Thursday, 3 March 2016

A Spring Song, An Otomi Song, A Plain Song - Nahuatl indian (anonymous)

I, the singer, have entered many flower gardens,
places of pleasance, favoured spots,
where the dew spread out its glittering surface,
where sang various lovely birds,  where the coyol birds[1] let fall their song,
and spreading far around, their voices rejoiced the Cause of All,
He who is God, ohuaya! ohuaya![2]

It is there that I the singer hear the very essence of song;
certainly not on earth has true poesy its birth;
certainly it is within the heavens
that one hears the lovely coyol bird lift its voice,
that the various quechol and zacuan[3] birds speak together,
there they certainly praise the Cause of All, ohuaya! ohuaya!

I, the singer, labour in spirit with what I heard,
that it may lift up my memory,
that it may go forth to those shining heavens,
that my sighs may be borne on the wind
and be permitted to enter where the yellow humming bird
chants its praises in the heavens, ohuaya! ohuaya!

And as in my thoughts I gaze around, truly no such sweet bird lifts its voice,
truly the things made for the heavens by the Cause of All surpass all others,
and unless my memory tends to things divine
scarcely will it be possible to penetrate these
and witness the wondrous sights in heaven,
which rejoice the sweet heavenly birds before the face of the Cause of All.

How much, alas, shall I weep on earth?
Truly I have lived here in vain illusion;
I say that whatever is here on earth must end with our lives.
May I be permitted to sing to thee, the Cause of All, there in the heaven,
a dweller in thy mansion, there may my soul lift its voice
and be seen with Thee and near Thee, Thou by whom we live, ohuaya! ohuaya!

List to my song, thou my friend,
and to the flower-decked drum which kept time to the heavenly song which I sang,
that I might make glad the nobles,
raining down before them the flowery thoughts of my heart as though they were flowers,
that my noble song might grow in glory
before the face of the Cause of All, ohuaya! ohuaya!

Nahuatl indian (anonymous) c. 17th Century
Translated by Daniel G. Brinton
1. Coyol is the Spiny Palm tree, so this must be a bird that frequents/nests in them
2. Untranslatable, but similar to "Amen"
3. Divine birds of magnificent plumage

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