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Title: Unwritten Literature of Hawaii: The Sacred Songs of the Hula

Author: Nathaniel Bright Emerson

Release date: January 6, 2007 [eBook #20299]
Most recently updated: September 30, 2021

Language: English

Credits: Carlo Traverso, Rénald Lévesque and the Online
Distributed Proofreaders Europe at,
This file was produced from images generously made available
by the Bibliothèque nationale de France (BnF/Gallica).
Revised by Richard Tonsing.


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Previous to the year 1906 the researches of the Bureau were restricted to the American Indians, but by act of Congress approved June 30 of that year the scope of its operations was extended to include the natives of the Hawaiian islands. Funds were not specifically provided, however, for prosecuting investigations among these people, and in the absence of an appropriation for this purpose it was considered inadvisable to restrict the systematic investigations among the Indian tribes in order that the new field might be entered. Fortunately the publication of valuable data pertaining to Hawaii is already provided for, and the present memoir by Doctor Emerson is the first of the Bureau’s Hawaiian series. It is expected that this Bulletin will be followed shortly by one comprising an extended list of works relating to Hawaii, compiled by Prof. H.M. Ballou and Dr. Cyrus Thomas.


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The hula
The halau; the kuahu—their decoration and consecration
The gods of the hula
Support and organization of the hula
Ceremonies of graduation; debut of a hula dancer
The password—the song of admission
Worship at the altar of the halau
Costume of the hula dancer
The hula alá’a-papa
The hula pa-ipu, or kuolo
The hula ki’i
The hula pahu
The hula úliulí
The hula puili
The hula ka-laau
The hula ili-ili
The hula kaekeeke
An intermission
The hula niau-kani
The hula ohe
The music and musical instruments of the Hawaiians
The hula pa-hua
The hula Pele
The hula pa’i-umauma
The hula ku’i Molokai
The hula kielei
The hula mú’u-mú’u
The hula kolani
The hula kolea
The hula manó
The hula ilio
The hula pua’a
The hula ohelo
Thehula kilu
The hula hoonaná
The hula ulili
The hula o-niu
The hula ku’i
The oli
The water of Kane
General review

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Female dancing in hula costume
Íe-íe (Freycinetia arnotti) leaves and fruit
Hála-pépe (Dracaena aurea)
Maile (Alyxia myrtillifolia) wreath
Ti (Dracaena terminalis)
Ilima (Sida fallax), lei and flowers
Ipu hula, gourd drum
Marionettes (Maile-pakaha, Nihi-au-moe)
Marionette (Maka-kú)
Pahu hula, hula drum
Úli-ulí, a gourd rattle
Hawaiian tree-snails (Achatinella)
Lehua (Metrosideros polymorpha) flowers and leaves
Hawaiian trumpet, pu (Cassis madagascarensis)
Woman playing on the nose-flute (ohe-hano-ihu)
Pu-niu, a drum
Hawaiian musician playing on the uku-lele
Hala fruit bunch and drupe with a “lei”
Pu (Triton tritonis)
Phyllodia and true leaves of the koa Acacia koa)
Pala-palai ferns
Awa-puhi, a Hawaiian ginger
Hinano hala
Lady dancing the hula ku’i
Puíli, bamboo rattle
Ka, drumstick for pu-niu
Ohe-hano-ihu, nose-flute


Range of the nose-flute—Elsner
Music from the nose-flute—Elsner
The ukeké (as played by Keaonaloa)—Eisner
Song from the hula pa’i-umauma—Berger
Song from the hula pa-ipu—Berger
Song for the hula Pele—Berger
Oli and mele from the hula ala’a-papa—Yarndley
He Inoa no Kamehameha—Byington
Song, Poli Anuanu—Yarndley
Song, Hua-hua’i—Yarndley
Song, Ka Mawae—Berger
Song, Like no a Like—Berger
Song, Pili Aoao—Berger
Hawaii Ponoi—Berger

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This book is for the greater part a collection of Hawaiian songs and poetic pieces that have done service from time immemorial as the stock supply of the hula. The descriptive portions have been added, not because the poetical parts could not stand by themselves, but to furnish the proper setting and to answer the questions of those who want to know. Now, the hula stood for very much to the ancient Hawaiian; it was to him in place of our concert-hall and lecture-room, our opera and theater, and thus became one of his chief means of social enjoyment. Besides this, it kept the communal imagination in living touch with the nation’s legendary past. The hula had songs proper to itself, but it found a mine of inexhaustible wealth in the epics and wonder-myths that celebrated the doings of the volcano goddess Pele and her compeers. Thus in the cantillations of the old-time hula we find a ready-made anthology that includes every species of composition in the whole range of Hawaiian poetry. This epic 1 of Pele was chiefly a more or less detached series of poems forming a story addressed not to the closet-reader, but to the eye and ear and heart of the assembled chiefs and people; and it was sung. The Hawaiian song, its note of joy par excellence, was the oli; but it must be noted that in every species of Hawaiian poetry, mele—whether epic or eulogy or prayer, sounding through them all we shall find the lyric note.

Footnote 1: (return) It might be termed a handful of lyrics strung on an epic thread.

The most telling record of a people’s intimate life is the record which it unconsciously makes in its songs. This record which the Hawaiian people have left of themselves is full and specific. When, therefore, we ask what emotions stirred the heart of the old-time Hawaiian as he approached the great themes of life and death, of ambition and jealousy, of sexual passion, of romantic love, of conjugal love, and parental love, what his attitude toward nature and the dread forces of earthquake and storm, and the mysteries of spirit and the hereafter, we shall find our answer in the songs and prayers and recitations of the hula.

The hula, it is true, has been unfortunate in the mode and manner of its introduction to us moderns. An institution of divine, that is, religious, origin, the hula in modern times Page 8 has wandered so far and fallen so low that foreign and critical esteem has come to associate it with the riotous and passionate ebullitions of Polynesian kings and the amorous posturing of their voluptuaries. We must make a just distinction, however, between the gestures and bodily contortions presented by the men and women, the actors in the hula, and their uttered words. “The voice is Jacob’s voice, but the hands are the hands of Esau.” In truth, the actors in the hula no longer suit the action to the word. The utterance harks back to the golden age; the gesture is trumped up by the passion of the hour, or dictated by the master of the hula, to whom the real meaning of the old bards is ofttimes a sealed casket.

Whatever indelicacy attaches in modern times to some of the gestures and contortions of the hula dancers, the old-time hula songs in large measure were untainted with grossness. If there ever were a Polynesian Arcadia, and if it were possible for true reports of the doings and sayings of the Polynesians to reach us from that happy land—reports of their joys and sorrows, their love-makings and their jealousies, their family spats and reconciliations, their worship of beauty and of the gods and goddesses who walked in the garden of beauty—we may say, I think, that such a report would be in substantial agreement with the report that is here offered; but, if one’s virtue will not endure the love-making of Arcadia, let him banish the myth from his imagination and hie to a convent or a nunnery.

If this book does nothing more than prove that savages are only children of a younger growth than ourselves, that what we find them to have been we ourselves—in our ancestors—once were, the labor of making it will have been not in vain.

For an account of the first hula we may look to the story of Pele. On one occasion that goddess begged her sisters to dance and sing before her, but they all excused themselves, saying they did not know the art. At that moment in came little Hiiaka, the youngest and the favorite. Unknown to her sisters, the little maiden had practised the dance under the tuition of her friend, the beautiful but ill-fated Hopoe. When banteringly invited to dance, to the surprise of all, Hiiaka modestly complied. The wave-beaten sand-beach was her floor, the open air her hall. Feet and hands and swaying form kept time to her improvisation:

Look, Puna is a-dance in the wind;

The palm groves of Kea-au shaken.

Haena and the woman Hopoe dance and sing

On the beach Nana-huki,

A dance of purest delight,

Down by the sea Nana-huki.

The nature of this work has made it necessary to use occasional Hawaiian words in the technical parts. At their Page 9 first introduction it has seemed fitting that they should be distinguished by italics; but, once given the entrée, it is assumed that, as a rule, they will be granted the rights of free speech without further explanation.

A glossary, which explains all the Hawaiian words used in the prose text, is appended. Let no one imagine, however, that by the use of this little crutch alone he will be enabled to walk or stumble through the foreign ways of the simplest Hawaiian mele. Notes, often copious, have been appended to many of the mele, designed to exhaust neither the subject nor the reader, but to answer some of the questions of the intelligent thinker.

