Maya and Aztec

Ancient Mesoamerican civilizations

Ancient Nahuatl Poetry ||| A SONG OF HUEXOTZINCO

Category: Ancient Nahuatl Poetry



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

coyonacazco, ohuaya.

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

yeŭch motelchiuh on ya o anquin ye mochin, ha in tlayotlaqui, ah

in tlacotzin, ah in tlacateuctli in oquichtzin y huihui ica зa 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 xăconmatican 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.


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; Simйon, 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.

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