Maya and Aztec

Ancient Mesoamerican civilizations






Ancient Nahuatl Poetry ||| A SPRING SONG, A SONG OF EXHORTATION, BECAUSE CERTAIN ONES DID NOT GO TO THE WAR

Category: Ancient Nahuatl Poetry


XII. XOPANCUICATL NENONOTZALCUICATL IPAMPA IN AQUIQUE AMO ON MIXTILIA IN YAOC.

XII. 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,

ohuai.

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,

ohe! ohe!

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 tetlanĕnectiao, 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.

NOTES FOR SONG XII.

As stated in the Introduction (§ 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

Nahuatl.

3. epoyhuayan, from epoalli, sixty; teoquauhtli ocelott,

“divine eagles, tigers.” These terms refer to the warriors bearing

these titles.

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.


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