Note: the following songs were taken from,
(John Bierhorst, trans., 'Cantares Mexicanos: Songs of the Aztecs,'
CA: Stanford University Press, 1985).
Mexicanos: Song 44
In Tollan stood a house of beams. Still
standing are the serpent
columns. Nacxitl Topiltzin left it when he went away. Now our
nobles are bewailed with conch
horns. Now he goes to his destruction
yonder in Tlapallan.
Yonder you are passing through Cholollan. The land of
he traverses, and Acallan. Now our nobles are bewailed with conch
horns. Now he goes to his destruction
yonder in Tlapallan.
I come from Nonoalco. I, father Swan, I, Lord Whirler, and I
grieve. Gone is my lord Ihuitimal.
Matlacxochitl has left me in
bereavement. That the mountain collapses, I weep. That the sands
have risen, I grieve.
Gone is my lord Ihuitimal. Matlacxochitl has
left me in bereavement.
Tlapallan is the place where you are awaited,
where you are
summoned: and Cochiztlan, and perhaps Zacanco.
Alas, oh nevermore, oh nevermore. What of your home,
your place of
rain? What of this lordly realm of yours that you abandoned here,
this Tollan Nonoalco?
weep, O Lord, O praised one! What of your home, your place
of rain? What of this lordly realm of yours that you abandoned
this Tollan Nonoalco?
You were painted in stone and wood before you went away, yonder in
Tollan where you
came to rule. O Nacxitl Topiltzin, your name will
never be destroyed, because your vassals will be weeping.
you went away you built a turquoise house, a serpent house,
yonder in Tollan where you came to rule. O Nacxitl Topiltzin,
name will never be destroyed, because your vassals will be weeping.
Cantares Mexicanos: 54D
Descent is imminent! Descent is imminent! And there's a scattering
on the mesquite. Moteuczomatzin descends in
descends in blaze! He's in the world. He stirs!
And he's become an Eagle bird, a Jaguar cloud
companion on the
mesquite—in a carrying cage—this noble, this cloud companion, Prince
forebears Acamapichtli and Huitzilihuitl have been rewarded with
the great land, ah! The ancestor land. And Nezahuacoyotl
granted you guardianship over this house of cloud companions, this
cave dweller's house.
here on foot through brambles, through agaves. And
in Barrel Cactus' house of bleeding all my forebears have been
and given a seat! Quinatzin Tlaltecatzin and
Techotlalatl, lord of Seven Caves! They are much desired.
I am Nezahuacoyotl,
and I weep. I weep, and they take pity, these
hearts of mine in the place where all are shorn, my forebears,
Tlaltecatzin and Techotlalatl, lord of Seven Caves. They
are much desired.
All our miseries have arrived. Thus Acolmiztli's
been seen. Ah,
those Colhuacan voyagers, and even Atotoztli, are singing here.
Their weeping flowers have sprouted,
burgeoned: they are Coxcotzin
and Calcozametl. They found it a hardship, that great land, ah! That
ancestors land. And
they have come to plant their weeping flowers
here among the mesquite and the brambles, they, Coxcotzin and
he is dispatched! Let him go forth—or be born! He is my
captive! Let him go forth!—or be born! He is my captive!
Cantanres Mexicanos: Song 54E
At Coatepec, where the turquoise columns stand, there stood a plume
And how was that city abandoned? The Mexicans, the old ones,
coming forth, knew Chapultepec, here! And so you have arrived,
Tolnahuacatl, O Tozcuecuex!
Who, alas, knows how that city was abandoned? The Mexicans, the old
forth, knew Chapultepec, here! And so you have arrived,
O Tolnahuacatl, O Tozcuecuex!
O ama iye! It isn't true that
Mexicans are singing him. Their
source is where? The sky, where Life Giver sings! Hui Xahue!
Weep "Where will His vassal
The shields were reversed at Little Rocky. And as we stirred, we
Mexicans, Colhuacan was abandoned.
Weeping, His vassals—all! –now
stand in the water.
O princess! Lords! And as we stirred, we Mexicans,
abandoned. Weeping, His vassals—all!—now stand in the water.
I, a Mexican, I, Ocelopan,
say: How fortunate can they be, over
there, these lords Acolnahuacatl and Tezozomoc? Will their songs be
princess of Azcapotzalco!
When I have gone away to the Place Unknown, O you princess that are
mine, O dweller at
the Place, O Acacitli, then the war will end where
you are, then the blaze will stir where we are! For a moment let
be on guard at Azcapotzalco!
Cantares Mexicanos: Song 69
How the Mexicans stirred at
Chapultepec! And alas, Huitzilihuitl
went to his death in Colhuacan.
The Mexicans followed a route through water-weed.
That's how they
got there, that's how they got together in Colhuacan.
All the Xaltocamecs give warlike chase.
Chapultepec they spirit the Mexicans off to their destruction.
And Huitzilihuitl's people lift up cries of weeping.
it seems that Mexican Chichimecs are off to suffer misery in
Now this is what Achitometl says: he asks
for a sod float—an egret,
a coot, and a snake that comes coiled. "Let it proceed! And an
unshot deer!" He'll kill
it at home. And so that is how they asked
him for this island realm.
