rain down,
there the various dear children are cut to pieces; there the youths
are split into shards and ground into fragments.
4. Tlacuah yehuantin in tepilhuani conelehuiao, in
tlahuizcalxochitlan ya nemamallihuao ic tetlan[)e]nectiao, in
ilhuicac onocon iceolitzin yn iotepiltzina quitzetzelotimanio a in
tepilhuan in quauhtliya ocelotl, in quimemactiao in
xochicueponalotlon in quimihuintia yeyolxochiahuechtlia.
4. Stoutly do those youths rejoice, laboring for the rose of the dawn
that they may win it; and in heaven, He, the only one, the noble one,
pours down upon the youths strength and courage, that they may pluck
the budding flowers of the pathway, that they may be intoxicated with
the dew-damp flowers of the spirit.
5. In ic timomatia in tinocniuh zan ne yan xochitlon in tiquelehuiaon
in tlalticpac, quen toconcuizon quen ticyachihuazon, timotolinia in
tiquimiztlacoa a in tepilhuan xochitica cuicatica; ma xihuallachican
in atle y ica mitl, ehuaon zan moch yehuantin in tepilhuan
zacuanmeteoquecholtitzinitzcatlatlauhquecholtin moyeh yectitinemio in
onmatio in ixtlahuatlitican.
5. Know, my friend, that these are the only flowers which will give
thee pleasure on earth; mayest thou take them and make them; O poor
one, search out for thy children these flowers and songs. Look not
hither without arrows, let all the youths lift up their voices, like
zacuan birds, divine quechols, tzinitzcans, and red quechols, who
live joyous lives, and know the fields.
6. Chimalxochitl, quauhpilolxochitl ic oquichtlamatimani in y
antepilhuan xochicozcaocoxochitl ic mapantimanian, quitimaloao
yectliya cuicatl, yectliya xochitl, imezo imelchiquiuh patiuh
mochihuaya in quicelia on in teoatl tlachinolli; y iantocnihuan
tliliuhquitepeca in tiyaotehua huey otlipana, ma huel xoconmanao y ye
mochimalo, huel xonicaon in ti quauhtliya ocelotla.
6. O youths, here there are skilled men in the flowers of shields, in
the flowers of the pendant eagle plumes, the yellow flowers which
they grasp; they pour forth noble songs, noble flowers; they make
payment with their blood, with their bare breasts; they seek the
bloody field of war. And you, O friends, put on your black paint, for
war, for the path of victory; let us lay hands on our shields, and
raise aloft our strength and courage.
_A SONG OF HUEXOTZINCO._
1. Zan tlaocolxochitl, tlaocolcuicatl on mania Mexico nican ha in
Tlatilolco, in yece ye oncan on neiximachoyan, ohuaya.
1. Only sad flowers, sad songs, are here in Mexico, in Tlatilolco, in
this place these alone are known, alas.
2. Ixamayo yectli in zan ca otitech icneli ipalnemohuani, in za can
tipopolihuizque in timacehualta, ohuaya.
2. It is well to know these, if only we may please the Giver of Life,
lest we be destroyed, we his subjects, alas.
3. Ototlahueliltic, zan titotolinia timacehualtinquezo huel
tehuantin, otiquittaque in cococ ye machoyan, ohuaya.
3. We have angered Him, we are only wretched beings, slaves by blood;
we have seen and known affliction, alas.
4. Ticmomoyahua, ticxoxocoyan in momacehualy in Tlatilolco cococ
moteca cococ ye machoyan ye ic ticiahuia ipalnemoani, ohuaya.
4. We are disturbed, we are embittered, thy servants here in
Tlatilolco, deprived of food, made acquainted with affliction, we are
fatigued with labor, O Giver of Life, alas.
5. Choquiztli moteca ixayotl pixahui oncan a in Tlatilolco; in atlan
yahqueon o in Mexica ye cihua nelihui ica yehuilo a oncan ontihui in
tocnihuan a, ohuaya.
5. Weeping is with us, tears fall like rain, here in Tlatilolco; as
the Mexican women go down to the water, we beg of them for ourselves
and our friends, alas.
6. In ic neltic o ya cahua Atloyantepetl o in Mexico in poctli
ehuatoc ayahuitl onmantoc, in tocon ya chihuaya ipalnemoani, ohuaya.
6. Even as the smoke, rising, lies in a cloud over Mount Atloyan, in
Mexico, so does it happen unto us, O Giver of Life, alas.
7. In anMexica ma xiquilnamiquican o yan zan topan quitemohuia y
ellelon i mahuizo yehuan zan yehuan Dios, yehua anquin ye oncan in
7. And you Mexicans, may you remember concerning us when you descend
and suffer before the majesty of God, when there you shall howl like
8. Za can ye oncan zan quinchoquiz tlapaloa o anquihuitzmanatl incan
ye[)u]ch motelchiuh on ya o anquin ye mochin, ha in tlayotlaqui, ah
in tlacotzin, ah in tlacateuctli in oquichtzin y huihui ica ca ye con
yacauhqui in Tenochtitlan, ohuaya.
8. There, there will be only weeping as your greeting when you come,
there you will be accursed, all of you, workers in filth, slaves,
rulers or warriors, and thus Tenochtitlan will be deserted.
9. In antocnihuan ma xachocacan aya ma x[)a]conmatican ica ye
ticcauhque Mexicayotl huiya, zan ye yatl chichixhuiya no zan ye
tlaqualli chichixaya zan con aya chiuhqui in ipalnemoani ha in
Tlatilolco y, ohuaya.
9. Oh friends, do not weep, but know that sometime we shall have left
behind us the things of Mexico, and then their water shall be made
bitter and their food shall be made bitter, here in Tlatilolco, as
never before, by the Giver of Life.
10. Tel ah zan yhuian huicoque hon in motelchiuhtzin ha in tlacotzin
zan mocuica ellaquauhque ac achinanco in ahiquac in tlepan quixtiloto
in coyohuacan, ohuaya.
10. The disdained and the slaves shall go forth with song; but in a
little while their oppressors shall be seen in the fire, amid the
howling of wolves.
1. Zan tzinitzcan impetlatl ipan, ohuaya; on tzinitzcan iceliztoca
oncan izan in ninentlamatia, in zan icnoxochicuicatica inocon ya
temohua ya ohuaya, ohuaya.
1. Only the tzinitzcan is in power, the tzinitzcan arouses me in my
affliction, letting fall its songs like sad flowers.
2. In canin nemiya icanon in nemitoconchia ye nican huehuetitlan a
ayiahue, ye onnentlamacho, ye mocatlaocoyalo ay xopancaliteca,
2. Wherever it wanders, wherever it lives, one awaits it here with
the drum, in affliction, in distress, here in the house of spring.
3. Ac ipiltzin? Achanca ipiltzin yehuayan Dios Jesu Christo can
quicuilo antlacuiloa quicuilo ancuicatl a ohuaya, ohuaya.
3. Who is the royal son? Is not the royal son, the son of God, Jesus
Christ, as was written in your writings, as was written in your
4. O achan canel ompa huiz canin ilhuicac y xochintlacuilol
xochincalitec a ohuaya ohuaya.
4. Is not the flowery writing within the house of flowers that he
shall come there from heaven?
5. In ma ontlachialoya in ma ontl[)a]tlamahuicolo in
tlapapalcalimanican y ipalnemoa y tlayocol yehuan Dios, ohuaya.
5. Look around and wonder at this scene of many colored houses which
God has created and endowed with life.
6. Techtolinian techtl[)a]tlanectia y icuicaxochiamilpan,
intechontl[)a]tlachialtian ipalnemohua itlayocol yehuan Dios a
6. They make us who are miserable to see the light among the flowers
and songs of the fertile fields, they cause us to see those things
which God has created and endowed with life.
7. Ya ixopantla ixopantlatinenemi ye nican ixtlahuatl yteey, za
xiuhquechol quiahuitl zan topan xaxamacay in atlixco ya ohuaya,
7. They dwell in the place of spring, in the place of spring, here
within the broad fields, and only for our sakes does the
turquoise-water fall in broken drops on the surface of the lake.
8. Zan ye nauhcampay ontlapepetlantoc, oncan onceliztoc in
cozahuizxochitl, oncan nemi in Mexica in tepilhuan a ohuaya ohuaya.
8. Where it gleams forth in fourfold rays, where the fragrant yellow
flowers bud, there live the Mexicans, the youths.
_TEZOZOMOCTLI IC MOTECPAC._
_THE REIGN OF TEZOZOMOCTLI._
1. Zan ca tzihuactitlan, mizquititlan, aiyahue Chicomoztocpa, mochi
ompa yahuitze antl[)a]tohuan ye nican, ohuaya, ohuaya.
1. From the land of the tzihuac bushes, from the land of the mezquite
bushes, where was ancient Chicomoztoc, thence came all your rulers
2. Nican momalinaco in colcahuahtecpillotl huiya nican milacatzoa in
Colhuaca Chichimecayotl in toteuchuahuia.
2. Here unrolled itself the royal line of Colhuacan, here our nobles
of Colhuacan, united with the Chichimecs.
3. Ma oc achitzinca xomotlanecuican antepilhuan huiya tlacateuhtzin
Huitzilihuitl a ya cihuacoatl y Quauhxilotl huia totomihuacan
Tlalnahuacatl aya zan ca xiuhtototl Ixtlilxochitl y quenman
tlatzihuiz quimohmoyahuaquiuh yauh y tepeuh yehuan Dios ica ye choca
Tezozomoctli ohuaya ohuaya.
3. Sing for a little while concerning these, O children, the
sovereign Huitzilihuitl, the judge Quauhxilotl, of our bold leader
Tlalnahuacatl, of the proud bird Ixtlilxochitl, those who went forth,
and conquered and ruled before God, and bewail Tezozomoctli.
4. Yenoceppa mizquitl yacahuantimani Hueytlalpani, anquican itlatol
yehuan Dios a ohuaya, ohuaya.
4. A second time they left the mezquite bushes in Hue Tlalpan,
obeying the order of God.