Thanks, many thanks, are due, first, to those native Hawaiians who have so far broken with the old superstitious tradition of concealment as to unearth so much of the unwritten literary wealth stored in Hawaiian memories; second, to those who have kindly contributed criticism, suggestion, material at the different stages of this book’s progress; and, lastly, to those dear friends of the author’s youth—living or dead—whose kindness has made it possible to send out this fledgling to the world. The author feels under special obligations to Dr. Titus Munson Coan, of New York, for a painstaking revision of the manuscript.


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One turns from the study of old genealogies, myths, and traditions of the Hawaiians with a hungry despair at finding in them means so small for picturing the people themselves, their human interests and passions; but when it comes to the hula and the whole train of feelings and sentiments that made their entrances and exits in the halau (the hall of the hula) one perceives that in this he has found the door to the heart of the people. So intimate and of so simple confidence are the revelations the people make of themselves in their songs and prattlings that when one undertakes to report what he has heard and to translate into the terms of modern speech what he has received in confidence, as it were, he almost blushes, as if he had been guilty of spying on Adam and Eve in their nuptial bower. Alas, if one could but muffle his speech with the unconscious lisp of infancy, or veil and tone his picture to correspond to the perspective of antiquity, he might feel at least that, like Watteau, he had dealt worthily, if not truly, with that ideal age which we ever think of as the world’s garden period.

The Hawaiians, it is true, were many removes from being primitives; their dreams, however, harked back to a period that was close to the world’s infancy. Their remote ancestry was, perhaps, akin to ours—Aryan, at least Asiatic—but the orbit of their evolution seems to have led them away from the strenuous discipline that has whipped the Anglo-Saxon branch into fighting shape with fortune.

If one comes to the study of the hula and its songs in the spirit of a censorious moralist he will find nothing for him; if as a pure ethnologist, he will take pleasure in pointing out the physical resemblances of the Hawaiian dance to the languorous grace of the Nautch girls, of the geisha, and other oriental dancers. But if he comes as a student and lover of human nature, back of the sensuous posturings, in the emotional language of the songs he will find himself entering the playground of the human race.

The hula was a religious service, in which poetry, music, pantomime, and the dance lent themselves, under the forms of Page 12 dramatic art, to the refreshment of men’s minds. Its view of life was idyllic, and it gave itself to the celebration of those mythical times when gods and goddesses moved on the earth as men and women and when men and women were as gods. As to subject-matter, its warp was spun largely from the bowels of the old-time mythology into cords through which the race maintained vital connection with its mysterious past. Interwoven with these, forming the woof, were threads of a thousand hues and of many fabrics, representing the imaginations of the poet, the speculations of the philosopher, the aspirations of many a thirsty soul, as well as the ravings and flame-colored pictures of the sensualist, the mutterings and incantations of the kahuna, the mysteries and paraphernalia of Polynesian mythology, the annals of the nation’s history—the material, in fact, which in another nation and under different circumstances would have gone to the making of its poetry, its drama, its opera, its literature.

The people were superstitiously religious; one finds their drama saturated with religious feeling, hedged about with tabu, loaded down with prayer and sacrifice. They were poetical; nature was full of voices for their ears; their thoughts came to them as images; nature was to them an allegory; all this found expression in their dramatic art. They were musical; their drama must needs be cast in forms to suit their ideas of rhythm, of melody, and of poetic harmony. They were, moreover, the children of passion, sensuous, worshipful of whatever lends itself to pleasure. How, then, could the dramatic efforts of this primitive people, still in the bonds of animalism, escape the note of passion? The songs and other poetic pieces which have come down to us from the remotest antiquity are generally inspired with a purer sentiment and a loftier purpose than the modern; and it may be said of them all that when they do step into the mud it is not to tarry and wallow in it; it is rather with the unconscious naiveté of a child thinking no evil.

On the principle of “the terminal conversion of opposites,” which the author once heard an old philosopher expound, the most advanced modern is better able to hark back to the sweetness and light and music of the primeval world than the veriest wigwam-dweller that ever chipped an arrowhead. It is not so much what the primitive man can give us as what we can find in him that is worth our while. The light that a Goethe, a Thoreau, or a Kipling can project into Arcadia is mirrored in his own nature.

If one mistakes not the temper and mind of this generation, we are living in an age that is not content to let perish one seed of thought or one single phase of life that can be rescued from the drift of time. We mourn the extinction of the buffalo of the plains and of the birds of the islands, Page 13 rightly thinking that life is somewhat less rich and full without them. What of the people of the plains and of the islands of the sea? Is their contribution so nothingless that one can affirm that the orbit of man’s mind is complete without it?

Comparison is unavoidable between the place held by the dance in ancient Hawaii and that occupied by the dance in our modern society. The ancient Hawaiians did not personally and informally indulge in the dance for their own amusement, as does pleasure-loving society at the present time. Like the Shah of Persia, but for very different reasons, Hawaiians of the old time left it to be done for them by a body of trained and paid performers. This was not because the art and practice of the hula were held in disrepute—quite the reverse—but because the hula was an accomplishment requiring special education and arduous training in both song and dance, and more especially because it was a religious matter, to be guarded against profanation by the observance of tabus and the performance of priestly rites.

This fact, which we find paralleled in every form of communal amusement, sport, and entertainment in ancient Hawaii, sheds a strong light on the genius of the Hawaiian. We are wont to think of the old-time Hawaiians as light-hearted children of nature, given to spontaneous outbursts of song and dance as the mood seized them; quite as the rustics of “merrie England” joined hands and tripped “the light fantastic toe” in the joyous month of May or shouted the harvest home at a later season. The genius of the Hawaiian was different. With him the dance was an affair of premeditation, an organized effort, guarded by the traditions of a somber religion. And this characteristic, with qualifications, will be found to belong to popular Hawaiian sport and amusement of every variety. Exception must be made, of course, of the unorganized sports of childhood. One is almost inclined to generalize and to say that those children of nature, as we are wont to call them, in this regard were less free and spontaneous than the more advanced race to which we are proud to belong. But if the approaches to the temple of Terpsichore with them were more guarded, we may confidently assert that their enjoyment therein was deeper and more abandoned.

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In building a halau, or hall, in which to perform the hula a Hawaiian of the old, old time was making a temple for his god. In later and degenerate ages almost any structure would serve the purpose; it might be a flimsy shed or an extemporaneous lanai such as is used to shelter that al fresco entertainment, the luau. But in the old times of strict tabu and rigorous etiquette, when the chief had but to lift his hand and the entire population of a district ransacked plain, valley, and mountain to collect the poles, beams, thatch, and cordstuff; when the workers were so numerous that the structure grew and took shape in a day, we may well believe that ambitious and punctilious patrons of the hula, such as La’a, Liloa, or Lono-i-ka-makahiki, did not allow the divine art of Laka to house in a barn.

The choice of a site was a matter of prime importance. A formidable code enunciated the principles governing the selection. But—a matter of great solicitude—there were omens to be heeded, snares and pitfalls devised by the superstitious mind for its own entanglement. The untimely sneeze, the ophthalmic eye, the hunched back were omens to be shunned.

Within historic times, since the abrogation of the tabu system and the loosening of the old polytheistic ideas, there has been in the hula a lowering of former standards, in some respects a degeneration. The old gods, however, were not entirely dethroned; the people of the hula still continued to maintain the form of divine service and still appealed to them for good luck; but the soul of worship had exhaled; the main study now was to make of the hula a pecuniary success.

In an important sense the old way was in sympathy with the thought, “Except God be with the workmen, they labor in vain that build the house.” The means for gaining divine favor and averting the frown of the gods were those practised by all religionists in the infantile state of the human mind—the observance of fasts and tabus, the offering of special prayers and sacrifices. The ceremonial purification of the site, or of the building if it had been used for profane purposes, was accomplished by aspersions with sea water mixed with turmeric or red earth.

