Monday, March 28, 2011

A Cloak for the Princes

"I wonder where i can get some good sweet flowers. Who will I ask?

Let me ask the quetzal hummingbird, the jade hummingbird. Let me ask the troupial butterfly…

They're the ones who know; they know where the good sweet flower bloom.

Let me wander through this flower grove of roseate swans.

That's where they're bending with sunstruck dew. That's where they blossom in beauty.

Perhaps I'll find them there.

…If they showed them to me, I'd gather a cloakful, and with these I'd greet the princes,

With these I'd entertain the Lords." - Cantares Mexicano, Song 1, Folio 1, verses 2-13

"So I fill my cloak with these sundry flowers, these heart pleasers, these delight makers.

I say, "I wish one of our comrades would come here with me. I wish I could carry off a great many.

But I've gotten the information. And when I arrive I'll spread the word among our friends."

-Song 1, Folio 1v, verses 7-10

Translated from the Nahuatl, and written PRIOR to the Spanish conquest.


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