The Project Gutenberg EBook of Ancient Nahuatl Poetry, by Daniel G. Brinton
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Title: Ancient Nahuatl Poetry
Brinton's Library of Aboriginal American Literature Number VII.
Author: Daniel G. Brinton
Release Date: April 30, 2004 [EBook #12219]
Language: (English and Nahuatl)
Character set encoding: ASCII
*** START OF THIS PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK ANCIENT NAHUATL POETRY ***
Produced by David Starner, GF Untermeyer and the Online Distributed
[* Transcriber's note: The following substitutions have been made for
diacritical marks in the original text which are not available at DP:
For vowels with a breve: [)a], [)e], [)i], [)o], [)u].
For vowels with a macron: [=a], [=e], [=i], [=o], [=u]. *]
ANCIENT NAHUATL POETRY,
CONTAINING THE NAHUATL TEXT OF XXVII ANCIENT MEXICAN POEMS.
BRITON'S LIBRARY OF ABORIGINAL AMERICAN LITERATURE,
WITH A TRANSLATION, INTRODUCTION, NOTES AND VOCABULARY.
DANIEL G. BRINTON
It is with some hesitation that I offer this volume to the scientific
public. The text of the ancient songs which it contains offers
extreme and peculiar difficulties to the translator, and I have been
obliged to pursue the task without assistance of any kind. Not a line
of them has ever before been rendered into an European tongue, and my
endeavors to obtain aid from some of the Nahuatl scholars of Mexico
have, for various reasons, proved ineffectual. I am therefore alone
responsible for errors and misunderstandings.
Nevertheless, I have felt that these monuments of ancient native
literature are so interesting in themselves, and so worthy of
publication, that they should be placed at the disposition of
scholars in their original form with the best rendering that I could
give them at present, rather than to await the uncertain event of
years for a better.
The text itself may be improved by comparison with the original MS.
and with the copy previously made by the Licentiate Chimalpopoca,
referred to on page 48. My own efforts in this direction have been
confined to a faithful reproduction in print of the MS. copy of the
Abbe Brasseur de Bourbourg.
The Notes, which might easily have been extended, I have confined
within moderate compass, so as not to enlarge unduly the bulk of the
To some, the Vocabulary may seem inadequate. I assume that those
persons who wish to make a critical study of the original text will
provide themselves with the Nahuatl Dictionaries of Molina or Simeon,
both of which are now easily obtainable, thanks to Mr. Julius
Platzmann for the reprint of Molina. I also assume that such students
will acquaint themselves with the rules of grammar and laws of
word-building of the tongue, and that they will use the vocabulary
merely as a labor-saving means of reaching the themes of compounds
and unusual forms of words. Employed in this manner, it will, I hope,
be found adequate.
In conclusion, I would mention that there is a large body of Nahuatl
literature yet unpublished, both prose and poetry, modern and
ancient, and as the Nahuatl tongue is one of the most highly
developed on the American continent, it is greatly to be desired that
all this material should be at the command of students. The Nahuatl,
moreover, is not a difficult tongue; for an Englishman or a
Frenchman, I should say it is easier to acquire than German, its
grammar being simple and regular, and its sounds soft and sonorous.
It has special recommendations, therefore, to one who would acquaint
himself with an American language.
Sec. 1. THE NATIONAL LOVE OF POETRY
Sec. 2. THE POET AND HIS WORK
Sec. 3. THE THEMES AND CLASSES OF THE SONGS
Sec. 4. PROSODY OF THE SONGS
Sec. 5. THE VOCAL DELIVERY OF THE SONGS
Sec. 6. THE INSTRUMENTAL ACCOMPANIMENT
Sec. 7. THE POETIC DIALECT
Sec. 8. THE PRESERVATION OF THE ANCIENT SONGS
Sec. 9. THE LX SONGS OF THE KING NEZAHUALCOYOTL
Sec. 10. THE HISTORY OF THE PRESENT COLLECTION
ANCIENT NAHUATL POEMS:
I. SONG AT THE BEGINNING
II. A SPRING SONG, AN OTOMI SONG, A PLAIN SONG
III. ANOTHER PLAIN SONG
IV. AN OTOMI SONG OF THE MEXICANS
V. ANOTHER PLAIN SONG OF THE MEXICANS
VI. ANOTHER CHALCO-SONG, A POEM OF TETLAPAN QUETZANITZIN
VIII. COMPOSED BY A CERTAIN RULER IN MEMORY OF FORMER RULERS
IX. AN OTOMI SONG OF SADNESS
X. A SPRING SONG OF THE MEXICANS
XII. A SPRING SONG, A SONG OF EXHORTATION,
BECAUSE CERTAIN ONES DID NOT GO TO WAR
XIII. A SONG OF HUEXOTZINCO
XIV. A CHRISTIAN SONG
XV. THE REIGN OF TEZOZOMOCTLI
XVI. A SONG URGING TO WAR
XVII. A FLOWER SONG
XVIII. A SONG OF TOLLAN
XIX. A CHRISTIAN SONG
XX. A SONG LAMENTING THE TOLTECS
XXI. A SONG OF THE HUEXOTZINCOS,
COMING TO ASK AID OF MONTEZUMA AGAINST TLAXCALLA
XXII. A FLOWER SONG
XXIII. A SONG OF THE PRINCE NEZAHUALCOYOTL
XXV. A SONG OF LAMENTATION
XXVI. A SONG RELATING TO THE LORD NEZAHUALPILLI
XXVII. A CHRISTIAN SONG
INDEX OF NAHUATL PROPER NAMES, WITH EXPLANATIONS
ANCIENT NAHUATL POETRY.
Sec. 1. _THE NATIONAL LOVE OF POETRY._
The passionate love with which the Nahuas cultivated song, music and
the dance is a subject of frequent comment by the historians of
Mexico. These arts are invariably mentioned as prominent features of
the aboriginal civilization; no public ceremony was complete without
them; they were indispensable in the religious services held in the
temples; through their assistance the sacred and historical
traditions were preserved; and the entertainments of individuals
received their chief lustre and charm from their association with
The profession of the poet stood in highest honor. It was the custom
before the Conquest for every town, every ruler and every person of
importance to maintain a company of singers and dancers, paying them
fixed salaries, and the early writer, Duran, tells us that this
custom continued in his own time, long after the Conquest. He
sensibly adds, that he can see nothing improper in it, although it
was condemned by some of the Spaniards. In the training of these
artists their patrons took a deep personal interest, and were not at
all tolerant of neglected duties. We are told that the chief selected
the song which was to be sung, and the tune by which it was to be
accompanied; and did any one of the choir sing falsely, a drummer
beat out of time, or a dancer strike an incorrect attitude, the
unfortunate artist was instantly called forth, placed in bonds and
summarily executed the next morning!
With critics of such severity to please, no wonder that it was
necessary to begin the training early, and to set apart for it
definite places and regular teachers. Therefore it was one of the
established duties of the teachers in the calmecac or public school,
"to teach the pupils all the verses of the sacred songs which were
written in characters in their books." There were also special
schools, called _cuicoyan_, singing places, where both sexes were
taught to sing the popular songs and to dance to the sound of the
drums. In the public ceremonies it was no uncommon occurrence for
the audience to join in the song and dance until sometimes many
thousands would thus be seized with the contagion of the rhythmical
motion, and pass hours intoxicated (to use a favorite expression of
the Nahuatl poets) with the cadence and the movement.
After the Conquest the Church set its face firmly against the
continuance of these amusements. Few of the priests had the liberal
views of Father Duran, already quoted; most of them were of the
opinion of Torquemada, who urges the clergy "to forbid the singing of
the ancient songs, because all of them are full of idolatrous
memories, or of diabolical and suspicious allusions of the same
To take the place of the older melodies, the natives were taught the
use of the musical instruments introduced by the Spaniards, and very
soon acquired no little proficiency, so that they could perform upon
them, compose original pieces, and manufacture most of the
To this day the old love of the song and dance continues in the
Indian villages; and though the themes are changed, the forms remain
with little alteration. Travelers describe the movements as slow, and
consisting more in bending and swaying the body than in motions of
the feet; while the songs chanted either refer to some saint or
biblical character, or are erotic and pave the way to orgies.
Sec. 2. _THE POET AND HIS WORK._
The Nahuatl word for a song or poem is _cuicatl_. It is derived from
the verb _cuica_, to sing, a term probably imitative or
onomatopoietic in origin, as it is also a general expression for the
twittering of birds. The singer was called _cuicani_, and is
distinguished from the composer of the song, the poet, to whom was
applied the term _cuicapicqui_, in which compound the last member,
_picqui_, corresponds strictly to the Greek _poiaetaes_,
being a derivative of _piqui_, to make, to create. Sometimes he
was also called _cuicatlamantini_, "skilled in song."
It is evident from these words, all of which belong to the ancient
language, that the distinction between the one who composed the poems
and those who sang them was well established, and that the Nahuatl
poetry was, therefore, something much above mere improvisation, as
some have thought. This does not alter the fact that a professed bard
usually sang songs of his own composition, as well as those obtained
from other sources. This is obvious from the songs in this
collection, many of which contain the expression _ni cuicani_, I, the
singer, which also refers to the maker of the song.
In the classical work of Sahagun, the author describes the ancient
poet: "The worthy singer has a clear mind and a strong memory. He
composes songs himself and learns those of others, and is always
ready to impart either to the fellows of his craft. He sings with a
well-trained voice, and is careful to practice in private before he
appears before the public. The unworthy singer, on the other hand, is
ignorant and indolent. What he learns he will not communicate to
others. His voice is hoarse and untrained, and he is at once envious
Sec. 3. _THE THEMES AND CLASSES OF THE SONGS._
From what he could learn about them some two centuries or more after
the Conquest, the antiquary Boturini classified all the ancient songs
under two general heads, the one treating mainly of historical
themes, while the other was devoted to purely fictitious, emotional
or imaginative subjects. His terse classification is expanded by
the Abbe Clavigero, who states that the themes of the ancient poets
were various, some chanting the praises of the gods or petitioning
them for favors, others recalled the history of former generations,
others were didactic and inculcated correct habits of life, while
others, finally, were in lighter vein, treating of hunting, games and
His remarks were probably a generalization from a chapter in
Torquemada's _Monarquia Indiana_, in which that writer states that
the songs at the sacred festivals differed in subject with the
different months and seasons. Thus, in the second month of their
calendar, at its stated festival, the people sang the greatness of
their rulers; in the seventh month all the songs were of love, of
women, or of hunting; in the eighth the chants recalled the noble
deeds of their ancestors and their divine origin; while in the ninth
month nothing was heard but verses fraught with lamentation for the
dead. With less minuteness, Father Duran gives almost the same
information. He himself had often heard the songs which Montezuma of
Tenochtitlan, and Nezahualpizintli of Tezcuco, had ordered to be
composed in their own honor, describing their noble lineage, their
riches, their grandeur and their victories. These songs were in his
day still sung at the public dances of the natives, and he adds,
"although they were filled with laudation of their ancient rulers, it
gave me much pleasure to hear the praises of such grandeur." There
were other poets, he observes, who lived in the temples and composed
songs exclusively in honor of the gods.
These general expressions may be supplemented by a list of terms,
specifying particular classes of songs, preserved by various writers.
These are as follows:--
_melahuacuicatl_: this is translated by Tezozomoc, "a straight and
true song." It is a compound of _melahuac_, straight, direct,
true; and _cuicatl_, song. It was a beginning or opening song at the
festivals, and apparently derived its name from its greater
intelligibility and directness of expression. A synonym, derived from
the same root, is _tlamelauhcayotl_, which appears in the title to
some of the songs in the present collection.
_xopancuicatl_: this term is spelled by Ixtlilxochitl,
_xompacuicatl_, and explained to mean "a song of the spring" (from
_xopan_, springtime, _cuicatl_, song). The expression seems to be
figurative, referring to the beginning or early life of things. Thus,
the prophetic songs of Nezahualcoyotl, those which he sang when he
laid the foundation of his great palace, bore this name.
_teuccuicatl_: songs of the nobles (_teuctli_, _cuicatl_). These were
also called _quauhcuicatl_, "eagle songs," the term _quauhtli_,
eagle, being applied to distinguished persons.
_xochicuicatl_: flower-song, one singing the praises of flowers.
_icnocuicatl_: song of destitution or compassion.
_noteuhcuicaliztli_: "the song of my lords." This appears to be a
synonymous expression for _teuccuicatl_; it is mentioned by Boturini,
who adds that on the day sacred to the god Xiuhteuctli the king began
the song so called.
_miccacuicatl_: the song for the dead (_miqui_, to die, _cuicatl_).
In this solemn chant the singers were seated on the ground, and their
hair was twisted in plaits around their heads.
In addition to the above terms drawn from the subject or character of
the songs, there were others, of geographical origin, apparently
indicating that the song, or its tune, or its treatment was borrowed
from another locality or people. These are:--
_Huexotzincayotl_: a song of Huexotzinco, a Nahuatl town, situated
east of the Lake of Tezcuco. This song was sung by the king and
superior nobles at certain festivals, and, in the prescribed order of
the chants, followed a _melahuaccuicatl_.
_Chalcayotl_: a song of Chalco, on the lake of the same name. This
followed the last mentioned in order of time at the festivals.
_Otoncuicatl_: a song of the Otomis. These were the immediate
neighbors of the Nahuas, but spoke a language radically diverse. The
songs so-called were sung fourth on the list.
_Cuextecayotl_: a song of the country of the Cuexteca, or Cuextlan, a
northern province of Mexico.
_Tlauancacuextecayotl_: a song of the country of the
_Anahuacayotl_: a song of Anahuac, that is, of a country near the
water, either the valley of Mexico, or the shores of the ocean.
Some very ancient sacred songs were referred to by Tezozomoc as
peculiar to the worship of Huitzilopochtli, and, indeed, introduced
by this potent divinity. From their names, _cuitlaxoteyotl_, and
_tecuilhuicuicatl_, I judge that they referred to some of those
pederastic rites which still prevail extensively among the natives of
the pueblos of New Mexico, and which have been described by Dr.
William A. Hammond and other observers. One of these songs began,
Cuicoyan nohuan mitotia;
In-the-place-of-song with-me they-dance.
But the old chronicler, who doubtless knew it all by heart, gives us
no more of it.
Sec. 4. _PROSODY OF THE SONGS._
The assertion is advanced by Boturini that the genuine ancient
Nahuatl poetry which has been preserved is in iambic metre, and he
refers to a song of Nezahualcoyotl in his collection to prove his
opinion. What study I have given to the prosody of the Nahuatl tongue
leads me to doubt the correctness of so sweeping a statement. The
vocalic elements of the language have certain peculiarities which
prevent its poetry from entering unencumbered into the domain of
The quantity of Nahuatl syllables is a very important element in the
pronunciation of the tongue, but their quantity is not confined, as
in Latin, to long, short, and common. The Nahuatl vowels are long,
short, intermediate, and "with stress," or as the Spanish grammarians
say, "with a jump," _con saltillo_. The last mentioned is peculiar to
this tongue. The vowel so designated is pronounced with a momentary
suspension or catching of the breath, rendering it emphatic.
These quantities are prominent features in the formal portions of the
language, characterizing inflections and declinations. No common
means of designating them have been adopted by the grammarians, and
for my present purpose, I shall make use of the following signs:--
[)a] , short.
a , intermediate.
[=a] , long.
a , with stress.
The general prosodic rules are:--
1. In polysyllabic words in which there are no long vowels, all the
vowels are intermediate.
2. The vowels are long in the penultimate of the plurals of the
imperatives when the preterit of the verb ends in a vowel; the _[=a]_
of the _c[=a]n_ of the imperatives; the _[=i]_ of the _t[=i]_; of the
gerundives; the last vowel of the futures when the verb loses a vowel
to form them; the penultimates of passives in _lo_, of impersonals,
of verbals in _oni_, _illi_, _olli_ and _oca_, of verbal nouns with
the terminations _yan_ and _can_; the _[=o]_ of abstract nouns in
_otl_ in composition; and those derived from long syllables.
3. Vowels are "with stress" when they are the finals in the plurals
of nouns and verbs, also in the perfect preterite, in possessives
ending in a, e, o, and in the penultimate of nouns ending in _tli_,
_tla_ and _tle_ when these syllables are immediately preceded by the
The practical importance of these distinctions may be illustrated by
the following examples:--
_tatli_, = father.
_t[=a]tl[)i]_, = thou drinkest.
_t[=a]tli_, = we drink.
It is, however, evident from this example that the quantity of
Nahuatl syllables enters too much into the strictly formal part of
the language for rules of position, such as some of those above
given, to be binding; and doubtless for this reason the eminent
grammarian Carlos de Tapia Zenteno, who was professor of the tongue
in the University of Mexico, denies that it can be reduced to
definite rules of prosody like those of the Latin.
Substituting accent for quantity, there would seem to be an iambic
character to the songs. Thus the first words of Song I, were probably
_Nino' yolno' notza' campa' nic[)u] iz' yec tli' ahui aca' xochitl'_:
But the directions given for the drums at the beginning of Songs
XVIII, XIX, etc., do not indicate a continuance of these feet, but of
others, as in XIX:--
u--, u--, u--, uu--, u--, u--, u--, etc.
Indeed, we may suppose that the metre varied with the subject and the
skill of the poet. This, in fact, is the precise statement of Father
Duran, who speaks of the native poets as "giving to each song a
different tune (_sonada_), as we are accustomed in our poetry to have
the sonnet, the octava rima and the terceto."
Sec. 5. _THE VOCAL DELIVERY OF THE SONG._
Descriptions of the concerts so popular among the Nahuas have been
preserved by the older writers, and it is of the highest importance
to understand their methods in order to appreciate the songs
presented in this volume.
These concerts were held on ceremonial occasions in the open air, in
the village squares or in the courtyards of the houses. They began in
the morning and usually continued until nightfall, occasionally far
into the night. The musicians occupied the centre of the square and
the trained singers stood or sat around them. When the sign was given
to begin, the two most skillful singers, sometimes a man and a woman,
pronounced the first syllables of the song slowly but with a sharp
emphasis; then the drums began in a low tone, and gradually increased in
strength as the song proceeded; the other singers united their voices
until the whole chorus was in action, and often the bystanders, to
the numbers of thousands, would ultimately join in the words of some
familiar song, keeping time by concerted movements of the hands and
Each verse or couplet of the song was repeated three or four times
before proceeding to the next, and those songs which were of the
slowest measure and least emotional in character were selected for
the earlier hours of the festivals. None of the songs was lengthy,
even the longest, in spite of the repetitions, rarely lasting over an
The tone in which the words were chanted is described by Clavigero,
Muehlenpfordt and other comparatively recent travelers as harsh,
strident and disagreeable to the European ear. Mendieta calls it a
"contra-bass," and states that persons gifted with such a voice
cultivated it assiduously and were in great demand. The Nahuas call
it _tozquitl_, the singing voice, and likened it to the notes of
sweet singing birds.
Sec. 6. _THE INSTRUMENTAL ACCOMPANIMENT._
The Nahuas were not acquainted with any stringed instrument. They
manufactured, however, a variety of objects from which they could
extract what seemed to them melodious sounds. The most important were
two forms of drums, the _huehuetl_ and the _teponaztli_.
The word _huehuetl_ means something old, something ancient, and
therefore important and great. The drum so-called was a hollow
cylinder of wood, thicker than a man's body, and usually about five
palms in height. The end was covered with tanned deerskin, firmly
stretched. The sides were often elaborately carved and tastefully
painted. This drum was placed upright on a stand in front of the
player and the notes were produced by striking the parchment with the
tips of the fingers.
A smaller variety of this instrument was called _tlapanhuehuetl_, or
the half drum, which was of the same diameter but only half the
height. Still another variety was the _yopihuehuetl_, "the drum
which tears out the heart," so called either by reason of its
penetrating and powerful sound, or because it was employed at the
_Yopico_, where that form of human sacrifice was conducted.
The _teponaztli_ was a cylindrical block of wood hollowed out below,
and on its upper surface with two longitudinal parallel grooves
running nearly from end to end, and a third in the centre at right
angles to these, something in the shape of the letter I. The two
tongues left between the grooves were struck with balls of rubber,
_ulli_, on the ends of handles or drum sticks. These instruments
varied greatly in size, some being five feet in length, and others so
small that they could conveniently be carried suspended to the neck.
The _teponaztli_ was the house instrument of the Nahuas. It was
played in the women's apartments to amuse the noble ladies, and the
war captains carried one at the side to call the attention of their
cohorts on the field of battle (Sahagun). The word is derived from
the name of the tree whose wood was selected to make the drum, and
this in turn from the verb _tepunazoa_, to swell, probably from some
peculiarity of its growth.
A much superior instrument to the teponaztli, and doubtless a
development from it, was the _tecomapiloa_, "the suspended vase"
(_tecomatl_, gourd or vase, _piloa_, to hang or suspend). It was a
solid block of wood, with a projecting ridge on its upper surface and
another opposite, on its lower aspect; to the latter one or more
gourds or vases were suspended, which increased and softened the
sound when the upper ridge was struck with the _ulli_. This was
undoubtedly the origin of the _marimba_, which I have described
The musical properties of these drums have been discussed by Theodor
Baker. The teponaztli, he states, could yield but two notes, and
could not have been played in accord with the huehuetl. It served as
an imperfect contra-bass.
The _omichicahuaz_, "strong bone," was constructed somewhat on the
principle of a _teponaztli_. A large and long bone was selected, as
the femur of a man or deer, and it was channeled by deep longitudinal
incisions. The projections left between the fissures were rasped with
another bone or a shell, and thus a harsh but varied sound could be
The _tetzilacatl_, the "vibrator" or "resounder," was a sheet of
copper suspended by a cord, which was struck with sticks or with the
hand. It appears to have been principally confined to the sacred
music in the temples.