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When one considers the tenacious hold which all rites and ceremonies growing out of what we are accustomed to call superstitions had on the mind of the primitive Hawaiian, it puzzles one to account for the entire dropping out from modern memory of the prayers which were recited during the erection of a hall for the shelter of an institution so festive and so popular as the hula, while the prayers and gloomy ritual of the temple service have survived. The explanation may be found, perhaps, in the fact that the priests of the temple held position by the sovereign’s appointment; they formed a hierarchy by themselves, whereas the position of the kumu-hula, who was also a priest, was open to anyone who fitted himself for it by training and study and by passing successfully the ai-lolo 2 ordeal. After that he had the right to approach the altar of the hula god with the prescribed offerings and to present the prayers and petitions of the company to Laka or Kapo.

Footnote 2: (return) Ai-lolo. See pp. 32, 34, 36.

In pleasing contrast to the worship of the heiau, the service of the hula was not marred by the presence of groaning victims and bloody sacrifices. Instead we find the offerings to have been mostly rustic tokens, things entirely consistent with light-heartedness, joy, and ecstasy of devotion, as if to celebrate the fact that heaven had come down to earth and Pan, with all the nymphs, was dancing.

During the time the halau was building the tabus and rules that regulated conduct were enforced with the utmost strictness. The members of the company were required to maintain the greatest propriety of demeanor, to suppress all rudeness of speech and manner, to abstain from all carnal indulgence, to deny themselves specified articles of food, and above all to avoid contact with a corpse. If anyone, even by accident, suffered such defilement, before being received again into fellowship or permitted to enter the halau and take part in the exercises he must have ceremonial cleansing (huikala). The kumu offered up prayers, sprinkled the offender with salt water and turmeric, commanded him to bathe in the ocean, and he was clean. If the breach of discipline was gross and willful, an act of outrageous violence or the neglect of tabu, the offender could be restored only after penitence and confession.


In every halau stood the kuahu, or altar, as the visible temporary abode of the deity, whose presence was at once the inspiration of the performance and the luck-bringer of the enterprise—a rustic frame embowered in greenery. The gathering of the green leaves and other sweet finery of Page 16 nature for its construction and decoration was a matter of so great importance that it could not be intrusted to any chance assemblage of wild youth who might see fit to take the work in hand. There were formalities that must be observed, songs to be chanted, prayers to be recited. It was necessary to bear in mind that when one deflowered the woods of their fronds of íe-íe and fern or tore the trailing lengths of maile—albeit in honor of Laka herself—the body of the goddess was being despoiled, and the despoiling must be done with all tactful grace and etiquette.

It must not be gathered from this that the occasion was made solemn and oppressive with weight of ceremony, as when a temple was erected or as when a tabu chief walked abroad, and all men lay with their mouths in the dust. On the contrary, it was a time of joy and decorous exultation, a time when in prayer-songs and ascriptions of praise the poet ransacked all nature for figures and allusions to be used in caressing the deity.

The following adulatory prayer (kánaenáe) in adoration of Laka was recited while gathering the woodland decorations for the altar. It is worthy of preservation for its intrinsic beauty, for the spirit of trustfulness it breathes. We remark the petitions it utters for the growth of tree and shrub, as if Laka had been the alma mater under whose influence all nature budded and rejoiced.

It would seem as if the physical ecstasy of the dance and the sensuous joy of all nature’s finery had breathed their spirit into the aspiration and that the beauty of leaf and flower, all of them familiar forms of the god’s metamorphosis—accessible to their touch and for the regalement of their senses—had brought such nearness and dearness, of affection between goddess and worshiper that all fear was removed.

He kánaenáe no Laka

A ke kua-hiwi, i ke kua-lono,

Ku ana o Laka i ka mauna;

Noho ana o Laka i ke po’o o ka ohu.

O Laka kumu hula,

5Nana i a’e ka wao-kele, 3

Kahi, kahi i moli’a i ka pua’a,

I ke po’o pua’a,

He pua’a hiwa na Kane. 4

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He kane na Laka,


Na ka wahine i oni a kelakela i ka lani:

I kupu ke a’a i ke kumu,

I lau a puka ka mu’o,

Ka liko, ka ao i-luna.

Kupu ka lala, hua ma ka Hikina;


Kupu ka laau ona a Maka-li’i, 5

O Maka-lei, 6 laau kaulana mai ka Po mai. 7

Mai ka Po mai ka oiaio—

I ho-i’o i-luna, i o’o i-luna.

He luna au e ki’i mai nei ia oe, e Laka,


E ho’i ke ko-kua 8 pa-ú;

He la uniki 9 e no kaua;

Ha-ike-ike 10 o ke Akua;

Hoike ka mana o ka Wahine,

O Laka, kaikuahine,


Wahine a Lono i ka ou-alii. 11

E Lono, e hu’ 12 ia mai ka lani me ka honua.

Nou okoa Kukulu o Kahiki. 13

Me ke ano-ai 14 i aloha, e!

E ola, e!

Footnote 3: (return) Wao-kele. That portion of the mountain forest where grew the monarch trees was called wao-kele or wao-maukele.

Footnote 4: (return) Na Kane. Why was the offering, the black roast porkling, said to be for Kane, who was not a special patron, au-makúa, of the hula? The only answer the author has been able to obtain from any Hawaiian is that, though Kane was not a god of the hula, he was a near relative. On reflection, the author can see a propriety in devoting the reeking flesh of the swine to god Kane, while to the sylvan deity, Lâkâ, goddess of the peaceful hula, were devoted the rustic offerings that were the embodiment of her charms. Her image, or token—an uncarved block of wood—was set up in a prominent part of the kuahu, and at the close of a performance the wreaths that had been worn by the actors were draped about the image. Thus viewed, there is a delicate propriety and significance in such disposal of the pig.

Footnote 5: (return) Maka-li’i (Small eyes). The Pleiades; also the period of six months, including the rainy season, that began some time in October or November and was reckoned from the date when the Pleiades appeared in the East at sunset. Maka-li’i was also the name of a month, by some reckoned as the first month of the year.

Footnote 6: (return) Maka-léi. The name of a famous mythological tree which had the power of attracting fish. It did not poison, but only bewitched or fascinated them. There were two trees bearing this name, one a male, the other a female, which both grew at a place in Hilo called Pali-uli. One of these, the female, was, according to tradition, carried from its root home to the fish ponds in Kailua, Oahu, for the purpose of attracting fish to the neighboring waters. The enterprise was eminently successful.

Footnote 7: (return) Po. Literally night; the period in cosmogony when darkness and chaos reigned, before the affairs on earth had become settled under the rule of the gods. Here the word is used to indicate a period of remote mythologic antiquity. The use of the word Po in the following verse reminds one of the French adage, “La nuit porte conseil.”

Footnote 8: (return) Kokúa. Another form for kakúa, to gird on the pa-ú. (See Pa-ú song, pp. 51-53.)

Footnote 9: (return) Uníki. A word not given in the dictionary. The debut of an actor at the hula, after passing the ai-lolo test and graduating from the school of the halau, a critical event.

Footnote 10: (return) Ha-íke-íke. Equivalent to ho-íke-íke, an exhibition, to exhibit.

Footnote 11: (return) Ou-alii. The Hawaiians seem to have lost the meaning of this word. The author has been at some pains to work it out somewhat conjecturally.

Footnote 12: (return) E Lono, e hu’ ia, mai, etc. The unelided form of the word hu’ would be hui. The final i is dropped before the similar vowel of ia.

Footnote 13: (return) Kukúlu o Kahíki. The pillars of Kahiki. The ancient Hawaiians supposed the starry heavens to be a solid dome supported by a wall or vertical construction—kukulu—set up along the horizon. That section of the wall that stood over against Kahiki they termed Kukulu o Kahiki. Our geographical name Tahiti is of course from Kahiki, though it does not apply to the same region. After the close of what has been termed “the period of intercourse,” which, came probably during the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, and during which the ancient Hawaiians voyaged to and fro between Hawaii and the lands of the South, geographical ideas became hazy and the term Kahiki came to be applied to any foreign country.

Footnote 14: (return) Áno-ái. An old form of salutation, answering in general to the more modern word aloha, much used at the present time. Ano-ai seems to have had a shade of meaning more nearly answering to our word “welcome.” This is the first instance the author has met with of its use in poetry.

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A Prayer of Adulation to Laka

In the forests, on the ridges

Of the mountains stands Laka;

Dwelling in the source of the mists.

Laka, mistress of the hula,


Has climbed the wooded haunts of the gods,

Altars hallowed by the sacrificial swine,

The head of the boar, the black boar of Kane.