Here in this Tollan Tlapallan he will undo
our comrades, and here our
comrades shall be destroyed. Here a thrush is shrilling, a snake [or
a comrade] is rustling
[or stirring], a fish is soaring here a
multitude of flowers blooms. It is uneasy place that you rule, O
have they gone who came to establish the tuna—alas, the waters,
the willows, the tuna, the Jaguar throne—when
commanding them? Here our comrades shall be destroyed. Here a
thrush is shrilling: here a multitude
of flowers blooms. It is
uneasy place that you rule, O Moteuczomatzin!
Offering plume songs, O ruler, O
Oquiztzin, you are inflicting wounds
in someone's presence here on earth.
"I, the Arbiter, am come. So be it." Would
that you had merely
uttered Him, O comrades: our hearts must break as jades, near and in
the presence of Life Giver.
weep, you Mexican Lords. Once again we are to be destroyed in our
city. What says Life Giver?
Does commander Moteuczomatzin,
does Citlahuatzin, implore him? Oh do
be hailed, you Mexican lords! What says Life Giver?
By dint of this sadness
his hearts are going to whirl. O Priest
Let Life Giver do away with him. And does he still implore
vassals would most definitely be destroyed. And then bereavement
would suppurate in Someone's presence here
On earth you are rich, O Life Giver. But do it! Abandon these
Mexicans! On account of golden banners Tlatelolco's
dawnlight, ah! O Arbiter!
"Yet, I, the Arbiter, am poor, I grieve." Yes, eventually Life Giver
us away, and how does life go on? Would that life were as it
is! Do we still implore Him when we have traveled to His home?
this, we weep. Alas, Life Giver makes us drunk. Does
Acamapichtli, does Huitzilihuitl, implore Him here on earth?
then, is the Mexican nation, the Tepanec nation.
A flower plume, a swan, is pleasuring, is pleasuring flowers.
inhales a multitude of flowers, pleasuring: he is pleasuring in
They are leafy green and of Your flesh
and heart, O chichimec, O
warrior Lord, O Tetitl! These are jades, cacao flowers, popcorn
flowers, of Your heart. And
let's be pleasured.
As a flower tree, as laughing flowers, You come whirling down from
Tamoanchan, the flower seat.
Ah, flowers burgeon. Song-root
flowers. From within these flower plumes You sing, O Arbiter: You
make the fragrance:
You stand whirled. And let's be pleasured.
There is no second time on earth, you princess, you Chichimecs! So
be pleasured. These flowers are not carried to the Dead Land.
We merely borrow them. It is true: we pass away.
that it were not true! Yes, truly we pass away, we leave these
flowers, these songs, this earth. It is true, yes true:
we pass away.
Where we go, where we go to die, do we yet have life? Is there yet a
place of pleasure, yet a pleasure
land, O Life Giver? Delicious
flowers, songs, perhaps, are only here on earth. Let them be our
riches, let them be our
garment. Ah, with these be pleasured!
Be pleasured, Lords, Chichimecs, for we must pass away to Smoker's
Arbiter, Father Keeper at the Waters. You will have no
city. No one will be left on earth. Delicious flowers, songs: let
be our riches, let them be our garment. Ah, with these be
A shield-roaring blaze-smoke rises
up. Ah, and rising up as bell
dust it's equated with your flowers. Yaotl. In the distance shrills
a multitude of Eagle,
He befriends and He shows mercy. In a blaze the dust is stirring:
reed flowers turn gold, rain down as
a blade-mist, blossoming.
In Battle Flower Flood Land, at the House of Butterfly Shields,
Moteuczumatzin using javelins
recites—he is tossing off—his flood-
flower picture-paintings. And in that distant Mexico he is bartering
Your roseate swan's gone scattered away. And so you have departed,
Prince Tlacahuepan. It is gone to
shine. You have gone! The
turquoise Noble, Ascending Eagle, comes to shear you.
The seething blaze is stirring down
upon you, roaring. O Totec, you
have been done away with. Now the golden flowers are dispersed
beyond, O Lord, O Tlacahuepan.
grieve, my heart is misery. This orphaned one is what I see,
drifting as a feather into Spirit Land.
Land of Fire,
Land of Smoke, Land of Spirit-Becoming: now all the
bucklers have adorned him there. And ah! This orphaned one is what
see, drifting as a feather into Spirit Land.
I, the singer, am sad at heart, I grieve: with songs, with
am inflicting wounds on earth." Let them go ahead and say it,
unavailing, hating us and wishing we were dead:
"Everyone goes! Off
to the Dead Land!
"If you have been weary and disdainful, you will obscure your future
your glory here on earth." Let them go ahead and say it,
hating us and wishing we were dead: "Everyone goes! Off to the
Let's keep living here on earth, O Life Giver, O God, and let it be
in peace that there is a seeking-out
of Someone when we have traveled
to His Home.
Ah, let us die poor. Let it be done, though comrades call us down,
Eagles and Jaguars, reprimand us.
"You must produce them! You must get God's flowers!" On the field
of fear and
danger they are scarcely obtained, they are not obtained
at all. Well, let Him go ahead and do it for them! "Let's go ahead
Trust Him where He rules!" And for this He'll do away with you,
this Life Giver!
But grieve, O Executioner, O Water-Palace
Lord. And are you all mere
counterparts for gems and jades? Beware of being used. Don't be
you obliging? Is Life Giver in a mournful mood? Yes or no?
What does he say? Let our hearts keep sorrowing.
many does he "yes" and "no!" O Life Giver, you are intractable.
But let our hearts keep sorrowing.
O God, O Life
Giver. I am in sorrow: will it never be? Will I never
have the pleasure of One's company?