The _ayacachtli_ was a rattle formed of a jar of earthenware or a
dried gourd containing pebbles which was fastened to a handle, and
served to mark time in the songs and dances. An extension of this
simple instrument was the _ayacachicahualiztli_, "the arrangement of
rattles," which was a thin board about six feet long and a span wide,
to which were attached bells, rattles and cylindrical pieces of hard
wood. Shaking this produced a jingle-jangle, agreeable to the native
ear. The Aztec bells of copper, _tzilinilli_, are really metallic
rattles, like our sleigh bells. They are often seen in collections of
Mexican antiquities. Other names for them were _coyolliyoyotli_. and
Various forms of flutes and fifes, made of reeds, of bone or of
pottery, were called by names derived from the word _pitzaua_, to
blow (e.g., _tlapitzalli_, _uilacapitzli_), and sometimes, as being
punctured with holes, _zozoloctli_, from _zotl_, the awl or
instrument used in perforating skins, etc. Many of those made of
earthenware have been preserved, and they appear to have been a
highly-esteemed instrument, as Sahagun mentions that the leader of
the choir of singers in the temple bore the title _tlapitzcatzin_,
"the noble flute player."
Large conches were obtained on the seashore and framed into wind
instruments called _quiquiztli_ and _tecciztli_, whose hoarse notes
could be heard for long distances, and whistles of wood, bone and
earthenware added their shrill notes to the noise of the chanting of
the singers. The shell of the tortoise, _ayotl_, dried and suspended,
was beaten in unison with such instruments.
Recent researches by competent musical experts conducted upon
authentic specimens of the ancient Mexican instruments have tended to
elevate our opinion of their skill in this art. Mr. H.T. Cresson, of
the Academy of Natural Sciences, Philadelphia, has critically
examined the various Aztec clay flutes, whistles, etc., which are
there preserved, and has reached the following conclusions:--
"I. That upon the four-holed clay flageolets the chromatic and
diatonic scales can be produced with a full octave.
"II. That the clay whistles or pitch pipes, which may be manipulated
in quartette, will produce an octave and a fourth.
"III. From the facts above shown, the Aztecs must have possessed a
knowledge of the scales as known to us, which has been fully tested
by comparison with the flute and organ."
This result indicates for the instrumental accompaniment a much
higher position in musical notation than has hitherto been accepted.
Sec. 7. _THE POETIC DIALECT._
All the old writers who were familiar with the native songs speak of
their extreme obscurity, and the difficulty of translating them. No
one will question the intimate acquaintance with the Nahuatl language
possessed by Father Sahagun; yet no one has expressed more strongly
than he the vagueness of the Nahuatl poetic dialect. "Our enemy on
earth," he writes, "has prepared a thick woods and a dangerous ground
full of pitfalls, wherein to devise his evil deeds and to hide
himself from attack, as do wild beasts and venomous serpents. This
woods and these pitfalls are the songs which he has inspired to be
used in his service, as praises to his honor, in the temples and
elsewhere; because they are composed with such a trick that they
proclaim only what the devil commands, and are understood only by
those to whom they are addressed. It is well known that the cavern,
woods or depths in which the devil hides himself were these chants or
psalms which he himself has composed, and which cannot be understood
in their true significance except by those who are accustomed to the
peculiar style of their language."
Not less positive are the expressions of Father Diego Duran,
contemporary of Sahagun, and himself well versed in the native
tongue. "All their songs," he observes, "were composed in such
obscure metaphors that scarcely any one can understand them unless he
give especial attention to their construction." The worthy
Boturini was puzzled by those which he had collected, and writes,
"the songs are difficult to explain, because they mystify historical
facts with constant allegorizing," and Boturini's literary
executor, Don Mariano Echevarria y Veitia, who paid especial
attention to the poetic fragments he had received, says frankly: "The
fact is, that as to the songs I have not found a person who can fully
translate them, because there are many words in them whose
signification is absolutely unknown to-day, and moreover which do not
appear in the vocabularies of Molina or others."
The Abbe Clavigero speaks in somewhat more definite terms of the
poetic forms and licenses of the language. He notes that in the
fragments of the ancient verses which had been preserved until his
day there were inserted between the significant words certain
interjections and meaningless syllables, apparently to fill out the
metre. Nevertheless, he considered the language of the chants, "pure,
pleasant, brilliant, figurative and replete with allusions to the
more pleasing objects in nature, as flowers, trees, brooks, etc."
It is quite evident from the above extracts that in the translation
of the ancient songs in the present volume we must be prepared for
serious difficulties, the more so as the Nahuatl language, in the
opinion of some who are the best acquainted with it, lends itself
with peculiar facility to ambiguities of expression and obscure
figures of speech. Students of American ethnology are familiar
with the fact that in nearly all tribes the language of the sacred
songs differs materially from that in daily life.
Of the older grammarians, Father Carochi alone has left us actual
specimens of the ancient poetic dialect, and his observations are
regretably brief. They occur in his chapter on the composition of
nouns and read as follows:--
"The ancient Indians were chary in forming compounds of more than two
words, while those of to-day exceed this number, especially if they
speak of sacred things; although in their poetic dialect the ancients
were also extravagant in this respect, as the following examples
1. Tl[=a]uhquech[=o]llaztal[=e]hualto t[=o]natoc.
1. It is gleaming red like the tlauhquechol bird.
2. And it glows like the rainbow.
3. Xiuhcoyolizitzilica in te[=o]cuitlahu[=e]hu[=e]tl.
3. The silver drum sounds like bells of turquoise.
4. Xiuhtlapallacuil[=o]l[=a]moxtli manca.
4. There was a book of annals written and painted in colors.
5. Nic ch[=a]lchiuhcozcameca quenmach totoma in nocuic.
5. I see my song unfolding in a thousand directions, like a string of
From the specimens presented in this volume and from the above
extracts, I would assign the following peculiarities to the poetic
dialect of the Nahuatl:--
I. Extreme frequency and richness of metaphor. Birds, flowers,
precious stones and brilliant objects are constantly introduced in a
figurative sense, often to the point of obscuring the meaning of the
II. Words are compounded to a much greater extent than in ordinary
III. Both words and grammatical forms unknown to the tongue of daily
life occur. These may be archaic, or manufactured capriciously by the
IV. Vowels are inordinately lengthened and syllables reduplicated,
either for the purpose of emphasis or of meter.
V. Meaningless interjections are inserted for metrical effect, while
others are thrown in and repeated in order to express emotion.
VI. The rhetorical figure known as aposiopesis, where a sentence is
left unfinished and in an interjectional condition, in consequence of
some emotion of the mind, is not rare and adds to the obscurity of
Sec. 8. _THE PRESERVATION OF THE ANCIENT SONGS._
In a passage already quoted, Sahagun imparts the interesting
information that the more important songs were written down by the
Nahuas in their books, and from these taught to the youth in the
schools. A certain branch of the Mexican hieroglyphic writing was
largely phonetic, constructed on that method to which I have applied
the adjective _ikonomatic_, and by which it was quite possible to
preserve the sound as well as the sense of sentences and verses.
Such attention could have been bestowed only on the sacred, royal, or
legendary chants, while the compositions of ordinary poets would only
be disseminated by oral teaching.
By one or both of these methods there was a large body of poetic
chants the property of the Nahuatl-speaking tribes, when they were
subjugated by the Europeans. Among the intelligent missionaries who
devoted their lives to mastering the language and translating into it
the doctrines of Christianity, there were a few who felt sufficient
interest in these chants to write some of them down in the original
tongue. Conspicuous among these was the laborious Bernardino de
Sahagun, whose works are our most valued sources of information on
all that concerns the life of the ancient Nahuas. He collected a
number of their sacred hymns, translated them into Spanish, and
inserted them into the Appendix to the Second Book of his _History of
New Spain_; but this portion of his work was destroyed by order of
the Inquisition, as a note in the original MS. expressly states.
A certain number, however, were preserved in the original tongue,
and, as already noted, we find the able grammarian Horatio Carochi,
who published his Grammar of the Nahuatl in 1645, quoting lines from
some as furnishing examples of the genuine ancient forms of
word-building. He could not, therefore, have doubted their antiquity
A number of these must have come to the knowledge and were probably
in the possession of the eminent mathematician and antiquary Don
Carlos de Siguenza y Gongora, who lived in the latter half of the
same century (died 1700). It was avowedly upon the information which
he thought he gleaned from these ancient chants that he constructed
his historical theory of the missionary labors of St. Thomas in
Mexico in the first century of our era. The title of the work he
wrote upon this notion was as follows:--
_Fenix del Occidente San Thomas Apostol, hallado con el nombre de
Quetzalcoatl entre las cenizas de antiguas tradiciones, conservadas
en piedras, en Teoamoxtles Tultecas, y en cantares Teochichimecas y
For many years this curious work, which was never printed, was
supposed to be lost; but the original MS. is extant, in the
possession of the distinguished antiquary Don Alfredo Chavero, of the
City of Mexico. Unfortunately, however, the author did not insert
in his work any song in the native language nor a literal translation
of any, as I am informed by Senor Chavero, who has kindly examined
the work carefully at my request, with this inquiry in view.
Half a century later, when Boturini was collecting his material, he
found but very few of the old poems. In the catalogue of his MSS. he
mentions (XIX, 1) some fragments of ancient songs, badly written, on
European paper, but he does not say whether in the original or
translated. The same doubt might rest on the two songs of
Nezahualcoyotl named in his Catalogue (V, 2). He does not
specifically state that they are in the original. The song of
Moquihuix, King of Tlatilulco, in which he celebrated his victory
over the Cuextla, which Boturini states in his text (p. 91) as in his
possession, is not mentioned at all in his Catalogue, and it is
uncertain whether his copy was in Nahuatl.
His literary friend, however, Don Mariano Echevarria y Veitia,
removes the uncertainty about the two songs of Nezahualcoyotl, as he
informs us that they were in the original tongue, and adds that he
had inserted them in his History without translation. I have
examined the manuscript of his work, now in the Lenox Library, New
York City, but it does not contain these texts, and evidently the
copy used by Bustamente did not.
Boturini included the translations of the two odes of Nezahualcoyotl
in a work on the Virgin of Guadelupe, only a fragment of which has
been preserved. One of the chapters in this Latin Essay is entitled
_De Indorum Poetarum Canticis sive Prosodiis_, in which he introduces
Ixtlilxochitl's translation and also a song in the original Nahuatl,
but the latter is doubtless of late date and unimportant as a really
The fragments of Boturini's library collected by M. Aubin, of Paris,
contain a number of the original ancient songs of the highest
importance, which make us regret the more that this collection has
been up to the present inaccessible to students. In his description
of these relics published in 1851, M. Aubin refers to the _Historical
Annals of the Mexican Nation_ (Sec. VIII, 10, of Boturini's Catalogue)
as containing "historical songs in a dialect so difficult that I have
not been able to translate them entirely," and adds that similar
songs are preserved in others of the ancient annals in his hands.
Sec. 9. _THE LX SONGS OF THE KING NEZAHUALCOYOTL._
The most distinguished figure among the Nahuatl poets was
Nezahualcoyotl, ruler of Tezcuco. His death took place in 1472, at
the age of eighty years. His father, Ixtlilxochitl, had been deprived
of his possessions and put to death by Tezozomoc, King of the
Tepanecas, and until the death of the latter at an advanced age in
1427, Nezahualcoyotl could make but vain efforts to restore the power
of his family. Much of the time he was in extreme want, and for this
reason, and for his savage persistence in the struggle, he acquired
the name "the fasting or hungry wolf"-- _nezahualcoyotl_. Another of
his names was _Acolmiztli_, usually translated "arm of the lion,"
from _aculli_, shoulder, and _miztli_, lion.
A third was _Yoyontzin_, which is equivalent to _cevetor nobilis_,
from _yoyoma_ (_cevere_, i.e., _femora movere in re venered_); it is
to be understood figuratively as indicating the height of the
When his power became assured, he proved himself a liberal and
enlightened patron of the arts and industries. The poetry and music
of his native land attracted him the more as he felt within himself
the moving god, firing his imagination with poetic vision, the _Deus
in nobis, calescimus, agitant'illo_. Not only did he diligently seek
out and royally entertain skilled bards, but he himself had the
credit of composing sixty chants, and it appears that after the
Conquest there were that many written down in Roman characters and
attributed to him. We need not inquire too closely whether they were
strictly his own composition. Perhaps they were framed on themes
which he furnished, or were selected by him from those sung at his
court by various bards. The history of the works by royal authors
everywhere must not be too minutely scanned if we wish to leave them
their reputation for originality.
He was of a philosophic as well as a poetic temperament, and
reflected deeply on the problems of life and nature. Following the
inherent tendency of the enlightened intellect to seek unity in
diversity, the One in the Many, he reached the conclusion to which so
many thinkers in all ages and of all races have been driven, that
underlying all phenomena is one primal and adequate Cause, the
Essence of all Existence. This conclusion he expressed in a
philosophic apothegm which was preserved by his disciples, in these
_Ipan in chicunauitlamanpan meztica in tloque nahuaque palne nohuani
teyocoyani icel teotl oquiyocox in ixquex quexquex in ittoni ihuan
"In the ninth series is the Cause of All, of us and of all created
things, the one only God who created all things both visible and
To perpetuate the memory of this philosophic deduction he caused to
be constructed at Tezcuco a stone tower nine stories in height, the
ruins of which were visible long after the Spanish occupation. To
this tower he gave the name Chililitli, a term of uncertain meaning,
but which we find was applied in Tenochtitlan to a building sacred to
the Nine Winds. To explain the introduction of this number, I
should add that a certain school of Nahuatl priests taught that the
heaven above and the earth below were each divided into nine
concentric arcs, each leading farther and farther away from the
conditions of the present life. Hence, there were nine heavens,
abodes of the gods, and nine lower regions, abodes of the souls of
the dead. Another school taught that there were not nine but thirteen
of these stages.
The sixty poems by Nezahualcoyotl are mentioned by various writers as
in existence after the Conquest, reduced to writing in the original
tongue, and of several of them we have translations or abstracts.
Of four the translations claim to be complete, and were published
entire for the first time in the original Spanish by Lord
Kingsborough in the ninth volume of his great work on the
_Antiquities of Mexico_. Since then they have received various
renderings in prose and verse into different languages at the hands
of modern writers.
I shall give a literal prose translation from the Spanish, numbering
the poems and their verses, for convenience of reference, in the
order in which they appear in the pages of Lord Kingsborough.
* * * * *
The first is one referred to, and partly translated by Ixtlilxochitl,
in his _Historia Chichimeca_ (cap. 47). He calls it a _xopancuicatl_
(see ante, p. 15), and states that it was composed and sung on the
occasion of the banquet when the king laid the foundations of his
great palace. He gives the first words in the original as follows:--
_Tlaxoconcaguican ani Nezahualcoyotzin;_
And the translation:--
"Hear that which says the King Nezahualcoyotl."
Restoring the much mutilated original to what I should think was its
proper form, the translation should read:--
"Listen attentively to what I, the singer, the noble Nezahualcoyotl,
1. Listen with attention to the lamentations which I, the King
Nezahualcoyotl, make upon my power, speaking with myself, and
offering an example to others.
2. O restless and striving king, when the time of thy death shall
come, thy subjects shall be destroyed and driven forth; they shall
sink into dark oblivion. Then in thy hand shall no longer be the
power and the rule, but with the Creator, the All-powerful.
3. He who saw the palaces and court of the old King Tezozomoc, how
flourishing and powerful was his sway, may see them now dry and
withered; it seemed as if they should last forever, but all that the
world offers is illusion and deception, as everything must end and
4. Sad and strange it is to see and reflect on the prosperity and
power of the old and dying King Tezozomoc; watered with ambition and
avarice, he grew like a willow tree rising above the grass and
flowers of spring, rejoicing for a long time, until at length,
withered and decayed, the storm wind of death tore him from his
roots, and dashed him in fragments to the ground. The same fate
befell the ancient King Colzatzli, so that no memory was left of him,
nor of his lineage.
5. In these lamentations and in this sad song, I now call to memory
and offer as an example that which takes place in the spring, and the
end which overtook King Tezozomoc; and who, seeing this, can refrain
from tears and wailing, that these various flowers and rich delights
are bouquets that pass from hand to hand and all wither and end even
in the present life!
6. Ye sons of kings and mighty lords, ponder well and think upon that
which I tell you in these my lamentations, of what takes place in
spring and of the end which overtook King Tezozomoc; and who, seeing
this, can refrain from tears and wailing that these various flowers
and rich delights are bouquets that pass from hand to hand and all
wither and end even in the present life!
7. Let the birds now enjoy, with melodious voices, the abundance of
the house of the flowery spring, and the butterflies sip the nectar
of its flowers.
* * * * *
The second song is preserved in a Spanish metrical translation only,
but which from internal evidence I should judge to be quite literal.
The words of the poem do not represent it as a composition by the
royal poet, but one which was sung before him, and addressed to him.
It admonishes him to rejoice in the present moment, as the
uncertainties of life and fate must at some time, perhaps very soon,
deprive him of their enjoyment.
1. I wish to sing for a moment, since time and occasion are
propitious; I hope to be permitted, as my intention merits it, and I
begin my song, though it were better called a lamentation.
2. And thou, beloved companion, enjoy the beauty of these flowers,
rejoice with me, cast out fears, for if pleasure ends with life, so
also does pain.
3. I, singing, will touch the sonorous instrument, and thou,
rejoicing in the flowers, dance and give pleasure to God the
powerful. Let us be happy in the present, for life is transitory.
4. Thou hast placed thy noble court in Acolhuacan, thine are its
lintels, thou hast decked them, and one may well believe that with
such grandeur thy state shall increase and grow.
5. O prudent Yoyontzin, famous king and peerless monarch, rejoice in
the present, be happy in the springtime, for a day shall come in
which thou shall vainly seek these joys.
6. Then thy destiny shall snatch the sceptre from thy hand, thy moon
shall wane, no longer wilt thou be strong and proud, then thy
servants shall be destitute of all things.
7. In this sad event, the nobles of thy line, the provinces of might,
children of noble parents, lacking thee as their lord, shall taste
the bitterness of poverty.
8. They shall call to mind how great was thy pomp, thy triumphs and
victories, and bewailing the glory and majesty of the past, their
tears will flow like seas.
9. These thy descendants who serve thy plume and crown, when thou art
gone, will forsake Culhuacan, and as exiles will increase their woes.
10. Little will fame have to tell of this wondrous majesty, worthy of
a thousand heralds; the nations will only remember how wisely
governed the three chieftains who held the power,
11. At Mexico, Montezuma the famous and valorous, at Culhuacan the
fortunate Nezahualcoyotl, and at the stronghold of Acatlapan,
12. I fear no oblivion for thy just deeds, standing as thou dost in
thy place appointed by the Supreme Lord of All, who governs all
13. Therefore, O Nezahualcoyotl, rejoice in what the present offers,
crown thyself with flowers from thy gardens, hear my song and music
which aim to please thee.
14. The pleasures and riches of this life are but loaned, their
substance is vain, their appearance illusory; and so true is this
that I ask thee for an answer to these questions:
15. What has become of Cihuapan? Of the brave Quantzintecomatzin? Of
Conahuatzin? What of all these people? Perhaps these very words have
already passed into another life.
16. Would that we who are now united by the ties of love and
friendship could foresee the sharp edge of death, for nothing is
certain, and the future ever brings changes.
* * * * *
The third is a "spring song" in which the distinguished warriors of
the king are compared to precious stones. Such jewels were believed
by the Nahuas to possess certain mysterious powers as charms and
amulets, a belief, it is needless to say, found among almost all
nations. In verse 18 there is a reference to the superstition that at
dawn, when these jewels are exposed to the first rays of the sun,
they emit a fine vapor which wafts abroad their subtle potency. The
poem is in Spanish verse, and the original is said to have been
written down by Don Fernando de Avila, governor of Tlalmanalco, from
the mouth of Don Juan de Aguilar, governor of Cultepec, a direct
descendant of Nezahualcoyotl.
1. The flowery spring has its house, its court, its palace, adorned
with riches, with goods in abundance.
2. With discreet art they are arranged and placed, rich feathers,
precious stones, surpassing in luster the sun.
3. There is the valued carbuncle, which from its beauteous center
darts forth rays which are the lights of knowledge.
4. There is the prized diamond, sign of strength, shooting forth its
5. Here one sees the translucent emerald suggesting the hope of the
rewards of merit.
6. Next follows the topaz, equaling the emerald, for the reward it
promises is a heavenly dwelling.
7. The amethyst, signifying the cares which a king has for his
subjects, and moderation in desires.
8. These are what kings, princes and monarchs delight to place upon
their breasts and crowns.
9. All these stones with their varied and singular virtues, adorn Thy
house and court, O Father, O Infinite God!
10. These stones which I the King Nezahualcoyotl have succeeded in
uniting in loving liens,
11. Are the famous princes, the one called Axaxacatzin, the other
Chimalpopoca, and Xicomatzintlamata.
12. To-day, somewhat rejoiced by the joy and words of these, and of
the other lords who were with them,
13. I feel, when alone, that my soul is pleased but for a brief time,
and that all pleasure soon passes.
14. The presence of these daring eagles pleases me, of these lions
and tigers who affright the world,
15. These who by their valor win everlasting renown, whose name and
whose deeds fame will perpetuate.
16. Only to-day am I glad and look upon these rich and varied stones,
the glory of my bloody battles.
17. To-day, noble princes, protectors of the realm, my will is to
entertain you and to praise you.
18. It seems to me that ye answer from your souls, like the fine
vapor arising from precious stones,--
19. "O King Nezahualcoyotl, O royal Montezuma, your subjects sustain
themselves with your soft dews.
20. "But at last a day shall come which will cut away this power, and
all these will be left wretched orphans.
21. "Rejoice, mighty King, in this lofty power which the King of
Heaven has granted you, rejoice and be glad.
22. "In the life of this world there is no beginning anew, therefore
rejoice, for all good ends.
23. "The future promises endless changes, griefs that your subjects
will have to undergo.
24. "Ye see before you the instruments decked with wreaths of odorous
flowers; rejoice in their fragrance.
25. "To-day there are peace, and goodfellowship; therefore let all
join hands and rejoice in the dances,
26. "So that for a little while princes and kings and the nobles may
have pleasure in these precious stones,
27. "Which through his goodness the will of the King Nezahualcoyotl
has set forth for you, inviting you to-day to his house."