A partner he with Laka;

Woman, she by strife gained rank in heaven.


That the root may grow from the stem,

That the young shoot may put forth and leaf,

Pushing up the fresh enfolded bud,

The scion-thrust bud and fruit toward the East,

Like the tree that bewitches the winter fish,


Maka-lei, tree famed from the age of night.

Truth is the counsel of night—

May it fruit and ripen above.

A messenger I bring you, O Laka,

To the girding of paû.


An opening festa this for thee and me;

To show the might of the god,

The power of the goddess,

Of Laka, the sister,

To Lono a wife in the heavenly courts.


O Lono, join heaven and earth!

Thine alone are the pillars of Kahiki.

Warm greeting, beloved one,

We hail thee!

The cult of god Lono was milder, more humane, than that of Kane and the other major gods. No human sacrifices were offered on his altars.—The statement in verse 26 accords with the general belief of the Hawaiians that Lono dwelt in foreign parts, Kukulu o Kahiki, and that he would some time come to them from across the waters. When Captain Cook arrived in his ships, the Hawaiians worshiped him as the god Lono.

The following song-prayer also is one that was used at the gathering of the greenery in the mountains and during the building of the altar in the halau. When recited in the halau all the pupils took part, and the chorus was a response in which the whole assembly in the halau were expected to join:

Pule Kuahu no Laka

Haki pu o ka nahelehele,

Haki hana maile o ka wao,

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Hooulu 15 lei ou, o Laka, e!

O Hiiaka 16 ke kaula nana e hooulu na ma’i,


A aeae a ulu 17 a noho i kou kuahu,

Eia ka pule la, he pule ola,

He noi ola nou, e-e!


E ola ia makou, aohe hala!


Altar-Prayer to Laka

This spoil and rape of the wildwood,

This plucking of wilderness maile—

Collect of garlands, Laka, for you.

Hiiaka, the prophet, heals our diseases.


Enter, possess, inspire your altar;

Heed our prayer, ’tis for life;

Our petition to you is for life.


Give us life, save from transgression!

Footnote 15: (return) Hoo-ulu. This word has a considerable range of meaning, well illustrated in this mele. In its simplest form, ulu, it means to grow, to become strong. Joined with the causative hoo, as here, it takes on the spiritual meaning of causing to prosper, of inspiring. The word “collect,” used in the translation, has been chosen to express the double sense of gathering the garlands and of devoting them to the goddess as a religious offering. In the fourth verse this word, hooulu, is used in the sense of to heal. Compare note c.

Footnote 16: (return) Hiiaka. The youngest sister of Pele, often spoken of as Hiiaka-i-ka-poli-o-Pele, Hiiaka-of-the-bosom-of-Pele. Why she should be spoken of as capable of healing diseases is not at all clear.

Footnote 17: (return) Ulu. Here we have the word ulu in its simple, uncombined form, meaning to enter into and inspire.

The wildwoods of Hawaii furnished in great abundance and variety small poles for the framework of the kuahu, the altar, the holy place of the halau, and sweet-scented leaves and flowers suitable for its decoration. A spirit of fitness, however, limited choice among these to certain species that were deemed acceptable to the goddess because they were reckoned as among her favorite forms of metamorphosis. To go outside this ordained and traditional range would have been an offense, a sacrilege. This critical spirit would have looked with the greatest disfavor on the practice that in modern times has crept in, of bedecking the dancers with garlands of roses, pinks, jessamine, and other nonindigenous flowers, as being utterly repugnant to the traditional spirit of the hula.

Among decorations approved and most highly esteemed stood pre-eminent the fragrant maile (pl. IV) and the star-like fronds and ruddy drupe of the íe-íe (pl. II) and its kindred, the hála-pépe (pl. III); the scarlet pompons of the lehúa (pl. XIII) and ohi’a, with the fruit of the latter (the mountain-apple); many varieties of fern, including that splendid parasite, the “bird’s nest fern” Page 20 (ekáha), hailed by the Hawaiians as Mawi’s paddle; to which must be added the commoner leaves and lemon-colored flowers of the native hibiscus, the hau, the breadfruit, the native banana and the dracæna (ti), plate V; and lastly, richest of all, in the color that became Hawaii’s favorite, the royal yellow ilíma (pl. VI), a flower familiar to the eyes of the tourist to Honolulu.

While deft hands are building and weaving the light framework of the kuahu, binding its parts with strong vines and decorating it with nature’s sumptuous embroidery, the kumu, or teacher, under the inspiration of the deity, for whose residence he has prepared himself by long vigil and fasting with fleshly abstinence, having spent the previous night alone in the halau, is chanting or cantillating his adulatory prayers, kanaenae—songs of praise they seem to be—to the glorification of the gods and goddesses who are invited to bless the occasion with their presence and inspiration, but especially of that one, Laka, whose bodily presence is symbolized by a rude block of wood arrayed in yellow tapa that is set up on the altar itself. Thus does the kumu sing:

Pule Kuahu

Ei’ au e Laka mai uka,

E Laka mai kai;

O hooulu

O ka ilio 18 nana e hae,


O ka maile hihi i ka wao,

O ka lau-ki 19 lei o ke akua,

O na ku’i hauoli

O Ha’i-ka-manawa. 20

O Laka oe,


O ke akua i ke kuahu nei, la;

E ho’i, ho’i mai a noho i kou kuahu!


Altar-Prayer (to Laka)

Here am I, oh Laka from the mountains,

Oh Laka from the shore;

Protect us

Against the dog that barks;

Page 21 5

Reside in the wild-twining maile

And the goddess-enwreathing ti.

All, the joyful pulses.

Of the woman Ha’i-ka-manawa!

Thou art Laka,


The god of this altar;

Return, return, abide in thy shrine!

Footnote 18: (return) Ilio nana e hae. The barking of a dog, the crowing of a cock, the grunting of a pig, the hooting of an owl, or any such sound occurring at the time of a religious solemnity, aha, broke the spell of the incantation and vitiated the ceremony. Such an untimely accident was as much deprecated as were the Turk, the Comet, and the Devil by pious Christian souls during the Middle Ages.

Footnote 19: (return) Lau-ki. The leaf of the ti plant—the same as the ki—(Dracæna terminalis), much used as an emblem of divine power, a charm or defense against malign spiritual influences. The kahuna often wore about his neck a fillet of this leaf. The ti leaf was a special emblem of Ha’i-wahine, or of Li’a-wahine. It was much used as a decoration about the halau.

Footnote 20: (return) Ha’i-ka-manawa. It is conjectured that this is the same as Ha’i-wahine. She was a mythological character, about whom there is a long and tragic story.

The prayers which the hula folk of old times chanted while gathering the material in the woods or while weaving it into shape in the halau for the construction of a shrine did not form a rigid liturgy; they formed rather a repertory as elastic as the sighing of the breeze, or the songs of the birds whose notes embroidered the pure mountain air. There were many altar-prayers, so that if a prayer came to an end before the work was done the priest had but to begin the recitation of another prayer, or, if the spirit of the occasion so moved him, he would take up again a prayer already repeated, for until the work was entirely accomplished the voice of prayer must continue to be heard.

The pule now to be given seems to be specially suited to that portion of the service which took place in the woods at the gathering of the poles and greenery. It was designed specially for the placating of the little god-folk who from their number were addressed as Kini o ke Akua, the multitude of the little gods, and who were the counterparts in old Hawaii of our brownies, elfins, sprites, kobolds, gnomes, and other woodland imps. These creatures, though dwarfish and insignificant in person, were in such numbers—four thousand, forty thousand, four hundred thousand—and were so impatient of any invasion of their territory, so jealous of their prerogatives, so spiteful and revengeful when injured, that it was policy always to keep on the right side of them.

Pule Kuahu

E hooulu ana I Kini 21 o ke Akua,

Ka lehu o ke Akua,

Ka mano o ke Akua,

I ka pu-ku’i o ke Akua,


I ka lalani Akua,

Ia ulu mai o Kane,

Ulu o Kanaloa;

Ulu ka ohia, lau ka ie-ie;

Ulu ke Akua, noho i ke kahua,


A a’ea’e, a ulu, a noho kou kuahu.

Eia ka pule la, he pule ola.


E ola ana oe!

Footnote 21: (return) Kini o ke Akua. See note d, p. 24.