5. Can onyeyauh xochitl, can oyeyauh yeh intoca quauhtli ocelotl huia
ya moyahuaya xelihuia Atloyantepetl Hueytlalpan y anquizan itlatol
ipalnemohua ohuaya ohuaya.
5. They go where are the flowers, where they may gain grandeur and
power, dividing asunder they leave the mountain Atloyan and Hue
Tlalpan, obeying the order of the Giver of Life.
6. Oncuiltonoloc, onechtlachtiloc, in teteuctin cemanahuac y huel
zotoca huipantoca y tl[)a]tol ipalnemohuani, huel quimothuitico, huel
quiximatico y yollo yehuan Dios huiya chalchihuitl maquiztliya
tlamatelolliya tizatla ihuitla za xochitl quimatico yaoyotla ohuaya
6. It is cause of rejoicing, that I am enabled to see our rulers from
all parts gathering together, arranging in order the words of the
Giver of Life, and that their souls are caused to see and to know
that God is precious, wonderful, a sweet ointment, and that they are
known as flowers of wise counsel in the affairs of war.
7. Oya in Tochin y miec acalcatli, Acolmiztlan teuctli zan Catocih
teuctli Yohuallatonoc y yehuan Cuetzpaltzin Iztaccoyotl totomihuacan
Tlaxcallan ohuaye Coatziteuctli Huitlalotzin za xochitl quimatico
yaoyotla ohuaya ohuaya.
7. There were Tochin, with many boats, the noble Acolmiztlan, the
noble Catocih, Yohuallatonoc, and Cuetzpaltzin, and Iztaccoyotl, bold
leaders from Tlaxcalla, and Coatziteuctli, and Huitlalotzin, famed as
flowers on the field of battle.
8. Tley an quiyocoya anteteuctin y Huexotzinca? ma xontlachiacan
Acolihu[)a]can in quatlapanca oncan ye Huexotla itztapallocan huia
yeyahuatimani Atloyantepetl a ohuaya.
8. For what purpose do you make your rulers, men of Huexotzinco? Look
at Acolhuacan where the men of Huexotzinco are broken with toil, are
trod upon like paving stones, and wander around the mountain Atloyan.
9. Oncan in pochotl ahuehuetl oncan icaca mizquitl ye oztotlhui[)a]
tetlaquahuac quimatia ipalnemohuani oyao ai ya hue ohuaya.
9. There is a ceiba tree, a cypress tree, there stands a mezquite
bush, strong as a cavern of stone, known as the Giver of Life.
10. Tlacateotl nopiltzin Chichimecatl y tleonmach itla techcocolia
Tezozomoctli tech in micitlani ye ehuaya atayahuili quinequia yaoyotl
necaliztlon quima Acolhuacan ohuaya.
10. Ruler of men, Nopiltzin, Chicimec, O Tezozomoctli, why hast thou
made us sick, why brought us to death, through not desiring to offer
war and battle to Acolhuacan?
11. Tel ca tonehua ticahuiltia ipalnemohuani Colihua o o Mexicatl y
tlahcateotl huiaya atayahuili quinequia yaoyotl necaliztl qui mana
Acolhuacan a ohuaya ohuaya.
11. But we lift up our voice and rejoice in the Giver of life; the
men of Colhuacan and the Mexican leader have ruined us, through not
desiring to offer war and battle to Acolhuacan.
12. Zan ye on necuiltonolo in tlalticpac ay oppan titlano chimalli
xochitl ay oppan ahuiltilon ipalnemohua; ye ic anauia in tlailotlaqui
xayacamacha huia ho ay ya yi ee ohuaya ha ohuaya.
12. The only joy on earth will be again to send the shield-flower,
again to rejoice the Giver of Life; already are discontented the
faces of the workers in filth.
13. Inacon anquelehuia chimalli xochitl y yohual xochitli
tl[)a]chinol xochitl; ye ic neyahpanalo antepilhuan huiya
Quetzalmamatzin Huitznahuacatl ohuaye ho ha yia yi ee oua yi aha
13. Therefore you rejoice in the shield-flowers, the flowers of
night, the flowers of battle; already are ye clothed, ye children of
Quetzalmamatzin and Huitznahuacatl.
14. Chimal tenamitl oncan in nemohua yehua necalia huilotl oyahualla
icahuaca yehuaya on canin ye nemi in tecpipiltin Xiuhtzin
xayacamachani amehuano o anconahuiltia ipalnemohua ohuaya.
14. Your shield and your wall of safety are where dwells the sweet
joy of war, where it comes, and sings and lifts its voice, where
dwell the nobles, the precious stones, making known their faces; thus
you give joy to the Giver of Life.
15. In ma huel netotilo mannemamanaloya yaonahuac a on
netlamachtiloyan ipan nechihuallano ohuaye in tepiltzin can ye
mocuetlaca ohuaya, ohuaya.
15. Let your dancing, and banqueting be in the battle, there be your
place of gain, your scene of action, where the noble youths perish.
16. Quetzalipantica oyo huiloa ahuiltiloni ipalnemohuan yectlahuacan
in tapalcayocan a ohuaya ohuaya.
16. Dressed in their feathers they go rejoicing the Giver of Life to
the excellent place, the place of shards.
17. Oyo hualehuaya ye tocalipan oyohua yehua Huexotzincatl y
tototihua o o Iztaccoyotla ohuaya ohuaya.
17. He lifted up his voice in our houses like a bird, that man of
18. Ace melle ica ton[)a]coquiza y nican topantilemonti Tlaxcaltecatl
itocoya cacalia in altepetl y Huexochinco ya ohuaya.
18. Whoever is aggrieved let him come forth with us against the men
of Tlaxcallan, let him follow where the city of Huexotzinco lets
drive its arrows.
19. Cauhtimanizo polihuiz tlalli yan totomihuacan huia cehuiz yiollo
o antepilhuan a Huexotzinca y ohuaya ohuaya.
19. Our leaders will lay waste, they will destroy the land, and your
children, O Huexotzincos, will have peace of mind.
20. Mizquitl y mancan tzihuactli y mancan ahuehuetl onicacahuia
ipalnemohua, xonicnotlamati mochi elimanca Huexotzinco ya zanio oncan
in huel on mani tlalla ohuaya ohuaya.
20. The mezquite was there, the tzihuac was there, the Giver of Life
has set up the cypress; be sad that evil has befallen Huexotzinco,
that it stands alone in the land.
21. Zan nohuian tlaxixinia tlamomoyahua y ayoc anmocehuia
mom[)a]cehual y hualcaco mocuic in icelteotl oc xoconyocoyacan
antepilhuan a ohuaya ohuaya.
21. In all parts there are destruction and desolation, no longer are
there protection and safety, nor has the one only God heard the song;
therefore speak it again, you children;
22. Zan mocuepa itlatol conahuiloa ipalnemohua Tepeyacac ohuaye
antepilhuan ohuaya ohuaya.
22. That the words may be repeated, you children, and give joy to the
Giver of Life at Tepeyacan.
23. Canel amonyazque xoconmolhuican an Tlaxcalteca y Tlacomihuatzin
hui oc oyauh itlachinol ya yehuan Dios a ohuaya.
23. And since you are going, you Tlaxcallans, call upon
Tlacomihuatzin that he may yet go to this divine war.
24. Cozcatl ihuihui quetzal n[)e]huihuia oc zo conhuipanque zan
Chichimeca y Totomihua a Iztaccoyotl a ohuaya ohuaya.
24. The Chichimecs and the leaders and Iztaccoyotl have with
difficulty and vain labor arranged and set in order their jewels and
25. Huexotzinco ya zan quiauhtzinteuctli techcocolia Mexicatl
itechcocolia Acolihuiao ach quennelotihua tonyazque quenonamican a
25. At Huexotzinco the ruler Quiauhtzin hates the Mexicans, hates the
Acolhuacans; when shall we go to mix with them, to meet them?
26. Ay antlayocoya anquimitoa in amotahuan an teteuctin ayoquantzin
ihuan a in tlepetztic in cacha ohuaya tzihuacpopoca yo huaya.
26. Set to work and speak, you fathers, to your rulers, to your
lords, that they may make a blazing fire of the smoking tzihuac wood.
27. Ca zan catcan Chalco Acolihuaca huia totomihuacan y amilpan in
Quauhquecholla quixixinia in ipetl icpal yehuan Dios ohoaya ohuaya.
27. The Acolhuacans were at Chalco, the Otomies were in your
cornfields at Quauhquechollan, they laid them waste by the permission
28. Tlazoco a ye nican tlalli tepetl yecocoliloya cemanahuac a
28. The fields and hills are ravaged, the whole land has been laid
29. Quennel conchihuazque atl popoca itlacoh in teuctli tlalli
mocuepaya Mictlan onmatia Cacamatl onteuctli, quennel conchihuazque,
29. What remedy can they turn to? Water and smoke have spoiled the
land of the rulers; they have gone back to Mictlan attaching
themselves to the ruler Cacamatl. What remedy can they turn to?
1. On onellelacic quexquich nic ya ittoa antocnihuan ayiaue
noconnenemititica noyollon tlalticpac y noconycuilotica, ay niyuh can
tinemi ahuian yeccan, ay cemellecan in tenahuac y, ah nonnohuicallan
in quenon amican ohuaya.
1. It is a bitter grief to see so many of you, dear friends not
walking with me in spirit on the earth, and written down with me;
that no more do I walk in company to the joyful and pleasant spots;
that nevermore in union with you do I journey to the same place.
2. Zan nellin quimati ye noyollo za nelli nicittoa antocnihuan,
ayiahue aquin quitlatlauhtia icelteotl yiollo itlacoca con aya macan.
Machamo oncan? In tlalticpac machamo oppan piltihua. Ye nelli nemoa
in quenon amican ilhuicatl y itec icanyio oncan in netlamachtilo y
2. Truly I doubt in my heart if I really see you, dear friends; Is
there no one who will pray to the one only God that he take this
error from your hearts? Is no one there? No one can live a second
time on earth. Truly they live there within the heavens, there in a
place of delight only.
3. O yohualli icahuacan teuctlin popoca ahuiltilon Dios
ipalnemohuani: chimalli xochitl in cuecuepontimani in mahuiztli
moteca molinian tlalticpac, ye nican ic xochimicohuayan in ixtlahuac
itec a ohuaya ohuaya.