* * * * *
The fourth song has been preserved in an Otomi translation by the
Mexican antiquary Granados y Galvez and in an abstract by
Torquemada. The latter gives the first words as follows:--
_Xochitl mamani in huehuetitlan:_
Which he translates:--
"There are fresh and fragrant flowers among the groves."
It is said to have been composed at the time the king dedicated his
1. The fleeting pomps of the world are like the green willow trees,
which, aspiring to permanence, are consumed by a fire, fall before
the axe, are upturned by the wind, or are scarred and saddened by
2. The grandeurs of life are like the flowers in color and in fate;
the beauty of these remains so long as their chaste buds gather and
store the rich pearls of the dawn and saving it, drop it in liquid
dew; but scarcely has the Cause of All directed upon them the full
rays of the sun, when their beauty and glory fail, and the brilliant
gay colors which decked forth their pride wither and fade.
3. The delicious realms of flowers count their dynasties by short
periods; those which in the morning revel proudly in beauty and
strength, by evening weep for the sad destruction of their thrones,
and for the mishaps which drive them to loss, to poverty, to death
and to the grave. All things of earth have an end, and in the midst
of the most joyous lives, the breath falters, they fall, they sink
into the ground.
4. All the earth is a grave, and nought escapes it; nothing is so
perfect that it does not fall and disappear. The rivers, brooks,
fountains and waters flow on, and never return to their joyous
beginnings; they hasten on to the vast realms of Tlaloc, and the
wider they spread between their marges the more rapidly do they mould
their own sepulchral urns. That which was yesterday is not to-day;
and let not that which is to-day trust to live to-morrow.
5. The caverns of earth are filled with pestilential dust which once
was the bones, the flesh, the bodies of great ones who sate upon
thrones, deciding causes, ruling assemblies, governing armies,
conquering provinces, possessing treasures, tearing down temples,
flattering themselves with pride, majesty, fortune, praise and
dominion. These glories have passed like the dark smoke thrown out by
the fires of Popocatepetl, leaving no monuments but the rude skins on
which they are written.
6. Ha! ha! Were I to introduce you into the obscure bowels of this
temple, and were to ask you which of these bones were those of the
powerful Achalchiuhtlanextin, first chief of the ancient Toltecs; of
Necaxecmitl, devout worshiper of the gods; if I inquire where is the
peerless beauty of the glorious empress Xiuhtzal, where the peaceable
Topiltzin, last monarch of the hapless land of Tulan; if I ask you
where are the sacred ashes of our first father Xolotl; those of the
bounteous Nopal; those of the generous Tlotzin; or even the still
warm cinders of my glorious and immortal, though unhappy and luckless
father Ixtlilxochitl; if I continued thus questioning about all our
august ancestors, what would you reply? The same that I reply--I know
not, I know not; for first and last are confounded in the common
clay. What was their fate shall be ours, and of all who follow us.
7. Unconquered princes, warlike chieftains, let us seek, let us sigh
for the heaven, for there all is eternal, and nothing is corruptible.
The darkness of the sepulchre is but the strengthening couch for the
glorious sun, and the obscurity of the night but serves to reveal the
brilliancy of the stars. No one has power to alter these heavenly
lights, for they serve to display the greatness of their Creator, and
as our eyes see them now, so saw them our earliest ancestors, and so
shall see them our latest posterity.
* * * * *
It will be seen that the philosophy of these songs is mostly of the
Epicurean and _carpe diem_ order. The certainty of death and the
mutability of fortune, observations which press themselves upon the
mind of man everywhere, are their principal staples, and cast over
them a hue of melancholy, relieved by exhortations to enjoy to the
utmost what the present moment offers of pleasure and sensual
gratification. Here and there a gleam of a higher philosophy lights
the sombre reflections of the bard; his thoughts turn toward the
infinite Creator of this universe, and he dimly apprehends that by
making Him the subject of his contemplation, there is boundless
consolation even in this mortal life.
Both these leading _motifs_ recur over and over again in the songs
printed in the original in the present volume, and this similarity is
a common token of the authenticity of the book.
Sec. 10. _THE HISTORY OF THE PRESENT COLLECTION._
The most recent Mexican writers formally deny that any ancient
Mexican poetry is now extant. Thus the eminent antiquary, Don Alfredo
Chavero, in his elaborate work, _Mexico a traves de los Siglos_,
says, "the truth is, we know no specimens of the ancient poetry, and
those, whether manuscript or printed, which claim to be such, date
from after the Conquest." In a similar strain the grammarian
Diario Julio Caballero, writes: "There has never come into our hands
a single poetic composition in this language. It is said that the
great King Nezahualcoyotl was a poet and composed various songs;
however that may be, the fact is that we have never seen any such
compositions, nor met any person who has seen them."
It is important, therefore, to state the exact provenance of the
specimens printed in this volume, many of which I consider to have
been composed previous to the Conquest, and written down shortly
after the Nahuatl language had been reduced to the Spanish alphabet.
All of them are from a MS. volume in the library of the University of
Mexico, entitled _Cantares de los Mexicanos y otros opusculos_,
composed of various pieces in different handwritings, which, from
their appearance and the character of the letter, were attributed by
the eminent antiquary Don Jose F. Ramirez, to the sixteenth and
The copy I have used is that made by the late Abbe Brasseur (de
Bourbourg). It does not appear to be complete, but my efforts to have
it collated with the original have not been successful. Another copy
was taken by the late well-known Mexican scholar Faustino
Chimalpopoca, which was in the possession of Senor Ramirez and sold
at the vendue of his books in 1880. It is No. 511 of the catalogue.
The final decision of the age of the poems must come from a careful
scrutiny of the internal evidence, especially the thoughts they
contain and the language in which they are expressed. In applying
these tests, it should be remembered that a song may be almost wholly
ancient, that is, composed anterior to the Conquest, and yet display
a few later allusions introduced by the person who preserved it in
writing, so as to remove from it the flavor of heathenism. Some
probable instances of this kind will be pointed out in the Notes.
The songs are evidently from different sources and of different
epochs. There are two notes inserted in the MS. which throw some
light on the origin of a few of the poems. The first is in connection
with No. XII. In my copy of the MS, the title of this song is written
twice, and between the two the following memorandum appears in
"Ancient songs of the native Otomis, which they were accustomed to
sing at their festivals and marriages, translated into the Mexican
language, the play and the spirit of the song and its figures of
speech being always retained; as Your Reverence will understand, they
displayed considerable style and beauty, better than I can express
with my slight talent; and may Your Reverence at your convenience
approve and be entertained by them, as a skilled master of the
tongue, as Your Reverence is."
From its position and from the titles following, this note appears to
apply only to No. XII.
The second note is prefixed to No. XIV, which has no title. It is in
Nahuatl, and reads as follows:--
* * * * *
I H S
Nican ompehua in cuicatl motenehua melahuac Huexotzincayotl ic
moquichitoya in tlatoque Huexotzinca mani mecatca; yexcan inic
tlatlamantitica, teuccuicatl ahnoco quauhcuicatl, xochicuicatl,
icnocuicatl. Auh inic motzotzona huehuetl cencamatl mocauhtiuh, auh
in occencamatl ipan huetzi yetetl ti; auh in huel ic ompehua centetl
ti; auh inic mocuepa quiniquac iticpa huehuetzi y huehuetl, zan
mocemana in maitl; auh quiniquac iyeinepantla occeppa itenco
hualcholoa in huehuetl; tel yehuatl itech mottaz, ynima ynaquin
cuicani quimati iniuh motzotzona; auh yancuican yenoceppa inin
cuicatl ychan D. Diego de Leon, Governador Azcapotzalco; yehuatl
oquitzotzon in D. Frco Placido ypan xihuitl 1551, ypan in
ezcalilitzin tl Jesu Christo.
* * * * *
This may be freely translated as follows:--
* * * * *
"Here begins a song called a plain song of Huexotzinco as it was
recited by the lords of Huexotzinco. These songs are divided into
three classes, the songs of the nobles or of the eagles, the flower
songs, and the songs of destitution. (Directions follow for beating
the drum in unison with the voices.) This song was sung at the house
of Don Diego de Leon, Governor of Azcapotzalco; he who beat the drum
was Don Francisco Placido; in the year of the resurrection of our
Lord Jesus Christ 1551."
* * * * *
This assigns beyond doubt the song in question to the first half of
the sixteenth century, and we may therefore take its phraseology as a
type of the Nahuatl poetry shortly after the Conquest. It is also
stated to be a native composition, and from its contents, it was
clearly composed by one of the converts to the Christian faith.
ANCIENT NAHUATL POEMS.
_SONG AT THE BEGINNING._
1. Ninoyolnonotza, campa nicuiz yectli, ahuiaca xochitl:--Ac
nitlatlaniz? Manozo yehuatl nictlatlani in quetzal huitzitziltin, in
chalchiuh huitzitzicatzin; manozo ye nictlatlani in zaquan papalotl;
ca yehuantin in machiz, ommati, campa cueponi in yectli ahuiac
xochitl, tla nitlahuihuiltequi in nican acxoyatzinitzcanquauhtla,
manoze nitlahuihuiltequi in tlauhquecholxochiquauhtla; oncan
huihuitolihui ahuach tonameyotoc in oncan mocehcemelquixtia; azo
oncan niquimittaz intla onechittitique; nocuexanco nictemaz ic
niquintlapaloz in tepilhuan, ic niquimellelquixtiz in teteuctin.
1. I am wondering where I may gather some pretty, sweet flowers. Whom
shall I ask? Suppose that I ask the brilliant humming-bird, the
emerald trembler; suppose that I ask the yellow butterfly; they will
tell me, they know, where bloom the pretty, sweet flowers, whether I
may gather them here in the laurel woods where dwell the tzinitzcan
birds, or whether I may gather them in the flowery forests where the
tlauquechol lives. There they may be plucked sparkling with dew,
there they come forth in perfection. Perhaps there I shall see them
if they have appeared; I shall place them in the folds of my garment,
and with them I shall greet the children, I shall make glad the
2. Tlacazo nican nemi, ye nicaqui in ixochicuicatzin yuhqui tepetl
quinnananquilia; tlacazo itlan in meyaquetzalatl, xiuhtotoameyalli,
oncan mocuica, momotla, mocuica; nananquilia in centzontlatolli; azo
quinnananquilia in coyoltototl, ayacachicahuacatimani, in nepapan
tlazocuicani totome. Oncan quiyectenehua in tlalticpaque
2. Truly as I walk along I hear the rocks as it were replying to the
sweet songs of the flowers; truly the glittering, chattering water
answers, the bird-green fountain, there it sings, it dashes forth, it
sings again; the mockingbird answers; perhaps the coyol bird answers,
and many sweet singing birds scatter their songs around like music.
They bless the earth pouring out their sweet voices.
3. Nic itoaya, nitlaocoltzatzia; ma namechellelti y tlazohuane, niman
cactimotlalique, niman hualtato in quetzal huitzitziltin. Aquin
tictemohua, cuicanitzine? Niman niquinnanquilia niquimilhuia: Campa
catqui in yectli, ahuiac xochitl ic niquimellelquixtiz in
amohuampotzitzinhuan? Niman onechicacahuatzque ca nican
tlatimitzittitili ticuicani azo nelli ic tiquimellelquixtiz in
toquichpohuan in teteuctin.
3. I said, I cried aloud, may I not cause you pain ye beloved ones,
who are seated to listen; may the brilliant humming-birds come soon.
Whom do we seek, O noble poet? I ask, I say: Where are the pretty,
fragrant flowers with which I may make glad you my noble compeers?
Soon they will sing to me, "Here we will make thee to see, thou
singer, truly wherewith thou shalt make glad the nobles, thy
4. Tepeitic tonacatlalpa, xochitlalpa nechcalaquiqueo oncan on
ahuachtotonameyotimani, oncan niquittacaya in nepapan tlazoahuiac
xochitl, tlazohuelic xochitl ahuach quequentoc,
ayauhcozamalotonameyotimani, oncan nechilhuia, xixochitetequi, in
catlehuatl toconnequiz, ma mellelquiza in ticuicani, tiquinmacataciz
in tocnihuan in teteuctin in quellelquixtizque in tlalticpaque.
4. They led me within a valley to a fertile spot, a flowery spot,
where the dew spread out in glittering splendor, where I saw various
lovely fragrant flowers, lovely odorous flowers, clothed with the
dew, scattered around in rainbow glory, there they said to me, "Pluck
the flowers, whichever thou wishest, mayest thou the singer be glad,
and give them to thy friends, to the nobles, that they may rejoice on
5. Auh nicnocuecuexantia in nepapan ahuiacxochitl, in huel
teyolquima, in huel tetlamachti, nic itoaya manozo aca tohuanti hual
calaquini, ma cenca miec in ticmamani; auh ca tel ye onimatico
nitlanonotztahciz imixpan in tocnihuan nican mochipa
tiqualtetequizque in tlazo nepapan ahuiac xochitl ihuan ticuiquihui
in nepapan yectliyancuicatl ic tiquimellelquixtizque in tocnihuan in
tlalticpactlaca in tepilhuan quauhtliya ocelotl.
5. So I gathered in the folds of my garment the various fragrant
flowers, delicate scented, delicious, and I said, may some of our
people enter here, may very many of us be here; and I thought I
should go forth to announce to our friends that here all of us should
rejoice in the different lovely, odorous flowers, and that we should
cull the various sweet songs with which we might rejoice our friends
here on earth, and the nobles in their grandeur and dignity.
6. Ca moch nicuitoya in nicuicani ic niquimicpac xochiti in tepilhuan
inic niquimapan in can in mac niquinten; niman niquehuaya yectli
yacuicatl ic netimalolo in tepilhuan ixpan in tloque in nahuaque, auh
in atley y maceuallo.
6. So I the singer gathered all the flowers to place them upon the
nobles, to clothe them and put them in their hands; and soon I lifted
my voice in a worthy song glorifying the nobles before the face of
the Cause of All, where there is no servitude.
7. Can quicuiz? Can quitlaz in huelic xochitl? Auh cuix nohuan aciz
aya in xochitlalpan, in tonacatlalpan, in atley y macehuallo in
nentlamati? Intla y tlacohua in tlalticpac ca can quitemacehualtica
in tloque in nahuaque, in tlalticpac; ye nican ic chocan noyollo
noconilnamiquia in ompa onitlachiato y xochitlalpana nicuicani.
7. Where shall one pluck them? Where gather the sweet flowers? And
how shall I attain that flowery land, that fertile land, where there
is no servitude, nor affliction? If one purchases it here on earth,
it is only through submission to the Cause of All; here on earth
grief fills my soul as I recall where I the singer saw the flowery
8. Auh nic itoaya tlacazo amo qualcan in tlalticpac ye nican, tlacazo
occecni in huilohuayan, in oncan ca in netlamachtilli; tlezannen in
tlalticpac? tlacazo occecni yoliliz ximoayan, ma ompa niauh, ma ompa
inhuan noncuicati in nepapan tlazototome, ma ompa nicnotlamachti
yectliya xochitl ahuiaca xochitl, in teyolquima, in zan tepacca,
teahuiaca yhuintia, in zan tepacca, ahuiaca yhuintia.
8. And I said, truly there is no good spot here on earth, truly in
some other bourne there is gladness; For what good is this earth?
Truly there is another life in the hereafter. There may I go, there
the sweet birds sing, there may I learn to know those good flowers,
those sweet flowers, those delicious ones, which alone pleasurably,
sweetly intoxicate, which alone pleasurably, sweetly intoxicate.
_XOPANCUICATL, OTONCUICATL, TLAMELAUHCAYOTL._
_A SPRING SONG, AN OTOMI SONG, A PLAIN SONG._
1. Onihualcalac nicuicani nepapan xochitlalpan, huel
teellelquixtican, tetlamachtican, oncan ahuach tonameyoquiauhtimani,
oncan cuicuica in nepapan tlazototome, on cuicatlaza in coyoltototl
cahuantimani inin tozquitzin in quellelquixtia in tloque in nahuaque
yehuan Dios, ohuaya, ohuaya.
1. I, the singer, have entered many flower gardens, places of
pleasaunce, favored spots, where the dew spread out its glittering
surface, where sang various lovely birds, where the coyol birds let
fall their song, and spreading far around, their voices rejoiced the
Cause of All, He who is God, ohuaya! ohuaya!
2. Oncan nicaqui in cuicanelhuayotl in nicuicani, tlacazo amo
tlalticpac in peuh yectli yancuicatl, tlacazo ompa in ilhuicatl itic
hual caquizti in conehua in tlazocoyoltototl in quimehuilia in
nepapan teoquecholme zacuantototl, oncan tlacazo quiyectenehua in
tloque in nahuaque, ohuaya, ohuaya.
2. It is there that I the singer hear the very essence of song;
certainly not on earth has true poesy its birth; certainly it is
within the heavens that one hears the lovely coyol bird lift its
voice, that the various quechol and zacuan birds speak together,
there they certainly praise the Cause of All, ohuaya! ohuaya!
3. Niyolpoxahua in nicaquia ni cuicani, acoquiza in notlalnamiquilizo
quin pepetlatiquiza in ilhuicame, nelcicihuiliz ehecayotiuh in
iquinalquixtia in ompa ontlatenehua in zacuanhuitzitzil in ilhuicatl
itic, ohuaya, ohuaya.
3. I, the singer, labor in spirit with what I heard, that it may lift
up my memory, that it may go forth to those shining heavens, that my
sighs may be borne on the wind and be permitted to enter where the
yellow humming bird chants its praises in the heavens, ohuaya!
4. Auh nohuiampa nictlachialtia in noyollo auh tlacazo nelli in amo
ixquich quehua in tlazotototl, tlacazo ye oc tlapanahuia in ilhuicatl
itic y yollo in tloque in nahuaque mochiuhtica, ca intlacamo
teuhyotiuh in notlalnamiquiliz azo huelquinalquixtica ittazo in
tlamahuizolli in ilhuicac ic papaqui in ilhuicac tlazototome ixpan in
tloque nahuaque, ohuaya, ohuaya.
4. And as in my thoughts I gaze around, truly no such sweet bird
lifts its voice, truly the things made for the heavens by the Cause
of All surpass all others, and unless my memory tends to things
divine scarcely will it be possible to penetrate these and witness
the wondrous sights in heaven, which rejoice the sweet heavenly birds
before the face of the Cause of All.
5. Quenin ah nichocaz in tlalticpac? ye nican onca nemoaya
ninoztlacahuia, nicitoa aco zan ye ixquich in nican in tlalticpac
ontlamian toyolia, macuele ehuatl in tloque in nahuaque, ma ompa
inhuan nimitznocuicatili in ilhuicac mochanecahuan ca noyollo ehua
ompa nontlachia in monahuac in motloc tipalnemohua, ohuaya, ohuaya.
5. How much, alas, shall I weep on earth? Truly I have lived here in
vain illusion; I say that whatever is here on earth must end with our
lives. May I be permitted to sing to thee, the Cause of All, there in
the heaven, a dweller in thy mansion, there may my soul lift its
voice and be seen with Thee and near Thee, Thou by whom we live,
6. Ma xicaquin nocuic in tinocniuh xochihuehuetl inic tzotzonaya
ilhuicacuicatl in nicchuaya, ic niquimellelquixtia in teteucti,
xochicueponi in noyollo izqui xochitl nictzetzelohuaya ic malitiuh in
no cuicatzin ixpan in tloque in nahuaque, ohuaya, ohuaya.
6. List to my song, thou my friend, and to the flower-decked drum
which kept time to the heavenly song which I sang, that I might make
glad the nobles, raining down before them the flowery thoughts of my
heart as though they were flowers, that my noble song might grow in
glory before the face of the Cause of All, ohuaya! ohuaya!
_OCCE AL MISMO TONO TLAMELAUHCAYOTL._
_ANOTHER PLAIN SONG, TO THE SAME TUNE._
1. Xochicalco nihualcalaquia in nicuicani, oncan icac in
chalchiuhuehuetl, oncan chialon ipalnemohuani in teteuctin xochitl
tzetzeliuhtimani, tolquatectitla, xoyacaltitlan, onahuiaxtimani in
xochicopal tlenamactli huel teyolquima, cahuia ca ihuintia in toyollo
ixpan in tloque in nahuaque.
1. I, the singer, entered into the house strewn with flowers, where
stood upright the emerald drum, where awaiting the Giver of Life the
nobles strewed flowers around, the place where the head is bowed for
lustration, the house of corrupt odors, where the burning fragrant
incense spreads and penetrates, intoxicating our souls in the
presence of the Cause of All.
2. Ic motoma tocuic xochiahuia ca ihuinti in toyollo? Aoc ticmati
inic nepapan xochicuicatl ic ticcecemeltia in tloque nahuaque quen
ahtontlaelehuian; tinocniuh ma nohuehuetitlan ximoquetzaya nepapan
xochitl ic ximopanaya chalchiuh ocoxochitl mocpac xicmanaya
xicehuayan yectli yancuicatl ic melelquixtia in tloque in nahuaque.
2. Where shall we obtain the fragrance which intoxicates our souls?
We do not yet know the various flower-songs with which we may rejoice
the Cause of All, however desirous we are; thou my friend, would that
thou bring to my instrument various flowers, that thou shouldst
clothe it in brilliant oco flowers, that thou shouldst offer them,
and lift thy voice in a new and worthy song to rejoice the Cause of
3. Tleymach tiquilnamiquia can mach in nemian moyollo ic timoyol
cecenmanaya ahuicpa tichuica timoyol popoloaya in tlalticpac? Ca mach
titlatiuh xihualmocuepaya xiccaquin yectli yancuicatl ximoyolciahuaya
xochiaticaya onahuiaxtimani oncan nicehuaya in yectli yancuicatl
nicuicani ic nicellelquixtia in tloque in nahuaque.
3. Wherefore should we recall while the soul is in life that our
souls must be scattered hither and thither, and that wherever we go
we are to be destroyed on earth? Rather let us hide it, turn from it,
and listen to some worthy new song; delight thy soul with the
pervading fragrance of flowers, as I the singer lift my voice in a
new song that I may rejoice the Cause of All.
