Shroud Yourselves

David Bowles
4 min readJun 21, 2024

The twenty-first cuicatl in Songs of the Lords of Anahuac, my English translation of the codex Romances de los señores de la Nueva España.

I set up our drums —
I assemble our friends,
And they relax, entertained
As I sing for them:
“Remember that we must
depart for that land!
Shroud yourselves!¹
Feel joy in these riches,²
you friends of ours!”

Is it like this there in that place?
Is it like this in the Land of the Shorn?³

Let us be content
though it is here
that they are ensorcelled with flowers,⁴
though with songs they are ensorcelled
here on Earth.
Shroud yourselves!
Feel joy in these riches,
you friends of ours!

He rolls flowers
into feathery crests.⁵
You come draping us
with those holy hymns,⁶
you singer,
and shroud us with them.
Take delight
in these myriad blooms,⁷
you princes!

Does one live thus
off in that place,
the Unknowable Realm?⁸
Does one take delight…



David Bowles

A Mexican American author & translator from South Texas. Teaches literature & Nahuatl at UTRGV. President of the Texas Institute of Letters.