Ancient Nahuatl Poetry ||| AN OTOMI SONG OF THE MEXICANS
Category: Ancient Nahuatl Poetry
IV. MEXICA OTONCUICATL.
IV. 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 xochitzetzelolpб 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.
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 Espaсa, 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.