4. Xihuallachian tinocniuh in oncan icayan xochihuehuetl tonameyo
ontotonauhtimani quetzal ecacehuazticaya on xopaleuhtimani in oncan
ic chialo ic malhuilo inipetl in icpal in tloque in nahuaque; xic
cahuaya in mixtecomatla xihualmocuepaya tohuan, xic ehua in
yancuicatl nicuicani ic niquellelquixtia in tloque in tlaneciz inic
4. Come hither, thou my friend, to where stands the drum, decked with
flowers, gleaming with brightness, green with the outspread plumes of
the quetzal bird, where are looked for and cared for the seats near
the Cause of All; leave the place of night and clouds, turn hither
with us, lift thy voice in the new song I sing so that I may rejoice
the Cause of All, as the dawn approaches in the house of thy heart.
5. Tlecannen in nicyocoya in nitlaocolcuica inic niquimilnamiqui in
tepilhuan, in tlazomaquiztin, in tlazoteoxiuhme, in quetzaltotome, in
moteyotico, in motleyotico in tlalticpac? in ocnoma caquizti inin
tenyo, inin cahuanca, campa neltiazque? Ca zan titlacatico ca ompa
huel tochan in canin ximoayan inocapa in yolihuayan aic tlamian.
5. Of what use is it that I frame my sad songs, that I recall to mind
the youths, the beloved children, the precious relatives, the dear
friends, famous and celebrated as they were on earth? Who now hears
their fame, their deeds? Where can they find them? All of us are but
mortal, and our home is there in the Hereafter, where there is life
_AN OTOMI SONG OF THE MEXICANS._
1. Nicchalchiuhtonameyopetlahuaya, nictzinitzcanihuicaloaya,
niquilnamiquia nelhuayocuicatla, nic zacuanhuipanaya yectli
yancuicatl nicuicani, nicchalchiuhtlazonenelo ic nichualnextia in
xochicueponallotl ic nicellelquixtia in tloque in nahuaque.
1. I, the singer, polished my noble new song like a shining emerald,
I arranged it like the voice of the tzinitzcan bird, I called to mind
the essence of poetry, I set it in order like the chant of the zacuan
bird, I mingled it with the beauty of the emerald, that I might make
it appear like a rose bursting its bud, so that I might rejoice the
Cause of All.
2. Zacuantlazoihuiticaya tzinitzcan tlauquechol ic nicyaimatia,
nocuicatzin teocuitlatzitzilini nocuic nitoz; miahuatototl nocuica
cahuantimania, nicehuaya xochitzetzelolpa ixpan in tloque nahuaque.
2. I skillfully arranged my song like the lovely feathers of the
zacuan bird, the tzinitzcan and the quechol; I shall speak forth my
song like the tinkling of golden bells; my song is that which the
miaua bird pours forth around him; I lifted my voice and rained down
flowers of speech before the face of the Cause of All.
3. Qualli cuicanelhuayotlo, teocuitlaquiquizcopa nicehuaya, ilhuicac
cuicatlo nictenquixtia, nitoz miahuatototl, chalciuhtonameyotica,
niccueponaltia yectli yancuicatlo, nicehuaya xochitlenamaquilizticaya
ic nitlaahuialia nicuicani ixpan in tloque nahuaque.
3. In the true spirit of song I lifted my voice through a trumpet of
gold, I let fall from my lips a celestial song, I shall speak notes
precious and brilliant as those of the miaua bird, I shall cause to
blossom out a noble new song, I lifted my voice like the burning
incense of flowers, so that I the singer might cause joy before the
face of the Cause of All.
4. Teoquecholme nechnananquilia in nicuicani coyolicahuacaya yectli
yacuicatlan, cozcapetlaticaya chachalchiuhquetzalitztonameyo
xopaleuhtimania xopan xochicuiatl onilhuica ahuiaxtimanio,
xochiahuachtitlan nihualcuicaya nicuicani.
4. The divine quechol bird answers me as I, the singer, sing, like
the coyol bird, a noble new song, polished like a jewel, a turquoise,
a shining emerald, darting green rays, a flower song of spring,
spreading celestial fragrance, fresh with the dews of roses, thus
have I the poet sung.
5. Nictlapalimatia nicxoxochineloaya yectli yancuicatlan
5. I colored with skill, I mingled choice roses in a noble new song,
polished like a jewel, etc. (as in v. 4).
6. Nocontimaloaya nocontlamachtiao xochiteyolquima cuicatlan
poyomapoctli ic ye ahuian ye noyollo, nihualyolcuecuechahuaya,
nicinecuia ahuiaca, xocomiqui in noyolia, nicinecuia yectliya
xochitla netlamachtiloyan, xochi ye ihuinti noyolia.
6. I was glorified, I was enriched, by the flower-sweet song as by
the smoke of the poyomatl, my soul was contented, I trembled in
spirit, I inhaled the sweetness, my soul was intoxicated, I inhaled
the fragrance of delicious flowers in the place of riches, my soul
was drunken with the flowers.
_OTRO MEXICA TLAMELAUHCACUICAYOTL._
_ANOTHER PLAIN SONG OF THE MEXICANS._
1. Zanio in xochitl tonequimilol, zanio in cuicatl ic huehuetzi in
tellel in Dios ye mochan.
1. I alone will clothe thee with flowers, mine alone is the song
which casts down our grief before God in thy house.
2. In mach noca ompolihuiz in cohuayotl mach noca in icniuhyotl in
ononoya in ye ichan; ye nio Yoyontzin on cuicatillano ye
2. True it is that my possessions shall perish, my friendships, their
home and their house; thus I, O Yoyontzin, pour forth songs to the
Giver of Life.
3. Ma xiuhquechol xochi, zan in tzinitzcan malintoca zan miqui huaqui
xochitl zan ic tonmoquimiloa can titlatoani ya ti Nezahualcoyotl.
3. Let the green quechol birds, let the tzinitzcan twine flowers for
us, only dying and withered flowers, that we may clothe thee with
flowers, thou ruler, thou Nezahualcoyotl.
4. Ma yan moyoliuh quimati in antepilhuan in anquauhtin amo celo ca
mochipan titocnihuan, zancuel achic nican timochitonyazque o ye
4. Ye youths and ye braves, skilled in wisdom, may you alone be our
friends, while for a moment here we shall enjoy this house.
5. Ca ye ompolihuiz in moteyo Nopiltzin, ti Tezozomoctli aca ca ye in
mocuica? aye a nihualchocao ca nihualicnotlamatica notia ye ichan.
5. For thy fame shall perish, Nopiltzin, and thou, Tezozomoc, where
are thy songs? No more do I cry aloud, but rest tranquil that ye have
gone to your homes.
6. An ca nihuallaocoya onicnotlamati ayo quico, ayoc quemanian,
namech aitlaquiuh in tlalticpac y icanontia ye ichan.
6. Ye whom I bewailed, I know nevermore, never again; I am sad here
on earth that ye have gone to your homes.
_OTRO CHALCAYOTL, CANTO DE TETLEPAN QUETZANITZIN._
_ANOTHER CHALCO-SONG, A POEM OF TETLEPAN QUETZANITZIN._
1. Aua nocnihue ninentlamatia zan ninochoquilia in monahuac aya
yehuan Dios, quexquich onmitzicnotlamachtia momacehual cemamanahuac
ontonitlanililo in ic tontlahuica tontecemilhuitiltia in tlalticpac.
1. Alas, my friend, I was afflicted, I cried aloud on thy account to
God. How much compassion hast thou for thy servant in this world sent
here by thee to be thy subject for the space of a day on this earth!
2. Macazo tleon xoconyoyocoya ti noyollo, yehua cuix ic nepohualoyan
in oncan nemohua yehua, in atle tlahuelli in antecocolia huel on
yecnemiz in tlalticpac.
2. However that may be, mayst thou so dispose my heart, that it may
pass through this place of reckoning, without anger, without injury,
and live a good life on earth.
3. In quimati noyollo nichoca yehua huel eza ye nelli in titicnihuan,
huellenelli nemoa in tlalticpac in tonicniuh tlatzihuiz yehuan Dios.
3. My heart knows how truly I weep for my friend, how truly as it
lives on earth it cries aloud for thee, my friend, to God.
4. Xontlachayan huitztlampayan, iquizayan in tonatiuh,
ximoyollehuayan oncan manian teoatl tlachinolli, oncan mocuica in
teucyotl in tlatocayotl yectliya xochitl in amo zannen mocuia, in
quetzallalpilo niaya macquauhtica, chimaltica neicaloloyan in
tlalticpac ic momacehuaya in yectliya xochitl in tiquelehuia in
ticnequia in tinocniuh in quitemacehualtia in quitenemactia in tloque
4. Let thy soul awake and turn toward the south, toward the rising of
the sun, rouse thy heart that it turn toward the field of battle,
there let it win power and fame, the noble flowers which it will not
grasp in vain; adorned with a frontlet of quetzal feathers I went
forth armed with sword and shield to the battlefield on earth, that I
might merit these noble flowers with which we may rejoice as we wish
our friends, as the Cause of All may reward and grant to us.
5. Nentiquelehuia in tictemoaya in tinocniuh yectliya xochitl can
ticuiz intlacamo ximicaliya, melchiquiuhticaya, mitonalticaya
ticmacehuaya in yectliyaxochitla, yaochoquiztli ixayoticaya in
quitemacehualtica in tloque in nahuaque.
5. Vainly, O friends, do we desire and seek where we may cull those
noble flowers unless we fight with bared breasts, with the sweat of
the brow, meriting these noble flowers, in bitter and painful war,
for which the Cause of All will give reward.
1. Tleinmach oamaxque on in antocnihuan in an Chiapaneca Otomi,
omachamelelacic: in ic oamihuintiqueo octicatl in oanquique ic
oamihuintique, xicualcuican, in amo ma in anhuehuetztoqueo,
ximozcalicano in antocnihuan nipatiazque in tochano, xopantlalpan ye
nican, ma quiza in amihuintiliz, on xitlachiacano ohuican ye
1. What have you done, O you our friends, you Chiapanecs and Otomis,
why have you grieved, that you were drunken with the wine which you
took, that you were drunken? Come hither and sing: do not lie
stretched out; arise, O friends, let us go to our houses here in this
land of spring; come forth from your drunkenness, see in what a
difficult place you must take it.
2. Ca yeppa yuhqui in tizaoctli in tlalticpac, quitemacao ohuican ic
tecalaquiao teoatl tlachinolli quitoao texaxamatzao teopopoloao on
canin xaxamanio in tlazochalchihiuitl, in teoxihuitl, in maquiztli
tlazotetl in tepilhuan in coninio in xochitizaoctlio cuel can in
antocnihuan in tonicahuacao.
2. For formerly it was so on earth that the white wine was taken in
difficult places, as on entering the battlefield, or, as it was said,
where the stones were broken and destroyed, where were broken into
fragments the lovely emeralds, the turquoises, the honored precious
stones, the youths, the children; therefore take the flowery white
wine, O friends and brothers.
3. Ma ye ticiti in xochitlalpan in tochan xochitlalticpacilhuicacpaco
in huel ic xochiamemeyallotl on ahuiaxtimani, teyolquima yoliliz
ahuach xochitl in tochan in Chiappan, oncan timalolo in teucyotl in
tlatocayotl in chimalxochitl oncuepontimani tonacatlalpan.
3. Let us drink it in the flowery land, in our dwelling surrounded by
the flowery earth and sky, where the fountains of the flowers send
their sweetness abroad; the delicious breath of the dewy flowers is
in our homes in Chiapas; there nobility and power make them glorious,
and the war-flowers bloom over a fertile land.
4. Quemach in amo antlacaquio in antocnihuan tohuian tohuiano
xicahuacano, in tizaoctlio teoatlachinoloctli; ma ye ticiti in ompa
tinectilo in tochan xochiahuachoctli, zan ic ahuiaca ihuinti in
toyollo, tetlamachtio teyolquimao tixochiachichinatihui
netlamachtiloyan in toquizayan xochitlalpan tonacatlalpan: tlemach
oamaxqueo? xichualcaquican in tocuic in tamocnihuan, etc.
4. Is it possible, oh friends, that you do not hear us? Let us go,
let us go, let us pour forth the white wine, the wine of battle; let
us drink where the wine sweet as the dew of roses is set forth in our
houses, let our souls be intoxicated with its sweetness; enriched,
steeped in delight, we shall soak up the water of the flowers in the
place of riches, going forth to a land of flowers, a fertile spot.
What have you done? Come hither and listen to our songs, O friends.
_OTRO, QUEUH CE TLATOHUANI IN QUIMILNAMIQUI IN TLATOQUE._
_COMPOSED BY A CERTAIN RULER IN MEMORY OF FORMER RULERS._
1. Tlaocolxochi ixayoticaya ic nichuipana in nocuic nicuicani,
niquimilnamiqui in tepilhuan, in teintoque, in tlacotitoque in campa
in ximohuaya, in oteuctico, in otlatocatico in tlallia icpac, in
quetzalhuahuaciuhtoque in chalchiuhteintoque in tepilhuan, in maoc
imixpan in maoc oquitlani; in ye itto in tlalticpac iximachoca in
tloque in nahuaque.
1. Weeping, I, the singer, weave my song of flowers of sadness; I
call to memory the youths, the shards, the fragments, gone to the
land of the dead; once noble and powerful here on earth, the youths
were dried up like feathers, were split into fragments like an
emerald, before the face and in the sight of those who saw them on
earth, and with the knowledge of the Cause of All.
2. Y yo ya hue nitlaocolcuicaya in niquimilnamiqui in tepilhuan, ma
zan itla ninocuepa, ma niquimonana, ma niquinhualquixti in ompa in
ximoayan, ma oc oppa tihua in tlalticpac, ma oc quimahuizoqui in
tepilhuan in ticmahuizoa, azo huel yehuantin tlatlazomahuizozquia in
ipalnemohualoni, quemmach tomazehual in tlazaniuh ticmatican in
ticnopillahueliloque ic choca in noyollo nino tlalnamiquiliz huipana
in nicuicani choquiztica tlaocoltica nitlalnamiquia.
2. Alas! alas! I sing in grief as I recall the children. Would that I
could turn back again; would that I could grasp their hands once
more; would that I could call them forth from the land of the dead;
would that we could bring them again on earth, that they might
rejoice and we rejoice, and that they might rejoice and delight the
Giver of Life; is it possible that we His servants should reject him
or should be ungrateful? Thus I weep in my heart as I, the singer,
review my memories, recalling things sad and grievous.
3. Manozo zan nicmati in nechcaquizque intla itla yectli cuicatl
niquimehuili in ompa ximohuayan, ma ic niquipapacti, ma ic
niquimacotlaza inin tonez inin chichinaquiliz in tepilhuan. Cuix on
machiaz? Quennel nihualnellaquahua? Aquen manian ompa niquimontocaz?
Ano niquin nonotztaciz in ye yuh quin in tlalticpac.
3. Would only that I knew they could hear me, there in the land of
the dead, were I to sing some worthy song. Would that I could gladden
them, that I could console the suffering and the torment of the
children. How can it be learned? Whence can I draw the inspiration?
They are not where I may follow them; neither can I reach them with
my calling as one here on earth.
_OTRO TLAOCOLCUICA OTOMITL._
_AN OTOMI SONG OF SADNESS._
1. In titloque in tinahuaque nimitzontlaocolnonotzaya, nelcicihuiliz
mixpantzinco noconiyahuaya, ninentlamati in tlalticpac ye nican
nitlatematia, ninotolinia, in ayc onotechacic in pactli, in
necuiltonolli ye nican; tlezannen naicoyc amo y mochiuhyan, tlacazo
atle nican xotlacueponi in nentlamachtillia, tlacazo zan ihuian in
motloc in monahuac; Macuelehuatl ma xicmonequilti ma monahuactzinco
oc ehuiti in noyolia, ninixayohuatzaz in motloc monahuac
1. To thee, the Cause of All, to thee I cried out in sadness, my
sighs rose up before thy face; I am afflicted here on earth, I
suffer, I am wretched, never has joy been my lot, never good fortune;
my labor has been of no avail, certainly nothing here lessens one's
suffering; truly only to be with thee, near thee; may it be thy will
that my soul shall rise to thee, may I pour out my tears to thee,
before thee, O thou Giver of Life.
2. Quemachamiqueo in motimalotinemi co y in tlalticpac in ayac
contenmatio in atlamachilizneque o tlacazo can moztla cahuia on in
[)a]mitztenmati in titloque in tinahuaque inic momatio ca mochipa
tlalticpac, nemizqueo ninotlamatli motlaliao niquimittao, tlacazo
mixitl tlapatl oquiqueo ic nihualnelaquahua in ninotolinia o tlacazo
ompa in ximohuayan neittotiuh o, cazo tiquenamiqueo quiniquac ye
pachihuiz ye teyolloa.
2. Happy are those who walk in thy favor here on earth, who never
neglect to offer up praise, nor, leaving till to-morrow, neglect
thee, thou Cause of All, that thou mayest be known in all the earth;
I know that they shall live, I see that they are established,
certainly they have drunk to forgetfulness while I am miserable,
certainly I shall go to see the land of the dead, certainly we shall
meet where all souls are contented.
3. Ma cayac quen quichihuaya in iyollo in tlalticpac ye nican in
titlaocaxtinemi in tichocatinemia, ca zacuel achic ontlaniizoo,
tlacazo zan tontlatocatihuio in yuho otlatocatque tepilhuan, ma ic
ximixcuiti in tinocniuh in atonahuia in atihuelamati in tlalticpac o;
ma oc ye xim[)a]pana in tlaocolxochitl, choquizxochitl, xoyocatimalo
o xochielcicihuiliztlio in ihuicpa toconiyahuazon in tloque in
3. Never were any troubled in spirit on the earth who appealed to
thee, who cried to thee, only for an instant were they cast down,
truly thou caused them to rule as they ruled before: Take as an
example on earth, O friend, the fever-stricken patient; clothe
thyself in the flowers of sadness, in the flowers of weeping, give
praises in flowers of sighs that may carry you toward the Cause of
4. Ica ye ninapanao tlaocolxochicozcatlon, nomac ommanian
elcicihuilizchimalxochitlon, nic ehuaya in tlaocolcuicatloo,
nicchalchiuhcocahuicomana yectli yancuicatl, nic ahuachxochilacatzoa,
yn o chalchiuhuehueuhilhuitl, itech nictlaxilotia in nocuicatzin in
nicuicani ye niquincuilia in ilhuicac chanequeo zacuantototl,
quetzaltzinitzcantototl teoquechol inon tl[)a]toa quechol in qui
cecemeltia in tloque, etc.
4. I array myself with the jewels of saddest flowers; in my hands are
the weeping flowers of war; I lift my voice in sad songs; I offer a
new and worthy song which is beautiful and melodious; I weave songs
fresh as the dew of flowers; on my drum decked with precious stones
and plumes I, the singer, keep time to my song, as I take it from
those dwellers in the heavens, the zacuan bird, the beautiful
tzinitzcan, the divine quechol, those melodious birds who give joy to
the Cause of All.
_MEXICA XOPANCUICATL TLAMELAUHCAYOTL._
_A SPRING SONG OF THE MEXICANS, A PLAIN SONG._
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_.
_Chicomoztoc_; "at the Seven Caves," a famous locality in Mexican
legend, and the supposed birthplace of their race.
2. _Colhuacan_ is probably for Acolhuacan; the early rulers of the
latter were of the blood of the Chichimec chiefs of the Tepanecas.
4. _Hueytlalpan_, "at the ancient land," perhaps for Huetlapallan, a
1ocality often referred to in the migration myths of the Nahuas.
5. _Atloyan_; see note to XIII, 6.
9. The ceiba and cypress trees were employed figuratively to indicate
protection and safeguard. See Olmos, _Gram. de la Langue Nahuatl_, p.
12. On _tlailotlaqui_, see note to XIII, 8. The interjectional
appendages to this and the following verse are increased.
15. Tepeyacan was the name of a mountain on which before the Conquest
was a temple dedicated to the "Mother of our Life," Tonantzin.
16. _tlapalcayocan_, "the place of shards," of broken pieces, i.e.,
the field of battle.
19. The word _totomihuacan_, which has already occurred in vv. 3 and
7, I have translated as referring to the war captains of the Mexican
armies, called _otomi_ (see Bandelier, _On the Art of War of the
Ancient Mexicans_, p. 117). I am quite open for correction however.
27. _in ipetl icpal_; in a translation of an ancient song,
Ixtlilxochitl renders the expression _in ipetl icpal in teotl_, "en
el trono y tribunal de Dios," _Historia Chichimeca_, cap. 32.
29. _Mictlan_; the place of departed souls in Aztec mythology.
NOTES FOR SONG XVI.
In this stirring war-song, the poet reproaches his friends for their
lukewarmness in the love of battle. He reminds them that life is
transitory, and the dead rise not again, and that the greatest joy of
the brave is on the ringing field of fray where warriors win renown.
It is in the spirit of the Scotch harper:--
"'Twere worth ten years of peaceful life,
One hour of such a day."
1. Each verse terminates with an interjectional refrain. The frequent
introduction of the particle _on_ is intended to add strength and
gravity to the oration.
2. _oppan piltihua_. Compare this expression with that in v. 22, p.
3. _xochimicohuayan_, should perhaps be translated, "where the
captives to be immolated to the Gods are taken." The _xochimique_,
"those destined to a flowery death" were the captives who were
reserved for sacrifice to the gods. See Joan Bautista, _Sermonario en
Lengua Mexicana_, p. 180.
4. _yaoxochimiquiztica_, "pertaining to the slaughter of the flowery
war." This adjective refers to the peculiar institution of the
"flowery war," _guerra florida_, which obtained among the ancient
Mexicans. It appears to have been a contest without provocation, and
merely for the display of prowess and to take captives to supply the
demand for human sacrifices in the religious rites. On this see
Tezozomoc, _Cronica Mexicana_, cap. 96.
NOTES FOR SONG XVII.
In this long fragment--the closing strophes are missing in my
MS.--the bard represents himself as a stranger appearing before the
nobles of Huexotzinco at some festival. The first two verses appear
to be addressed to him by the nobles. They ask him to bring forth his
drum and sing. He begins with a laudation of the power of music,
proceeds to praise the noble company present, and touches those
regretful chords, so common in the Nahuatl poetry, which hint at the
ephemeral nature of all joy and the certainty of death and oblivion.