3. At night rises up the smoke of the warriors, a delight to the Lord
the Giver of Life; the shield-flower spreads abroad its leaves,
marvelous deeds agitate the earth; here is the place of the fatal
flowers of death which cover the fields.
4. Yaonauac ye oncan yaopeuhca in ixtlahuac itec iteuhtlinpopoca ya
milacatzoa y momalacachoa yaoxochimiquiztica antepilhuan in
anteteuctin zan Chichimeca y ohuaya.
4. The battle is there, the beginning of the battle is in the open
fields, the smoke of the warriors winds around and curls upward from
the slaughter of the flowery war, ye friends and warriors of the
5. Maca mahui noyollo ye oncan ixtlahuatl itic, noconele hua in
itzimiquiliztli zan quinequin toyollo yaomiquiztla ohuaya.
5. Let not my soul dread that open field; I earnestly desire the
beginning of the slaughter, may thy soul long for the murderous
6. O anquin ye oncan yaonahuac, noconelehuia in itzi miquiliztli can
quinequin toyollo yaomiquiztla ohuaya ohuaya.
6. O you who are there in the battle, I earnestly desire the
beginning of the slaughter, may thy soul long for the murderous
7. Mixtli ye ehuatimani yehuaya moxoxopan ipalnemohuani ye oncan
celiztimani a in quauhtlin ocelotl, ye oncan cueponio o in tepilhuan
huiya in tlachinol, ohuaya ohuaya.
7. The cloud rises upward, rising into the blue sky of the Giver of
Life; there blossom forth prowess and daring, there, in the battle
field, come the children to maturity.
8. In ma oc tonahuican antocnihuan ayiahuc, ma oc xonahuiacan
antepilhuan in ixtlahuatl itec, y nemoaquihuic zan tictotlanehuia o a
in chimalli xochitl in tlachinoll, ohuaya, ohuaya, ohuaya.
8. Let us rejoice, dear friends, and may ye rejoice, O children,
within the open field, and going forth to it, let us revel amid the
shield-flowers of the battle.
_A FLOWER SONG._
1. Can ti ya nemia ticuicanitl ma ya hualmoquetza xochihuehuetl
quetzaltica huiconticac teocuitlaxochinenepaniuhticac y ayamo aye
iliamo aye huiy ohuaya, ohuaya.
1. Where thou walkest, O singer, bring forth thy flowery drum, let it
stand amid beauteous feathers, let it be placed in the midst of
2. Tiquimonahuiltiz in tepilhuan teteucto in quauhtlo ocelotl ayamo,
2. That thou mayest rejoice the youths and the nobles in their
3. In tlac[)a]ce otemoc aya huehuetitlan ya nemi in cuicanitlhuia zan
qui quetzal in tomaya quexexeloa aya icuic ipalnemoa qui ya nanquilia
in coyolyantototl oncuicatinemi xochimanamanaya taxocha ohuaya,
3. Wonderful indeed is it how the living song descended upon the
drum, how it loosened its feathers and spread abroad the songs of the
Giver of Life, and the coyol bird answered, spreading wide its notes,
offering up its flowery songs of flowers.
4. In canon in noconcaqui in tlatol aya tlacazo yehuatl ipalnemoa
quiyananquilia quiyananquilia in coyolyantototl on cuicatinemi
4. Wherever I hear those words, perhaps the Giver of Life is
answering, as answers the coyol bird, spreading wide its notes,
offering up its flowery song of flowers.
5. In chalchihuitl ohuayee on quetzal pipixauhtimania in amo
tlatolhuia, noyuh ye quittoa yayoquan yehuayan cuetzpal ohuaye
anquinelin ye quimatin ipalnemoa ohuaya.
5. It rains down precious stones and beauteous feathers rather than
words; it seems to be as one reveling in food, as one who truly knows
the Giver of Life.
6. Noyuh quichihua con teuctlon timaloa yecan quetzalmaquiztla
matilolticoya conahuiltia icelteotlhuia achcanon azo a yan ipalnemoa
achcanon azo tle nel in tlalticpac ohuaya.
6. Thus do the nobles glorify themselves with things of beauty, honor
and delight, that they may please the one only god, though one knows
not the dwelling of the Giver of Life, one knows not whether he is on
7. Macuelachic aya maoc ixquich cahuitl niquin notlanehui in
chalchiuhtini in maquiztini in tepilhuan aya; zan nicxochimalina in
tecpillotl huia: zan ca nican nocuic ica ya nocon ilacatzohua a in
huehuetitlan a ohuaya ohuaya.
7. May I yet for a little while have time to revel in those precious
and honorable youths; may I wreathe flowers for their nobility; may I
here yet for a while wind the songs around the drum.
8. Oc noncoati nican Huexotzinco y nitl[)a]tohuani ni teca ehuatzin
huiya chalchiuhti zan quetzalitztin y, niquincenquixtia in tepilhuan
aya zan nicxochimalina in tecpillotl huia ohuaya ohuaya.
8. I am a guest here among the rulers of Huexotzinco; I lift up my
voice and sing of precious stones and emeralds; I select from among
the youths those for whom I shall wreathe the flowers of nobility.
9. A in ilhuicac itic ompa yeya huitz in yectliyan xochitl yectliyan
cuicatl y, conpolo antellel conpolo antotlayocol y in tlacazo yehuatl
in Chichimecatl teuctli in teca yehuatzin ica xonahuiacan a ohuaya
9. There comes from within the heavens a good flower, a good song,
which will destroy your grief, destroy your sorrow; therefore, Chief
of the Chichimecs, be glad and rejoice.
10. Moquetzal izqui xochintzetzeloa in icniuhyotl
aztlacaxtlatlapantica ye onmalinticac in quetzalxiloxochitl imapan
onn[)e]nemi conchichichintinemi in teteuctin in tepilhuan.
10. Here, delightful friendship, turning about with scarlet dyed
wings, rains down its flowers, and the warriors and youths, holding
in their hands the fragrant xilo flowers, walk about inhaling the
11. Zan teocuitlacoyoltototl o huel yectli namocuic huel yectli in
anq'ehua anquin ye oncan y xochitl y ya hualyuhcan y xochitl imapan
amoncate in amontlatl[)a]toa ye ohuaya ohui ohui ilili y yao ayya hue
ho ama ha ilili ohua y yaohuia.
11. The golden coyol bird sings sweetly to you, sweetly lifts its
voice like a flower, like sweet flowers in your hand, as you converse
and lift your voice in singing, etc.
12. O ach ancati quechol in ipalnemoa o ach ancati tlatocauh yehuan
Dios huiya achto tiamehuan anquitztoque tlahuizcalli amoncuicatinemi
ohui, ohui, ilili, etc.
12. Even like the quechol bird to the Giver of Life, even as the
herald of God, you have waited for the dawn, and gone forth singing
13. Maciuhtiao o in quinequi noyollo, zan chimalli xochitl mixochiuh
ipalnemoani, quen conchihuaz noyollo yehua onentacico tonquizaco in
tlalticpac a ohuaya ohuaya.
13. Although I wish that the Giver of Life shall give for flowers the
shield-flower, how shall I grieve that your efforts have been in
vain, that you have gone forth from the world.
14. Zan ca yuhqui noyaz in o ompopoliuh xochitla antlenotleyoye in
quemmanian, antlenitacihcayez in tlalticpac. Manel xochitl manel
cuicatl, quen conchihuaz noyollo yehua onentacico tonquizaco in
tlalticpac ohuaya ohuaya.
14. Even as I shall go forth into the place of decayed flowers, so
sometime will it be with your fame and deeds on earth. Although they
are flowers, although they are songs, how shall I grieve that your
efforts have been in vain, that you have gone forth from the world.
15. Manton ahuiacan antocnihuan aya ma on nequech nahualo nican huiya
a xochintlaticpac ontiyanemi yenican ayac quitlamitehuaz in xochitl
in cuicatl in mani a ichan ipalnemohuani yi ao ailili yi ao aya hue
15. Let us be glad, dear friends, let us rejoice while we walk here
on this flowery earth; may the end never come of our flowers and
songs, but may they continue in the mansion of the Giver of Life.
16. In zancuelachitzincan tlalticpac aya ayaoc noiuhcan
quennonamicani cuixocpacohua icniuhtihuay auh in amo zanio nican
totiximatizo in tlalticpac y yiao ha ilili yiao.
16. Yet a little while and your friends must pass from earth. What
does friendship offer of enjoyment, when soon we shall no longer be
known on earth?
17. Noconca con cuicatl noconca o quin tlapitzaya xochimecatl ayoquan
teuctliya ahuayie, ohuayiao ayio yo ohua.
17. This is the burden of my song, of the garland of flowers played
on the flute, without equal in the place of the nobles.
18. Zan mitzyananquili omitzyananquili xochincalaitec y in
aquiauhatzin in tlacateuhtli ayapancatl yahuayia.
18. Within the house of flowers the Lord of the Waters, of the Gate
of the Waters, answers thee, has answered thee.
19. Can tinemi noteouh ipalnemohuani mitztemohua in quemmanian y
mocanitlaocoyan, nicuicanitlhuia, zan ni mitzahuiltiaya ohuiyan
tililiyanco huia ohuaya ohuaya.
19. Where thou livest, my beloved, the Giver of Life sends down upon
thee sometimes things of sadness; but I, the singer, shall make thee
glad in the place of difficulty, in the place of cumber.
20. In zan ca izqui xochitl in quetzalizqui xochitl pixahui ye nican
xopancalaitec i tlacuilolcalitec, zan nimitzahahuiltiaya ohui.
20. Here are the many flowers, the beauteous flowers, rained down
within the house of spring, within its painted house, and I with them
shall make thee glad.
21. O anqui ye oncan Tlaxcala, ayahue, chalchiuhtetzilacuicatoque in
huehuetitlan ohuaye, xochin poyon ayiahue Xicontencatl teuctli in
Tizatlacatzin in camaxochitzin cuicatica y melelquiza xochiticaya on
chielo itlatol ohuay icelteotl ohuaya.
