A “spring song” in which the distinguished warriors of Netzahualcoyotl are compared to precious stones. The original is said to have been written down by Don Fernando de Avila, governor of Tlalmanalco, from the mouth of Don Juan de Aguilar, governor of Cultepec, a direct descendant of Netzahualcoyotl. The poem is attributed to Netzahualcoyotl.
A SPRING SONG
1. The flowery spring has its house, its court, its palace, adorned with riches, with goods in abundance.
2. With discreet art they are arranged and placed, rich feathers, precious stones, surpassing in luster the sun.
3. There is the valued carbuncle, which from its beauteous center darts forth rays which are the lights of knowledge.
4. There is the prized diamond, sign of strength, shooting forth its brilliant gleams.
5. Here one sees the translucent emerald suggesting the hope of the rewards of merit.
6. Next follows the topaz, equaling the emerald, for the reward it promises is a heavenly dwelling.
7. The amethyst, signifying the cares which a king has for his subjects, and moderation in desires.
8. These are what kings, princes and monarchs delight to place upon their breasts and crowns.
9. All these stones with their varied and singular virtues, adorn Thy house and court, O Father, O Infinite God!
10. These stones which I the King Nezahualcoyotl have succeeded in uniting in loving liens,
11. Are the famous princes, the one called Axaxacatzin, the other Chimalpopoca, and Xicomatzintlamata.
12. To-day, somewhat rejoiced by the joy and words of these, and of the other lords who were with them,
13. I feel, when alone, that my soul is pleased but for a brief time, and that all pleasure soon passes.
14. The presence of these daring eagles pleases me, of these lions and tigers who affright the world,
15. These who by their valor win everlasting renown, whose name and whose deeds fame will perpetuate.
16. Only to-day am I glad and look upon these rich and varied stones, the glory of my bloody battles.
17. To-day, noble princes, protectors of the realm, my will is to entertain you and to praise you.
18. It seems to me that ye answer from your souls, like the fine vapor arising from precious stones,—
19. “O King Nezahualcoyotl, O royal Montezuma, your subjects sustain themselves with your soft dews.
20. “But at last a day shall come which will cut away this power, and all these will be left wretched orphans.
21. “Rejoice, mighty King, in this lofty power which the King of Heaven has granted you, rejoice and be glad.
22. “In the life of this world there is no beginning anew, therefore rejoice, for all good ends.
23. “The future promises endless changes, griefs that your subjects will have to undergo.
24. “Ye see before you the instruments decked with wreaths of odorous flowers; rejoice in their fragrance.
25. “To-day there are peace, and goodfellowship; therefore let all join hands and rejoice in the dances,
26. “So that for a little while princes and kings and the nobles may have pleasure in these precious stones,
27. “Which through his goodness the will of the King Nezahualcoyotl has set forth for you, inviting you to-day to his house.”
Source: “Ancient Nahuatl Poetry” by Daniel G. Brinton
As Fray Bernardino de Sahagún observed: the Mexicans “are held to be barbarians and of very little worth; in truth, however, in matters of culture and refinement, they are a step ahead of other nations." We explore the history and legacy of the Nahua and Maya civilizations, both of which challenge our preconceptions.