An appeal is made to the Master of Life who inspires the soul of the
poet, and whose praises should be ever in mind.
The words _Dios_ and _angelotin_, in verse 26th, indicate that the
poem has received some "recension" by the Spanish copyist; but the
general tone impresses me as quite aboriginal in character.
2. _quauhtlocelotl_, see note to I, 5.
3. In this verse, as frequently elsewhere, the syllable ya is
introduced merely to complete the metre. Ordinarily it is the sign of
the imperfect tense, and has other meanings (see the Vocabulary), but
in many instances does not admit of translation.
8. _noncoati_, for _ni-on-coatl_, I am a guest.
18. The references in this verse are obscure, and I doubt if I have
20. "The house of spring;" compare the expression in v. 1, of
Nezahualcoyotl's song, p. 42.
21. A long oration of Xicontecatl, lord of Tizatlan, may be found in
Clavigero, _Hist. Antica di Messico_, Tom. III, p. 40. The expression
in _camaxochitzin_, from _camatl_, mouth, _xochitl_, rose, flower,
and the reverential _tzin_, is noteworthy.
24. _petlacoatl_, the centipede or scolopender; from _petlatl_, mat,
and _coatl_, serpent, as they are said to intertwine with each other,
like the threads of a mat (Sahagun, Lib. XII, cap. 4).
NOTES FOR SONG XVIII.
At this portion of the MS. several poems are preceded by a line of
syllables indicating their accompaniment on the teponaztli (see
Introduction, p. 32).
The present number is one of the most noteworthy songs of the
collection. It belongs to the ancient cyclus of Quetzalcoatl myths,
and gives a brief relation of the destruction of Tollan and the
departure and disappearance of the Light God, Quetzalcoatl Ce Acatl.
As I have elsewhere collated this typical myth at length, and
interpreted it according to the tenets of modern mythologic science,
I shall not dwell upon it here (see D.G. Brinton, _American Hero
Myths_, Phila., 1882).
The text of the poem is quite archaic, and presents many
difficulties. But my translation, I think, gives the general sense
1. _huapalcalli_; literally, "the house constructed of beams." This
name was applied to the chief temple of the Toltecs; the ruins of an
ancient structure at Tollantzinco were pointed out at the time of the
Conquest as those of this building (see Sahagun, _Hist. de la Nueva
Espana_, Lib. X, cap. 29).
_coatlaquetzalli_; this edifice, said to have been left incomplete by
Quetzalcoatl, when he forsook Tollan, had pillars in the form of a
serpent, the head at the base, the tail at the top of the pillar.
(See Orozco y Berra, _Hist. Antigua de Mexico_, Tom. III, pp. 30 and
46.) The structure is mentioned as follows in the _Anales de
_Auh iniquac nemia Quetzalcoatl quitzintica, quipeuahtica iteocal
quimaman coatlaquetzali ihuan amo quitzonquixti, amo quipantlaz."_
"And when Quetzalcoatl was living, he began and commenced the temple
of his which is the Coatlaquetzali (Serpent Plumes), and he did not
finish it, he did not fully erect it."
_Nacxitl Topiltzin_, "Our Lord the four-footed." _Nacxitl_ appears to
have been the name of Quetzalcoatl, in his position as lord of the
merchants. Compare Sahagun, ubi supra, Lib. I, cap. 19.
2. _Poyauhtecatl_, a volcano near Orizaba, mentioned by Sahagun.
_Acallan_, a province bordering on the Laguna de los Terminos. The
myth reported that Quetzalcoatl journeyed to the shores of the Gulf
about the isthmus of Tehuantepec and there disappeared.
3. _Nonohualco_; the reference is to the _cerro de Nonoalco_, which
plays a part in the Quetzalcoatl myth. The words of the song are
almost those of Tezcatlipoca when he is introduced to Quetzalcoatl.
Asked whence he came, he replied, "Nihuitz in Nonohualcatepetl
itzintla, etc." (_Anales de Cuauhtitlan_).
4. The occurrences alluded to are the marvels performed by
Quetzalcoatl on his journey from Tulan. See my American Hero Myths,
5. The departure of Quetzalcoatl was because he was ordered to repair
to Tlapallan, supposed to be beyond Xicalanco.
8. _quinti_, for _iquintia_; the reference is to the magic draught
given Quetzalcoatl by Tezcatlipoca.
9. _In tetl, in quahuitl_; literally, "stone and stick;" a very
common phrase in Nahautl, to signify misfortunes.
NOTES FOR SONG XIX.
In this song we have avowedly a specimen of an early chant prepared
probably by Bishop Zummarraga for the native converts. The
accompaniment on the teponaztli is marked at the beginning. The
language is noticeably different from the hymn to Quetzalcoatl just
NOTES FOR SONG XX.
Another song of the antique Quetzalcoatl cyclus. It bewails the loss
of Tulan, and the bard seeks in vain for any joyous theme to inspire
his melody, reflecting on all that has bloomed in glory and now is
3. _Tetl-quahitl_; see note to XVIII, 9.
NOTES FOR SONG XXI.
The occurrence to which this poem alludes took place about the year
1507. The chroniclers state that it was in the early period of the
reign of Montezuma II, that the natives of Huexotzinco, at that time
allies of the Mexicans, were severely harassed by the Tlascallans,
and applied, not in vain, to their powerful suzerain to aid them.
(See Tezozomoc, _Cronica Mexicana_, cap. 97.)
The poet does not appear to make a direct petition, but indirectly
praises the grandeur of Montezuma and expresses his own ardent love
for his native Huexotzinco. The song would appear to be used as a
delicate prelude to the more serious negotiations. It is one of the
few historical songs in the collection. From the references in verses
1 and 3 we infer that this singer held in his hand the painted book
from which he recited the couplets. This may explain the presentation
of the piece.
1. _huetzcani_; one who laughs, a jester, perhaps the designation of
one who sang cheerful songs.
_chalchiuhatlaquiquizcopa_; a. word of difficult analysis. I suspect
an omission of an _l_, and that the compound includes _tlaquilqui_,
one who fastens and puts together, a mason, etc.
5. The sense is that the warriors of Montezuma when on the field of
battle, shine in their deeds like beautiful flowers in a field, and
win lasting fame by their exploits.
_mopopoyauhtoc_. The grammarian Olmos explains the reflexive verb
_mopopoyauhtiuh_ to signify "he leaves an honored memory of his
exploits." See Simeon, _Dictionaire de la Langue Nahuatl_, sub voce.
7. _Huexotzinco atzalan_; "Huexotzinco amid the waters." This
expression, repeated in verse 8, appears inappropriate to the town of
Huexotzinco, which lies inland. In fact, the description in verse 7
applies to Tenochtitlan rather than the singer's own town. But the
text does not admit this translation. Perhaps we should read
"Huexotzinco and Atzalan," as there are yet two villages of that name
in the state of Puebla (which embraced part of ancient Huexotzinco).
10. _petiatolini_, I have derived from _petlatl_, suspecting an error
in transcription. The reference is to the rushes in the mat on which
the singer stood.
NOTES FOR SONG XXII.
The ordinary sad burden of the Nahuatl poets is repeated with
emphasis in this plaint. It is a variation of the Epicurean advice,
"Eat, drink, and be merry, for to-morrow we die." Both the sentiment
and the reference to Mictlan in verse 7, point it out as a production
uninfluenced by Christian teaching.
7. The word _ahuicaloyan_, place of sweetness, would seem to be
identical with _ohuicaloyan_, place of difficulty, in v. 8; I have
regarded the latter as an error of transcription.
NOTES FOR SONG XXIII.
Although No. V. is probably one of the lost songs of Nezahualcoyotl,
the present is the only one of the collection which is definitely
attributed to him. The language is very archaic, and in the sentiment
there is every mark of antiquity.
The text is apparently a dialogue, which was chanted as strophe and
antistrophe, the one singer speaking for the King, the other for the
The word _teotl_ is used for divinity, and it is doubtless this word
for which the copyists of some of the other songs have substituted
the Spanish _Dios_, thus conveying an impression that the chants
themselves were of late date.
The last verse, however, seems to be by one who lives after the time
of the great poet-prince, and is calling him to memory.
NOTES FOR SONG XXIV.
It will be seen that there is a wearisome sameness in the theme of
most of the short poems. Probably the bards followed conventional
models, and feared for the popularity of their products, did they
seek originality. Here again are the same delight in flowers and
songs, and the same grief at the thought that all such joys are
evanescent and that soon "death closes all."
I consider the poem one of undoubted antiquity and purely native in
thought and language.
NOTES FOR SONG XXV.
The destruction of the Mexican state was heralded by a series of
omens and prodigies which took place at various times during the ten
years preceding the arrival of Cortes. They are carefully recorded by
Sahagun, in the first chapter of the 12th book of his history. They
included a comet, or "smoking star," as these were called in Nahuatl,
and a bright flame in the East and Southeast, over the mountains,
visible from midnight to daylight, for a year. This latter occurred
in 1509. The song before us is a boding chant, referring to such
prognostics, and drawing from them the inference that the existence
of Mexico was doomed. It was probably from just such songs that
Sahagun derived his information.
1. _toztliyan_, I suppose from _tozquitl_, the singing voice, in the
locative; literally, "the quechol in the place of sweet-singing."
2. _iquiapan_, from _i_, possessive prefix, _quiauatl_, door,
entrance, house, _pan_, in.
5. An obscure verse; _tequantepec_, appears to be a textual error;
_tequani_, a ravenous beast, from _qua_ to eat; _tepec_, a mountain;
but _tequantepehua_ occurring twice later in the poem induces the
belief _tequani_ should be taken in its figurative sense of
affliction, destruction, and that _tepec_ is an old verbal form.
7. _Xochitecatl_, "one who cares for flowers," is said by Sahagun to
have been the name applied to a woman doomed to sacrifice to the
divinities of the mountains (_Hist. Nueva Espana_, Lib. II, cap. 13).
8. _amaxtecatl_, or _amoxtecatl_, as the MS. may read, from
_amoxtli_, a book.
NOTES FOR SONG XXVI.
This seems to be a song of victory to celebrate an attack upon
Atlixco by the ruler of Tezcuco, the famous Nezahualpilli. This
monarch died in 1516, and therefore the song must antedate this
period, if it is genuine. It has every intrinsic evidence of
antiquity, and I think may justly be classed among those preserved
from a time anterior to the Conquest. According to the chronologies
preserved, the attack of Nezahualpilli upon Atlixco was in the year
XI _tochtli_, which corresponds to 1490, two years before the
discovery by Columbus (see Orozco y Berra, _Hist. Antigua de Mexico_,
Tom. III, p. 399).
NOTES FOR SONG XXVII.
My MS. closes with a Christian song in the style of the ancient
poetry. It is valuable as indicating the linguistic differences
between these later productions of the sixteenth century and those
earlier ones, such as XXVI, which I have not hesitated to assign to
an epoch before the Spaniards landed upon the shores of New Spain.
The Roman numerals refer to the songs, the Arabic to the verses, in
which the word occurs. Abbreviations: _lit_., literally; _ref_.,
reflexive; _pret_., preterit; _rev_., reverential; _freq_.,
frequentative; _post_., postposition; _Span_., a Spanish word.
A, _adv_. No, not, in comp.
A, _n_. For atl, water, in comp.; as _acalli_, water-house, _i.e._, a
A, _interj_. Oh! ah! placed after the word on which stress is laid.
AC, _pron., interj_. Who?
ACA, _pron_. Some, any; somebody.
ACALLI, _n_. A boat, of any kind.
ACH, _dubitative particle_. Indeed? is it not? etc.
ACHITZINCA, _adv_. A little while, a short time.
ACHQUEN, _adv_. At what time? When?
ACI, _v_. To reach, to acquire.
ACOHUETZI, _v_. To console, to make glad. I, 3.
ACOQUIZA, _v_. To lift up, to raise, to increase in dignity or power.
ACOTLAZA, _v_. To console.
ACXOYATL, _n_. The wild laurel.
AHAUIA, _v_. To rejoice, take pleasure in; freq. of _ahuia_.
AHUACHIA, _v_. To wet one's self, to bathe. VII, 4.
AHUACHTLI, _n_. Dew, moisture.
AHUEHUETL, _n_. The cypress tree; _Cupressus disticha_.
AHUIA, _v_. To rejoice, to be joyful.
AHUIAC, _adj_. Agreeable, pleasant, sweet.
AHUIAN, _adj_. Content, satisfied.
AHUICPA, _adv_. From one place to another. III, 3.
AIC, _adv_. Never.
ALTEPETL, _n_. Town, city, citadel.
AMECH, _pron. ret_. You, to you.
AMEYALLI, _n_. A fountain, a stream; _lit_., flowing water.
AMILLI, _n_. Watered and arable land. XIV, 6.
AMO, _adv_. No, not; _amo ma_, no other; _amo zannen_, not in vain;
_pron_., you, yours.
AMOXPETLATL, _n_. Book-mat. See XIX, 3.
AMOXTECATL, _n_. See XXV, 8, note.
AN, _pron_. You.
ANA, _v_. To take, to grasp, to seize.
ANAHUIA, _v_. To be dissatisfied.
ANCA, _adv_. Of the kind that. XVII, 12.
ANE, _adv_. Hollo! in calling.
ANGELOTIN, _n_. Angels. Span. XVII, 26.
ANO, _adv_. As little, neither.
ANOZO, _conj_. Or, perhaps.
AOC, _adv_. Not yet.
APANA, _v_. To clothe.
APANO, _v_. To ford, to cross water. XVIII, 2.
AQUEN, _adv_. Nothing, in no manner.
AQUIN, _pron_. Who? _in aquin_, he who.
AT, _adv_. Perhaps, perchance.
ATAYAHUILI, for _at aya ueli_. Not yet, not even.
ATIHUELMATI, _v_. Not to be well. IX, 3.
ATL, _v_. Water.
ATLAMACHTIA, _v_. To praise one; _ref_., to be proud.
ATLE, _pron_. Nothing.
ATLEY, _in atley_. Without.
ATONAUIA, _v_. To have a fever, to be sick.
AUH, _conj_. And, even, also.
AXALLI, _n_. Bar-sand, water-sand.
AY, _v_. pret. _oax_. To do, to make.
AYA, _adv_. Not yet, not now.
AYACACHTLI, _n_. A musical instrument. See p. 24.
AYAHUITL, _n_. Fog, mist, vapor.
AYAUH COZAMALOTL, _n_. The rainbow; _lit_., "mist of water jewels."
AYOC, _adv_. Already not. _Ayoctle_, nothing more.
AYOQUAN, _adv_. Aoc-iuan. Nothing like it, unequaled. XVII, 17.
AYOQUIC, _adv_. Nevermore. V, 6.
AZAN, _adv_. Not a little, not a few.
AZO, _conj_. Or, perhaps, perchance.
AZTLACAPALLI, _n_. The tail feathers of a bird. XVII, 10.
C, _pron. rel_. He, her, it, him; _postpos_., with, by, in, from, at.
CA, _adv_. Already, yes, because, for, truly, only.
CA, _v_. To be (in a place).
_CA_, _postpos_. With, by, by means of.
CACALI, _v_. To discharge arrows.
CACOPA, _post_. Toward, towards.
CAHUA, _v_. To leave, to let, to desert, to stop, to lay down.
CALAQUIA, _v_. To enter, to go in.
CALLI, _n_. A house; in comp. _cal_, as _nocal_, my house.
CALMECAC, _n_. A public school, p. 10.
CAMAPANTLI, _n_. The cheeks, the face. XXVI, 5.
CAMATL, _n_. The mouth.
CAMPA, _adv_. Where, whither.
CAN, _adv_. and _postpos_. Where.
CANAUHTLI, _n_. A duck. XXI, 9.
CANEL, _adv_. Since, as, because.
CAQUI, _v_. To hear, to listen to.
CATLEHUATL, _pron_. Who? which? whoever, whatever.
CATQUI, _v. irreg_. From _ca_, to be (in a place).
CAUHTEHUA, _v_. To leave a place.
CAXTLAUITL, _n_. A kind of ochre. XVII, 10.
CE, _adj_. and _art_. One, a, an.
CECE, or Cecen, _adj_. Each, every.
CECEMELQUIXTIA, _v_. To come forth wholly, perfectly. I, 1.
CECEMELTIA, _v. ref_. To rejoice, to feel glad.
CECEMELTIC, _adj_. Complete, whole, entire.
CECEMMANA, _v_. To disperse, to scatter.
CEHUIA, _v_. To rest, to repose.
CEL, Sole only.
CELIA, _v_. 1. To receive, to obtain. 2. To blossom, to bloom.
CEMANAHUATL, _n_. The world, the universe.
CEMELLE, _adv_. With peace or joy. Usually with a negative _aic
cemelle_, never peacefully. XV, 18; XVI, 1.
CEMILHUILTILIA, _v_. To detain one for a day.
CEMILHUITL, _n_. One day.
CEN, _adv_. Forever, for always; _cen yauh_, to go forever, to die.
CENCA, _adv_. Very much, exceedingly.
CENCI, _adv_. Elsewhere.
CENQUIXTIA, _v_. To select from, to pick from.
CENTZONTLATOLLI, _n_. The mocking bird, _Turdus polyglottus_; _lit_.,
CENTZONTLI, _adj. num_. Four hundred, used for any large number.
CEPANOA, _v_. To unite, to join together.
CHALCHIUHITL, _n_. The Mexican jade or green stone; emerald _fig_.,
CHANE, _n_. Inhabitant or resident of a place.
CHANTLI, _n_. A dwelling, a residence; in comp., _chan_.
CHIA, _v_. To wait, to expect.
CHIALONI, _n_. That which is awaited or expected.
CHICAHUAC, _adj_. Strong, powerful.
CHICHIA, _v_. 1. To make bitter. 2. To obey. XIII, 9.
CHICHINA, _v_. To snuff up, imbibe, or suck up, especially the odors
of burning incense, through a tube. VII, 4; XVII, 10.
CHICHINAQUILIZTLI, _n_. Torment, pain, suffering.
CHIHUA, _v_. To make, to do, to happen; _chihua in noyollo_, my heart
is troubled, I am pained.
CHIMALLI, _n_. The native shield or buckler. VI, 4.
CHITONI, _v_. To sparkle, to glitter.
CHITONIA, _v_. To gain, to realize a profit. V, 4.
CHITTOLINI, _v_. To bow down, to sink.
CHOCA, _v_. To cry (of animals and man).
CIAHUI, _v_. To fatigue one's self, to tire.
CIHUACOATL, _n_. A magistrate of high rank; _lit_.,"woman serpent."
CIHUATL, _n_. A woman.
CITLALIN, _n_. A star.
CO, _postpos_. In, from.
COA, or COHUA, _v_. To buy, to purchase.
COCHITIA, _v_. To sleep.
COCOA, _v_. To pain, to give pain.
COCOLIA, _v_. To hate.
COCOYA, _v_. To be sick.
COHUATL, or COATL, _n_. A serpent; a guest; a twin; the navel; a
COHUAYOTL, _n_. Buying, purchasing. V, 2.
COLLI, _n_. Ancestor, forefather.
COLOA, _v_. To twist, to turn, to bend.
COMONI, _v_. To crackle (of a fire); to be turbulent (of people).
CON, _pron_. Some one; comp. of _c_ and _on_.
COPA, _postpos_. By, toward.
COPALLI, _n_. Resin, gum copal.
COYOUA, _v_. To cry, to yell. XIII, 7.
COYOHUACAN, _n_. The place of wolves. XIII, 10.
COYOLTOTOTL, _n_. The coyol bird, _Piranga hepatica_.
COYOTL, _n_. The coyote, the Mexican wolf.
COZCATIA, _v_. To deck with golden chains. IV, 4.
COZCATL, _n_. Jewel, precious stone; a string of such; a chain or
CUECUEXANTIA, _v_. To gather in the folds of the robe.
CUECUEYA, _v_. To move to and fro. XXI, 9.
CUEPA, _v_. To turn, to return, to bring back.
CUEPONI, _v_. To blossom, to bud, to bloom.
CUETLANI, _v_. To wilt, to perish. XV, 15.
CUETZPALTI, _v_. To act as a glutton, to revel in. XVII, 5.
CUEXANTLI, _n_. Gown, robe, petticoat.
CUI, _v_. To take, to gather, to collect.
CUICA, _n_. A song, a poem.
CUICANI, _n_. A singer, a poet.
CUICOYAN, _n_. A place for singing. See note to p. 10.
CUIHUA, _v_. Pass. of _cui_, q. v.
CUILIA, _v_. Rev. of _cui_, q. v.
CUILOA, _v_. To paint, to write.
CUILTONOA, _v_. To be rich; to rejoice greatly; to enrich or cause
joy. XV, 6.
CUITLATL, _n_. Excrement, dung.
CUIX, _adv_. An interrogative particle.
ECACEHUAZTLI, _n_. A fan.
EHECATL, _n_. Wind, air.
EHECAYO, _adj_. Full of wind, stormy.
EHUA, _v_. To lift up, especially to raise the voice in singing.
ELCHIQUIHUITL, _n_. The breast, the stomach.
ELCHIQUIUHEUA, _v_. To fatigue, to tire. VI, 5.
ELCICIHUILIZTLI, _n_. A sigh, a groan.
ELEHUIA, _v_. To desire ardently, to covet.
ELLAQUAHUA, _v_. To animate, to inspire.
ELLELACI, _v_. To suffer great pain.
ELLELLI, _n_. Suffering, pain.
ELLELQUIXTIA, _v_. To cause joy, to make glad.
ELLELTIA, _v. Ref_., to regret, to repent, to abstain; _act_., to
prevent, to hinder, to impede, to cause pain.
EPOALLI, _adj. num_. Sixty.
EZTLI, _n_. Blood.
HUAHUAQUI, _u_. To dry up, to wither wholly. VIII, 1.
HUAL, _adv_. Hither, toward this place.
HUALLAUH, _v. irreg_. To come hither.
HUAN, _postpos_. In company with; also, a plural termination.