You strew them as beloved
ones, and ah! They come from you, your
riches, O Life Giver! They are the popcorn flowers, the cacao
flowers, that I
crave in sorrowing.
Your distant hearts and words are turquoise gems, broad plumes, O
father, O Life Giver! You
are merciful, compassionate. Yet briefly
are they near you and in your presence.
Your flowers are greening as jades.
O Life Giver. They flower-
sprout, they are blossoming as turquoise swans. But briefly are they
near you and in your
Alas, I have no pleasure, no happiness on earth.
Is this my lot? Is this my fate? Ah, bereavement
is all I have come
to know in someone's presence here.
Let there be borrowing, O friends. And only here. On earth!
Giver, what will your heart be requiring one of these days? We
must travel to his home, O friends. Then let us be pleasured!
Cantares Mexicanos: Song 29
O Moteuczomatzin, O Nezahualcoyotzin, O Totoquihuatzin, you have come
to spin, to
whirl, these nobles.
Borrow this city of yours for a moment. You are in it, O Lords!
It settles as Eagles, settles
as Jaguars—it settles! And ah! This
city of Mexico is fired upon.
He shrills, sprinkling good flowers, a multitude.
He that settles is
the Great One.
There! Eagles come alive. Jaguars warble. There! In Mexico! You
There! All are dancing. There! Eagles are spun, Jaguars are
With Eagle flower
garlands the city goes hunting: what's spun are
Jaguar flowers, the Lords Moteuczomatzin, and Cahualtzin.
O Yoyontzin, with our arrows, our shields—with
these—the city endures.
Cantares Mexicanos: Song 65
I strike up a song, I, Macuilxochitl, pleasuring Life Giver. Let
be dancing. A song! Let it be carried from where He dwells in
the Place Unknown. It's here! And here are Your flowers.
Your prize is Matlatzincan! O Blade Companion, O Axayacatl! You
have come to tear apart
the town of Tlacotepec!
And so you pleasure him, O Matlatzinca—him, your flower, your
butterfly, this whirled
one—in Toluca and in Tlacotepec.
With effort he is presenting plumes and flowers—to Someone! O Life
Eagle shields he lays in Someone's hands are won in danger on
the blazing field.
Just as our Songs, just as our
flowers, you, you Shaven Head, are
pleasuring Life Giver.
With Eagle Flowers lying in your hands, O Axayacatl—flood-and-blaze
sprouting—our comrades, all of them, are drunk.
With battle flowers blossoming upon us—as all move on to
to Mexico—our comrades, all of them, are drunk.
Hailed are the Nobles—the Acolhuans, the
When Axayacatl had conquered everywhere in Matlatzinco—in Malinalco,
in Ocuillan, in Tecualoyan,
and in Xocotitlan—he came away through
Xiquipilco, where an Otomi named Tlilatl wounded him in the leg. But
he got home he said to his women, "Get out the loincloth, the
cape, and so forth, and give them to your man!" He summoned
saying, "Let the Otomi come forth who wounded me in the leg." The
Otomi is fearful saying, "Perhaps they will kill
me." He hails
Axayacatl with timbers and deerskins. He comes in fear. But
Axayacatl's women just rewarded him.
Cantares Mexicanos: Song 15
How Tezozomoc was anointed Lord
From among the brambles and the mesquites, from
Seven Caves they are
all arriving. Ah! They are singing here!
Here come the Colhuan nobles, spinning. Here the Colhuan
our lords, are whirling.
Be borrowed for a moment, O Lords. O Tlacateuctzin, O Huitzilihuitl,
O Cuauhxilotl, O Totomihua, O Tlalnahuacatl, and even
Xiuhtototl, and Ixtlilxochitl. God in time shall be averse and come
break apart his realm. For this, Tezozomoc is weeping.
Now again the mesquites, now again the brambles. The Great Land
recalled! And this would seem to be the word of God.
Where do the flowers go? Where do they go, they that are
Eagles and Jaguars? That realm is broken up and scattered in this
Great Land! This would seem to be the word
of Life Giver.
All Lords throughout Cem-Anahuac were rich, were happy, and Life
Giver's words were strung together
and composed. They did indeed
perceive, they knew, God's heart. Those jades and bracelets, those
beads, knew chalk and
plumes, knew flowers: they knew war.
Gone are Tochin, Miccacalcatl, Lord Acolmixtli, even Lord Toteotzin,
alas, and Cuetzpaltzin, Ixtac Coyotl of Totomihuacan,
Tlaxcala's Lord Coatzin, alas, and Tlalotzin: they knew the flowers
What are you creating, you lords of Huexotzinco? Look toward
Acolhuacan, where skulls are broken! Look there
at Huexotla, at
Itztapallocan! Those realms now lie in darkness.
There a ceiba, a cypress! There! Among the mesquite
and the caves,
a fire-hardened one, who knows Life Giver!
"O Tlacateotl, O my dear Chichimec Lord, why does Tezozomoc
against us, wanting us to die? It seems he wishes combat and would
spread a war in Acolhuacan!
suffer, we give pleasure to Life Giver, O Colhuan, O
Mexican, O Tlacateotl! It seems he wishes combat and would spread
war in Acolhuacan!"
All are rich now once again on earth. "Not twice are shields, are
flowers, used. Not twice
does one give pleasure to Life Giver."
What this the Arbiter Xayacamach is pleasured.
Who does not crave the shield
flowers, the darkness flowers, the
blaze flowers, with which to be adorned? "O Nobles Quetzalmamatzin
the shield walls there is life, there is combat! The dove has
come: it calls!
