Maya and Aztec

Ancient Mesoamerican civilizations

Ancient Nahuatl Poetry ||| SONG XIV

Category: Ancient Nahuatl Poetry



1. Zan tzinitzcan impetlatl ipan, ohuaya; on tzinitzcan iceliztoca

oncan izan in ninentlamatia, in zan icnoxochicuicatica inocon ya

temohua ya ohuaya, ohuaya.

1. Only the tzinitzcan is in power, the tzinitzcan arouses me in my

affliction, letting fall its songs like sad flowers.

2. In canin nemiya icanon in nemitoconchia ye nican huehuetitlan a

ayiahue, ye onnentlamacho, ye mocatlaocoyalo ay xopancaliteca,

ohuaya, ohuaya.

2. Wherever it wanders, wherever it lives, one awaits it here with

the drum, in affliction, in distress, here in the house of spring.

3. Ac ipiltzin? Achanca ipiltzin yehuayan Dios Jesu Christo can

quicuilo antlacuiloa quicuilo ancuicatl a ohuaya, ohuaya.

3. Who is the royal son? Is not the royal son, the son of God, Jesus

Christ, as was written in your writings, as was written in your


4. O achan canel ompa huiz canin ilhuicac y xochintlacuilol

xochincalitec a ohuaya ohuaya.

4. Is not the flowery writing within the house of flowers that he

shall come there from heaven?

5. In ma ontlachialoya in ma ontlătlamahuicolo in

tlapapalcalimanican y ipalnemoa y tlayocol yehuan Dios, ohuaya.

5. Look around and wonder at this scene of many colored houses which

God has created and endowed with life.

6. Techtolinian techtlătlanectia y icuicaxochiamilpan,

intechontlătlachialtian ipalnemohua itlayocol yehuan Dios a


6. They make us who are miserable to see the light among the flowers

and songs of the fertile fields, they cause us to see those things

which God has created and endowed with life.

7. Ya ixopantla ixopantlatinenemi ye nican ixtlahuatl yteey, za

xiuhquechol quiahuitl zan topan xaxamacay in atlixco ya ohuaya,


7. They dwell in the place of spring, in the place of spring, here

within the broad fields, and only for our sakes does the

turquoise-water fall in broken drops on the surface of the lake.

8. Zan ye nauhcampay ontlapepetlantoc, oncan onceliztoc in

cozahuizxochitl, oncan nemi in Mexica in tepilhuan a ohuaya ohuaya.

8. Where it gleams forth in fourfold rays, where the fragrant yellow

flowers bud, there live the Mexicans, the youths.


This poem, chanted in 1551 before the Governor of Azcapotzalco, by

Francisco Placido, a native of Huexotzinco, is a Christian song in

the style and metre of the ancient poetry. See the Introduction, p.


1. impetlatl; the ordinary meaning of petlatl is a mat or rug; it

is here to be taken in its figurative sense of power or authority,

chiefs and other prominent persons being provided with mats at the

councils, etc.

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