Page 22



Invoke we now the four thousand,

The myriads four of the nimble,

The four hundred thousand elves,

The countless host of sprites,


Rank upon rank of woodland gods.

Pray, Kane, also inspire us;

Kanaloa, too, join the assembly.

Now grows the ohi’a, now leafs ie-ie;

God enters, resides in the place;


He mounts, inspires, abides in the shrine.

This is our prayer, our plea this for life!


Life shall be thine!

From one point of view these pule are not to be regarded as prayers in the ordinary sense of the word, but rather as song-offerings, verbal bouquets, affectionate sacrifices to the gods. Page 23


Of what nature were the gods of the old times, and how did the ancient Hawaiians conceive of them? As of beings having the form, the powers, and the passions of humanity, yet standing above and somewhat apart from men. One sees, as through a mist, darkly, a figure, standing, moving; in shape a plant, a tree or vine-clad stump, a bird, a taloned monster, a rock carved by the fire-queen, a human form, a puff of vapor—and now it has given place to vacancy. It was a goddess, perhaps of the hula. In the solitude of the wilderness one meets a youthful being of pleasing address, of godlike wit, of elusive beauty; the charm of her countenance unspoken authority, her gesture command. She seems one with nature, yet commanding it. Food placed before her remains untasted; the oven, imu, 22 in which the fascinated host has heaped his abundance, preparing for a feast, when opened is found empty; the guest of an hour has disappeared. Again it was a goddess, perhaps of the hula. Or, again, a traveler meets a creature of divine beauty, all smiles and loveliness. The infatuated mortal, smitten with hopeless passion, offers blandishments; he finds himself by the roadside embracing a rock. It was a goddess of the hula.

The gods, great and small, superior and inferior, whom the devotees and practitioners of the hula worshiped and sought to placate were many; but the goddess Laka was the one to whom they offered special prayers and sacrifices and to whom they looked as the patron, the au-makua, 23 of that institution. It was for her benefit and in her honor that the kuahu was set up, and the wealth of flower and leaf used in its decoration was emblematic of her beauty and glory, a pledge of her bodily presence, the very forms that she, a sylvan deity, was wont to assume when she pleased to manifest herself.

As an additional crutch to the imagination and to emphasize the fact of her real presence on the altar which she had been invoked to occupy as her abode, she was symbolized by an uncarved block of wood from the sacred lama 24 tree. This was wrapped in a robe of choice yellow tapa, scented with turmeric, and set conspicuously upon the altar.

Footnote 22: (return) Imu. The Hawaiian oven, which was a hole in the ground lined and arched over with stones.

Footnote 23: (return) Au-makua. An ancestral god.

Footnote 24: (return) Lama. A beautiful tree having firm, fine-grained, white wood; used in making sacred inclosures and for other tabu purposes.

Page 24

Laka was invoked as the god of the maile, the ie-ie, and other wildwood growths before mentioned (pl. II). She was hailed as the “sister, wife, of god Lono,” as “the one who by striving attained favor with the gods of the upper ether;” as “the kumu 25 hula”—head teacher of the Terpsichorean art; “the fount of joy;” “the prophet who brings health to the sick;” “the one whose presence gives life.” In one of the prayers to Laka she is besought to come and take possession of the worshiper, to dwell in him as in a temple, to inspire him in all his parts and faculties—voice, hands, feet, the whole body.

Laka seems to have been a friend, but not a relative, of the numerous Pele family. So far as the author has observed, the fiery goddess is never invited to grace the altar with her presence, nor is her name so much as mentioned in any prayer met with.

To compare the gods of the Hawaiian pantheon with those of classic Greece, the sphere occupied by Laka corresponds most nearly to that filled by Terpsichore and Euterpe, the muses, respectively, of dance and of song. Lono, in one song spoken of as the husband of Laka, had features in common with Apollo.

That other gods, Kane, Ku, Kanaloa, 26 with Lono, Ku-pulupulu, 27 and the whole swarm of godlings that peopled the wildwood, were also invited to favor the performances with their presence can be satisfactorily explained on the ground, first, that all the gods were in a sense members of one family, related to each other by intermarriage, if not by the ties of kinship; and, second, by the patent fact of that great underlying cause of bitterness and strife among immortals as well as mortals, jealousy. It would have been an eruptive occasion of heart-burning and scandal if by any mischance a privileged one should have had occasion to feel slighted; and to have failed in courtesy to that countless host of wilderness imps and godlings, the Kini Akua, 28 mischievous and irreverent as the monkeys of India, would indeed have been to tempt a disaster.

While it is true that the testimony of the various kumu-hula, teachers of the hula, and devotees of the art of the hula, so far as the author has talked with them, has been overwhelmingly to the effect that Laka was the one and only divine patron of the art known to them, there has been a small number equally ready to assert that there were those who observed the cult of the goddess Kapo and worshiped her Page 25 as the patron of the hula. The positive testimony of these witnesses must be reckoned as of more weight than the negative testimony of a much larger number, who either have not seen or will not look at the other side of the shield. At any rate, among the prayers before the kuahu, of which there are others yet to be presented, will be found several addressed to Kapo as the divine patron of the hula.

Footnote 25: (return) The teacher, a leader and priest of the hula. The modern school-master is called kumu-kula.

Footnote 26: (return) Kanaloa. Kane, Ku, Kanaloa, and Lono were the major gods of the Hawaiian pantheon.

Footnote 27: (return) Ku-pulupulu. A god of the canoe-makers.

Footnote 28: (return) Kini Akua. A general expression—often used together with the ones that follow—meaning the countless swarms of brownies, elfs, kobolds, sprites, and other godlings (mischievous imps) that peopled the wilderness. Kini means literally 40,000, lehu 400,000, and mano 4,000. See the Pule Kuahu—altar-prayer—on page 21. The Hawaiians, curiously enough, did not put the words mano, kini, and lehu in the order of their numerical value.

Kapo was sister of Pele and the daughter of Haumea. 29 Among other roles played by her, like Laka she was at times a sylvan deity, and it was in the garb of woodland representations that she was worshiped by hula folk. Her forms of activity, corresponding to her different metamorphoses, were numerous, in one of which she was at times “employed by the kahuna 30 as a messenger in their black arts, and she is claimed by many as an aumakua,” 31 said to be the sister of Kalai-pahoa, the poison god.

Footnote 29: (return) Haumea. The ancient goddess, or ancestor, the sixth in line of descent from Wakea.

Footnote 30: (return) Kahuna. A sorcerer; with a qualifying adjective it meant a skilled craftsman; Kahuna-kalai-wa’a was a canoe-builder; kahuna lapaau was a medicine-man, a doctor, etc.

Footnote 31: (return) The Lesser Gods of Hawaii, a paper by Joseph S. Emerson, read before the Hawaiian Historical Society, April 7, 1892.

Unfortunately Kapo had an evil name on account of a propensity which led her at times to commit actions that seem worthy only of a demon of lewdness. This was, however, only the hysteria of a moment, not the settled habit of her life. On one notable occasion, by diverting the attention of the bestial pig-god Kama-pua’a, and by vividly presenting to him a temptation well adapted to his gross nature, she succeeded in enticing him away at a critical moment, and thus rescued her sister Pele at a time when the latter’s life was imperiled by an unclean and violent assault from the swine-god.

Like Catherine of Russia, who in one mood was the patron of literature and of the arts and sciences and in another mood a very satyr, so the Hawaiian goddess Kapo seems to have lived a double life whose aims were at cross purposes with one another—now an angel of grace and beauty, now a demon of darkness and lust.

Do we not find in this the counterpart of nature’s twofold aspect, who presents herself to dependent humanity at one time as an alma mater, the food-giver, a divinity of joy and comfort, at another time as the demon of the storm and earthquake, a plowshare of fiery destruction?

The name of Hiiaka, the sister of Pele, is one often mentioned in the prayers of the hula.

Page 26


In ancient times the hula to a large extent was a creature of royal support, and for good reason. The actors in this institution were not producers of life’s necessaries. To the alii belonged the land and the sea and all the useful products thereof. Even the jetsam whale-tooth and wreckage scraps of iron that ocean cast up on the shore were claimed by the lord of the land. Everything was the king’s. Thus it followed of necessity that the support of the hula must in the end rest upon the alii. As in ancient Rome it was a senator or general, enriched by the spoil of a province, who promoted the sports of the arena, so in ancient Hawaii it was the chief or headman of the district who took the initiative in the promotion of the people’s communistic sports and of the hula.

