Ancient Nahuatl Poetry ||| ANOTHER PLAIN SONG OF THE MEXICANSCategory: Ancient Nahuatl Poetry
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.