HUAPALCALLI, _n_. Houses of planks. See XVIII, 1.
HUAQUI, _v_. To dry up, to wither.
HUECAPAN, _adj_. Lofty.
HUECATLAN, _adj_. Deep, profound.
HUEHUETL, _n_. A drum. See page 22.
HUEHUETZI, _v. freq_. To fall often.
HUEIYOTL, _n_. Greatness, grandeur.
HUEL, _adv_. Well, good, pleasant.
HUELIC, _adj_. Sweet, pleasant, fragrant.
HUELMANA, _v_. To make smooth, or even; to polish, to burnish.
HUETZCANI, _n_. A jester, a laugher. XXI, 1.
HUETZI, _v_. To fall.
HUETZTOC, _v_. To be stretched out, to be in bed.
HUEY, _adj_. Great, large.
HUEYATLAN, _n_. Place of increase, from _hueya_, to grow greater.
HUIC, _postpos_. Toward, against.
HUICA _v_. To accompany; to carry off; to govern, to rule, to direct.
HUIHUICA, _v_. To follow in crowds, or often.
HUIHUITEQUI, _v_. To gather, to pluck.
HUILOHUAYAN, _n_. Bourne, goal, terminus; from _huiloa_, all go.
HUIPANA, _v_. To put in order, to arrange.
HUITOMI, _v_. To split, to fall. XVIII, 4.
HUITZ, _v_. To come.
HUITZITZICATIN, _n_. The humming bird. I, 1.
HUITZITZILIN, _n_. The humming bird, _Trochilus_.
HUITZLI, _n_. A thorn, especially of the maguey.
HUITZTLAN, _n_. The south; _huitztlampa_, from or to the south.
I, _v_. Pret. _oic_. To drink.
I, _pron_. His, her, its, their.
IC, _conj_. For, since, because; _prep_. With, towards, by, in;
_adv_. Where? when? _zan ic_, as soon as, often, only, on
ICA, _post_. With him, her, it, etc.
ICA, _adv_. Sometimes, occasionally.
ICAC, _v_. To stand upright.
ICAHUACA, _v_. To sing (of birds).
ICALI, _v_. To war, to fight. VI, 5.
ICAUHTLI, _n_. Younger brother. VII, 2.
ICELIA, _v_. To incite another, to devote one's self to.
ICNELIA, _v_. To do good, to benefit.
ICNIUHTLI, _n_. A friend, a companion; _tocnihuan_, our friends.
ICNOPILLAHUELILOCATI, _v_. To be ungrateful.
ICNOTLAMACHTIA, _v_. To excite compassion.
ICPAC, _postpos_. Upon, over.
IHUAN, _conj_. And, also.
IHUI, _adv_. Of this kind, in this way.
IHUINTI, _v_. To intoxicate, to make drunk.
IHUITL, _n_. Feather, plumage.
ILACATZIUI, _v_. To twist, to twine.
ILACATZOA, _v_. To twine around, to wind about. XV, 2.
ILCAHUA, _v_. To forget.
ILHUIA, _v_. To speak, to say, to tell.
ILHUICATL, _n_. Heaven, the sky.
ILNAMIQUILIA, _v_. To remember, to call to mind.
ILPIA, _v_. To bind, to fasten.
IM, See _in_.
IMATI, _v_. To be skillful or wise; to prepare or arrange something
IN, _art. and pron_. He, they, the, which, etc.; _in ma oc_,
meanwhile; _in ic_, so that, in order that.
INAYA, _v_. To confer, to hide. X, 2.
INECUI, _v_. To smell something, to perceive an odor. IV, 6.
INIC, _adv_. For, in order that, after that.
ININ, _pron_. These, they.
INIQUAC, _conj_. When.
INNE, _conj_. But.
INOC, _adv_. While, during.
INON, _pron_. Those.
INTLA, _conj_. If.
INTLACAMO, _adv_. Unless, if not.
IPALNEMOANI, _n_. A name of God. See III, 1, note.
IPAMPA, _adv_. Because.
IPOTOCTLI, _n_. Smoke, vapor, exhalation.
ITAUHCAYOTL, _n_. Fame, honor. XVII, 14.
ITHUA, _v_. To see, for _itla_. XV, 6.
ITIA, _v_. 1. To drink; to cause to drink. 2. To suit, to fit.
ITIC, _postpos_. Within, inside of.
ITLANI, _v_. To ask, to solicit, to demand.
ITOA, _v_. To say, to speak, to tell.
ITONALIZTLI, _n_. Sweat; _fig_., hard work. VI, 5.
ITOTIA, _n_. To dance in the native fashion.
ITOTILIZTLI, _n_. Dance.
ITTA, _v_. To see, to behold.
ITTITIA, _v_. To show, to make evident.
ITZMOLINI, _v_. To be born, to sprout, to grow. XX, 4.
ITZTAPALLI, _n_. Paving stone. XV, 8.
ITZTOC, _v_. To watch, to keep awake, to wait for. XVII, 12.
IXAMAYO, _adj_. Known, recognized. XIII, 2.
IXAYOTL, _n_. A tear (from the eyes).
IXCUITIA, _v_. To take example.
IXIMACHOCA, _n_. The knowledge of a person.
IXIMATI, _v_. To know personally.
IXITIA, _v_. To awake, to arouse.
IXPAN, _postpos_. Before the face of, in presence of.
IXQUICH, _adv_. As many as.
IXTIA, _v_. To face a person, especially the enemy; to watch.
IXTLAHUATL, _n_. Open field, savanna, desert.
IXTLAN, _postpos_. Before the face of.
IXTLI, _n_. Face, visage; eye.
IZA, _v_. To awaken, to arouse.
IZCALI, _v_. To arise, to rise up.
IZHUATL, _n_. A leaf of a tree, etc.
IZHUAYO, _adj_. Leafy, with leaves.
IZQUI, _adj., pl_. izquintin. As many, so many, all; _izqui in
quezqui_, as many as.
IZTAC, _adj_. White.
IZTLACAHUIA, _v_. To deceive, to cheat.
IZTLACOA, _v_. To search for; _ref_., to take counsel.
MA, _adv_. Sign of optative, subjunctive and vetative; _ma oc_, yet a
MACA, _v_. To give, to present.
MA CA, _neg_. Do not.
MACAIC, _adv_. Never.
MACAZO TLEIN, _neg_. No matter, for all that. VI, 2.
MACEHUALLOTL, _n_. Servitude, slavery.
MACEUALTI, _v. defect_. To merit; to be happy.
MACEHUALTIA, _v_. 1. _nino_, to make another a vassal, to reduce to
vassalage; _nite_, to give vassals to one; _nita_, to impose a
penance on one.
MACH, _adv_. An intensive particle.
MACHTIA, _v_. To cause to know, to teach, to learn.
MACIUI, _adv_. Although, granted that. XVII, 13.
MACQUAITL, _n_. The native sword. VI, 4.
MACUELE, _adv_. Would that--sign of the optative.
MAHACA, _adv_. Not, no.
MAHUI, _v_. To fear, to have fear.
MAHUIZTI, _v_. To be esteemed, to be honored.
MAITL, _n_. The hand, the arm. In comp. _ma_, as _noma_, my hand.
MALACACHOA, _v_. To twine, to fold. XVI, 4.
MALHUIA, _v_. To regale, to treat well, to take care of.
MALINA, _v_. To twine, to wreathe.
MALINTIUH, _v_. To twine, to twist, to enwreathe.
MAMALIA, _v_. To carry.
MAMALLI, _v_. To enter, to penetrate. XII, 4.
MAMANA, _v_. To arrange a feast, to set in order. XV, 15.
MAMANI, _v_. See Mani.
MANA, _v_. To offer offerings. XVII, 3.
MANCA, _v_. Imp. of _Mani_.
MANEN, _neg_. That not, that it does not happen, etc.
MANI, _v_. To be (of broad or wide things); to be stretched out.
MANOZO, _adv_. Or, if.
MAQUIZTLI, _n_. A bracelet or other ornament of the arm. III, 5.
MATI, _v_. To know. _Ref_., to think, to reflect; _qui-mati noyollo_,
I presume, I doubt; _nonno-mati_, I attach myself to a person
MATILOA, _v_. To anoint, to rub.
MAZO, _adv_. Although.
MEYA, _v_. To flow, to trickle.
MIAHUATOTOTL, _n_. A bird. IV, 2.
MICOHUANI, _adj_. Mortal, deadly.
MIEC, _adv_. Much, many.
MILLI, _n_. Cultivated field.
MIQUI, _v_. To die, to kill.
MIQUITLANI, _v_. To desire death. X, 1.
MITZ, _pron_. Thee, to thee.
MIXITL, _n_. A narcotic plant. See _tlapatl_. IX, 2.
MIXTECOMATL, _n_. A dark night, a dark place. III, 4.
MIZQUITL, _n_. The mesquite. XV, 1.
MO, _pron_. 1. Thy, thine; 2. _Pron. ref_. 3 sing., he, him, they,
MOCHI, _adj_. All.
MOCHIPA, _adv_. Always.
MOLINIANI, _n_. One who moves, or agitates. XVI, 3.
MOMOLOTZA, _v_. To cause to foam, to cut to pieces. XII, 3.
MOTELCHIUH, _n_. The governor of Tenochtitlan. XIII, 8.--See
MOTLA, _v_. To throw, to fall. I, 1.
MOTLALI, _adj_. Seated, placed, in repose.
MOYAUA, _v_. To conquer; to become cloudy or troubled (of water); to
talk about; to boast.
MOZTLA, _adv_. To-morrow.
NAHUAC, _postpos_. Toward, by, along, near to.
NAHUI, _adj. num_. Four.
NALQUIXTIA, _v_. To cause to penetrate, causative of _nalquiza_, to
NANANQUILIA, _v_. To answer, to reply to.
NANTLI, _n_. Mother, _tonan_, our mother, etc.
NAUHCAMPA, _adv_. In four directions, to four places.
NE, _pron_. Reflexive pronoun 3d person in verbal substantives and
NE, _pron_. for _nehuatl_. I, me.
NECALIZTLI, _n_. Battle, combat.
NECH, _pron_. Me, to me.
NECHCA, _adv_. There, down there; like the French _la-bas; ocye
nechca_, formerly, once.
NECI, _v_. To appear, to show one's self or others.
NECO, _v_. Pass, of _nequi_, q. v.
NECTIA, _v_. To desire, to wish for.
NECUILTONOLLI, _n_. Riches, possessions.
NEICALOLOYAN, _n_. The field of battle.
NEIXIMACHOYAN, _n_. A place where one is taught. XIII, 1.
NEL, _adv_. But.
NELHUAYOTL, _n_. A root; _fig_., principle, foundation, essence.
NELIHUI, _adv_. It is thus, even thus; _mazo nelihui_, though it be
NELLI, _adv_. Truly, verily.
NELOA, _v_. To mingle, to shake, to beat.
NELTIA, _v_. To verify, to make true.
NEMACTIA, _v_. 1. To receive, to obtain. 2. To give, to grant.
NEMAYAN, _adv_. In the course of the year. XII, 3.
NEMI, _v_. To live, to dwell, to walk.
NEMOA, _v. impers_. To live, to dwell.
NEN, _adv_. Vainly, in vain.
NENCHIUA, _v_. To do in vain.
NENECTIA, _v_. To obtain by effort. XII, 4.
NENELIUHTICA, _adj_. Mixed up, mingled together.
NENELOA, _v_. To mix, to mingle.
NENEPANOA, _v. freq_. To mix, to mingle. XVII, 1.
NENEQUI, _v_. To act tyrannically; to feign; to covet. XI, 7.
NENNEMI, _v_. To wander about.
NENONOTZALCUICATL, _n_. A song of exhortation.
NENTACI, _v_. To fail, to come to naught. XVII, 13, 14.
NENTLAMACHTIA, _v. ref_. To afflict one's self, to torment one's
NENTLAMATI, _v_. To be afflicted, disconsolate.
NEPA, _adv_. Here, there. _Ye nepa_, a little further, beyond. XXI,
6. _Oc nepa_, further on.
NEPANIUI, _v_. To join, to unite.
NEPANTLA, _postpos_. In the midst of.
NEPAPAN, _adj_. Various, diverse, different.
NEPOHUALOYAN, _n_. The place where one is reckoned, read, or counted.
NEQUI, _v_. To wish, to desire.
NETLAMACHTILIZTLI, _n_. Riches, property.
NETLAMACHTILOYAN, _n_. A prosperous place. IV, 6; VII, 4.
NETLANEHUIHUIA, _v_. To have an abundance of all things. XXVI, 1.
NETOTILIZTLI, _n_. Dance, dancing.
NETOTILOYAN, _n_. Place of dancing.
NI, _pron. pers_. I. Before a vowel, _n_.
NICAN, _adj_. Here, hither.
NIHUI, _adv_. From _no-ihui_, thus, of the same manner. XVIII, 3.
NIMAN, _adv_. Soon, promptly.
NINO, _pron. ref_. I myself.
NIPA, _adv_. Here, in this part, there.
NO, _adv_. Also, like, _no yuh_, in the same way, thus. _Pron_. My,
NOCA, _pron_. For me, for my sake, by me.
NOHUAN, _pron_. With me.
NOHUIAMPA, _adv_. In all directions, on all sides.
NOHUIAN, _adv_. Everywhere, on all sides.
NONOYAN, _n_. Place of residence. V, 2.
NONOTZA, _v_. To consult, to take counsel, to reflect.
NOTZA, _v_. To call some one.
NOZAN, _adv_. Even yet, and yet, to this day.
OBISPO, _n_. Bishop. _Span_. XIX, 4.
OC, _adv_. Yet, again; _oc achi_, yet a little; _oc achi ic_, yet
more, comparative; _oc pe_, first, foremost.
OCELOTL, _n_. The tiger; a warrior so called. See note to I, 5.
OCOXOCHITL, _n_. A fragrant mountain flower. III, 2.
OCTICATL, _n_. See note to VII, 1.
OCTLI, _n_. The native wine from the maguey. In comp., _oc_.
OHUAGA, _interj_. Oh! alas!
OHUI, _adj_. Difficult, dangerous.
OHUICALOYAN, _n_. A difficult or dangerous place. XXII, 7.
OHUICAN, _n_. A difficult or dangerous place.
OME, _adj_. Two.
OMITL, _n_. A bone.
OMPA, _adv_. Where.
ON, _adv_. A euphonic particle, sometimes indicating action at a
distance, at other times generalizing the action of the verb.
ONCAN, _adv_. There, thither.
ONOC, _v_. To be lying down.
OPPA, _adv_. A second time, twice.
OQUICHTLI, _n_. A male, a man.
OTLI, _n_. Path, road, way.
OTOMITL, _n_. An Otomi; a military officer so called.
OTONCUICATL, _n_. An Otomi song. II, 1.
PACHIUI NOYOLLO, _v_. I am content, satisfied. IX, 2.
PACQUI, _v_. To please, to delight.
PACTLI, _n_. Pleasure, joy.
PAL, _postpos_. By, by means of.
PAMPA, _postpos_. For, because.
PAN, _postpos_. Upon; _apan_, upon the water.
PAPALOTL, _n_. The butterfly.
PAPAQUI, _v_. To cause great joy.
PATIUHTLI, _n_. Price, wages, reward.
PATLAHUAC, _adj_. Large, spacious.
PATLANI, _v_. To fly.
PEHUA, _v. Pret., opeuh_, to begin, to commence.
PEPETLACA, _v_. To shine, to glitter.
PEPETLAQUILTIA, _v_. To cause to shine.
PETLACOATL, _n_. The scolopender, the centipede. XVII, 24.
PETLATL, _n_. A mat, a rug (of reeds or flags); _fig_., power,
PETLATOTLIN, _n_. A rush suitable to make mats. XXI, 10.
PETLAUA, _v_. To polish, to rub to brightness.
PEUHCAYOTL, _n_. Beginning, commencement.
PILIHUI, _v_. To fasten to, to mingle with. XXI, 6.
PILIHUITL, _n_. Beloved child. XII, 3.
PILLI, _n_. Son, daughter, child. A noble, a chief, a ruler, a lord.
_Tepilhuan_, the children, the young people. _Nopiltzin_, my
PILOA, _v_. To hang down, to suspend.
PILTIHUA, _v_. To be a boy, to be young.
PIPIXAUI, _v_. To snow, to rain heavily.
PIXAUI, _v_. To snow, to rain.
POCHOTL, _n_. The ceiba tree; _fig_., protector, chief.
POCTLI, _n_. Smoke, vapor, fog, mist.
POLOA, _v_. To destroy; to perish.
POPOLOA, _v_. Freq. of _poloa_.
POPOYAUHTIUH, _v_. To leave a glorious memory. XXI, 5.
POXAHUA, _v_. To work the soil, to labor.
POYAUA, _v_. To color, to dye. XVII, 21.
POYAUI, _v_. To become clear, to clear off.
POYOMATL, _n_. A flower like the rose. IV, 6.
POZONI, _v_. To boil, to seethe; fig., to be angry.
QUA, _v_. To eat.
QUAHTLA, _n_. Forest, woods.
QUAHUITL, _n_. A tree; a stick; _fig_., chastisement.
QUAITL, _n_. Head, top, summit.
QUALANI, _v_. To anger, to irritate.
QUALLI, _adj_. Good, pleasant.
QUATLAPANA, _v_. To break one's head; to suffer much.
QUAUHTLI, _n_. The eagle; a warrior so called; bravery, distinction.
QUEMACH, _adv_. Is it possible!
QUEMMACH AMIQUE, _rel_. Those who are happy, the happy ones. IX, 2.
QUENAMI, _adv_. As, the same as.
QUENAMI CAN, _adv_. As there, the same as there, sometimes with _on_
euphonic inserted, _quenonami_.
QUENIN, _adj_. How, how much.
QUENNEL, _adv_. What is to be done? What remedy?
QUENNONAMICAN, See under _quenami_.
QUEQUENTIA, _v_. To clothe, to attire.
QUETZA, _v. Nino_, to rise up; to unite with; to aid; _nite_, to lift
QUETZALLI, _n_. A beautiful feather; _fig_., something precious or
QUETZALTOTOTL, _n_. A bird; _Trogon pavoninus_.
QUEXQUICH, _pron_. So many as, how much.
QUI, _pron. rel_. He, her, it, they, them.
QUIAUATL, _n_. Entrance, door. XVII, 18.
QUIAUITL, _n_. Rain, a shower.
QUIMILOA, _v_. To wrap up, to clothe, to shroud the dead. XI, 6.
QUIN, _pron. rel_. They, then.
QUIQUINACA, _v_. To groan, to buzz, etc.
QUIQUIZOA, _v_. To ring bells. IV, 3.
QUIZA, _v_. To go forth, to emerge.
QUIZQUI, _adj_. Separated, divided.
QUIZTIQUIZA, _v_. To go forth hastily. XXII.
TAPALCAYOA, _v_. To be full of potsherds and broken bits. XV, 16.
TATLI, _n. and v_. See p. 19.
TE, _pron. pers_. 1. Thou. 2. _Pron. rel. indef_. Somebody.
TEAHUIACA, _adj_. Pleasing, agreeable.
TECA, _pron_. Of some one; _te_ and _ca_.
TECA, _v_. To stretch out, to sleep; to concern one's self with.
_Moteca_, they unite together.
TECH, _postpos_. In, upon, from. _Pron_. Us.
TECOCOLIA, _n_. A hated person, an enemy.
TECOMAPILOA, _n_. A musical instrument. See p. 23.
TECPILLI, _n_. Nobleman, lord.
TECPILLOTL, _n_. The nobility; noble bearing, courtesy.
TEHUAN, _pron_. 1. We. 2. With some one.
TEHUATL, _pron_. Thou.
TEINI, _v_. To break, to fracture.
TEL, _conj_. But, though.
TELCHIHUA, _v_. To detest, to hate, to curse.
TEMA, _v_. To place something somewhere.
TEMACHIA, _v_. To have confidence in, to expect, to hope for.
TEMI, _v_. To be filled, replete; to be stretched out. XXVI, 4.
TEMIQUI, _v_. To dream.
TEMO, _v_. To descend, to let fall.
TEMOA, _v_. To search, to seek.
TENAMITL, _n_. A town; the wall of a town.
TENAUAC, _post_. With some one, near some one.
TENMATI, _v_. To be idle, negligent, unfortunate.
TENQUIXTIA, _v_. To speak forth, to pronounce, to declare.
TENYOTL, _n_. Fame, honor.
TEOATL, _n_. Divine water. See VI, 4, note.
TEOCUITLA, _n_. Gold, of gold.
TEOHUA, _n_. A priest. XVII, 19.
TEOQUECHOL, _n_. A bird of beautiful plumage.
TEOTL, _n_. God, divinity.
TEOXIHUITL, _n_. Turquoise; _fig_., relation, ruler, parent.
TEPACCA, _adj_. Causing joy, pleasurable.
TEPEITIC, _n_. Narrow valley, glade, glen.
TEPETL, _n_. A mountain, a hill.
TEPEUA, _v_. To spread abroad, to scatter, to conquer. XV, 3.
TEPONAZTLI, _n_. A drum. See p. 22.
TEPOPOLOANI, _v_. To slay, to slaughter.
TEQUANI, _n_. A wild beast, a savage person.
TEQUI, _v_. To cut.
TETECUICA, _v_. To make a loud noise, to thunder. XXI, 7.
TETL, _n_. A stone, a rock. In comp., _te_.
TETLAMACHTI, _n_. That which enriches, glorifies, or pleases.
TETLAQUAUAC, _adj_. Hard or strong as stone. Comp. of _tetl_ and
TETOZCATEMO, _v_. To let fall or throw forth notes of singing. I, 2.
TETZILACATL, _n_. A copper gong. XVII, 21. See p. 24.
TEUCTLI, _n_., pl. _teteuctin_. A noble, a ruler, a lord; _in
teteuctin_, the lords, the great ones.
TEUCYOTL, _n_. Nobility, lordship.
TEUH, _postpos_. Like, similar to.
TEUHYOTL, _n_. Divinity, divineness.
TEYOLQUIMA, _adj_. Pleasing, odorous, sweet.
