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The Flower Tree

A flower song attributed to Nezahualcoyotl.

THE FLOWER TREE

Begin the song in pleasure, singer, enjoy, give pleasure to all, even to Life Giver. Yyeo ayahui ohuaya.

Delight, for Life Giver adorns us. All the flower bracelets, your flowers, are dancing. Our songs are strewn in this jewel house, this golden house. The flower tree grows and shakes, already it scatters. The quetzal breathes honey, the golden flamingo breathes honey. Ohuaya, ohuaya.

You have transformed into a flower tree, you have emerged, you bend and scatter. You have appeared before God’s face as multicolored flowers. Ohuaya, ohuaya.

Live here on Earth, blossom! As you move and shake, flowers fall. My flowers are eternal, my songs are forever: I raise them: I, a singer. I scatter them, I spill them, the flowers become gold: they are carried inside the golden place. Ohuaya, ohuyaya.

Flowers of raven, flowers you scatter, you let them fall in the house of flowers. Ohuaya, ohuyaya.

Ah, yes: I am happy, I, prince Nezahualcoyotl, gathering jewels, wide plumes of quetzal, I contemplate the faces of jades: they are the princes! I gaze into the faces of eagles and jaguars, and behold the faces of jades and jewels! Ohuaya ohuyaya.

We will pass away. I, Nezahualcoyotl, say, enjoy! Do we really live on earth? Ohuaya, ohuaya.

Not forever on earth, only a brief time here! Even jades fracture; even gold ruptures, even quetzal plumes tear: Not forever on earth: only a brief time here! Ohuaya, ohuaya.

Nahualt version:

IN XOCHINQUAHUITL

Xiahuilompehua xiahuiloncuican ticuicanitl huiya ma xonahuiacany, onelelquixtilon ypalnemohuani. Yyeo ayahui ohuaya.

Ma xonahuiacani ye techonquimiloa ypalnemohua ye xochimaquiztica netotilo ye nehuihuio-Aya!-moxochiuh-A ohuaya-yao yao ho ama y yehuaya ahuayyao aye ohuaya ohuaya. Ye momamana, ye momana ya in tocuic. Maquizcalitec zan teocuitlacalico moyahuan Xochincuahuitl oo. Ye mohui xohua in zan ye motzetzeloa. Ma in tlachichina quetzaltototl ma in tlachichina in zaquan quecholan. Ohuaya.

Xochincuahuitl timochiuh, timaxelihui, tihuitolihui: o ya timoquetzaco in yehuan. Ixpan timomati tehuan nipapan xochitl. A Ohuaya ohuaya.

Ma oc xon ya tica oc xon cuepontica yn tlalticpac in. Timolinia tepehui xochitl, timotzetzeloa-Yohuaya ohuaya! Ah tlamiz noxochiuh ah tlamiz nocuic yn noconyayehua-Aaya!-zan nicuicanitl. Huia. Xexelihuiya moyahua yaho cozahua ya xochitl za ye on calaquilo zaquan calitic. A ohuaya ohuaya.

Yn cacaloxochitl in mayexochitl-Aya ohuaye!-tic ya moyahua, tic ya tzetzeloa xochincalaytec. A ohuaya ohuaya.

Yyoyahue ye nonocuiltonohua on nitepiltzin niNezahualcoyotl huia nic nechico cozcatl in quetzalin patlahuac ye no nic iximati chalchihuitl. Yaho in tepilhuan. Ohuaya ohuaya. Yxco nontlatlachia nepapan cuauhtli ocelotl, ye no nic yximati chalchiuhtliya in maquiztliya. Ohuaye.

Tiazque yehua xon ahuiacan. Niquittoa o ni Nezahualcoyotl. Huia! Cuix oc nelli nemohua oa in tlalticpac? Yhui. Ohuaye.

Annochipa tlalticpac. Zan achica ye nican. Ohuaye ohuaye. Tel ca chalchihuitl no xamani, no teocuitlatl in tlapani, no quetzalli poztequi. Yahui ohuaye. Anochipa tlalticpac zan achica ye nican. Ohuaya ohuaya.

Cantares Mexicanos #20 (16v-17r). The Cantares Mexicanos is the name given to a manuscript collection of Nahuatl songs or poems recorded in the 16th century. The 91 songs of the Cantares form the largest Nahuatl song collection, containing over half of all known traditional Nahuatl songs. It is currently located in the National Library of Mexico in Mexico City.

Source:  Cantares Mexicanos #20 (16v-17r). The Cantares Mexicanos is the name given to a manuscript collection of Nahuatl songs or poems recorded in the 16th century. The 91 songs of the Cantares form the largest Nahuatl song collection, containing over half of all known traditional Nahuatl songs. It is currently located in the National Library of Mexico in Mexico City.

Translation: John Curl

Categories: Aztec Aztec Flower Songs Aztec Hymns & Prayers

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The Orly

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.