We must not imagine that the hula was a thing only of kings’ courts and chiefish residences. It had another and democratic side. The passion for the hula was broadspread. If other agencies failed to meet the demand, there was nothing to prevent a company of enthusiasts from joining themselves together in the pleasures and, it might be, the profits of the hula. Their spokesman—designated as the po’o-puaa, from the fact that a pig, or a boar’s head, was required of him as an offering at the kuahu—was authorized to secure the services of some expert to be their kumu. But with the hula all roads lead to the king’s court.

Let us imagine a scene at the king’s residence. The alii, rousing from his sloth and rubbing his eyes, rheumy with debauch and awa, overhears remark on the doings of a new company of hula dancers who have come into the neighborhood. He summons his chief steward.

“What is this new thing of which they babble?” he demands.

“It is nothing, son of heaven,” answers the kneeling steward.

“They spoke of a hula. Tell me, what is it?”

“Ah, thou heaven-born (lani), it was but a trifle—a new company, young graduates of the halau, have set themselves up as great ones; mere rustics; they have no proper acquaintance with the traditions of the art as taught by the bards of... your majesty’s father. They mouth and twist the old songs all awry, thou son of heaven.”

“Enough. I will hear them to-morrow. Send a messenger for this new kumu. Fill again my bowl with awa.” Page 27 Thus it comes about that the new hula company gains audience at court and walks the road that, perchance, leads to fortune. Success to the men and women of the hula means not merely applause, in return for the incense of flattery; it means also a shower of substantial favors—food, garments, the smile of royalty, perhaps land—things that make life a festival. If welcome grows cold and it becomes evident that the harvest has been reaped, they move on to fresh woods and pastures new.

To return from this apparent digression, it was at the king’s court—if we may extend the courtesy of this phrase to a group of thatched houses—that were gathered the bards and those skilled in song, those in whose memories were stored the mythologies, traditions, genealogies, proverbial wisdom, and poetry that, warmed by emotion, was the stuff from which was spun the songs of the hula. As fire is produced by friction, so it was often by the congress of wits rather than by the flashing of genius that the songs of the hula were evolved.

The composition and criticism of a poetical passage were a matter of high importance, often requiring many suggestions and much consultation. If the poem was to be a mele-inoa, a name-song to eulogize some royal or princely scion, it must contain no word of ill-omen. The fate-compelling power of such a word, once shot from the mouth, was beyond recall. Like the incantation of the sorcerer, the kahuna ánaaná, it meant death to the eulogized one. If not, it recoiled on the life of the singer.

The verbal form once settled, it remained only to stereotype it on the memories of the men and women who constituted the literary court or conclave. Think not that only thus were poems produced in ancient Hawaii. The great majority of songs were probably the fruit of solitary inspiration, in which the bard poured out his heart like a song-bird, or uttered his lone vision as a seer. The method of poem production in conclave may be termed the official method. It was often done at the command of an alii. So much for the fabrication, the weaving, of a song.

If the composition was intended as a eulogy, it was cantillated ceremoniously before the one it honored; if in anticipation of a prince yet unborn, it was daily recited before the mother until the hour of her delivery; and this cantillation published it abroad. If the song was for production in the hula, it lay warm in the mind of the kumu, the master and teacher of the hula, until such time as he had organized his company.

The court of the alii was a vortex that drew in not only the bards and men of lore, but the gay and fashionable rout of pleasure-seekers, the young men and women of shapely form and gracious presence, the sons and daughters of the king’s Page 28 henchmen and favorites; among them, perhaps, the offspring of the king’s morganatic alliances and amours—the flower and pick of Hawaii’s youth. From these the kumu selected those most fitted by beauty and grace of form, as well as quickness of wit and liveliness of imagination, to take part in the hula.

The performers in the hula were divided into two classes, the olapa—agile ones—and the ho’o-paa—steadfast ones. The rôle of olapa, as was fitting, was assigned to the young men and young women who could best illustrate in their persons the grace and beauty of the human form. It was theirs, sometimes while singing, to move and pose and gesture in the dance; sometimes also to punctuate their song and action with the lighter instruments of music. The rôle of ho’o-paa, on the other hand, was given to men and women of greater experience and of more maturity. They handled the heavier instruments and played their parts mostly while sitting or kneeling, marking the time with their instrumentation. They also lent their voices to swell the chorus or utter the refrain of certain songs, sometimes taking the lead in the song or bearing its whole burden, while the light-footed olapa gave themselves entirely to the dance. The part of the ho’o-paa was indeed the heavier, the more exacting duty.

Such was the personnel of a hula troupe when first gathered by the hula-master for training and drill in the halau, now become a school for the hula. Among the pupils the kumu was sure to find some old hands at the business, whose presence, like that of veterans in a squad of recruits, was a leaven to inspire the whole company with due respect for the spirit and traditions of the historic institution and to breed in the members the patience necessary to bring them to the highest proficiency.

The instruction of the kumu, as we are informed, took a wide range. It dealt in elaborate detail on such matters as accent, inflection, and all that concerns utterance and vocalization. It naturally paid great attention to gesture and pose, attitude and bodily action. That it included comment on the meaning that lay back of the words may be gravely doubted. The average hula dancer of modern times shows great ignorance of the mele he recites, and this is true even of the kumu-hula. His work too often is largely perfunctory, a matter of sound and form, without appeal to the intellect.

It would not be legitimate, however, to conclude from this that ignorance of the meaning was the rule in old times; those were the days when the nation’s traditional songs, myths, and lore formed the equipment of every alert and receptive mind, chief or commoner. There was no printed page to while away the hours of idleness. The library was stored in one’s memory. The language of the mele, which now has Page 29 become antiquated, then was familiar speech. For a kumu-hula to have given instruction in the meaning of a song would have been a superfluity, as if one at the present day were to inform a group of well-educated actors and actresses who was Pompey or Julius Cæsar.

“Speak the speech, I pray you, as I pronounced it to you, trippingly on the tongue.” Hamlet’s words to the players were, it may be supposed, the substance of the kumu’s instructions to the pupils in his halau.

The organization of a hula company was largely democratic. The kumu—in modern sense, the teacher—was the leader and conductor, responsible for the training and discipline of the company. He was the business manager of the enterprise; the priest, kahuna, the leader in the religious exercises, the one who interpreted the will of heaven, especially of the gods whose favor determined success. He might be called to his position by the choice of the company, appointed by the command of the alii who promoted the enterprise, or self-elected in case the enterprise was his own. He had under him a kokua kumu, a deputy, who took charge during his absence.

The po’o-puaa was an officer chosen by the pupils to be their special agent and mouthpiece. He saw to the execution of the kumu’s judgments and commands, collected the fines, and exacted the penalties imposed by the kumu. It fell to him to convey to the altar the presents of garlands, awa, and the like that were contributed to the halau.

The paepae, also chosen by the pupils, subject to confirmation by the kumu, acted as an assistant of the po’o-puaa. During the construction of the kuahu the po’o-puaa stood to the right, the paepae at his left. They were in a general sense guardians of the kuahu.

The ho’o-ulu was the guard stationed at the door. He sprinkled with sea-water mixed with turmeric everyone who entered the halau. He also acted as sergeant-at-arms to keep order and remove anyone who made a disturbance. It was his duty each day to place a fresh bowl of awa on the altar of the goddess (hanai kuahu), literally to feed the altar.

In addition to these officials, a hula company naturally required the services of a miscellaneous retinue of stewards, cooks, fishermen, hewers of wood, and drawers of water.


Without a body of rules, a strict penal code, and a firm hand to hold in check the hot bloods of both sexes, it would have been impossible to keep order and to accomplish the business purpose of the organization. The explosive force of passion would have made the gathering a signal for the breaking loose of pandemonium. That it did not always so result is a Page 30 compliment alike to the self-restraint of the people and to the sway that artistic ideals held over their minds, but, above all, to a peculiar system of discipline wisely adapted to the necessities of human nature. It does not seem likely that a Thespian band of our own race would have held their passions under equal check if surrounded by the same temptations and given the same opportunities as these Polynesians. It may well be doubted if the bare authority of the kumu would have sufficed to maintain discipline and to keep order, had it not been reenforced by the dread powers of the spirit world in the shape of the tabu.

