Maya and Aztec

Ancient Mesoamerican civilizations

Ancient Nahuatl Poetry ||| ANOTHER

Category: Ancient Nahuatl Poetry



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.


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

appropriate terms.

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 Espaсa, 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.

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