There live the lordly noble Xiuhtzin
and Xayacamach. Oh, you are
giving pleasure to Life Giver.
Let there be dancing! Let there be sacrifice in war.
happiness. Now one desires to be created. O Lord! Ah, whence are
these nobles obtained?
As Plume banners
all go forth. Life Giver is pleasured on the field,
the place of shards.
As a bell he rises in our midst, he shrills—he,
Ixtac Coyotl, the
Huexotzincan, the Totomihuan.
Restless, you arise in war, O you that here descend on us, you
the realm of Huexzotzinco is besieged and fired upon.
The Land of Totomihuacan shall be abandoned, shall be destroyed.
their hearts will be tranquil. O you Lords of Huexotzinco!
Where mesquites and brambles stand, a cypress has arisen!
Giver, have mercy! Your shrines is Huexotzinco: and that realm lies
only in the Yonder.
Your vassals everywhere
are ruining things, breaking things apart,
nowhere resting, for your songs are being heard, O Only Spirit. Keep
them, you Lords.
His songs are returning! Life Giver is disgracing Tepeyacac, you
And where are you
to go? Tell yourselves, Tlaxcalans!
Tlacomihuatzin has just gone forth to God's blaze.
Like a jewel, like a plume,
have these Chichimecs prepared Ixtac
Coyotl the Totomihuan.
And Lord Quiauhtzin of Huexotzinco: "The Mexicans rage
the Colhuan rage against us. What route can there be? We're to go
away to the Place Unknown."
are sad, O Lords: you are uttering your fathers, Ayocuan and the
fire-burnished one who perchance indeed is Tzihuacpopoca.
has been in Chalco, in Acolhuacan, in the fields of Totomihuacan.
He destroys Cuauhquechollan's mat and throne. And he
He wreaks havoc here in all the land and realm. All Cem-Anahuac is
What will befall
them? Atl Popoca is the Lord'slave. The earth is
rolling over. Lord Cacamatl knows the whereabouts of Mictlan. What
Cantares Mexicanos: Song 51
a singer! Drums have appeared. Songs are spread here in
Chalco, on the field in Cocotitlan.
At Eagle patio the lords
are dancing. There! O Moteuczomatzin, O
Nezahualcoyotzin, O Chimalpopocatzin, you are entertained on the
field in Cocotitlan.
fall in a raining mist, they sprinkle down, they freshen: they
are flowers of the Only Spirit, Chichimec Lord.
Comrade lords are born and brought to life in distress. Ayocuan
and Iztac Coyotl come to pleasure you briefly. Is Ipaltinemi
to frown? Is he provoked?
It's raining jades. They are golden ones, these bursting ones. It
they are your flowers, O Life Giver. There! They lie
before the Dove!
They are not at peace, these flowers of Yours,
these shield flowers.
Flowers are becoming golden in this place of Lords. These shields,
these butterflies, are
scattered. Let them imbibe. They are Your
Eagle flowers: they are shinning, they are parceled out. These
of Yours are parceled out! And for this, Lord
Cuateotl is weeping.
A flower flood, a blaze, comes stirring. And
there you are, you
Lords! Let these Chichimecs borrow the garland Iztac Coyotl! Life
Giver lays his arrows. His Shields,
in your hands. Blaze flowers,
war flowers! Who does not want them? Who does not crave them, O
let them give Life Giver pleasure—thus! Drums are
standing, flowers spreading. The Chichimec Lord Toteotzin borrows
Well then, with Eagle flags, with golden shields, he pleasures
the Ascending Eagle.
With intent to spread them,
Life Giver proceeds to his city, this
Chalco, this Amaquemecan—his home.
"Let no one's heart flow out, O Lords,
O Chichimecs, let no one be
below or up above," is what God says on earth right here—in this,
Giver torments us, O Lords, for there Beyond he warbles. Can
Rush Capes—can the gorge—be here, be Chalco?
never will your fame and glory be destroyed, Life Giver!
Scattered are the combat flowers—shields and flowers, chalk
feathers—where the jungles lie. And where white banners lie the
heart flowers are blossoming, even here—in
Bereft and orphaned lies Itztompatepec. Nevermore, no longer shall
it be. May your heart take pity and be
appeased, O Moquequeloa, O
Life Giver! You torment the Lords, these, your vassals, and they are
warfare—shields and flowers—frighten us no longer, O Lords!
Through these the grandmothers and grandfathers
are painted with life
and endowed with a name. The realm shall be made to endure. May
your heart take pity and appeased,
O Moquequeloa, O Life Giver! You
torment the Lords, these, your vassals, and they are weeping.
Weep, Create them,
O Lords, O Chalcans, Amaquemes! Even now His
shields are in our house: the javelins are raining down.
Life Giver? What say the Only Spirit? The city of Chalco
lies in ruins. Scattered are your vassals. Let there be an end,
there be a termination to Life Giver word! May the Only Spirit have
Where jingles lie, where
combat lies, the reed lie broken—here in
Alas. The dust that is Lords grows golden as the town lies
And your vassals weep here in Chalco.
Never shall creations of the Only Spirit be destroyed or be
He wreaks havoc, He promotes rout, at Itztompatepec.
Alas. The dust that is Lords grows golden as the town
And your vassals weep here in Chalco.
Among the rushes you sing, O Moteuczomatzin, O Nezahualcoyotzin.