21. O, you there in Tlaxcala, you have played like sweet bells upon
your drums, even like brilliantly colored flowers. There was
Xicontecatl, lord of Tizatlan, the rosy-mouthed, whose songs gave joy
like flowers, who listened to the words of the one only God.
22. O, anqui nohuia y, ye mochan ipalnemohua xochipetlatl ye noca
xochitica on tzauhticac oncan mitztlatlauhtia in tepilhua ohuaya.
22. Thy house, O Giver of Life is in all places; its mats are of
flowers, finely spun with flowers, where thy children pray to thee.
23. In nepapan xochiquahuitl onicac, aya, huehuetitlan a a yiahue,
can canticaya quetzaltica malintimani, ya, yecxochitl motzetzeloaya
23. A rain of various flowers falls where stands the drum, beauteous
wreaths entwine it, sweet flowers are poured down around it.
24. Can quetzatzal petlacoatl yepac o, ye nemi coyoltototl
cuicatinemiya, can quinanquili teuctli ya,
conahuiltianquauhtloocelotl ohuaya ohuaya.
24. Where the brilliant scolopender basks, the coyol bird scatters
abroad its songs, answering back the nobles, rejoicing in their
prowess and might.
25. Xochitzetzeliuhtoc y, niconnetolilo antocnihuan huehuetitlan ai
on chielo can nontlamati toyollo yehua ohuaya ohuaya.
25. Scattering flowers I rejoice you, dear friends, with my drum,
awaiting what comes to our minds.
26. In zan ca yehuan Dios tlaxic, ya, caquican yehual temoya o
ilhuicatl itic, y, cuicatihuitz, y, quinanquilia o, angelotin
ontlapitztihuitzteaya oyiahue yaia o o ohuaya ohuaya.
26. It reaches even to God, he hears it seeking him within the
heavens, the song comes and the angels answer, playing on their
27. Zan ninentlamatia can niquauhtenco ayahue can. * * *
27. But I am sad within this wood.
_NICAN OMPEHUA TEPONAZCUICATL._
_HERE BEGIN SONGS FOR THE TEPONAZTLI._
_Tico, tico, toco, toto, auh ic ontlantiuh cuicatl, tiqui, ti ti,
_Tico, tico, toco, toto, and as the song approaches the end, tiqui,
titi, tito, titi._
1. Tollan aya huapalcalli manca, nozan in mamani coatlaquetzalli
yaqui yacauhtehuac Nacxitl Topiltzin, onquiquiztica ye choquililo in
topilhuan ahuay yeyauh in polihuitiuh nechcan Tlapallan ho ay.
1. At Tollan there stood the house of beams, there yet stands the
house of plumed serpents left by Nacxitl Topiltzin; going forth
weeping, our nobles went to where he was to perish, down there at
2. Nechcayan Cholollan oncan tonquizaya Poyauhtecatitlan, in
quiyapanhuiya y Acallan anquiquiztica ye choquililon ye.
2. We went forth from Cholula by way of Poyauhtecatl, and ye went
forth weeping down by the water toward Acallan.
3. Nonohualco ye nihuitz ye nihui quecholi nimamaliteuctla,
nicnotlamatia oyah quin noteuc ye ihuitimali, nechya icnocauhya
nimatlac xochitl, ayao ayao o ayya y yao ay.
3. I come from Nonohualco as if I carried quechol birds to the place
of the nobles; I grieve that my lord has gone, garlanded with
feathers; I am wretched like the last flower.
4. In tepetl huitomica niyaychocaya, axaliqueuhca nicnotlamatiya o
yaquin noteuc (etc. as v. 3).
4. With the falling down of mountains I wept, with the lifting up of
sands I was wretched, that my lord had gone.
5. In Tlapallan aya mochieloca monahuatiloca ye cochiztla o anca ca
zanio ayao, ayao, ayao.
5. At Tlapallan he was waited for, it was commanded that there he
should sleep, thus being alone.
6. Zan tiyaolinca ye noteuc ic ihuitimali, tinahuatiloya ye Xicalanco
o anca zacanco.
6. In our battles my lord was garlanded with feathers; we were
commanded to go alone to Xicalanco.
7. Ay yanco ay yanco ayamo aya ayhuiya ayanco ayyanco ayamo aye
ahuiya que ye mamaniz mocha moquiapana, oquen ye mamaniz
moteuccallatic ya icnocauhqui nican Tollan Nonohualco ya y ya y ya o
7. Alas! and alas! who will be in thy house to attire thee? Who will
be the ruler in thy house, left desolate here in Tollan, in
8. In ye quinti chocaya teuctlon, timalon que ye mamaniz mochan (etc.
as v. 7).
8. After he was drunk, the ruler wept; we glorified ourselves to be
in thy dwelling.
9. In tetl, in quahuitl o on timicuilotehuac nachcan Tollan y inon
can in otontlatoco Naxitl Topiltzin y aye polihuiz ye motoca ye ic ye
chocaz in momacehual ay yo.
9. Misfortune and misery were written against us there in Tollan,
that our leader Nacxitl Topiltzin was to be destroyed and thy
subjects made to weep.
10. Zan can xiuhcalliya cohuacallaya in oticmatehuac nachcan Tollan y
inon can yn otontlatoco Naxitl Topiltzin (etc. as in v. 9).
10. We have left the turquoise houses, the serpent houses there in
Tollan, where ruled our leader Nacxitl Topiltzin.
_Tico toco toco ti quiti quiti quiti quito; can ic mocneptiuh._
_Tico, toco, toco, tiquiti, quiti, quiti, quito; where it is to turn
1. Tlapapal xochiceutli niyolaya nepapan tonacan xochitl moyahuaya
oncueponti moquetzaco ya naya aya ye teo ya ixpan tonaa Santa Maria
1. Resting amid parti-colored flowers I rejoiced; the many shining
flowers came forth, blossomed, burst forth in honor of our mother
2. An ya ya cuicaya zan quetzala xihuitl tomolihui yan aya ye
nitlachihual icelteotl y ye Dios aya ni itlayocolaoya yecoc ya.
2. They sang as the beauteous season grew, that I am but a creature
of the one only God, a work of his hands that he has made.
3. Zan ca tlaauilolpan nemia moyollo amoxpetlatl ipan toncuicaya
tiquimonyaitotia teteuctin aya in obispo ya zan ca totatzin aya oncan
titlatoa atlitempan ay yo.
3. Mayst thy soul walk in the light, mayst thou sing in the great
book, mayst thou join the dance of the rulers as our father the
bishop speaks in the great temple.
4. Yehuan Dios mitzyocox aya xochitla ya mitztlacatilo yancuicatl
mitzicuiloa Santa Maria in obispo ya.
4. God created thee, he caused thee to be born in a flowery place,
and this new song to Holy Mary the bishop wrote for thee.
1. Tolteca icuilihuia ahaa ya ha on tlantoc amoxtli ya moyollo ya on
aya mochonaciticac o o Toltecayootl aic aya ninemiz ye nican ay yo.
1. The Toltecs have been taken, alas, the book of their souls has
come to an end, alas, everything of the Toltecs has reached its
conclusion, no longer do I care to live here.
2. Ac ya nechcuiliz, ac ye nohuan oyaz o, nicaz a anni icuihuan aya y
yancuicanitl y yehetl y noxochiuh non cuica ihuitequi onteixpan ayyo.
2. Who will take me? Who will go with me? I am ready to be taken,
alas. All that was fresh, the perfume, my flowers, my songs, have
gone along with them.
3. Huey in tetl nictequintomahuac quahuitl, nicicuiloa yancuicatl
itech aya oncan nomitoz in quemmanian in can niyaz nocuica machio
nicyacauhtiaz in tlalticpac, y onnemiz noyol zan ca ye nican ya
hualla y yancoya nolnamicoca nemiz ye noteyo ay yo.
3. Great is my affliction, weighty is my burden; I write out a new
song concerning it, that some time I may speak it there where I shall
go, a song to be known when I shall leave the earth, that my soul
shall live after I have gone from here, that my fame shall live fresh
4. Nichocaya niquittoaya nicnotza noyollo ma niquitta cuicanelhuayotl
ayama nicyatlalaquiya ma ya ica tlalticpac quimman mochihua onnenemiz
noyol y. Zan ca teucxochitl ahuiaca ipotocaticac mocepanoayan
toxochiuh ay ye ayao ohuiy on can quiya itzmolini ye nocuic celia
notlatollaquillo ohua in toxochiuh icac iquiapani ayao.
4. I cried aloud, I looked about, I reflected how I might see the
root of song, that I might plant it here on the earth, and that then
it should make my soul to live. The sweet exhalations of the lovely
flowers rose up uniting with our flowers; one hears them growing as
my song buds forth, filled with my words our flowers stand upright in
5. Tel ca cahua xochitl ahuiac xeliuhtihuitz a ipotocaya in ahuiyac
poyomatlin pixahua oncan ninenenemi nicuicanitl y ye aya o ohui y on
ca quiya itzmolini ye nocuic celia, etc.
5. But the flowers depart, their sweetness is divided and exhales,
the fragrant poyomatl rains down its leaves where I the poet walk in
sadness; one hears them growing, etc.
_A SONG OF THE HUEXOTZINCOS,_
_Viniendo los de Huexotzinco a pedir socorro a Moteuczoma Tlaxcalla._
_Coming to Ask Aid of Montezuma Against Tlaxcalla._
1. Tlacuiloltzetzeliuhticac moyoliol tiMoteuczom[=a]tzi
nichuicatihuitz nictzetzelotihuitz y o huetzcani
xochinquetzalpapalotl moquetzalizouhtihuitz noconitotia
chalchiuhatlaquiquizcopa niyahueloncuica chalchiuhhuilacapitzli
nicteocuitlapitza ya ho ay la ya o haye ohuichile amiyacale.
1. Raining down writings for thy mind, O Montezuma, I come hither, I
come raining them down, a very jester, a painted butterfly; stringing
together pretty objects, I seem to be as one cementing together
precious stones, as I chant my song on my emerald flute, as I blow on
my golden flute, ya ho, ay la, etc.