The awful grasp of this law; this repressive force, the tabu, held fast the student from the moment of his entrance into the halau. It denied this pleasure, shut off that innocent indulgence, curtailed liberty in this direction and in that. The tabu waved before his imagination like a flaming sword, barring approach to the Eden of his strongest propensity.

The rules and discipline of the halau, the school for the hula, from our point of view, were a mixture of shrewd common sense and whimsical superstition. Under the head of tabus certain articles of food were denied; for instance, the sugar-cane—ko—was forbidden. The reason assigned was that if one indulged in it his work as a practitioner would amount to nothing; in the language of the kumu, aohe e leo ana kana mau hana, his work will be a failure. The argument turned on the double meaning of the word ko, the first meaning being sugar cane, the second, accomplishment. The Hawaiians were much impressed by such whimsical nominalisms. Yet there is a backing of good sense to the rule. Anyone who has chewed the sweet stalk can testify that for some time thereafter his voice is rough, ill-fitted for singing or elocution.

The strictest propriety and decorum were exacted of the pupils; there must be no license whatever. Even married people during the weeks preceding graduation must observe abstinence toward their partners. The whole power of one’s being must be devoted to the pursuit of art.

The rules demanded also the most punctilious personal cleanliness. Above all things, one must avoid contact with a corpse. Such defilement barred one from entrance to the halau until ceremonial cleansing had been performed. The offender must bathe in the ocean; the kumu then aspersed him with holy water, uttered a prayer, ordered a penalty, an offering to the kuahu, and declared the offender clean. This done, he was again received into fellowship at the halau.

The ordinary penalty for a breach of ceremony or an offense against sexual morality was the offering of a baked porkling with awa. Since the introduction of money the penalty has generally been reckoned on a commercial basis; a money fine is imposed. The offering of pork and awa is retained as a concession to tradition.

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The ai-lolo rite and ceremony marked the consummation of a pupil’s readiness for graduation from the school of the halau and his formal entrance into the guild of hula dancers. As the time drew near, the kumu tightened the reins of discipline, and for a few days before that event no pupil might leave the halau save for the most stringent necessity, and then only with the head muffled (pulo’u) to avoid recognition, and he might engage in no conversation whatever outside the halau.

The night preceding the day of ai-lolo was devoted to special services of dance and song. Some time after midnight the whole company went forth to plunge into the ocean, thus to purge themselves of any lurking ceremonial impurity. The progress to the ocean and the return they made in complete nudity. “Nakedness is the garb of the gods.” On their way to and from the bath they must not look back, they must not turn to the right hand or to the left.

The kumu, as the priest, remained at the halau, and as the procession returned from the ocean he met it at the door and sprinkled each one (pikai) with holy water. Then came another period of dance and song; and then, having cantillated a pule hoonoa, to lift the tabu, the kumu went forth to his own ceremonial cleansing bath in the sea. During his absence his deputy, the kokua kumu, took charge of the halau. When the kumu reached the door on his return, he made himself known by reciting a mele wehe puka, the conventional password.

Still another exercise of song and dance, and the wearied pupils are glad to seek repose. Some will not even remove the short dancing skirts that are girded about them, so eager are they to snatch an hour of rest; and some lie down with bracelets and anklets yet unclasped.

At daybreak the kumu rouses the company with the tap of the drum. After ablutions, before partaking of their simple breakfast, the company stand before the altar and recite a tabu-removing prayer, accompanying the cantillation with a rhythmic tapping of feet and clapping of hands:

Pule Hoonoa

Pupu we’uwe’u e, Laka e!

O kona we’uwe’u ke ku nei.

Page 32

Kaumaha a’e la ia Laka.

O Laka ke akua pule ikaika.


Ua ku ka maile a Laka a imua;

Ua lu ka hua 32 o ka maile.

Noa, noa ia’u, ia Kahaula—

Papalua noa.

Noa, a ua noa.


Eli-eli kapu! eli-eli noa!

Kapu oukou, ke akua!

Noa makou, ke kanaka´.


Tabu-lifting Prayer

Oh wildwood bouquet, oh Laka!

Hers are the growths that stand here.

Suppliants we to Laka.

The prayer to Laka has power;


The maile of Laka stands to the fore.

The maile vine casts now its seeds.

Freedom, there’s freedom to me, Kahaula—

A freedom twofold.

Freedom, aye freedom!


A tabu profound, a freedom complete.

Ye gods are still tabu;

We mortals are free.

Footnote 32: (return) Lu ka hua. Casts now its seeds. The maile vine (pl. IV), one of the goddess’s emblems, casts its seeds, meaning that the goddess gives the pupils skill and inspires them.

At the much-needed repast to which the company now sit down there may be present a gathering of friends and relatives and of hula experts, called olóhe. Soon the porkling chosen to be the ai-lólo offering is brought in—a black suckling without spot or blemish. The kumu holds it down while all the pupils gather and lay their hands upon his hands; and he expounds to them the significance of the ceremony. If they consecrate themselves to the work in hand in sincerity and with true hearts, memory will be strong and the training, the knowledge, and the songs that have been intrusted to the memory will stay. If they are heedless, regardless of their vows, the songs they have learned will fly away.

The ceremony is long and impressive; many songs are used. Sometimes, it was claimed, the prayers of the kumu at this laying on of hands availed to cause the death of the little animal. On the completion of the ceremony the offering is taken out and made ready for the oven.

One of the first duties of the day is the dismantling of the old kuahu, the shrine, and the construction of another from new materials as a residence for the goddess. While night yet shadows the earth the attendants and friends of the pupils Page 33 have gone up into the mountains to collect the material for the new shrine. The rustic artists, while engaged in this loving work of building and weaving the new kuahu, cheer and inspire one another with joyful songs vociferous with the praise of Laka. The halau also they decorate afresh, strewing the floor with clean rushes, until the whole place enthralls the senses like a bright and fragrant temple.

The kumu now grants special dispensation to the pupils to go forth that they may make good the results of the neglect of the person incident to long confinement in the halau. For days, for weeks, perhaps for months, they have not had full opportunity to trim hair, nails, or beard, to anoint and groom themselves. They use this short absence from the hall also to supply themselves with wreaths of fragrant maile, crocus-yellow ilima, scarlet-flaming lehua, fern, and what not.

At the appointed hour the pupils, wreathed and attired like nymphs and dryads, assemble in the halau, sweet with woodsy perfumes. At the door they receive aspersion with consecrated water.

The ai-lolo offering, cooked to a turn—no part raw, no part cracked or scorched—is brought in from the imu, its bearer sprinkled by the guard at the entrance. The kumu, having inspected the roast offering and having declared it ceremonially perfect, gives the signal, and the company break forth in songs of joy and of adulation to goddess Laka:

Mele Kuau

Noho ana Laka I ka ulu wehi-wehi,

Ku ana iluna I Mo’o-helaia, 33

Ohia-Ku 34 ouna o Mauna-loa. 35

Aloha mai Kaulana-ula 36 ia’u.


Eia ka ula la, he ula leo, 37

He uku, he modai, he kanaenae,

He alana na’u ia oe.

E Laka e, e maliu mai;

E maliu mai oe, i pono au,


A pono au, a pono kaua.

Footnote 33:(return) Mo’o-helaia. A female deity, a kupua, who at death became one of the divinities, au-makua, of the hula. Her name was conferred on the place claimed as her residence, on Mauna-loa, island of Molokai.

Footnote 34:(return) Ohia-Ku. Full name ohia-ku-makua; a variety of the ohìa, or lehua (pl. XIII), whose wood was used in making temple gods. A rough stem of this tree stood on each side near the hala-pepe. (See pl. III, also pp. 19-20.)

Footnote 35:(return) Mauna-loa. Said to be the mountain of that name on Molokai, not that on Hawaii.

Footnote 36:(return) Kaulana-ula. Full form Kaulana-a-ula; the name of a deity belonging to the order, papa, of the hula. Its meaning is explained in the expression ula leo, in the next line.

Footnote 37:(return) Ula leo. A singing or trilling sound, a tinnitus aurium, a sign that the deity Kaulanaula was making some communication to the one who heard it.

“By the pricking of my thumbs Something wicked this way comes.”