You destroy the realm: you ruin Chalco here on earth. Alas,
may your hearts be grieving!
You make marvels on earth,
and you destroy the realm: you ruin
Chalco here on earth. Alas, may your hearts be grieving!
You make marvels,
you paint the realm, O Moteuczomatzin from the
place of forebears! There! Life Giver loosens his grip. And you
to that Chalcan house of beams. There! Your fame will
never be destroyed. It seems that you have become a precious flower,
maize flower, falling in a mist, ah! Scattered there!
"I weep, I grieve, recalling Lords. O Necuametl! And
And Ce Acatzin! Yes, these Lords went away to
Mictlan, and with these the Chalcan realm is painted—here! Their
will never be destroyed—here!
"Hate me and you are poor, you that send me off to Mictlan." O
O Iztac Coyotl, you are acquainted with misery and
suffeing! "May you believe it, O Huexotzinco!"
Life Giver warbles
in Tlapitzahuacan's house. Mist is rising in that
flower court. Chief Chalchiuhtlatonac weeps.
Who is it? Hear the
words Lord Chichicuepon Slain-in-war bequeaths
in passion on! From Mictlan will the Lords utter—here!—their
Departing, they become as jewels. Departing, they become as plumes.
All have been shorn in the
All the Lords are moving on. O Lords, Tlaltecatl, Xocuahuatzin,
Tozmaquetzin, Necuametzin! Life Giver
paints but briefly. You are
at a time for restitution, Lord Cuateotl, O Chalchiuhtlatonac!
Create him! Weep! Recall
Lord Toteotzin! Let him come and enter
these ghost waters. This willow plume is greening. Eternal are the
and see us in this place of arrows. Ah, gone are the peers and
scions: they are Eagle owls! Ah! All are shorn, O Lords.
Huetzin, Cacamatl, and Tzincacahuaca. No longer shall their fate be
yours, O Chichimec, Lord Toteotzin!
Lords! Weep! And you are enriched. O Life Giver. You are
making marvels on the bosom of the flood, Lord Toteotzin, Lord
Life Giver maddens you.
You parcel out jades and bracelets, strew broad plumes. Sobs, tears,
fall in a raining mist.
Now all are summoned. O Lord Tozan,
And now you are believed, O priest, Cuateotl! No matter
heart be destroyed: an Eagle flood shall lie outspread before His
face. The earth rolls over, the sky shakes.
There! The Chichimec
Tlacamazatl is forsaken.
Scattered are the Chalcans: scattered the Huexotzincan! O Lord
Tlailotlaqui! And how do you make your entry? You are
using Lord Toteotzin, the Chalcan, the Amaqueme, as your wall.
do You say? He has no arrows, no shields. You are using, you
are uttering Miccacalcatl, O Lord Quiauhtzin Tlailotlaqui.
do you make your entry? You are using Lord Toteotzin, the Chalcan,
the Amaqueme, as your wall.
and Lord Coatzin are weeping here. And Temilotzin
grieves here. And Totzin has departed. Parceled out is the Chalcan,
where the flood flows, there! Multiple Eagles and Jaguars,
multiple Mexicans, Acolhuans, and Tepanecs, do the Chalcans
Cantares Mexicanos: Song 17
Where are you singer? Here, let the flower drums appear. They are
twirling down as plumes.
They are littered as golden flowers.
You'd pleasure Lords, Princes, Eagles, Jaguars.
Ah,he's descended. The
singer's at the drum. He's setting them free
as echo, singing along, spreading flowers. Let's have these flowers!
how do I hear his songs? Ah! It's Life Giver who gives him the
echo. Bellbirds gives him the echo, singing along, spreading
Let's have these flowers!
These jades are falling as a mist of plumes. Ah! They are your
songs. And this is how
Ayocuan, yes, Cuetzpal, utters them. It
would seem indeed that this one has acquaintance with Life Giver.
is how that Lord, that vaunted one, comes creating them.
Yes, with plume-like bracelet beads he pleasures the Only Spirit.
else would Life Giver Acquiesces? How else could there be
anything good on earth?
"Let me borrow for a moment, for
a while, these jades and bracelets,
these princes. I flower-spin these nobles. Here! As songs of mine I
ah! Besides the drum.
"For a moment I have companions here in Huexotzinco, I, nitla'tohuani
Nitecaehuatzin. I am
assembling jades, emeralds, lords. I flower-
spin these nobles, ah!"
From heaven, ah, come good flowers, good songs.
They put away our
cares, they put away our pain. Ah, it is the Chichimec lord,
Tecayehuatzin! Be pleasured.
are scattering down as plume-like popcorn flowers, spinning
down as white morning glories, lords, nobles, moving along
branches, inhaling this plume-like cornsilk flower tree.
A golden bellbird! A beautiful song! You're singing
a beauty. And
you that are warbling are there, it would seem, on the flower-tree
branches, where flowers are swelling.
would seem that you're swan for Life Giver, a singer for God, you,
the first of these singers to watch for the dawn.
my heart desires shield flowers, Life Giver's flowers, what
might happen to this heart of mine? Alas, it is for nothing
have come to be born here on earth.
"I am to pass away like a ruined flower. My fame will be nothing, my
here on earth will be nothing. There may be flowers, there
may be songs, but what might happen to this heart of mine? Alas,
is for nothing that we have come to be born here on earth.
"Friends, be pleasured! Let us put our arms around
shoulders here. We are living in a world of flowers here. No one
when he is gone can enjoy the flowers,
the songs, that lie outspread
in this home of Life Giver.
