This is an ancient song in the Aztec language Nahuatl. The translator had this to say about this song, "The ordinary sad burden of the Nahuatl poets is repeated with emphasis in this plaint. It is a variation of the Epicurean advice, 'Eat, drink, and be merry, for to-morrow we die...'"
Tico tico ticoti tico tico ticoti auh ic ontlantiuk in cuicatl totoco totoco.
1. Xichocayan nicuicanitl nicitta noxochiuh zan nomac ommania zan quihuintia ye noyollo ni cuicatl aya nohuian nemia, zan ca ye noyollo notlayocola in cayo.
2. Xiuhtlamatelolla quetzalchalchiuhtla ipan ye nicmatia nocuic aya ma yectlaxochitl y, zan nomac ton mania, etc.
3. In quetzalin chalchiuhtla ipan ye nicmatia yectli ye nocuic yectli noxochiuh annicuihuan tepilhuan aya xonahuiacan a ayac onnemiz o in tlalticpac ayo.
4. O an niquitquiz ye niaz yectli nocuic yectli noxochiuhui annicuihuan tepilhuan aya.
5. O huayanco o nichocaya a huayanco o cahua y yahue nictzetzelo xochitl ay yo.
6. Mach nohuan tonyaz quennonamica o ah nicitquiz xochitl zan nicuicanitl huiya ma yo a xonahuiyacan to ya nemia ticaqui ye nocuic ahuaya.
7. Ay ca nichocaya nicuicanitl ya icha ahuicaloyan cuicatl ha Mictlan temohuiloya yectliya xochitl onca ya oncaa y yao ohuayan ca ya ilaca tziuhan ca na y yo.
8. Amo nequimilool amo neccuiltonol antepilhuan aychaa ohuicaloyan cuicatl.
Tico, tico, ticoti, tico, tico, ticoti, and then the song ends with totoco, totoco.
1. In the place of tears I the singer watch my flowers; they are in my hand; they intoxicate my soul and my song, as I walk alone with them, with my sad soul among them.
2. In this spot, where the herbage is like sweet ointment and green as the turquoise and emerald, I think upon my song, holding the beauteous flowers in my hand, etc. (as in v. 1).
3. In this spot of turquoise and emerald, I think upon beauteous songs, beauteous flowers; let us rejoice now, dear friends and children, for life is not long upon earth.
4. I shall hasten forth, I shall go to the sweet songs, the sweet flowers, dear friends and children.
5. O he! I cried aloud; O he! I rained down flowers as I left.
6. Let us go forth anywhere; I the singer shall find and bring forth the flowers; let us be glad while we live; listen to my song.
7. I the poet cry out a song for a place of joy, a glorious song which descends to Mictlan*, and there turns about and comes forth again.
8. I seek neither vestment nor riches, O children, but a song for a place of joy.
*Song Note by the translator: "...Both the sentiment and the reference to Mictlan in verse 7, point it out as a production uninfluenced by Christian teaching." Mictlan was part of the Aztec underworld where people went after death.
Thanks and Acknowledgements
This song comes from Ancient Nahuatl Poetry by Daniel G. Brinton (copyright 1890).