Aztec Poetry: Flower in my Heart
1. The flower in my heart blossoms and spreads abroad in the middle of the night.
2. Tonan has satisfied her passion, the goddess Tlazolteotl has satisfied her passion.
3. I, Cinteotl, was born in Paradise, I come from the place of flowers. I am the only flower, the new, the glorious one.
4. Cinteotl was born from the water; he came born as a mortal, as a youth, from the cerulean home of the fishes, a new, a glorious god.
5. He shone forth as the sun; his mother dwelt in the house of the dawn, varied in hue as the quechol bird, a new, a glorious flower.
6. I came forth on the earth, even to the market place like a mortal, even I, Quetzalcoatl, great and glorious.
7. Be ye happy under the flower-bush varied in hue as the quetzal bird; listen to the quechol singing to the gods; listen to the singing of the quechol along the river; hear its flute along the river in the house of the reeds.
8. Alas! would that my flowers would cease from dying; our flesh is as flowers, even as flowers in the place of flowers.
9. He plays at ball, he plays at ball, the servant of marvellous skill; he plays at ball, the precious servant; look at him; even the ruler of the nobles follows him to his house.
10. O youths! O youths! follow the example of your ancestors; make yourselves equal to them in the ball court; establish yourselves in your houses.
11. She goes to the mart, they carry Xochiquetzal to the mart; she speaks at Cholula; she startles my heart; she startles my heart; she has not finished, the priest knows her; where the merchants sell green jade earrings she is to be seen, in the place of wonders she is to be seen.
12. Sleep, sleep, sleep, I fold my hands to sleep, I, O woman, sleep.
1. “The flower in my heart” is a metaphorical expression for song.
2. Tonan, “Our Mother”; Tlazolteotl, the goddess of lascivious love, Venus impudica. The verb yecoa appears to have its early signification, expressing carnal connection.
3. Centeotl, god of maize and fertility.
4. The flowers referred to are the youths and maidens who die young.
5. The house of the ball player is the tomb.
6. This verse is very obscure and is obviously corrupt. It contains the only Spanish word in the text of these hymns—obispo—a word including two letters, b and s, not in the Nahuatl alphabet.
7. The woman referred to is Xochiquetzal.