"Earth is but a moment. It the Place Unknown the same?
happiness and friendship? Is it not just here on earth that
acquaintances are made?"
I've heard a song.
I hear the fluting of the garland, Lord Ayocuan.
He's answered you. From within the house of flowers Aquiahuatzin has
you. And commander Ayapancatl.
"The Life Giver, Spirit, where are you! I seek you time and again.
For you I grieve,
I, the singer. I give you pleasure.
"Porpcorn flowers, plume-like popcorn flowers are drizzling into this
of green places, this house of paintings. I give you much
It seems that there in Tlaxcala they are singing
as jade songs beside
the drum. And there is a narcotic that's flower-narcotic. And Lord
Xicotencatl, and Tizatlacatzin,
and Camaxochitzin are entertained
with this music, awaited with these flowers—they that are songs of
O Life Giver, it seems your home is everywhere. The Flower Mat is
here! And Lords, whirled as flowers there,
are making prayers to you.
That multitude of flower trees is standing up besides the drum. As
baby maize ears, yes,
as plumes, they are spun. They are scattered.
They are holy flowers.
Bellbird is singing in the plume arbor. He
echoes the lords, he
delights those Eagle Jaguars.
Flowers are sprinkling down. Let there be dancing beside the
friends. Whom do we await? Our hearts are grieving.
I grieve, I, Cuauhtencoztli. Our flower
drums stand wrapped in
sadness. Is it true? Let it not be so. Our songs are good no more."
But let them arise! Let
them appear! We live beyond, exist beyond.
You are poor, my friend. Let me take you away. Arise beyond!
alas." O friends, whatever you utter sings here!
From where the Flower Court lies comes one of the nobles. Ah, it is
He comes singing through tears from the house of
green places. Unhappy are the flowers, unhappy the songs.
created here is misery.
"The pain is hard. We move along in anguish. Motenehuatzin am I,
and in grieving songs I
plume-spin lords, nobles, rulers, and
Telpoloatl, Lord Tepoloatl. We're all alive in this house of green
the flowers, unhappy the songs. Everything created
here is misery."
I've heard a song. I see him in Green Places,
walking in Dawn's
House along the flower shore, calling to turquoise swans and green-
corn birds. It's the roseate swan
O friends, who are they that dwell within God's house of green-swan
cacao flowers? Keep on tilling
this plume garden. Let me, let me
see them laughing like jade flutes, conversing like flower log
drums. And might these
lords and nobles strike and resonate the
turquoise-brilliant drums within this house of flowers?
Hear it! He is
shrilling, warbling on the branches of the flower
tree. He is shaking! It is the golden flower-bell, the rattle
the swan, Lord Monencauhtzin. Like a gorgeous troupial
fan he spreads his wings and soars beside the flower drum.
reached the top. Flowers have reached the top. The flowers
are blooming in the presence of Life Giver. And He's given you
echo. Oh, heart!
You've brought down precious birds of God. Your songs, your riches,
are plentiful. You are
giving pleasure. Flowers are stirring.
"A singer am I, and everywhere I walk, everywhere I speak, the plume
popcorn flowers sprinkle down on this flower court, this house
"From Flower Place come all the whirling
flowers that make hearts
spin. They themselves come scattering, come strewing flowers,
whirled ones, narcotic flowers.
They've entered upon the Flower Mat. And he who sings abundantly,
who warbles in this home of yours, this picture
Xayacamach. Cacao flowers intoxicate his heart.
There's a beautiful song. And the one who shrills, who
song, is Tlapalteuccitzin. Great is his pleasure. His flowers are
sifting down. And the flowers are cacao
O friends, I seek you, running through all these gardens. And here
you are. Pass away in gladness, pass
away producing songs. I have
arrived, I, your comrade, your comrade.
Among these flowers am I introducing Tzitzi-weed
flowers? Is that the way it is? Am I simple? Am I poor? O friends!
Who am I that soar? I compose.
I flower-sing, I, a butterfly of
song. Let my cares be put aside. Let my heart enjoy it.
I come from Home. I have
descended, I, a swan of Green Places,
arriving on earth. I spread my wings beside the flower drum. My
songs are lifted.
They are born on earth.
It seems that I myself am cultivating songs, keeping company with
those who work the soil.
I, your humble comrade, am snaring my plume-
like ancestors as golden garlands.
I am on guard in the flower fields,
I, your poor little friend. With
gorgeous flower fronds I thatch my troopers' flower tents, rejoicing
in these fields
of God. Be pleasured!
Pass away rejoicing greatly, you flower jewels, for He is Lord. Will
you live again? Ah, your
heart knows that you live forever.
I have arrived in the branches of the flower tree, I, Flower
in the aroma, rejoicing. Sweet, fragrant,
are my words.
With flowers you are prayed to, O God, O Life Giver. We
bow down, we
pleasure you beside the flower drum, O Water-Palace Lord.
The drums are kept: they are kept beyond
in the house of Green
Places. Your comrade War Declarer, (Yaomanatzin) Arrow Snake
(Micohuatzin), and Rattle Eagle (Ayacuauhtzin)
are awaiting you.
These Lords are sighing in flowers.
"This city of Huexotzinco has been coveted: it's hated:
encased with spines, bristling with javelins, this Huexotzinco."
Gongs, rattles, are ringing at your home
Tecayehuatzin, Lord Quecehuatl, stands guard there, fluting, singing
in his home, in Huexotzinco.