2. Ohuaya ye onniceelehuia moxochiuh aya ipalnemoani yehuay[=a] Dios
aya ilihu[=a]ca nahuiche nictzetzeloaya noncuicatilo yaha y.
2. Yes, I shall cause thy flowers to rejoice the Giver of Life, the
God in heaven, as hither I come raining down my songs, ya ho.
3. Tozmilini xochitl in noyolyol ay yahue tozmilini xochitl noteponaz
ayanco ayancayome oncana y yahue nicxochiamoxtozimmanaya itlatol
ayanco ayanca yomeho.
3. A sweet voiced flower is my mind, a sweet voiced flower is my
drum, and I sing the words of this flowery book.
4. Xompaqui xonahuia annochipanicantiyazque ye ichano
nohueyetzinteuctli Moteuczomatzi, totlaneuh tlpc totlaneuh uelic
xochitl o ayanco.
4. Rejoice and be glad ye who live amid the flowers in the house of
my great lord Montezuma, we must finish with this earth, we must
finish with the sweet flowers, alas.
5. Tlachinoltepec yn ahuicacopa tixochitonameyo timoquetzaco y yehuan
Dios a ocelozacatl ypan quauhtli choca ymopopoyauhtoc y yanco y liyan
cay yahue ayli y yacalco y ya y ycho zaca y yahue.
5. At the Mount of Battle we bring forth our sweet and glittering
flowers before God, plants having the lustre of the tiger, like the
cry of the eagle, leaving glorious memory, such are the plants in
6. Ohuaya yehe nipa tlantinemia ixpan Dios a
ninozozohuayatlauhquechol, zaquan quetzal in tlayahualol papalotl
mopilihuitzetzeloa teixpana xochiatlaquiquizcopa oh tlatoca ye nocuic
y yanco ili, etc.
6. Alas! in a little while there is an end before God to all living;
let me therefore string together beauteous and yellow feathers, and
mingling them with the dancing butterflies rain them down before you,
scattering the words of my song like water dashed from flowers.
7. Nehcoya ompa ye nihuithuiya xoxouhqui hueyatla ymancan zanniman
olini pozoni tetecuica ic nipa tlania, zan iquetzal in tototl
xiuhquechol tototl no chiuhtihuitz'y ni yahuinac ya Huexotzinco
7. I would that I could go there where lies the great blue water
surging, and smoking and thundering, till after a time it retires
again: I shall sing as the quetzal, the blue quechol, when I go back
to Huexotzinco among the waters (_or_, and Atzalan).
8. Zan niquintocaz aya niquimiximatitiuh nohueyotzitzinhuan
chalchiuhquechol y canca xiuhquechol in teocuitlapapalotl in
cozcatototl ontlapia ye onca Huexotzinco Atzalan ayame;
8. I shall follow them, I shall know them, my beloved Huexotzincos;
the emerald quechol birds, the green quechol, the golden butterflies,
and yellow birds, guard Huexotzinco among the waters (_or_, and
9. Xochi Atzalaan teocuitlaatl chalchiuhatl y nepaniuhyan itlatoaya
in quetzalcanauhtli quetzalnocuitlapilli cuecueyahuaya yliya yliya
yaho ayli yaho aye huichile anicale.
9. Among the flowery waters, the golden waters, the emerald waters,
at the junction of the waters which the blue duck rules moving her
10. Huecapan nicac nicuicanitl huiya zaquan petlatolini, ma nica
yeninemia nicyeyectian cuicatla in nic xochiotia yayaho yahii.
10. I the singer stand on high on the yellow rushes; let me go forth
with noble songs and laden with flowers.
_Tico tico ticoti tico tico ticoti auh ic ontlantiuk in cuicatl
_Tico, tico, ticoti, tico, tico, ticoti, and then the song ends with
1. Xichocayan nicuicanitl nicitta noxochiuh zan nomac ommania zan
quihuintia ye noyollo ni cuicatl aya nohuian nemia, zan ca ye noyollo
notlayocola in cayo.
1. In the place of tears I the singer watch my flowers; they are in
my hand; they intoxicate my soul and my song, as I walk alone with
them, with my sad soul among them.
2. Xiuhtlamatelolla quetzalchalchiuhtla ipan ye nicmatia nocuic aya
ma yectlaxochitl y, zan nomac ton mania, etc.
2. In this spot, where the herbage is like sweet ointment and green
as the turquoise and emerald, I think upon my song, holding the
beauteous flowers in my hand, etc. (as in v. 1).
3. In quetzalin chalchiuhtla ipan ye nicmatia yectli ye nocuic yectli
noxochiuh annicuihuan tepilhuan aya xonahuiacan a ayac onnemiz o in
3. In this spot of turquoise and emerald, I think upon beauteous
songs, beauteous flowers; let us rejoice now, dear friends and
children, for life is not long upon earth.
4. O an niquitquiz ye niaz yectli nocuic yectli noxochiuhui
annicuihuan tepilhuan aya.
4. I shall hasten forth, I shall go to the sweet songs, the sweet
flowers, dear friends and children.
5. O huayanco o nichocaya a huayanco o cahua y yahue nictzetzelo
xochitl ay yo.
5. O he! I cried aloud; O he! I rained down flowers as I left.
6. Mach nohuan tonyaz quennonamica o ah nicitquiz xochitl zan
nicuicanitl huiya ma yo a xonahuiyacan to ya nemia ticaqui ye nocuic
6. Let us go forth anywhere; I the singer shall find and bring forth
the flowers; let us be glad while we live; listen to my song.
7. Ay ca nichocaya nicuicanitl ya icha ahuicaloyan cuicatl ha Mictlan
temohuiloya yectliya xochitl onca ya oncaa y yao ohuayan ca ya ilaca
tziuhan ca na y yo.
7. I the poet cry out a song for a place of joy, a glorious song
which descends to Mictlan, and there turns about and comes forth
8. Amo nequimilool amo neccuiltonol antepilhuan aychaa ohuicaloyan
8. I seek neither vestment nor riches, O children, but a song for a
place of joy.
_SONGS OF THE PRINCE NEZAHUALCOYOTL._
_Totoco totoco tico, totoco totoco ic ontlantiuh tico titico ti tico
_Totoco, totoco, tico, totoco totoco, then it ends with tico titico,
1. Nicaya quetza con tohuehueuh aoniquimitotia quauhtlocelo yn ca
tiyayhcac in cuicaxochitl, nictemoan cuicatl ye tonequimilol ayyo.
1. I bring forth our drum that I may show the power and the grandeur
in which thou standest, decked with flowers of song: I seek a song
wherewith to drape thee, ah! oh!
2. Ti Nopiltzi o ti Nezahualcoyotl o tiya Mictl a quenonamica y yece
miyoncan ay yo.
2. Thou, my Lord, O thou Nezahualcoyotl, thou goest to Mictlan in
some manner and at a fixed time, ere long.
3. Quiyon quiyon caya nichocaya ya ni Nezahualcoyotl huiya queni yeno
yaz o ya nipolihuiz oya miquitla ye nimitzcahua noteouh ypalnemo o
tinechnahuatia ye niaz nipolihuiz aya, yo.
3. For this, for this, I weep, I Nezahualcoyotl, inasmuch as I am to
go, I am to be lost in death, I must leave thee; my God, the Giver of
Life, thou commandest me, that I go forth, that I be lost, alas.
4. Quenon maniz tlallin Acolihuacan huiya cuixoca quen mano o
ticmomoyahuaz in momacehuali ye nimitzcahua noteouh, etc.
4. How shall the land of Acolhuacan remain, alas? How shall we, thy
servants, spread abroad its fame? I must leave thee; my God, etc.
5. Can yio cuicatli tonequimilol quipoloaya a in totlacuiloli
tepilhuan oo maya o huitihua nican aya ayac ichan tlalticpac oo
ticyacencahuazque huelic ye xochitl ayio.
5. Even this song for thy draping may perish, which we have written
for our children, it will no longer have a home here on earth when we
shall wholly leave these fragrant flowers.
6. O ayac quitlamitaz monecuiltonol ypalnemoa a noyolquimati
cuelachic otictlanehuico Nezahualcoyotzin ay oppatihua nican anaya y
chan tlpc. Oon yn ay oppatihua in tlalticpacqui, zan nicuicanitl
ayaho onnichocaya niquelnamiqui Nezahualcoyotl aya ho.
6. Alas! thy riches shall end; the Giver of Life teaches me that but
for a little while do we enjoy the prince Nezahualcoyotl, nor a
second time will he come to his house on earth; no second time will
he rejoice on earth; but I the singer grieve, recalling to memory
7. Xo acico ye nican in teotl aya ypalnemoa, ayaho on nichocaya a
niquelnamiqui Nezalhuacoyotl ayio.
7. Let us seek while here the god, the Giver of Life; I grieve,
recalling to memory Nezahualcoyotl.
_Quititi, quititi, quiti tocoto, tocoti tocoto tocoti zan ic
_Quititi, quititi, quiti tocoto, tocoti, tocoto, tocoti, then it is
to turn back again._
1. Ma xochicuicoya ma ichtoa nichuana ayyahue teyhuinti xochitl ao ya
noyehcoc ye nica poyoma xahuallan timaliuhtihuitz ay yo.
1. Let me pluck flowers, let me see them, let me gather the really
intoxicating flowers; the flowers are ready, many colored, varied in
hue, for our enjoyment.
2. Ma xochitl oyecoc ye nican ayyahuc can tlaahuixochitla moyahuaya
motzetzeloa ancazo yehuatl in nepapaxochitl ayyo. Zan commoni
huchuetl ma ya netotilo.
2. The flowers are ready here in this retired spot, this spot of
fragrant flowers, many sorts of flowers are poured down and scattered
about; let the drum be ready for the dance.
3. Yn quetzal poyomatl ayc ihcuilihuic noyol nicuicanitl in xochitl
ayan tzetzelihui ya ancuel ni cuiya ma xonahuacan ayio zan noyolitic
ontlapanion cuicaxochitl nicyamoyahuaya yxoochitla.
