The Song of Moquihuitzin

The Song of Moquihuitzin

I craft all these songs
Though even I, Moquihuitzin,
Arrived in this world to suffer.
I ponder the fleshly ecstasies
All the empty bliss—
Will we see it end?

I wander far and wide,
Howling my grief at the yawning sky.
Yonder where the flowers blossom slow
And songs swell in gorgeous waves—
That is where my heart still dwells.
Will we see it end?

Songs of Mexico, folio 22 v, lines 19-24
Translated from the Nahuatl by David Bowles
Originally published in BorderSenses, volume 19

Note: Moquihuitzin (or Moquihuix) was the fourth tlatoani (king) of Tlatelolco, ruling from 1460 to 1473. Moquihuitzin married Chalchiuhnenetzin, elder sister of the Mexica ruler Axayacatl (leader of the Aztec Alliance). However, Moquihuitzin apparently neglected his wife and publically scorned her, preferring the company of other women.  Moquihuitzin was eventually killed by his brother-in-law, and Tlatelolco became part of the Aztec Alliance. 

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