God the father is descending. Jaguar Eagle drums are ringing
in his home. Gong music is ringing.
It would seem to
be so. Ah, these flowers are plumes—yes, a trailing
cape of plumes. It's in a house of pictures that the realm is
in safety, that the Only Spirit is held in veneration.
Your city is the Jade Land is ascending on an arrow
fire of flowers.
My city of the golden pictures is your home, O Only Spirit.
Friends, hear the words of a dream:
the golden milk corn sustains us
in summer, the roseate-swan green corn gives us life, and it bejewels
us to know that
friend's hearts have been converted to the faith.
Cantares Mexicanos: Song 45
Your hearts are shaken down as paintings, O Moteuczomatzin. "I come
come shaking down, these laughing ones. The quetzal-
butterfly flowers come winging like plumes: I cause them to dance,
skillful music with a jade-water conch horn, blowing [or
smelting] jade flutes as though gold.
"I crave your flowers,
O Life Giver, O God. Shaking them down, I am
provided with songs.
"These flowers, these hearts of mine are stirring
as parrots. These
flowers, these log drums of mine are stirring as parrots. As
flowers, as pictures, as parrots I spread
out His words."
Be joyful. Be pleasured. These are not forever here: we must go to
His home, my brave, my lord,
O Moteuczomatzin. On earth they are
loaned: the delicious flowers are loaned.
In blaze land, fragrantly, you come
filled with sunray and as
flowers, O God. Ah, He that shines among the Jaguar blades, He, the
Eagle, screams. Ah, He
is in His place.
"I soar along, winging in God's presence. And the roseate swans, the
troupials, the plume-like
captive butterflies, are shaken down as
noble lords in the presence of all. By means of a flower-water conch
songs are marching forth.
"I arrive, come from where the green Great Water lies. Most
definitely does it stir, seethes:
it roars. I fly, a quetzal. I
become a turquoise swan and go to be amid the flood in Huexotzinco."
Amid flower water,
where water of gold and water of jades are
pouring, sings the Plume Duck: plume and tail are whirling.
I, the singer,
stand aloft. Where the troupial shines, where the
rushes are, I am unfurling these songs, I who provide Him with
I am a singer, beholding my flowers: they lie in my hand,
these songs, and they make my heart drunk. My hearts, my creations,
I regard my songs as turquoise beads, as plume jades. Let these good
flowers lie in my hand, these songs,
they make my heart drunk. My
hearts, my creations, are everywhere.
I regard these good songs of mine, these good
flowers, as plumes
jades, O brothers, O Lords. Be pleasured. No one is to live on
I that am to go away
am not to carry off these good songs, these, my
good flowers, O brothers, O Lords.
I weep. I have shaken down the
Will you go with me to the Place Unknown? Ah, I am not to carry off
these flowers, singer that I am. Be
pleasured. You are hearing my
Ah, singer I am, I weep that the songs are not taken to His home, the
flowers not carried down to Mictlan, there, ah there, beyond,
alas, the whirled ones, ah.
These are your raiment
and your wealth, O Lords. Oh not to His home
are they taken, these songs. Not to Mictlan are the good flowers
down, there, ah there, beyond, alas, the whirled ones, ah.
Cantares Mexicanos: Songs of the Aztecs (Song 72)
I strike up a song, singing the songs of God Life Giver.
from the Place of Song Marvels, God Necoc comes. Lords! Let
these sacred blooms be borrowed.
This multitude stands
leafing out as Eagles. They are the trogon-
sprouting drums—of yours, O Life Giver—with which our Nobles give
pleasure. So it would seem in this patio of flower song!
White feather flowers blossom where Ixtlilcuechahuac
as a plume, a
rattle bird, is shrilling, singing. A golden oriole, it is
Tlacahuepan, soars along. Ah, so it would seem
in this patio of
Life Giver, you are reciting, your songs in color—as trogons,
roseate swans. And you are taking these comrades of yours
to be your plumes, these Eagles, these Jaguars. Yes, you are
Who will be orphaned? Who will go where there is nobility and fame?
You comrades! These Eagles, these Jaguars!
Yes, you spur them on.
What's to befall me? Let me die! Let me be a quetzal. Let me go
and fly, alas, in heaven.
And for this I weep.
Brief is your presence, Life Giver. But yes, it is true: you paint
us: there Beyond you show
us mercy—near you and in your presence.
Cantares Mexicanos: Songs of the Aztecs (Song 73)
We are assembling troupials, quetzals, ah! They are Lords. And
give them flower poyomatli, give this multitude of flowers jewels.
And we, in comradeship, become acquainted beside
We have only borrowed our flower drums, only borrowed our flower
rattles, these, our songs—our flowers!
They are briefly pleasured.
These plume-like popcorn flowers coming green, swelling , blossoming,
these Lords, Eagles,
Jaguars: however many issue forth, however many
come to be scattered here on earth, must wither.
And we? We won't
be pleasuring Life Giver forever. Let's pleasure
ourselves with Your flowers, and with these songs! We merely borrow
flowers of His, merely borrow these yellow flowers.
They are war flowers, spinning in the field, whirling in the dust.
make these blaze-flowers flow, desiring them, seeking them.
But is there pleasure? There is only death.
and seek these warm delicious ones. But is there
pleasure? There is only death.
How Life Giver scatters these flowers
of his! How he puts them into
this house—these sacred ones that are whirling, greening, blossoming!
are scattering, they are drifting down as a rain of knives,
a rain of javelins! It is true: fire tassel's are drifting
one dares go near them.