3. I the singer take and pour down before you from my soul the
beautiful poyomatl, not to be painted, and other flowers; let us
rejoice, while I alone within my soul disclose the songs of flowers,
and scatter them abroad in the place of flowers.
4. Cuicatl ya ninoquinilotehuaz in quemmanian xochineneliuhtiaz
noyollo yehuan tepilhuan oonteteuctin in ca yio.
4. I shall leave my songs in order that sometime I may mingle the
flowers of my heart with the children and the nobles.
5. Zan ye ic nichoca in quemanian zan nicaya ihtoa noxochiteyo
nocuicatoca nictlalitehuaz in quemanian xochineneliuhtiaz, etc.
5. I weep sometimes as I see that I must leave the earth and my
flowers and songs, that sometime these flowers will be vain and
_Tico toco tocoto ic ontlantiuh ticoto ticoto._
_Tico, toco, tocoto, and then it ends, ticoto, ticoto._
1. Toztliyan quechol nipa tlantinemia in tlallaicpac oquihuinti ye
noyol ahua y ya i.
1. The sweet voiced quechol there, ruling the earth, has intoxicated
2. Ni quetzaltototl niyecoya ye iquiapan ycelteotl yxochiticpac
nihueloncuica oo nicuicaihtoa paqui ye noyol ahuay.
2. I am like the quetzal bird, I am created in the house of the one
only God; I sing sweet songs among the flowers; I chant songs and
rejoice in my heart.
3. Xochiatl in pozontimania in tlallaicpac oquihuinti ye noyol ahua.
3. The fuming dew-drops from the flowers in the field intoxicate my
4. Ninochoquilia niquinotlamati ayac in chan oo tlallicpac ahua.
4. I grieve to myself that ever this dwelling on earth should end.
5. Zan niquittoaya ye ni Mexicatl mani ya huiya nohtlatoca
tequantepec ni yahui polihuin chittepehua a ya ye choca in
tequantepehua o huaye.
5. I foresaw, being a Mexican, that our rule began to be destroyed, I
went forth weeping that it was to bow down and be destroyed.
6. Ma ca qualania nohueyotehua Mexicatli polihui chile.
6. Let me not be angry that the grandeur of Mexico is to be
7. Citlalin in popocaya ipan ye moteca y za ye polihui a zan ye
7. The smoking stars gather together against it; the one who cares
for flowers is about to be destroyed.
8. Zan ye chocaya amaxtecatl aya caye chocaya tequantepehua.
8. He who cared for books wept, he wept for the beginning of the
_Toto tiquiti tiquiti ic ontlantiuh tocotico tocoti toto titiqui toto
_Toto tiquiti tiquiti, then it ends tocotico, tocoti toto titiqui
1. Oya moquetz huel oon ma on netotilo teteuctin aya ma
onnetlanehuihuilo chalchihuitl on quetzali patlahuac, ayac ichan
tlalticpac, ayio zan nomac onmania ooo y xochiuh aya ipalnemoa ma
1. Come forth to the dance, ye lords, let there be abundance of
turquoise and feathers; our dwelling on earth is not for long; only
let the gods give me flowers to my hand, give me abundance of
2. Oyohual in colinia o on in icelteotl ipalnemaa Anahuac o onnemia
2. Come let us move in the dance in honor of the one only god, the
Giver of Life, while my soul lives by the waters (_or_, in Anahuac).
3. In yancuica oncan quixima ipalnemoani ca ye Nonoalco ahuilizapan i
in teuctli yehua Nezahualpilli y yece ye oncan aya in tlacoch
tenanpan Atlixco ayio.
3. The Giver of Life made known a new song after the lord
Nezahualpilli entered the strongholds of Nonoalco and sped his arrows
within the walls of Atlixco.
4. Zan momac otitemic motlahuan zomal a ica ticahuiltia icelteotl in
4. Thou hast filled thy plate and thy cup in thy hands and hast
rejoiced in the one only God, the Lord.
5. Y yeho aye icnotlamati
noyollo, zan niNonoalcatl, zan can nicolintototl o nocamapan aya
Mexicatl in ca yio.
5. Alas, how I am afflicted in my soul, I, a resident of Nonoalco; I
am like a wild bird, my face is that of a Mexican.
6. On quetzal pipixauhtoc motlachinolxochiuh in ipalnemoa zan ca
6. The beauteous flowers of thy battles lie abundantly snowed down, O
Giver of Life; I am like a wild bird, etc.
_Toco toco tiqui tiqui ic ontlantiuh toco tico tocoti._
_Toco, toco, tiqui, tiqui, and then it ends toco, tico, tocoli._
1. Ma ya pehualo ya nicuihua in ma ya on acico ye nicaan aya oya
y[)e]coc yehuan Dios in cayio in ma ya ca ya onahuilihuan tepilhuan a
ayamo acico ya yehuan Dios oncan titemoc yehuan Dios a oncan huel in
oncan tlacat y ye Yesu Cristo in ca yio.
1. Let my song be begun, let it spread abroad from here as far as God
has created; may the children be glad, may it reach to God, there to
God whom we seek, there where is Jesus Christ who was born.
2. In oncan tlahuizcalli milintimani mochan aya moxochiuhaya Dios aya
chalchiuhcueponi maquiztzetzelihui onnetlamachtiloya in ca yio in
oncan ya o nepapan izhuayo moxochiuh aya Dios a.
2. There the dawn spreads widely over the fields, over thy house, and
thy flowers, O God, blossom beauteous as emeralds; they rain down in
wondrous showers, in that place of happiness; there alone may my
flowers, of various leaves, be found, O God.
3. Zan ye xochitl moyahua oo zan ca itlatol in ipalnemoani o ontepan
ye moteca anahuac ooica tichuelmana atl on yan tepetl ayio.
3. There the flowers are the words of the Giver of Life; they are
upon the mountains and by the waters; we find them alike by the water
and the mountain.
4. Zan temomac mania cemilhuitl in niman ye tehuatl toconyaittoaya
4. Our day is in thy hand, and soon we shall see thee, thou Giver of
NOTES FOR SONG I.
The song is an allegory, portraying the soul-life of the poet. By the
flowers which he sets forth to seek, we are to understand the songs
which he desires to compose. He asks himself where the poetic
inspiration is to be sought, and the answer is the same as was given
by Wordsworth, that it is to the grand and beautiful scenes of Nature
that the poet must turn for the elevation of soul which will lift him
to the sublimest heights of his art. But this exaltation bears with
it the heavy penalty that it disqualifies for ordinary joys. As in
medieval tales, he who had once been admitted to fairyland, could
nevermore conquer his longing to return thither, so the poet longs
for some other condition of existence where the divine spirit of song
may forever lift him above the trials and the littleness of this
There is no sign of Christian influence in the poem, and it is
probably one handed down from a generation anterior to the Conquest.
1. The word _peuhcayotl_ from _peua_, to begin, intimates that this
was a song chanted at the beginning of a musical entertainment. The
verses are longer, and the phraseology plainer than in many of those
following. There is also an absence of interjections and lengthened
vowels, all of which indicate that the time was slow, and the actions
of the singer temperate, as was the custom at the beginning of a
_baile_. (See Introd., p. 20.)
1. _Ninoyolnonotza_, a reflexive, frequentative form from _notza_, to
think, to reflect, itself from the primitive radicle _no_, mind,
common to both the Nahuatl and Maya languages. The syllable _yol_ is
for _yollotl_, heart, in its figurative sense of soul or mind. The
combination of _yolnonotza_ is not found in any of the dictionaries.
The full sense is, "I am thinking by myself, in my heart."
_ahuiaca_, an adverbial form, usually means "pleasant-smelling,"
though in derivation it is from the verb _ahuia_, to be satisfied
_quetzal_, for _quetzalli_, a long, handsome blue feather from the
quetzal bird, often used figuratively for anything beautiful or
_chalchiuh_ for _chalchiuitl_, the famous green-stone, jade or
emerald, so highly prized by the Mexicans; often used figuratively
for anything noble, beautiful and esteemed.
_huitzitzicatin_, a word not found in the dictionaries, appears to be
from _tzitzilca_, to tremble, usually from cold, but here applied to
the tremulous motion of the humming bird as it hovers over a flower.
_zacuan_, the yellow plumage of the zacuan bird, and from similarity
of color here applied to the butterfly. The zacuan is known to
ornithologists as the _Oriolus dominicensis_. These birds are
remarkably gregarious, sometimes as many as a hundred nests being
found in one tree (see Eduard Muehlenpfort, _Versuch einer getreuen
Schilderung der Republik Mexiko_, Bd. I, p. 183).
_acxoyatzinitzcanquauhtla_; composed of _acxoyatl_, the wild laurel;
_tzinitzcan_, the native name of the _Trogon mexicanus_, renowned for
its beautiful plumage; _quauhtli_, a tree; and the place-ending
_tla_, meaning abundance.
_tlauquecholxochiquauhtla_; composed of _tlauquechol_, the native
name of the red, spoon-billed heron, _Platalea ajaja; xochitl_,
flower; _quauhtli_, tree; and the place-ending _tla_.
_tonameyotoc_, the root is the verb _tona_, to shine, to be warm;
_tonatiuh_, the sun; _tonameyotl_, a ray of the sun, etc. As warmth
and sunlight are the conditions of growth and fertility, many
derivatives from this root signify abundance, riches, etc.
_mocehcemelquixtia_; _mo_ is the reflexive pronoun, 3d sing., often
used impersonally; _cehcemel_, is a reduplicated form of the numeral
_ce_, one; it conveys the sense of entire, whole, perfect, and is
thus an interesting illustration of the tendency of the untutored
mind to associate the idea of unity with the notion of perfection;
_quixtia_ is the compulsive form of _quiza_, to go forth.
_onechittitique_; 3d person plural, preterit, of the causative form
of _itta_, to see; _ittitia_, to cause to see, to show; _nech_, me,
accusative form of the pronoun.
_nocuexanco_; from _cuexantli_, the loose gown worn by the natives,
extending from the waist to the knees. Articles were carried in it as
in an apron; _no-cuexan-co_, my-gown-in, the terminal _tli_ being
dropped on suffixing the postposition.