TEYOTL, _n_. Fame, honor.
TI, _pron_. 1. thou; _timo_, ref.; _tic_, act. 2. we; _tito_, ref.;
TILANI, _v_. To draw out.
TILINI, _v_. To crowd, to press. XVII, 19.
TIMALOA, _v_. To glorify, to exalt, to praise.
TIMO, _pron. ref_. Thou thyself.
TITO, _pron. ref_. We ourselves.
TIZAITL, _n_. Chalk; anything white; an example or model.
TIZAOCTLI, _n_. White wine. See VII, 2.
TLA, _adv_., for _intla_, if; _pron. indef_., something, anything;
_postpos_. in abundance.
TLACACE, _interj_. Expressing astonishment or admiration. XVII, 3.
TLACAQUI, _v_. To hear, to understand.
TLACATEUCTLI, _n_. A sovereign, a ruler.
TLACATI, _v_. To be born.
TLACATL, _n_. Creature, person.
TLACAZO, _adv_. Truly, certainly.
TLACHIA, _v_. To see, to look upon.
TLACHIHUAL, _n_. Creature, invention.
TLACHINOLLI, _n_. Battle, war; from _chinoa_, to burn.
TLACOA, _v_. To injure, to do evil, to sin.
TLACOCHTLI, _n_. The arrow.
TLACOCOA, _v_. To buy, to purchase. X, 1.
TLACOHUA, _v_. To buy, to purchase.
TLACOHUA, _v_. To beat, to chastise.
TLACOTLI, _n_. A servant, slave.
TLACOUIA, _v_. To split, to splinter.
TLACUILOA, _v_. To inscribe, to paint in, to write down.
TLAELEHUIANI, _adj_. Desirous of, anxious for.
TLAHUELLI, _n_. Anger, ire.
TLAHUICA, _n_. Servant, page; also, a native of the province of
Tlahuican. (See _Index_.}
TLAILOTLAQUI, _n_. "Workers in filth;" scum; a term applied in
contempt. XIII, 8; XV, 12, 14. Also a proper name.
TLALAQUIA, _v_. To bury, to inter.
TLALLI, _n_. Earth, ground; _tlalticpac_, on the earth.
TLALNAMIQUI, _v_. To think of, to remember.
TLALPILONI, _n_. An ornament for the head. VI, 4, from _ilpia_.
TLAMACHTI, _v. ref_. To be rich, happy, prosperous.
TLAMAHUIZOLLI, _n_. Miracle, wonder.
TLAMATILLOLLI, _n_. Ointment; anything rubbed in the hands. XI, 9.
TLAMATQUI, _adj_. Skillful, adroit.
TLAMATTICA, _adj_. Calm, tranquil.
TLAMELAUHCAYOTL, _n_. A plain or direct song. II, 1.
TLAMI, _v_. To end, to finish, to come to an end.
TLAMOMOYAUA, _v_. To scatter, to destroy. XV, 21.
TLAN, _postpos_. Near to, among, at.
TLANECI, _v_. To dawn, to become day. _Ye tlaneci_, the day breaks.
TLANEHUIA, _v. Nicno_. To revel, to indulge one's self in. XXI, 8.
TLANELTOCA, _v_. To believe in, to have faith in.
TLANIA, _v_. To recover one's self, to return within one's self.
TLANIICZA, _v_. To abase, to humble. IX, 3.
TLANTIA, _v_. To terminate, to end.
TLAOCOL, _adj_. Sad, melancholy, pitiful, merciful.
TLAOCOLIA, _v_. To be sad, etc.
TLAOCOLTZATZIA, _v_. To cry aloud with grief. I, 3.
TLAPALHUIA, _v., rel_. To be brilliant or happy; act_., to salute a
person; to paint something.
TLAPALLI, _n_. and _adj_. Colored; dyed; red.
TLAPALOA, _v_. To salute, to greet.
TLAPANAHUIA, _adj_. Surpassing, superior, excellent; used to form
TLAPANI, _v_. To dye, to color. XVII, 10.
TLAPAPALLI, _adj_. Striped, in stripes.
TLAPATL, _n_. The castor-oil plant; the phrase _mixitl tlapatl_ means
stupor, intoxication. IX, 2.
TLAPEPETLANI, _v_. To sparkle, to shine forth.
TLAPITZA, _v_. Fr. _pitza_, to play the flute. XVII, 26.
TLAQUALLI, _n_. Food, eatables.
TLAQUAUAC, _adj_. Strong, hard.
TLAQUAUH, _adj_. Strongly, forcibly.
TLAQUILLA, _adj_. Stopped up, filled. XX, 4.
TLAQUILQUI, _n_. One who plasters, a mason. XXI, 1.
TLATEMMATI, _v_. To suffer afflictions.
TLATENEHUA, _v_. To promise.
TLATHUI, _v_. To dawn, to become light.
TLATIA, _v_. 1. To hide, to conceal; 2. to burn, to set on fire.
TLATLAMANTITICA, _adj_. Divided, separated.
TLATLATOA, _v_. To speak much or frequently. XVII, 11.
TLATLAUHTIA, _v_. To pray. XVI, 3.
TLATOANI, _n_. Ruler, lord.
TLATOCAYOTL, _n_. The quality of governing or ruling.
TLATOLLI, _n_. Word, speech, order.
TLATZIHUI, _v_. To neglect, to be negligent; to be abandoned, to lie
fallow; to leave, to withdraw.
TLAUANTLI, _n_. Vase, cup. XXVI, 4.
TLAUHQUECHOL, _n_. A bird, the red heron, _Platalea ajaja_.
TLAUILLOTL, _n_. Clearness, light. X, 1.
TLAXILLOTIA, _v_. To arrange, sustain, support. IX, 4.
TLAXIXINIA, _v_. To disperse, to destroy.
TLAYAUA, _v_. To make an encircling figure in dancing.
TLAYAUALOLLI, _adj_. Encircled, surrounded. XXI, 6.
TLAYLOTLAQUI, _n_. See XIII, 8.
TLAYOCOLIA, _v_. To make, to form, to invent. XIV.
TLAYOCOYALLI, _n_. Creature, invention.
TLAZA, _v_. To throw away; _fig_., to reject, to despise.
TLAZOTLA, _v_. To love, to like.
TLE, _pron. int_. and _rel_. What? That.
TLEAHUA, _v_. To set on fire, to fire.
TLEIN, _pron., int_. and _rel_. What? That.
TLEINMACH, _adv_. Why? For what reason?
TLENAMACTLI, _n_. Incense burned to the gods. III, 1.
TLEPETZTIC, _adj_. Shining like fire, _tletl_, _petzlic_. XV, 26.
TLETL, _n_. Fire.
TLEYMACH, _adv_. Why? Wherefore?
TLEYOTL, _n_. Fame, honor.
TLEZANNEN, _adv_. To what good? Cui bono?
TLILIUHQUI, _adj_. Black, brown.
TLILIUI, _v_. To blacken, to paint black. XII, 6.
TLOC, _postpos_. With, near to.
TLOQUE NAHUAQUE, _n_. A name of divinity. See I, 6, note.
TO, _pron. posses_. Our, ours.
TOCA, _v_. To follow.
TOCI, _n_. "Our ancestress," a divinity so called.
TOCO, _v_. Impers. of _toca_.
TOHUAN, _pron_. With us.
TOLINIA, _v_. To be poor, to be unfortunate.
TOLQUATECTITLAN, _n_. The place where the head is bowed for
lustration. III, 1.
TOMA, _v_. To loosen, to untie, to open. XVII, 3.
TOMAHUAC, _adj_. Great, heavy, large.
TONACATI, _v_. To be prosperous or fertile.
TONACATLALLI, _n_. Rich or fertile land.
TONAMEYO, _adj_. Shining like the sun, glittering.
TONAMEYOTL, _n_. Ray of the sun, light, brilliancy.
TONATIUH, _n_. The sun.
TONEUA, _v_. To suffer pain; _nite_, to inflict pain.
TOQUICHPOHUAN, _n_. Our equals. I, 3.
TOTOTL, _n_. A bird, generic term.
TOZMILINI, _adj_. Sweet voiced. XXI, 3.
TOZNENETL, _n_. A parrot, _Psittacus signatus_.
TOZQUITL, _n_. The singing voice, p. 21.
TZALAN, _postpos_. Among, amid.
TZATZIA, _v_. To shout, to cry aloud.
TZAUHQUI, _v_. To spin. XVII, 22.
TZETZELIUI, _v_. To rain, to snow; _fig_., to pour down.
TZIHUAC, _n_. A species of bush. XV, 1.
TZIMIQUILIZTLI, _n_. Slaughter, death. XVI, 5.
TZINITZCAN, _n_. A bird, _Trogon Mexicanus_.
TZITZILINI, _n_. A bell.
TZOTZONA, _v_. To strike the drum.
UALLAUH, _v_. To come. See _huallauh_.
UITZ, _v_. To come.
ULLI, _n_. Caoutchouc. See p. 22.
XAHUA, _v_. To paint one's self, to array one's self in the ancient
manner. XXIV, 1.
XAMANI, _v_. To break, to crack.
XAXAMATZA, _v_. To cut in pieces, to break into bits.
XAYACATL, _n_. Face, mask.
XELIHUI, _v_. To divide, to distribute.
XEXELOA, _v_. To divide, to distribute.
XILOTL, _n_. Ear of green corn.
XILOXOCHITL, _n_. The flower of maize. XVII, 10.
XIMOAYAN, _n_. A place of departed souls. See I, 8.
XIMOHUAYAN, _n_. Place of departed spirits. VIII, 1.
XIUHTOTOTL, _n_. A bird, _Guiaca cerulea_.
XIUITL, _n_. A leaf, plant; year; anything green.
XOCHICALLI, _n_. A house for flowers, or adorned with them.
XOCHIMECATL, _n_. A rope or garland of flowers.
XOCHIMICOHUAYAN, _n_. See XVI, 3, note.
XOCHITECATL, _n_. See XXV, 7, note.
XOCHITL, _n_. A flower, a rose.
XOCHIYAOTL, _n_. Flower-war. See XVI, 4, note.
XOCOMIQUI, _v_. To intoxicate, to become drunk.
XOCOYA, _v_. To grow sour. XIII, 4.
XOPALEUAC, _n_. Something very green.
XOPAN, _n_. The springtime.
XOTLA, _v_. To blossom, to flower; to warm, to inflame; to cut, to
scratch, to saw.
XOXOCTIC, _adj_. Green; blue. XVI, 6.
XOYACALTITLAN, _n_. The house or place of decay. III, 1.
Y., Abbrev. for _ihuan_, and _in_, q. v.
YA, _adv_. Already, thus; same as _ye_; _v_., to suit, to fit. Part.
euphonic or expletive. See note to XVII, 3.
YAN, _postpos_. Suffix signifying place.
YANCUIC, _adj_. New, fresh, recent.
YANCUICAN, _adv_. Newly, recently.
YAOTL, _n_. War, battle.
YAOYOTL, _n_. Warfare.
YAQUI, _adj_. Departed, gone, left for a place.
YAUH, _v., irreg_. To go.
YE, _adv_. Already, thus; _ye no ceppa_, a second time; _ye ic_,
already, it is already.
YE, _pron_. He, those, etc.
YE, _adj. num_. Three.
YECE, _adv_. But.
YECEN, _adv_. Finally, at last.
YECNEMI, _v_. To live righteously.
YECOA, _v_. To do, to finish, to conclude.
YECTENEHUA, _v_. To bless, to speak well of.
YECTLI, _adj_. Good, worthy, noble.
YEHUATL, _pron_. He, she, it. Pl. _yehuan, yehuantin_.
YEHUIA, _v_. To beg, to ask charity.
YEPPA YUHQUI. Formerly, it was there. VII, 2.
YHUINTIA. See _ihuinti_.
YOCATL, _n_. Goods, possessions; _noyocauh_, my property. XV, 26.
YOCAUA, _n_. Master, possessor, owner.
YOCOLIA, _v_. To form, to make.
YOCOYA, _v_. To make, to invent, to create.
YOHUATLI, _n_. Night, darkness.
YOLAHUIA, _v_. To rejoice greatly.
YOLCIAHUIA, _v_. To please one's self, to make glad.
YOLCUECUECHOA, _v_. To make the heart tremble. IV, 6.
YOLEHUA, _v_. To excite, to animate.
YOLIHUAYAN, _n_. A place of living III, 5.
YOLLO, _adj_. Adroit, skillful; also for _iyollo_, his heart.
YOLLOTL, _v_. Heart, mind, soul.
YOLNONOTZA, _v_. See note to I, 1.
YOLPOXAHUA, _v_. To toil mentally.
YUHQUI, _adv_. As, like.
YUHQUIMATI, _v_. To understand, to realize.
ZACATL, _n_. Herbage, straw, hay. XXI, 5.
ZACUAN, _n_. Feather of the zacuan bird; _fig_., yellow; prized.
ZACUAN TOTOTL, _n_. The zacuan bird, _Oriolus dominicensis_.
ZAN, _adv_. Only, but; _zan cuel_, in a short time; _zanen_, perhaps;
_Zan nen_, in vain.
ZANCUEL ACHIC, _adv_. A moment, an instant; often; _zan ye_, but
again, but quickly.
ZANIO, _pron_. I alone, he or it alone.
ZOA, _v_. To pierce; to spread out; to open; to sew; to string
together; to put in order.
ZOLIN TOTOTL, _n_. The quail.
ZOMA, _v_. To become angry.
ZOMALE, _adj_. For _comalli_, vase, cup. XXVI, 4.
INDEX OF NAHUATL PROPER NAMES, WITH EXPLANATIONS.
ACALLAN, 105. "The place of boats," from _acalli_, boat. An ancient
province at the mouth of the Usumacinta river; but the name was
probably applied to other localities also.
ACATLAPAN, 41. A village southeast of Chalco. From _acatla_, a place
of reeds, and _pan_, in or at.
ACHALCHIUHTLANEXTIN, 46. The first chief of the Toltecs; another form
of _chalchiuhtonac_. Both names mean "the gleam of the precious
jade." Compare Torquemada, _Monarquia Indiana_. Lib. III., cap. 7;
Orozco y Berra, _Hist. Antigua de Mexico_, Tom. III., p. 42. The date
of the beginning of his reign is put at A.D. 667 or 700.
ACOLHUACAN, 40, 91, 119. A compound of _atl_, water, and _colhuacan_,
(q. v.) = "Colhuacan by the water," the name of the state of which
Tetzcuco was the capital, in the valley of Mexico.
ACOLMIZTLAN, 89, from
ACOLMIZTLI, 35. A name of Nezahualcoyotl (see p. 35), also of other
ANAHUAC, 125. From _atl_, water, _nahuac_, by, = the land by the
water. The term was applied first to the land by the lakes in the
Valley of Mexico, and later to that along both the Gulf of Mexico and
the Pacific Ocean.
ATECPAN, 77. "The royal residence by the water" (_atl, tecpan_). I do
not find this locality mentioned elsewhere.
ATLIXCO, 125. "Where the water shows its face" (_atl, ixtli, co_). A
locality southeast of Tezcuco, near the lake, so called from a large
spring. See Motolinia, _Historia de los Indios_, Trat. III, cap. 18.
ATLOYANTEPETL, 85, 89, 91. Perhaps for _atlauantepetl_, "the mountain
that rules the waters." But see note to XIII, v. 6.
ATZALAN, 114. "Amid the waters" (_atl, tzalan_). Perhaps not a proper
name; but two villages in the present State of Puebla are called
Atzala (see Orozco y Berra, _Geografia de las Lenguas de Mexico_, pp.
AXAXACATZIN, 43. Probably for _axayacatzin_, reverential of
_axayacatl_, the name of a species of marsh fly. It was also the name
of the sixth ruler of Mexico (flor. about 1500), and doubtless of
other distinguished persons. See Ixtlilxochitl, _Historia
Chichimeca_, cap. 51.
AZCAPOTZALCO, 50, 51. An ancient town in the valley of Mexico, once
the capital city of the Tepanecas (q. v.). The word means "place of
the ant-hills," from _azcaputzalli_.
AZTECS, 25. A Nahuatl tribe who derived their name from their
mythical ancient home, Aztlan. The derivation is obscure, but
probably is from the same radical as _iztac_, white, and, therefore,
Father Duran was right in translating Aztlan, "place of whiteness,"
the reference being to the East, whence the Aztecs claim to have
come. See Duran, _Historia de las Indias_, cap. II.
CACAMATL, 94, 95. The reference appears to be to Cacamatzin (the
_Noble Sad One_, from _cacamaua_, fig. to be sad), last ruler of
Tezcuco, son and successor, in 1516, of Nezahualpilli. He was put to
death by Cortes.
CATOCIH, 89. A doubtful word, which may not be a proper name.
CHALCO, 16, 69, 95. A town and lake in the valley of Mexico. The
people were Nahuas and subject to Mexico. The word is probably
derived from _Challi_, with the postpos. _co_, meaning "at the mouth"
(of a river). See Buschmann, _Ueber die Aztekischen Ortsnamen_, s.
689, and comp. _Codex Ramirez_, p. 18.
CHIAPA, CHIAPANECA, 70, 71. The province and inhabitants of Chiapas,
in Southern Mexico. There were colonies of Nahuas in Chiapas, though
most of the natives spoke other tongues. The derivation is probably
from _chia_, a mucilaginous seed highly esteemed in Mexico.
CHICHIMECATL or CHICHIMECS, 88, 89, 91, 101. A rude hunting tribe,
speaking Nahuatl, who settled, in early times, in the valley of
Mexico. The name was said to be derived from _chichi_, a dog, on
account of their devotion to hunting (_Cod. Ramirez_). Others say it
was that of their first chieftain.
CHICOMOZTOC, 88, 89. "At the seven caves," the name of the mythical
locality from which the seven Nahuatl tribes derived their origin.
The _Codex Ramirez_ explains the seven caves to mean the seven houses
or lineages (totems) of which the nation consisted.
CHILILITLI, 36. Name of a tower of sacred import. It is apparently a
compound of _chia_ or _chielia_, to watch, and _tlilli_, blackness,
obscurity, hence "a night watch-tower." It was probably used for the
study of the sky at night.
CHIMALPOPOCA, 43. "The smoking shield," from _chimalli_, shield, and
_popoca_. The name of several distinguished warriors and rulers in
CHOLULA or CHOLOLLAN, 105. Name of a celebrated ancient state and
city. From _choloa_, with the probable meaning, "place of refuge,"
"place of the fugitives."
CIHUAPAN, 41. Name of a warrior, otherwise unknown. From _cihuatl_,
woman, _pan_, among, with.
COATZITEUCTLI, 89. A name compound of _coatzin_, reverential form of
_coatl_, serpent, and _teuctli_, lord.
COLHUA, A people of Nahuatl affinity, who dwelt in ancient times in
the valley of Mexico. See _Colhuacan_.
COLHUACAN, 88, 89, 91. A town in the valley of Mexico. In spite of
the arguments to the contrary, I believe the Colhua were of Nahuatl
lineage, and that the name is derived from _colli_, ancestor;
_colhuacan_, the residence of the ancestors; with this signification,
it was applied to many localities. It must be distinguished from
_Acolhuacan_. Its ikonomatic symbol was a hill bent over at the top,
from _coloa_, to bend.
COLZAZTLI, 39. Probably for Coltzatztli, one who cries out or calls
to the ancestors (_colli, tzatzia_). A chief whom I have not found
CONAHUATZIN, 41. A warrior not elsewhere mentioned. By derivation it
means "noble son of the lord of the water" (_conetl, ahua, tzin_).
CUETZPALTZIN, 89. A proper name, from _cuetzpalli_, the 4th day of
CUEXTLA, 33. A province of ancient Mexico. See Torquemada, _Monarquia
Indiana_. Lib. II, caps. 53, 56.
CULTEPEC, 42. A village five leagues from Tezcuco, at the foot of the
mountains. Deriv., _colli_, ancestor, _tepetl_, mountain or town,
with post-pos. _c_; "at the town of the ancestors."
HUETLALPAN or HUETLAPALLAN, 89. The original seat of the mythical
Toltecs. The name is a compound of _hue_, old, and _Tlapallan_, q. v.
HUEXOTZINCO, 50, 83, 91, 99, 113. An independent State of ancient
Anahuac, south of Tlascala and west of Cholula. The name means "at
the little willow woods," being a diminutive from _huexatla_, place
HUITLALOTZIN, 89. From _huitlallotl_, a species of bird, with the
reverential termination. Name of a warrior.
HUITZILAPOCHTLI, 16. Tribal god of the Mexicans of Tenochtitlan. The
name is usually derived from _huitzitzilin_, humming bird, and
_opochtli_, left (_Cod. Ramirez_, p. 22), but more correctly from
_huitztli_, the south, _iloa_, to turn, _opochtli_, the left hand,
"the left hand turned toward the south," as this god directed the
wanderings of the Mexicans southward. The humming bird was used as
the "ikonomatic" symbol of the name.
HUITZILIHUITL, 89. "Humming-bird feather." Name of an ancient ruler
of Mexico, and of other warriors.
HUITZNAHUACATL, 91. A ruler of Huexotlan (Clavigero); a member of the
Huitznahua, residents of the quarters so called in Tezcuco and
Tenochtitlan (Ixtlilxochitl, _Hist. Chichimeca_, cap. 38).
IXTLILXOCHITL, 35, 46, 89. A ruler of Acolhuacan, father of
Nezahualcoyotl. Comp. _ixtli_, face, _tlilxochitl_, the vanilla
(literally, the black flower).
IZTACCOYOTL, 89, 93. "The white wolf." Name of a warrior otherwise
MEXICANS, 67, 83, 85, 87, 123, 125. See
MEXICO, 83, 123. Name of the town and state otherwise called
Tenochtitlan. _Mexitl_ was one of the names of the national god
Huitzilopochtli, and Mexico means "the place of Mexitl," indicating
that the city was originally called from a fane of the god.
