Maya and Aztec

Ancient Mesoamerican civilizations

Ancient Nahuatl Poetry ||| SONG XXV

Category: Ancient Nahuatl Poetry



Tico toco tocoto ic ontlantiuh ticoto ticoto.

Tico, toco, tocoto, and then it ends, ticoto, ticoto.

1. Toztliyan quechol nipa tlantinemia in tlallaicpac oquihuinti ye

noyol ahua y ya i.

1. The sweet voiced quechol there, ruling the earth, has intoxicated

my soul.

2. Ni quetzaltototl niyecoya ye iquiapan ycelteotl yxochiticpac

nihueloncuica oo nicuicaihtoa paqui ye noyol ahuay.

2. I am like the quetzal bird, I am created in the house of the one

only God; I sing sweet songs among the flowers; I chant songs and

rejoice in my heart.

3. Xochiatl in pozontimania in tlallaicpac oquihuinti ye noyol ahua.

3. The fuming dew-drops from the flowers in the field intoxicate my


4. Ninochoquilia niquinotlamati ayac in chan oo tlallicpac ahua.

4. I grieve to myself that ever this dwelling on earth should end.

5. Zan niquittoaya ye ni Mexicatl mani ya huiya nohtlatoca

tequantepec ni yahui polihuin chittepehua a ya ye choca in

tequantepehua o huaye.

5. I foresaw, being a Mexican, that our rule began to be destroyed, I

went forth weeping that it was to bow down and be destroyed.

6. Ma ca qualania nohueyotehua Mexicatli polihui chile.

6. Let me not be angry that the grandeur of Mexico is to be


7. Citlalin in popocaya ipan ye moteca y za ye polihui a zan ye

xochitecatl ohuaye.

7. The smoking stars gather together against it; the one who cares

for flowers is about to be destroyed.

8. Zan ye chocaya amaxtecatl aya caye chocaya tequantepehua.

8. He who cared for books wept, he wept for the beginning of the



The destruction of the Mexican state was heralded by a series of

omens and prodigies which took place at various times during the ten

years preceding the arrival of Cortes. They are carefully recorded by

Sahagun, in the first chapter of the 12th book of his history. They

included a comet, or “smoking star,” as these were called in Nahuatl,

and a bright flame in the East and Southeast, over the mountains,

visible from midnight to daylight, for a year. This latter occurred

in 1509. The song before us is a boding chant, referring to such

prognostics, and drawing from them the inference that the existence

of Mexico was doomed. It was probably from just such songs that

Sahagun derived his information.

1. toztliyan, I suppose from tozquitl, the singing voice, in the

locative; literally, “the quechol in the place of sweet-singing.”

2. iquiapan, from i, possessive prefix, quiauatl, door,

entrance, house, pan, in.

5. An obscure verse; tequantepec, appears to be a textual error;

tequani, a ravenous beast, from qua to eat; tepec, a mountain;

but tequantepehua occurring twice later in the poem induces the

belief tequani should be taken in its figurative sense of

affliction, destruction, and that tepec is an old verbal form.

7. Xochitecatl, “one who cares for flowers,” is said by Sahagun to

have been the name applied to a woman doomed to sacrifice to the

divinities of the mountains (Hist. Nueva Espaсa, Lib. II, cap. 13).

8. amaxtecatl, or amoxtecatl, as the MS. may read, from

amoxtli, a book.

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