_tepilhuan_; from _pilli_, boy, girl, child, young person, with the
relative, indefinite, pronominal prefix _te_, and the pronominal
plural termination _huan_, to take which, _pilli_ drops its last
syllable, _li_; hence, _te-pil-huan_, somebody's children, or in
general, the young people. This word is of constant occurrence in the
_teteuctin_, plural with reduplication of _teuctli_, a noble, a
ruler, a lord. The singer addresses his audience by this respectful
2. _ixochicuicatzini_; _i_, poss. pron. 3d sing.; _xochitl_, flower;
_cuicatl_, song; _tzin_, termination signifying reverence or
affection; "their dear flower-songs."
_yuhqui tepetl_, etc. The echo in the Nahuatl tongue is called
_tepeyolotl_, the heart or soul of the mountain (not in Simeon's
_Dictionnaire_, but given by Tezozomoc, _Cronica Mexicana_, p. 202).
_meyaquetzalatl_; from _meya_, to flow slowly, to trickle;
_quetzalli_, beautiful; _atl_, water.
_xiuhtotoameyalli_; the root _xiuh_ meant originally green (or blue,
as they were not distinguished apart); hence _xiuitl_, a leaf or
plant, the green herbage; as where the Nahuas then were this was
renewed annually, _xiuitl_ came to mean a year; as a comet seems to
have a bunch of fiery flames growing from it, this too was _xiuitl_,
and a turquoise was called by the same term; in the present compound,
it is employed adjectively; _xiuh-totol_, turquoise-bird, is the
_Guiaca cerulea_, Linn.; _ameyalli_, from _atl_, water, _meya_, to
trickle, and the noun ending.
_mo-motla_; to throw one's self, to dash one's self against
_centzontlatolli_; literally," four hundred speeches." The numeral
four hundred was employed, like the Greek "myriad," to express
vaguely any extraordinary number. The term may be rendered "the
myriad-voiced," and was the common name of the mocking-bird, called
by ornithologists _Turdus polyglottus_, _Calandria polyglotta_, and
_coyoltototl_, literally, "the rattle-bird," so called from its
peculiar notes (_coyolli_ = a rattle), is one of the _Tanegridae_,
probably the _Piranga hepatica_.
_ayacachicahuactimani_; composed of _ayacachtli_, the rattle (see
_ante_, page 24); and _icahuaca_, to sing (of birds); to the theme of
this verb is added the connective syllable _ti_, and the verb _mani_,
which, in such connection, indicates that the action of the former
verb is expended over a large surface, broadly and widely (see Olmos,
_Gram. de la Langue Nahuatl_, p. 155, where, however, the connective
_ti_ is erroneously taken for the pronoun _ti_).
_hueltetozcatemique_; composed of _huel_, good or well; _tetozca_,
from _tozquitl_, the singing voice; and _temo_, to let fall, to drop;
_que_ is the plural verbal termination.
3. _ma n-amech-ellelti_, vetative causative from _elleloa_, to cause
_cactimotlalique_, appears to be a compound of _caqui_, to listen, to
hear, and _tlalia_, to seat, to place.
_amohuampotzitzinhuan_, a compound based on the pronoun of the second
person plural, _amo_, the particle _po_, which means similarity or
likeness, and the reduplicated reverential plural termination. The
same particle _po_, appears a few lines later in _toquichpohuan_;
_potli_ = comrade, compeer.
4. _Tepeitic_, from _tepetl_, mountain, _ititl_, belly, from which is
derived the proposition _itic_, within, among. The term is applied to
a ravine or sequestered valley.
5. _quauhtliya ocelotl_, the expression _quauhtli, ocelotl_, is of
frequent occurrence in the ancient Nahuatl writers. The words mean
literally "eagle, tiger." These were military titles applied to
officers commanding small bodies of troops; figuratively, the words
mean control, power, and dignity; also, bravery and virtue. Comp.
Agustin de Vetancurt, _Teatro Mexicano_, Tratado II, cap. 3.
6. _in tloque in nahuaque_; this expression, applied by the ancient
Nahuas to the highest divinity, is attributed by some to
Nezahualcoyotl (see above, p. 36). It is composed of two
postpositions _tloc_ and _nahaac_, and in the form given conveys the
meaning "to whom are present and in whom are immanent all things
having life." See Agustin de la Rosa, _Analisis de la Platica
Mexicana sobre el Mislerio de la Santisima Trinidad_, p. 11
(Guadalajara, 1871). The epithet was applied in heathen times to the
supreme divinity Tonacateotl; see the _Codex Telleriano-Remensis_, in
Kingsborough's _Mexico_, Vol. VI, p. 107.
8. _ximoayan_; this word does not appear in the dictionaries of
Molina or Simeon, and is a proof, as is the sentiment of the whole
verse, that the present poem belongs to a period previous to the
Conquest. The term means "where all go to stay," and was the name of
the principal realm of departed souls in the mythology of the ancient
Nahuas. See Bartholome de Alva, _Confessionario en Lengua Mexicana_,
fol. 13 (Mexico, 1634); Tezozomoc, _Cronica Mexicana_, cap. 55; D.G.
Brinton; _The Journey of the Soul_ (in Aztec and Aryan Myths),
_yhuintia_, causative form of _ihuinti_, to make drunk. The Nirvana
of the Nahuas was for the soul to lie in dense smoke and darkness,
filled with utter content, and free from all impressions ("en lo
profundo de contento y obscuridad," Tezozomoc, _Cronica Mexicana_,
NOTES FOR SONG II.
On the signification of the titles given to this poem see the
Introduction, Sec. 3.
1. _yehnan Dios_; literally "who are God;" the introduction of the
Spanish _Dios_, God, is in explanation of _in tloque in nahuaque_; so
far from proving that this song is of late date, this vouches for its
genuine ancient character, through the necessity for such
2. _nelhuayotl_, the essence or source of something, its true nature;
probably from _nelli_, true.
_teoquecholme_; the prefix _teotl_, divine, is often added as an
expression of admiration. Sahagun mentions the _teoquechol_ as a bird
of brilliant plumage.
NOTES FOR SONG III.
The poet recalls a recent attendance on the obsequies of an
acquaintance, and seeks to divert his mind from the gloomy
contemplation of death and the ephemeral character of mortal joys by
urging his friend to join in the pleasure of the hour, and by
suggesting the probability of an after life.
1. _xochicalco_; compounded of _xochitl_, flower; _calli_, house; and
the postposition, _co_. The term was applied to any room decorated
with flowers; here, to the mortuary chamber, which Tezozomoc tells us
was decked with roses and brilliant feathers.
_ipalnemohuani_, literally "the one by whom life exists." The
composition is _i_, possessive pronoun, third person, singular;
_pal_, postposition, by; _nemoani_, singular of the present in _ni_
of the impersonal form of the verb _nemi_, to live, with the meaning
to do habitually that which the verb expresses. It is an ancient
epithet applied to the highest divinity, and is found in the _Codex
Telleriano-Remensis_, Kingsborough's _Mexico_, Vol. VI, p. 128, note.
_tolquatectitlan_, from _toloa_, to lower, to bow; _quatequia_, to
immerse the head; _tlan_, place ending. In the ancient funeral
ceremonies the faces of the assistants were laved with holy water. On
this rite see the note of Orozco y Berra to his edition of the
_Cronica Mexicana_ of Tezozomoc, p. 435 (Mexico, 1878).
_xoyacaltitlan_; from _xoyaui_, to spoil, to decay, whence
_xoyauhqui_, rank, unpleasant, like the odor of decaying substances.
_xochicopal tlenamactli_, "the incense of sweet copal," which was
burned in the funeral chamber (see Tezozomoc's description of the
obsequies of Axayaca, _Cron. Mex._, cap. 55).
2. The translation of this verse offers some special difficulties.
NOTES FOR SONG IV.
A poem of unusually rich metaphors is presented, with the title "A
Song of the Mexicans, after the manner of the Otomis." It is a
rhapsody, in which the bard sings his "faculty divine," and describes
the intoxication of the poetic inspiration. It has every inherent
mark of antiquity, and its thought is free from any tincture of
2. _miahuatototl_, literally, "the corn-silk bird," _miahua_ being
the term applied to the silk or tassel of the maize ear when in the
milk. I have not found its scientific designation.
6. _poyomatl_; the poyomatli is described by Sahagun (_Hist. de la
Nueva Espana_, Lib. X, cap. 24) as a species of rose, portions of
which were used to fill the cane tubes or pipes used for smoking. He
names it along with certain fungi employed for the same purpose, and
it probably produced a narcotic effect.
NOTES FOR SONG V.
From the wording, this appears to be one of the lost songs of
Nezahualcoyotl, either composed by him or sung before him. (See the
Introduction, p. 35.) It is a funeral dirge, dwelling on the fact of
universal and inevitable death, and the transitoriness of life. There
is in it no hint of Christian consolation, no comfortable hope of
happiness beyond the grave. Hence it dates, in all likelihood, from a
period anterior to the arrival of the missionaries.
1. _tonequimilol_; I take this to be a derivative from _quimiloa_, to
wrap up, especially, to shroud the dead, to wrap the corpse in its
winding sheets, as was the custom of the ancient Mexicans. The word,
however, seems an archaic form, as it does not lend itself readily to
The expression _in Dios_, I explain as in the note to II, 1, and do
not consider that it detracts from the authentic antiquity of the
2. _yoyontzin_; on the significance of this appellation of
Nezahualcoyotl, see Introduction, p. 35.
3. _ti Nezahualcoyotl_; "thou Nezahualcoyotl." The princely poet may
have addressed himself in this expression, or we may suppose the song
was chanted before him.
5. _Nopiltzin_; the reference is to Quetzalcoatl, the famous "fair
God" of the Nahuas, and in myth, the last ruler of the Toltecs. See
D.G. Brinton, _American Hero Myths_ (Philadelphia, 1882). The term
means "my beloved Lord." On Tezozomoc, see Introduction, p. 35.
6. The text of the latter part or refrain of verses 5 and 6 is
corrupt, and my translation is doubtful.
NOTES FOR SONG VI.