MICTLAN, 95, 117, 119. The Mexican Hades, literally, "the place of
MONTEZUMA, 14, 41, 113. The name of the ruler of Mexico on the
arrival of Cortes. The proper form is _Moteuhzomatzin_ or
_Motecuhzomatzin_, and the meaning, "he who is angry in a noble
manner." ("senor sanudo," _Cod. Ramirez_, p. 72; "qui se fache en
seigneur," Simeon, _Dict. de la Langue Nahuatl_, s. v.).
MOQUIHUIX, 33. The fourth ruler of Tlatilolco. He assumed the power
in 1441, according to some writers (Bustamente, _Tezcoco, en los
Ultimas Tiempos de sus Antiguos Reyes_, p. 269). The name probably
means "He who comes forth a freeman." See Ixtlilxochitl, _Historia
Chichimeca_, caps. 36, 51.
NACXITL TOPILTZIN, 105, 107. Nacxitl, "the four footed" (_nahui,
ixitl_), was the name of one of the gods of the merchants (Sahagun,
_Hist, de Nueva Espana_, Lib. I, c. 19). In the song it is applied to
Quetzalcoatl, who was also regarded as a guardian of merchants.
NAHUATL, (9, etc.). A term applied to the language otherwise known as
Aztec or Mexican. As an adjective it means "well-sounding," or,
pleasant to the ear. From this, the term _Nahua_ is used collectively
for all tribes who spoke the Nahuatl tongue. _Nahuatl_ also means
clever, skillful, and the derivation is probably from the root _na_,
NECAXECMITL, 46. Name of uncertain meaning of a person otherwise
NEZAHUALCOYOTL, 35, 67, 119. Chief of the Acolhuas, and ruler in
Tezcuco from 1427 to 1472, or thereabouts. He was a distinguished
patron of the arts and a celebrated poet. See p. 35, et seq.
NEZAHUALPILLI, or NEZAHUALPIZINTLI, 14, 125. Ruler of Acolhuacan, son
of Nezahualcoyotl. His accession is dated in 1470 or 1472.
NONOHUALCO, 105, 125. Name of one of the quarters of the ancient city
of Mexico; also of a mountain west of the valley of Mexico. The
derivation is probably from _onoc_, to lie down; _onohua_, to sleep;
_onohuayan_, a settled spot, an inhabited place. The _co_ is a
NOPAL or NOPALTZIN, 46. Ruler of Acolhuacan, A. D. 1260-1263,
according to some chronologies. The name is from _nopalli_, the
cactus or opuntia.
NOPILTZIN, 67, 91. "My son," or "my lord," a term of deference
applied to superiors, from _pilli_, which means son and also lord,
like the old English _child_. Cf. _Topiltzin_.
OTOMIS, 16, 49, 58, 64, 71, 95. A nation which inhabited a portion of
the valley of Mexico and region adjacent, entirely dissimilar in
language and appearance from the Nahuas. The etymologies suggested
POPOCATEPETL, 46. "The smoking mountain," the name of a famous
volcano rising from the valley of Mexico.
POYAUHTECATL, 105. A volcano near Orizaba (Sahagun. _Hist. de Nueva
Espana_, Lib. I, cap. 21). Derived from _poyaua_, to color, to
QUANTZINTECOMATZIN, 41. A warrior not otherwise known. The name is a
double reverential, from _quani_, eater, and _tecomatl_, vase, "The
noble eater from the royal dish."
QUAUHQUECHOLLAN, 95. A village and plain near the southern base of
Popocatepetl. It means "the place of the quechol woods," or the trees
among which quechol birds are found. See Motolinia, _Historia de los
Indios_, Trat. III, cap. 18.
QUAUHXILOTL, 89. Name of a large tree, and applied to a warrior,
ruler of Iztapallocan, whom Ixtlilxochitl, King of Tezcuco, placed at
the head of his troops in his war with Tezozomoc. See Clavigero,
_Storia Antica di Messico_, Tom. I, p. 185.
QUETZALCOATL, 32, 143, 144. See note on p. 143.
QUETZALMAMATZIN, 91. Name of a warrior, "the noble one of the
beautiful hands" (_quetzalli, mama_, pl. of _maitl_, and rev. term,
_tzin_). Perhaps the same as Quetzalmemalitzin, ruler of Teotihuacan,
mentioned by Ixtlilxochitl, _Historia Chichimeca_, cap. 35.
QUIAUHTZIN, 93. Name of a warrior, "The noble rain" (_quiauitl,
TENOCHTITLAN, 85. The current name for the City of Mexico; literally,
"at the stone-nopal," from _tetl_, stone, _nochtli_, nopal, and
postpos., _tlan_. The term refers to an ancient tradition.
TEPANECAS or TECPANECAS, 35. A powerful nation of Nahuatl lineage,
who dwelt in the valley of Mexico. They were destroyed in 1425 by the
Acolhuas and Mexicans, and later the state of Tlacopan was formed
from their remnants. Comp. probably from _tecpan_, a royal residence,
with the gentile termination.
TEPEYACAC, TEPEYACAN, 93. From _tepetl_, mountain, _yacatl_, nose,
point, and postpos, _c_. 1. A small mountain on which the celebrated
church of the Virgin of Guadalupe now stands. 2. A large town and
state subject to ancient Mexico, now Tepeaca in the province of
TETLAPAN QUETZANITZIN, 68, 69. A ruler of Tlatilolco, contemporary of
the conquest. See Note to Song VI.
TETZCOCO, now TEZCUCO, 14, 35, 36, 77. Capital city of Acolhuacan,
and residence of Nezahualcoyotl. It has been called "the Athens of
Anahuac." The derivation of the name is from a plant called
_tetzculli_ (_Cod. Ramirez_).
TEZOZOMOC, TEZOZOMOCTLI, 35, 39, 67, 88, 89. A ruler of the
Tepanecas, celebrated for his warlike skill and severity. His death
is placed in the year 1427. The name, like Montezuma, is derived from
_zoma_, to be angry, in this case from the reduplicated frequentative
TIZATLAN, 103. "The place of white varnish" (_tizatl_), the name of
one of the four quarters of the city of Tlascala.
TLACOMIHUATZIN, 93. "The noble cousin of the lynx" (_tlacomiztli_,
lynx, huan, postpos., denoting affinity, _tzin_, reverential). The
name of a warrior.
TLACOPAN, now TACUBA, 135. A small state west of Mexico and subject
to it, built up on the ruins of the ancient Tepanecas. Comp. from
_tlacotli_, a slave.
TLAHUICAN, 118. A Nahuatl province south of the valley of Mexico, so
called from the cinnabar, _tlahuitl_, there obtained (Buschmann; but
the _Cod. Ramirez_ gives the meaning "toward the earth," from
_tlalli_ and _huic_). [*Transcriber's note: TLAHUICAN not found in
text. See Tlahuica in Vocabulary.]
TLAILOTLACAN, 140. One of the seven divisions of the city of Tezcuco
(_Ixtlilxochitl_, _Hist. Chichimeca_, cap. 38). [*Transcriber's note:
TLAILOTLACAN not found in text.]
TLAILOTLAQUI, 84. Literally, "workers in refuse," or "scavengers."
Said by M. Aubin to have been a tribe who settled in Tezcuco in the
reign of Quinantzin. The term is apparently one of contempt.
[*Transcriber's note: TLAILOTLAQUI not found on page 84 in text. See
Tlailotlaqui in Vocabulary.]
TLALMANALCO, 42. A village near the foot of the volcano Popocatepetl.
Derived from _tlalmanalli_, level ground, with postpos. _co_.
TLALNAHUACATL, 89. "Dweller on the land;" name of a warrior.
TLALOC, 45. God of rain and the waters; a famous divinity among the
ancient Mexicans. The word means "stretched on the earth," and the
idol of the god represented a man extended on his back holding a
TLAPALLAN, 105. A mythical land from which the Toltecs were fabled to
have come and to which Quetzalcoatl returned. The derivation is from
_tlapalli_, color, especially red.
TLATETOLCO, TLATILULCO, 33, 83, 85. A suburb of the ancient city of
Mexico, founded in 1338; from _tlatelli_, a mound, _ololoa_, to make
round, the sense being "an island." See Motolinia, _Historia de los
Indios_, Trat. III, cap. 7.
TLAXCALLAN, now TLASCALA, 89, 93, 103. "The place of bread," from
_tlaxcalli_, bread. Site of a warlike tribe of Nahuatl descent, east
of the valley of Mexico.
TLATZIN, 46. Chief of a town of the Chichimecs, situated on Lake
Chalco. He flourished toward the close of the 14th century. From
_tlatli_, a falcon.
TOCHIN, 89. From _tochtli_, rabbit; name of the brother of the
Tezcucan ruler Quinantzin, and of many other personages.
TOLLAN, or TULAN, 46, 105, 107. The ancient mythical capital of the
Toltecs. The common derivation from _tolin_, a rush, is erroneous.
The name is a syncopated form of _tonatlan_, "the place of the sun."
TOLTEC, properly TOLTECATL, 46, 111. An inhabitant of Tollan. The
Toltecs were a mythical people, whose civilization was supposed to
have preceded that of the Aztecs.
TOPILTZIN, 46, 105. "Our son" or "Our lord" (see Nopiltzin). The term
was especially applied to Quetzalcoatl, q. v. See Orozco y Berra,
_Hist. Antig. de Mexico_, Tom. III, p. 54.
TOTOQUILHUATLI, 41. From _totoquilia_, to act as agent or lieutenant.
Ruler of Tlacopan. The verse of the song in which this name occurs is
given in the original Nahuatl by Ixtlilxochitl, who says it was very
popular throughout New Spain. See his _Historia Chichimeca_, cap. 32.
XICALANCO, 107. A locality on the borders of the province Tabasco.
The people spoke Nahuatl. Deriv. _xicalli_, gourd or jar, and
XICOMATZINTLAMATA, 43. Name of a warrior not otherwise known. The
compound seems to mean "skillful with angry hand" (_xicoa, maitl,
XICONTECATL, 103. Name of several distinguished Tlascalan warriors,
lords of Tizatlan. See Clavigero, _Hist. Antica di Messico_, Tom.
III, pp. 38 and 40, One was a favorite of Nezahualcoyotl. See
Ixtlilxochitl, _Historia Chichimeca_, cap. 40.
XIUHTEUCTLI, 15. The god of fire, literally, "the lord of the year,"
or "of the foliage."
XIUHTZAL, 46. A queen of ancient Tollan, said by Clavigero to have
ruled from A. D. 979 to 984. Other writers give the name more
correctly Xiuhtlaltzin, "Lady of the Green Fields," and place her
death in 987. (Orozco y Berra, _Hist. Antig. de Mexico_, Tom. III, p.
XOLOTL, 46. An early if not the first king of the Chichimecs. His
death occurred in 1232.
YOHUALLATONOC, 89. "Shining at night." Name of a warrior.
YOPICO, 22. A division of the ancient city of Mexico, containing a
temple of this name. The word means "the place of the tearing out of
hearts" (_yolltol, pi, co_), from the form of sacrifice there carried
YOYONTZIN, 35, 40, 66, 67. A name of Nezahualcoyotl. See p. 35.
[Footnote 1: Diego Duran, _Historia de las Indias de Nueva Espana_,
Tom. I, p. 233; and compare Geronimo de Mendieta, _Historia
Eclesiastica Indiana_, Lib. II, cap. 31.]
[Footnote 2: Sahagun, _Historia de Nueva Espana_, Lib. VIII, cap.
[Footnote 3: Sahagun, _Historia de Nueva Espana_, Lib. III, cap. 8.]
[Footnote 4: _Cuicoyan_, from _cuica_, song, and the place-ending
_yan_, which is added to the impersonal form of the verb, in this
instance, _cuicoa_. Mr. Bancroft entirely misapprehends Tezozomoc's
words about these establishments, and gives an erroneous rendering of
the term. See his _Native Races of the Pacific Coast_, Vol. II, p.
290, and Tezozomoc, _Cronica Mexicana_, cap. 18.]
[Footnote 5: Juan de Torquemada, _Monarquia Indiana_, Lib. VI, cap.
[Footnote 6: Torquemada, _Monarquia Indiana_, Lib. XVII, cap. 3.
Didacus Valades, who was in Mexico about 1550, writes of the natives:
"Habent instrumenta musica permulta in quibus semulatione quadam se
exercent." _Rhetorica Christiana_, Pars. IV, cap. 24.]
[Footnote 7: Descriptions are given by Edward Muehlenpfordt, _Die
Republik Mexico_, Bd. I, pp. 250-52 (Hannover, 1844).]
[Footnote 8: Molina translates _piqui_, "crear o plasmar Dios alguna
cosa de nuevo." _Vocabulario de la Lengua Mexicana_, s.v.]
[Footnote 9: Sahagun, _Historia de Nueva Espana_, Lib. X, cap. 8.]
[Footnote 10: Boturini, _Idea de una Nueva Historia General_, p. 97.]
[Footnote 11: Clavigero, _Storia antica di Messico_, Lib. VII, p.
[Footnote 12: Torquemada, _Monarquia Indiana_, Lib. X, cap. 34.]
[Footnote 13: Duran, _Hist. de la Indias de Nueva Espana_, Tom. I, p.
[Footnote 14: Tezozomoc, _Cronica Mexicana_, cap. 64.]
[Footnote 15: Ixtlilxochitl, _Historia Chichimeca_, cap. 47.]
[Footnote 16: Boturini, _Idea de una Nueva Historia General_, p. 90.]
[Footnote 17: Tezozomoc, _Cronica Mexicana_, cap. 53.]
[Footnote 18: See Sahagun, _Historia de Neuva Espana_, Lib. IV, chap.
17, and Tezozomoc, _Cronica Mexicana_, cap. 64.]
[Footnote 19: _Cuitlaxoteyotl_, from _cuitatl_, mierda;
_tecuilhuicuicatl_, from _tecuilhuaztli_, sello, _tecuilonti_, el que
lo haze a otro, pecando contra natura. Molina, _Vocabulario_.]
[Footnote 20: William A. Hammond, _The Disease of the Scythians
(morbus feminarum) and Certain Analogous Conditions_, in the
_American Journal of Neurology and Psychiatry_, 1882.]
[Footnote 21: _Cronica Mexicana_, cap. 2.]
[Footnote 22: On this subject the reader may consult Parades,
_Compendio del Arte de la Lengua Mexicana_, pp. 5, 6, and Sandoval,
_Arte de la Lengua Mexicana_, pp. 60, 61. Tapia Zenteno whose _Arte
Novissima de la Lengua Mexicana_ was published in 1753, rejects
altogether the saltillo, and says its invention is of no use except
to make students work harder! (pp. 3, 4.) The vowels with saltillo,
he maintains, are simply to be pronounced with a slight aspiration.
Nevertheless, the late writers continue to employ and describe the
saltillo, as Chimalpopoca, _Epitome a Modo Facil de aprender el
Idioma Nahuatl_, p. 6. (Mexico, 1869.)]
[Footnote 23: _Arte Novissima de la Lengua Mexicana_, pp. 3, 4.]
[Footnote 24: Duran, _Historia de Nueva Espana_, Tom. I, p. 230.]
[Footnote 25: The singer who began the song was called _cuicaito_,
"the speaker of the song."]
[Footnote 26: The most satisfactory description of these concerts is
that given by Geronimo de Mendieta, _Historia Eclesiastica Indiana_,
Lib. II, cap. 31. I have taken some particulars from Boturini and
[Footnote 27: Literally, "the broken drum," from _tlapana_, to break,
as they say _tlapanhuimetzli_, half moon. It is described by
Tezozomoc as "un atambor bajo." _Cronica Mexicana_, cap. 53.]
[Footnote 28: From _yollotl_, heart, and _pi_, to tear out. The
instrument is mentioned by Tezozomoc, _Cronica Mexicana_, cap. 48. On
the Yopico, and its ceremonies, see Sahagun, _Historia de Nueva
Espana_, Lib. II, cap. 1, and Appendix.]
[Footnote 29: Simeon, however, thinks the name arose from the growing
and swelling of the sound of the instrument (notes to Jourdanet's
translation of Sahagun, p. 28). Mr. H.H. Bancroft gives the
astonishing translation of teponaztli, "wing of stone vapor!"
(_Native Races of the Pacific States_, Vol. II, p. 293.) Brasseur
traced the word to a Maya-Quiche root, _tep_. In both Nahuatl and
Maya this syllable is the radicle of various words meaning to
increase, enlarge, to grow strong or great, etc.]
[Footnote 30: Sahagun, _Hist. de Nueva Espana_, Lib. II, cap. 27.]
[Footnote 31: See _The Gueegueence, a Comedy ballet in the Nahuatl
Spanish dialect of Nicaragua_, Introd., p. 29. (Philadelphia, 1883.)]
[Footnote 32: Theodor Baker, _Ueber die Musik der Nord-Amerikanischen
Wilden._, pp. 51-53. (Leipzig, 1882.)]
[Footnote 33: _Omitl_, bone, _chicahuac_, strong. A specimen made of
the bone of a fossil elephant is possessed by Senor A. Chavero, of
Mexico. See Tezozomoc, _Cronica Mexicana_, cap. 55, and the note of
Orozco y Berra to that passage in the Mexican edition. Also Sahagun,
_Hist. de Nueva Espana_, Lib. VIII, cap. 20, who likewise describes
most of the instruments referred to in this section.]
[Footnote 34: H.T. Cresson, _On Aztec Music_, in the _Proceedings of
the Academy of Natural Sciences, Philadelphia_, 1883.]
[Footnote 35: Sahagun, _Historia de Nueva Espana_, Lib. II,
[Footnote 36: Duran, _Historia de las Indias de Nueva Espana_, Tom.
I, p. 233.]
[Footnote 37: Boturini, _Idea de una Nueva Historia General_,
Appendice, p. 95.]
[Footnote 38: Echevarria, _Historia del Origen de las Gentes de Nueva
Espana_, Discurso Preliminar.]
[Footnote 39: Clavigero, _Storia Antica di Messico_, Lib. VII, p.
[Footnote 40: "Ihre Sprachen sind ueberreich an doppelsinnigen
Ausdruecken die sie absichtlich anwenden um ihre Gedanken zu
verbergen. Geistliche haben mir versichert, dass sie obgleich der
Aztekischen Sprache vollstaendig maechtig, oft den wahren Sinn einer
Beichte nicht zu verstehen vermochten, weil die Beichtende sich in
raethselhafter und metaphorreicher Weise auszudruecken pflegten."
Carlos von Gagern, _Charakteristik der Indianischen Bevoelkerung
Mexico's_, p. 17 (in the _Mit. der Geog. Gesell._, Wien. 1837).]
[Footnote 41: Carochi's translations are not quite literal. The
following notes will explain the compounds:--
1. _Tlauitl_, red ochre, _quecholli_, a bird so called, _aztatl_, a
heron, _ehualtia_, reverential of _ehua_, to rise up; hence, "It (or
he) shone like a noble red-winged heron rising in flight."
2. _Ayauitl_, mist; _cocamalotl_, rainbow; _tonameyotl_, shining,
brightness; _ti_, connective; _mani_, substantive verb. "The
brightness of the rain bow is there." There is no conjunction "and";
Father Carochi seems to have carelessly taken _ayauh_, which is the
form of _ayauitl_ in composition, for the conjunction _auh_, and.
Each of the lines given is a detached fragment, without connection
with the others.
3. _xiuitl_, something blue or green; _coyolli_, bells;
_tzitzilicaliztli_, tinkling. "The golden drum's
4. _xiuhtic_, blue or green; _tlapalli_, red; _cuiloa_, to paint or
write; _amoxtli_, book; _manca_, imperf. of _mani_. "There was a book
painted in red and green." 5. _chalchiuhuitl_, the jade; _cozcatl_,
a jewel; _mecatl_, a string; _totoma_, frequentative of _toma_, to
unfold, unwind. "I unwind my song like a string of precious jewels."]
[Footnote 42: See above, page 10]
[Footnote 43: _On the Ikonomatic Method of Phonetic Writing, with
special reference to American Archeology_. By D. G. Brinton, in
Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society, for October,
[Footnote 44: This fact is mentioned by Lord Kingsborough in his
great work on Mexico, Vol. VI, p. 533.]
[Footnote 45: It is described in the _Anales del Museo Nacional_,
Tom. III, p. 262.]
[Footnote 46: Echevarria's words are "los pongo en su idioma." _Hist.
del Origen de las Gentes que poblaron la Nueva Espana, Discurso
Preliminar_, in Kingsborough's _Mexico_, Vol. VIII.]
[Footnote 47: See his _Tezcuco en los Ultimas Tiempos de sus Antiguos
Reyes_. Parte IV (Mexico, 1826).]
[Footnote 48: See the description of this fragment of Boturini by
Senor Alfredo Chavero in the _Anales del Museo Nacional_, Tom. III,
[Footnote 49: M. Aubin, _Notice sur une Collection d'Antiquites
Mexicaines_, pp. 8, 9. (Paris, 1851.)]
[Footnote 50: Printed very incorrectly in Lord Kingsborough's edition
of Ixtlilxochitl's _Relaciones Historicas_ (Rel. X, Kingsborough,
_Antiquities of Mexico_, Vol. IX, p. 454).]
[Footnote 51: See Sahagun, _Historia de Nueva Espana_, Lib. II,
[Footnote 52: Bustamente puts the number of the songs of
Nezahualcoyotl at eighty, of which he could find only one extant, and
this, as I understand his words, in Spanish only. See his _Tezcuco en
los Tiempos de sus Antiguous Reyes_, p. 253 (Mexico, 1826). When
Alexander von Humboldt visited Mexico he sought in vain for any
fragment of the songs of the royal bard. _Vues lies Cordilleres_,
etc., Tom. II, p. 391.]
[Footnote 53: _Tardes Americanas_, pp. 90-94. (Mexico, 1778.)]
[Footnote 54: Torquemada, _Monarquia Indiana_, Lib. II, cap. 45. The
word _huehuetitlan_, seems to be a misprint for _ahuehuetitlan_, from
_ahuehuetl_, with the ligature _ti_, and the postposition _tlan_,
literally "among the cypresses."]
[Footnote 55: _Op. cit._ Tom. I, p. 795.]
[Footnote 56: _Grammatica del Idioma Mexicano_, p. 180. (Mexico,
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