Cantares Mexicanos: Songs of the Aztecs (Song 76)
War Song, A Song of Motecuzomatzin
Motecuzomatzin, you creature of heaven, you
sing in Mexico, in
Here where Eagle multitudes were ruined, your bracelet house stands
in the home of God our father.
There and in that place they come alive, ah! The nobles
Ixtlilcuechahuac and Matlaccuiatzin.
in that place these nobles again renown and honor: bells are
scattered, dust and lords grow golden.
We'll dare to go where fame, where glory's, gotten,
where nobility is gotten, where flower death is won.
and honor live, O Lords. Lord Tlacahuepan!
Ixtlilcuechahuac! You have gone and won war death.
Sky dawn is rising
up. The multitude, the birds, are shrilling.
Precious swans are being created. Turquoise troupials are being
you, arrayed in chalk and plumes. O flower-drunk
Motecuzomatzin! Precious swans are being created. Turquoise
are being created.
Cantares Mexicanos: Songs of the Aztecs (Song 77)
Yaocuicacuextacayotl (This one's a Huaxtex War Song)
Where bells are shrilling
and the dust of lords in blaze arises, a
war-flower Huaxtec is carried down. It is Tlacahuepan.
House of multicolored
spines is where he dwells, drinking flower
wine. It is Tlacahuepan.
Hear them! They come battle-chanting to this
warrior town. We are
drunk! We are Huaxtecas, hey! And with these shields Our Lord is
pleasured. Our pine flowers come
whirling in a blaze. We are
Huaxtecas, hey! And they come jingle-shouting. With these shields
Our Lord—It's God!—is
Plume-water torso-painted Nezahuapilli, my great one, my Lord!
Yonder all the Huaxtecs are
drunk with this shield-flower wine:
there is dancing on the breast of the flood.
You blow your conch for Jaguar
reeds. You stand up Eagle-Blaring on
your round-stone, O noble Lord, departing Drum! And yonder all the
drunk with shield-flower wine: there is dancing on the
breast of the flood.
A woman am I, and I have come to be
drunk, saying: "Can there be
Dance, Stalwart! A woman am I, and I have some to be dunk,
"Can there be life two times?"
Matlaccuiatzin has tippled on plume water, on flower water, and it is
him drunk in the field.
Matlaccuiatzin has gone to the Place Unknown adorned with these plume-
water flowers, these
These adornments are my headband: I am Flower Lord, a woman! And we
are in company with a dancing
rush hunter. Let all our flower ghosts
be gorgeously drunk. We have all gotten drunk together, my nephews!
have arrived, and we are dunk! I am Flower Lord, a woman! And we
are in company with dancing rush hunters. Our flower ghosts
gorgeously drunk. We have all gotten drunk together, my nephews, ah!
Seething on the plume flood, they make
us drunk, us Mexicans, and
hey! "Just weeping, I recall Chichimecs. Alas.
"Nezahuapilli am I, and I weep. From where
he dwells, beyond, he
blossoms forth, this flower of war. Just weeping, I recall him, and
As a waterfowl
plume you have soared away, O flower, O great one, O
Tlacahuepan. He is followed his Father to the Place Unknown.
is in the Water that he sings and warbles, and his fellow swans—
these noble lords, these Huaxtecs, hey!—are
chanting and tippling on
plume-water flower wine.
A bell has blossomed! Down below, poor Screecher trembles. Ah,
is Ixtlilcuechahuac! And this is how he wins his fame: he snatches
withered plumes. It's as though oh! It's as though
At water's Navel, blazing waves have seethed upon them. This is how
Ixtlil-Otoncochotzin *(Warrior-Parrot) wins his fame:
he snatches withered plumes. It's as though oh! Huaxtecs were made
city lies painted in jades. And at the Hummingbird Mountain you
are stringing plume jades into a necklace. ***
fame will never perish, Axayacatl! And all the roseate swans,
the troupials, are spreading their wings in Flower Tlapallan.
are the Lords. They are my nephews.
Having performed knife-death labor, my nephews Huitzilihuitl and
have gone away leaving hummingbird flower water
seething here in Mexico. Let everyone be drunk on this.
noble stalwart Ahuitzotl still implore the Only Spirit in
his home? Indeed, he gives Him jade-jewel plumes, broad ones.
Cantares Mexicanos: Songs of the Aztecs (Song 78)
Occe Yaotlatolcuicatl (Another Musical Call To Arms)
I strike it up—here!—I,
the singer. Flowers, good songs, are
blooming in my heart. With these I fan Life Giver.
I am dancing—here!—I,
the singer. Flowers, good songs, are blooming
in my heart. With these I fan Life Giver.
Nobles and Rulers are sprouting
as Eagles, greening as Jaguars, in
Mexico: Lord Ahuitzotl is singing arrows, singing shields.
Life Giver, let your
flowers not be gathered! Dust and lords are
smoking on the field. You have given necklaces to Totoquihuaztli and
Nezahualpilli. You have adorned them in shield
flowers. Lord Ahuitzotl is singing arrows, singing shields.
I weep. What good is this? The shield flowers are carried
away, they are sent aloft. Ah, where can I find what my heart
was death! Incomparable flower death! Life Giver has
blessed it. Ah, where can I find what my heart desires?
the good songs whence they come—and I am poor. Let me not
Where am I to find your flowers, Life Giver?
Alas, I am poor. Let
me not sing.