Maya and Aztec

Ancient Mesoamerican civilizations


Category: Ancient Nahuatl Poetry



Totoco totoco tico, totoco totoco ic ontlantiuh tico titico ti tico


Totoco, totoco, tico, totoco totoco, then it ends with tico titico,

titico, tico.

1. Nicaya quetza con tohuehueuh aoniquimitotia quauhtlocelo yn ca

tiyayhcac in cuicaxochitl, nictemoan cuicatl ye tonequimilol ayyo.

1. I bring forth our drum that I may show the power and the grandeur

in which thou standest, decked with flowers of song: I seek a song

wherewith to drape thee, ah! oh!

2. Ti Nopiltzi o ti Nezahualcoyotl o tiya Mictl a quenonamica y yece

miyoncan ay yo.

2. Thou, my Lord, O thou Nezahualcoyotl, thou goest to Mictlan in

some manner and at a fixed time, ere long.

3. Quiyon quiyon caya nichocaya ya ni Nezahualcoyotl huiya queni yeno

yaz o ya nipolihuiz oya miquitla ye nimitzcahua noteouh ypalnemo o

tinechnahuatia ye niaz nipolihuiz aya, yo.

3. For this, for this, I weep, I Nezahualcoyotl, inasmuch as I am to

go, I am to be lost in death, I must leave thee; my God, the Giver of

Life, thou commandest me, that I go forth, that I be lost, alas.

4. Quenon maniz tlallin Acolihuacan huiya cuixoca quen mano o

ticmomoyahuaz in momacehuali ye nimitzcahua noteouh, etc.

4. How shall the land of Acolhuacan remain, alas? How shall we, thy

servants, spread abroad its fame? I must leave thee; my God, etc.

5. Can yio cuicatli tonequimilol quipoloaya a in totlacuiloli

tepilhuan oo maya o huitihua nican aya ayac ichan tlalticpac oo

ticyacencahuazque huelic ye xochitl ayio.

5. Even this song for thy draping may perish, which we have written

for our children, it will no longer have a home here on earth when we

shall wholly leave these fragrant flowers.

6. O ayac quitlamitaz monecuiltonol ypalnemoa a noyolquimati

cuelachic otictlanehuico Nezahualcoyotzin ay oppatihua nican anaya y

chan tlpc. Oon yn ay oppatihua in tlalticpacqui, zan nicuicanitl

ayaho onnichocaya niquelnamiqui Nezahualcoyotl aya ho.

6. Alas! thy riches shall end; the Giver of Life teaches me that but

for a little while do we enjoy the prince Nezahualcoyotl, nor a

second time will he come to his house on earth; no second time will

he rejoice on earth; but I the singer grieve, recalling to memory


7. Xo acico ye nican in teotl aya ypalnemoa, ayaho on nichocaya a

niquelnamiqui Nezalhuacoyotl ayio.

7. Let us seek while here the god, the Giver of Life; I grieve,

recalling to memory Nezahualcoyotl.


Although No. V. is probably one of the lost songs of Nezahualcoyotl,

the present is the only one of the collection which is definitely

attributed to him. The language is very archaic, and in the sentiment

there is every mark of antiquity.

The text is apparently a dialogue, which was chanted as strophe and

antistrophe, the one singer speaking for the King, the other for the

bard himself.

The word teotl is used for divinity, and it is doubtless this word

for which the copyists of some of the other songs have substituted

the Spanish Dios, thus conveying an impression that the chants

themselves were of late date.

The last verse, however, seems to be by one who lives after the time

of the great poet-prince, and is calling him to memory.

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