Most of the poems in this collection are not assigned to any author,
but this, and apparently the one following, are recorded as the
compositions of Tetlapan Quetzanitzin. He is evidently the personage
spoken of by Sahagun as "King of Tlacopan," as present with Montezuma
on the occasion of his first interview with Cortez. Later in the
struggle Tetlapan appears as the associate of Quauhtemoctzin, the
"King of Mexico." (See Sahagun, _Hist. de la Nueva Espana_, Lib. XII,
cap. 16 and 40.) M. Remi Simeon explains the name to mean "he who
deceives the people by magic;" deriving it from _quetza_, he places;
_te_, the people, _tlepan_, on the fire. A simpler derivation seems
to me possible from _tetlapanqui_, miner, or quarryman (literally,
stone-breaker), and _quetzalli_, red; _quetzatzin_, the lord or
master of the miners.
Both this and the following are war songs, and have marked similarity
in thought and wording. The introduction of the Spanish _Dios_ was
doubtless substituted by the scribe, for the name of some native god
of war, perhaps Huitzilopochtli.
1. _Aua_; this word I take to be a form of the interjection _yahue_,
or, as Olmos gives it in his _Grammar, aa_.
2. _nepohualoyan_; "the place of counting or reckoning," from
_pohua_, to count. The reference is not clear, and the translation
uncertain. In some parts of ancient Mexico they used in their
accounting knotted cords of various colors, like the Peruvian
_quipus_. These were called _nepohualtzitzin_.
4. This verse is remarkable for its sonorous phrases and the archaic
forms of the words. Its translation offers considerable difficulty.
_xontlachayan_, I take to be an imperative form from _tlachia_, to
look, with the euphonic _on_.
_teoatl tlachinolli_, literally "the divine water (i.e. blood), the
burning," and the expression means war, battle. In one of his sermons
Fray Juan Bautista describes the fall of Jericho in the words,
_otlaltitechya in altepetl teuatl tlachinolli ye opoliuh_, and
explains it, "the town was destroyed with fire and blood" (_Sermones
en Lengua Mexicana_, p. 122). The word _tlachinolli_ is from
_chinoa_, to burn.
_quetzalalpilo_; a compound of _quetzalli_, a beautiful feather, and
_tlalpiloni_, the band which passed around the head to keep the hair
5. _melchiquiuhticaya_; "he who presented his breast," an imperfect,
reflexive form. Molina gives _melchiquiuh petlauhqui_, with the
translation _despechugado_. _Vocabulario Mexicana, s.v._
NOTES FOR SONG VII.
The second specimen from the muse of Tetlapan Quetzanitzin is the
noblest war song in the collection. It is an appeal to his friends to
join in a foray to Chiapas. The intoxication of the battle field is
compared to that produced by the strong white wine prepared from
maguey, which was drunk only on solemn occasions. The bard likens the
exhaustion of his fellow warriors from previous conflicts, to the
stupor which follows a debauch, and he exhorts them to throw it
1. _oamaxque_, _o_, pret. _am_, you, _axque_, 2d pl. pret. from _ay_,
_octicatl_, apparently an old form from _octli_, the intoxicating
beverage prepared from the maguey.
_oanquique_, 2d pl. pret. from _cui_, to take.
_ohuican_, a place of difficulty and danger. The frequent addition of
the terminal _o_ in this and the succeeding verses is merely
2. _teoatl tlachinolli_; see note VI, 4.
_in maquiztli tlazotetl_, the beloved jewels, a phrase which
indicates that the broken stones and splintered emeralds referred to
are the young warriors who fall in battle, the pride of their
parents' hearts, who are destroyed in the fight.
The _tizaoctli_, white wine (_tizatl_, chalk, hence white, and
_octli_, wine), referred to in this passage, is said by Sahagun to
have been drunk especially at the feast of the god Papaztac, one of
the many gods of the wine cup. _Hist. de Nueva Espana_. Lib. II, App.
Tezozomoc mentions it as handed to the mourners at funeral
ceremonies. _Cronica Mexicana_, cap. 55.
3. _xochitlalticpacilhtuicacpao_; in this long compound of _xochitl_,
flower, _tlalti_, earth, and _ilhuicatl_, sky, with various
postpositions and the euphonic terminal _o_, the final _pa_ gives the
sense of location, towards, in the direction of.
_chimalxochiti_; "the shield flower," the shield or buckler of the
ancient warriors, ornamented with tassels and feathers, is not
unaptly called the flower of war.
NOTES FOR SONG VIII.
The entire absence in this lament for the dead of any consolation
drawn from Christian doctrines, points clearly to a date for its
composition earlier than the teachings of the missionaries. Its cry
of woe is hopeless, and the title attributes its authorship to one of
the old chieftains, _tlatoani_, who held the power before the
1. _quetzalhuahuaciuhtoque_, from _quetzalli, huaqui_; _in
teintoque_, the splinters; the same simile is employed in VII, 2.
2. _ximoayan_, see note to I, 8. The occurrence of this term here and
in verse 3 testifies to the fact of a composition outside of
NOTES FOR SONG IX.
The title does not necessarily mean that this song is a translation
from the Otomi language, but merely that the time to which it was
chanted was in the Otomi style; or, the term _Otomi_ may have
reference to the military officer so called. The word is perhaps a
compound of _otli_, path, and _mitl_, arrow.
The bard sings the vanity of earthly pleasures, and the reality of
earthly pains; he exhorts himself and his hearers not to neglect the
duties of religion, and lauds his own skill in song, which he
compares to the sweet voices of melodious birds. There is nothing in
the poem which reflects European influence.
1. _xotlacueponi_; the meaning of this compound is obscure. It is not
found in the dictionaries.
2. The terminal _o_ is inserted several times in the passage to
express emotion and fill the metre.
_mixitl tlapatl_. A phrase signifying the stupor or drunkenness that
comes from swallowing or smoking narcotic plants. See Olmos,
_Grammaire de la Langue Nahuatl_, pp. 223, 228; _oquiqueo_ is from
_i_, to drink, or _cui_, to take, the _o_ terminal being euphonic.
NOTES FOR SONG X.
The poet expresses his grief that his songs all dwell on painful
topics; he exhorts his hearers of the vanity of fame and skill in
handicrafts, and of the uncertainty of life; closing, he appeals
especially to those of Tezcuco and Atecpan to listen and believe his
In spite of the introduction of the Spanish word _Dios_, and the
exhortation to "believe," in the last line, it is possible that the
substance of this song was due to purely native inspiration; yet it
may have been, like Song XIX, one of those written at an early period
for the converts by the missionaries.
NOTES FOR SONG XI.
In a similar strain as in the last poem, the bard bewails the
briefness of human life and friendships. He closes with an appeal to
the Master of Life, of whom no mortal tongue can speak in worthy and
6. _ihuiti_, apparently a form of _ihuintia_.
_tonan_; the reference appears to be to _Tonantzin_, Our Mother,
otherwise known as Cihuacoatl, the Serpent Woman. She was the
mythical mother of the human race, and dispensed afflictions and
adverse fortune. See Sahagun, _Hist. de la Nueva Espana_, Lib. I,
cap. 6. The name is a proof of the antiquity of the poem, which is
throughout in the spirit of the ancient religion.
NOTES FOR SONG XII.
As stated in the Introduction (Sec. 10), a note prefixed to this song
introduces it as a translation from the Otomi into the Nahuatl
tongue. It admirably illustrates the poetic flexibility of the
3. _epoyhuayan_, from _epoalli_, sixty; _teoquauhtli ocelott_,
"divine eagles, tigers." These terms refer to the warriors bearing
_tlazomaquiztetl_, "beloved, precious stones," a figure of speech
referring to the youths who go to war. The same or similar metaphors
are used in previous songs.
5. The fifth and sixth verses present serious difficulties of
construction which I do not flatter myself I have overcome.
NOTES FOR SONG XIII.
The inhabitants of Huexotzinco were in frequent strife with those of
Mexico-Tenochtitlan, and on various occasions the latter captured
many prisoners. The present poem is represented to be a composition
of one of these prisoners when he and his companions were confined in
Tlatilolco, one of the suburbs of Tenochtitlan. It breathes hatred
against his captors and an ardent thirst for vengeance. The latest
date at which I find captives from Huexotzinco detained in Mexico is
1511, and it is to this year, therefore, that I assign the
composition of the poem.
5. _Atloyantepetl_; this name possibly means "the mountain of the
place of the water-falcons" (_atl_, water; _tlatli_, falcon; _yan_,
place-ending; _tepetl_, mountain). I have not found it in other
writers. (See Index.)
8. _tlaylotlaqui_; Simeon, on the authority of Aubin, explains this
term as the name of a tribe living near Tezcuco. In derivation it
appears to be a term of contempt, "workers in filth or refuse," scum,
offscourings. It also appears in Song XV.
10. The construction of this verse is so obscure, or the text so
imperfect, that the translation is doubtful.
NOTES FOR SONG XIV.
This poem, chanted in 1551 before the Governor of Azcapotzalco, by
Francisco Placido, a native of Huexotzinco, is a Christian song in
the style and metre of the ancient poetry. See the Introduction, p.
1. _impetlatl_; the ordinary meaning of _petlatl_ is a mat or rug; it
is here to be taken in its figurative sense of power or authority,
chiefs and other prominent persons being provided with mats at the
NOTES FOR SONG XV.
This extremely difficult composition seems to be a war song, in which
the bard refers to the traditional history of the Nahuas, names some
of their most prominent warriors, and incites his hearers to deeds of
prowess on the battle field. I do not claim for my version more than
a general correspondence to the thought of the original. In several
parts, especially verse 18, the text is obviously defective.
1. _tzihuactitlan_; "the land of the tzihuac bushes." The tzihuactli
is a small kind of maguey which grows in rocky localities. The tenth
edifice of the great temple at Tenochtitlan was a wall surrounding an
artificial rockery planted with these bushes. Sahagun, who mentions
this fact, adds that the name of this edifice was _Teotlalpan_, which
literally means "on holy ground." (_Hist. de la Nueva Espana_, Lib.
II, App.) The _mizquitl_ is the common _Mimosa circinalis_.
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