The Words of Nezahualcoyotl

David Bowles
3 min readJun 9, 2024

The seventeenth cuicatl in Songs of the Lords of Anahuac, my English translation of the codex Romances de los señores de la Nueva España. It is headed with the Spanish note “de Nezahualcoyotzin” — “by the Revered Nezahualcoyotl.”

Amidst the flower mats
you write your songs,
your words, my prince,
revered Nezahualcoyotl.

Ah, your heart was patterned
with blooms of many hues.
You write your songs,
your words, my prince,
revered Nezahualcoyotl.¹

Take delight, all of you,
in the blissful blooms
that lie in our hands!²
Let each be draped
with our garlands,
our flowery crowns.
Let the flowers bud,
let them blossom.
There do birds live,
chattering, singing,
ah! screeching.
The sun spreads them
throughout his abode.³

Only with our flowers
do we take delight.
Only with songs
does your affliction fade,
you princes.
Your strong feelings
slip away!



David Bowles

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