Maya and Aztec

Ancient Mesoamerican civilizations

Ancient Nahuatl Poetry ||| SONG XXII

Category: Ancient Nahuatl Poetry



Tico tico ticoti tico tico ticoti auh ic ontlantiuk in cuicatl

totoco totoco.

Tico, tico, ticoti, tico, tico, ticoti, and then the song ends with

totoco, totoco.

1. Xichocayan nicuicanitl nicitta noxochiuh zan nomac ommania zan

quihuintia ye noyollo ni cuicatl aya nohuian nemia, zan ca ye noyollo

notlayocola in cayo.

1. In the place of tears I the singer watch my flowers; they are in

my hand; they intoxicate my soul and my song, as I walk alone with

them, with my sad soul among them.

2. Xiuhtlamatelolla quetzalchalchiuhtla ipan ye nicmatia nocuic aya

ma yectlaxochitl y, zan nomac ton mania, etc.

2. In this spot, where the herbage is like sweet ointment and green

as the turquoise and emerald, I think upon my song, holding the

beauteous flowers in my hand, etc. (as in v. 1).

3. In quetzalin chalchiuhtla ipan ye nicmatia yectli ye nocuic yectli

noxochiuh annicuihuan tepilhuan aya xonahuiacan a ayac onnemiz o in

tlalticpac ayo.

3. In this spot of turquoise and emerald, I think upon beauteous

songs, beauteous flowers; let us rejoice now, dear friends and

children, for life is not long upon earth.

4. O an niquitquiz ye niaz yectli nocuic yectli noxochiuhui

annicuihuan tepilhuan aya.

4. I shall hasten forth, I shall go to the sweet songs, the sweet

flowers, dear friends and children.

5. O huayanco o nichocaya a huayanco o cahua y yahue nictzetzelo

xochitl ay yo.

5. O he! I cried aloud; O he! I rained down flowers as I left.

6. Mach nohuan tonyaz quennonamica o ah nicitquiz xochitl zan

nicuicanitl huiya ma yo a xonahuiyacan to ya nemia ticaqui ye nocuic


6. Let us go forth anywhere; I the singer shall find and bring forth

the flowers; let us be glad while we live; listen to my song.

7. Ay ca nichocaya nicuicanitl ya icha ahuicaloyan cuicatl ha Mictlan

temohuiloya yectliya xochitl onca ya oncaa y yao ohuayan ca ya ilaca

tziuhan ca na y yo.

7. I the poet cry out a song for a place of joy, a glorious song

which descends to Mictlan, and there turns about and comes forth


8. Amo nequimilool amo neccuiltonol antepilhuan aychaa ohuicaloyan


8. I seek neither vestment nor riches, O children, but a song for a

place of joy.


The ordinary sad burden of the Nahuatl poets is repeated with

emphasis in this plaint. It is a variation of the Epicurean advice,

“Eat, drink, and be merry, for to-morrow we die.” Both the sentiment

and the reference to Mictlan in verse 7, point it out as a production

uninfluenced by Christian teaching.

7. The word ahuicaloyan, place of sweetness, would seem to be

identical with ohuicaloyan, place of difficulty, in v. 8; I have

regarded the latter as an error of transcription.

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