Page 34



Laka sits in her shady grove,

Stands on her terrace, at Mo’o-helaia;

Like the tree of God Ku on Mauna-loa.

Kaulana-ula trills in my ear;


A whispered suggestion to me,

Lo, an offering, a payment,

A eulogy give I to thee.

O Laka, incline to me!

Have compassion, let it be well—


Well with me, well with us both.

There is no stint of prayer-song. While the offering rests on the kuahu, the Joyful service continues:

Mele Kuahu

E Laka, e!

Pupu we’uwe’u e, Laka e!

E Laka i ka leo;

E laka i ka loaa;


E Laka i ka waiwai;

E Laka i na mea a pau!



O goddess Laka!

O wildwood bouquet, O Laka!

O Laka, queen of the voice!

O Laka, giver of gifts!


O Laka, giver of bounty!

O Laka, giver of all things!

At the conclusion of this loving service of worship and song each member of the troupe removes from his head and neck the wreaths that had bedecked him, and with them crowns the image of the goddess until her altar is heaped with the offerings.

Now comes the pith of the ceremony: the novitiates sit down to the feast of ai-lolo, theirs the place of honor, at the head of the table, next the kuahu. The ho’o-pa’a, acting as carver, selects the typical parts—snout, ear-tips, tail, feet, portions of the vital organs, especially the brain (lolo). This last it is which gives name to the ceremony. He sets an equal portion before each novitiate. Each one must eat all that is set before him. It is a mystical rite, a sacrament; as he eats he consciously partakes of the virtue of the goddess that is transmitted to himself. Page 35

Meantime the olohe and friends of the novitiates, inspired with the proper enthusiasm, of the occasion, lift their voices in joyful cantillations in honor of the goddess, accompanied with the clapping of hands.

The ceremony now reaches a new stage. The kumu lifts the tabu by uttering a prayer—always a song—and declares the place and the feast free, and the whole assembly sit down to enjoy the bounty that is spread up and down the halau. On this occasion men and women may eat in common. The only articles excluded from this feast are luau—a food much like spinach, made by cooking the young and delicate taro leaf—and the drupe of the hala, the pandanus (pl. xviii).

The company sit down to eat and to drink; presently they rise to dance and sing. The kumu leads in a tabu-lifting, freedom-giving song and the ceremony of ai-lolo is over. The pupils have been graduated from the school of the halau; they are now members of the great guild of hula dancers. The time has come for them to make their bow to the waiting public outside, to bid for the favor of the world. This is to be their “little go;” they will spread their wings for a greater flight on the morrow.

The kumu with his big drum, and the musicians, the ho’o-pa’a, pass through the door and take their places outside in the lanai, where sit the waiting multitude. At the tap of the drum the group of waiting olapa plume themselves like fine birds eager to show their feathers; and, as they pass out the halau door and present themselves to the breathless audience, into every pose and motion of their gliding, swaying figures they pour a full tide of emotion in studied and unstudied effort to captivate the public.


The occasion is that of a lifetime; it is their uniki, their debut. The song chosen must rise to the dignity of the occasion. Let us listen to the song that enthralls the audience seated in the rushstrown lanai, that we may judge of its worthiness.

He Mele-Inoa (no Naihe) 38

Ka nalu nui, a ku ka nalu mai Kona,

Ka malo a ka mahiehie, 39

Ka onaulu-loa, 40 a lele ka’u malo.

Page 36

O kakai 41 malo hoaka, 42


O ka malo kai, 43 malo o ke alii

E ku, e hume a paa i ka malo.

E ka’ika’i 44 ka la i ka papa o Halepó; 45

A pae o Halepó i ka nalu.

Ho-e’e i ka nalu mai Kahiki; 46


He nalu Wakea, 47 nalu ho’ohua. 48

Haki opu’u 49 ka nalu, haki kua-pa. 50

Ea mai ka makakai 51 he’e-nalu,

Kai he’e kakala 52 o ka moku,

Kai-ká o ka nalu nui,


Ka hu’a o ka nalu o Hiki-au. 53

Kai he’e-nalu i ke awakea.

Ku ka puna, ke ko’a i-uka.

Ka makahá o ka nalu o Kuhihewa. 54

Ua o ia, 55 nohá ka papa!


Noná Maui, nauweuwe,

Nauweuwe, nakelekele.

Nakele ka ili o ka i he’e-kai.

Lalilali ole ka ili o ke akamai;

Kahilihili ke kai a ka he’e-nalu.


Ike’a ka nalu nui o Puna, o Hilo.

Footnote 38: (return) Naihe. A man of strong character, but not a high chief. He was horn in Kona and resided at Napoopoo. His mother was Ululani, his father Keawe-a-heulu, who was a celebrated general and strategist under Kamehameha I.

Footnote 39: (return) Mahiehie. A term conferring dignity and distinction.

Footnote 40: (return) Onaulu-loa. A roller of great length and endurance, one that reaches the shore, in contrast to a kakala.

Footnote 41: (return) Kalai. An archaic word meaning forty.

Footnote 42: (return) Hoaka. A crescent; the name of the second day of the month. The allusion is to the curve (downward) of a large number(kakai) of malo when hung on a line, the usual way of keeping such articles.

Footnote 43: (return) Malo kai. The ocean is sometimes poetically termed the malo or pa-á of the naked swimmer, or bather. It covers his nakedness.

Footnote 44: (return) Ka’ika’i. To lead or to carry; a tropical use of the word. The sun is described as leading the board.

Footnote 45: (return) Hale-pó. In the opinion of the author it is the name of the board. A skilled Hawaiian says it is the name given the surf of a place at Napoopoo, in Kona, Hawaii. The action is not located there, but in Puna, it seems to the author.

Footnote 46: (return) Kahiki. Tahiti, or any foreign country; a term of grandiloquence.

Footnote 47: (return) Wakea. A mythical name, coming early in Hawaiian genealogies; here used in exaggeration to show the age of the roller.

Footnote 48: (return) Ho’ohua. Applied to a roller, one that rolls on and swells higher.

Footnote 49: (return) Opu’u. Said of a roller that completes its run to shore.

Footnote 50: (return) Kua-pá. Said of a roller as above that dies at the shore.

Footnote 51: (return) Maka-kai. The springing-up of the surf after an interval of quiet.

Footnote 52: (return) Kakála. Rough, heaped up, one wave overriding another, a chop sea.

Footnote 53: (return) Hiki-au. Said to be the name of a temple.

Footnote 54: (return) Kuhihewa. Full name Ka-kuhi-hewa, a distinguished king of Oahu.

Footnote 55: (return) O iu. Meaning that the board dug its nose into the reef or sand.


A Name-Song, a Eulogy (for Naihe)

The huge roller, roller that surges from Kona,

Makes loin-cloth fit for a lord;

Far-reaching swell, my malo streams in the wind;

Shape the crescent malo to the loins—


The loin-cloth the sea, cloth for king’s girding.

Stand, gird fast the loin-cloth! Page 37

Let the sun guide the board Halepó,

Till Halepó lifts on the swell.

It mounts the swell that rolls from Kahiki,


From Wakea’s age enrolling.

The roller plumes and ruffles its crest.

Here comes the champion surf-man,

While wave-ridden wave beats the island,

A fringe of mountain-high waves.


Spume lashes the Hiki-an altar—

A surf this to ride at noontide.

The coral, horned coral, it sweeps far ashore.

We gaze at the surf of Ka-kuhi-hewa.

The surf-board snags, is shivered;


Maui splits with a crash,

Trembles, dissolves into slime.

Glossy the skin of the surf-man;

Undrenched the skin of the expert;


Wave-feathers fan the wave-rider.

You’ve seen the grand surf of Puna, of Hilo.

This spirited song, while not a full description of a surf-riding scene, gives a vivid picture of that noble sport. The last nine verses have been omitted, as they add neither to the action nor to the interest.

It seems surprising that the accident spoken of in line 19 should be mentioned; for it is in glaring opposition to the canons that were usually observed in the composition of a mele-inoa. In the construction of a eulogy the Hawaiians were not only punctiliously careful to avoid mention of anything susceptible of sinister interpretation, but they were superstitiously sensitive to any such unintentional happening. As already mentioned (p. 27), they believed that the fate compelling power of a word of ill-omen was inevitable. If it did not result in the death of the one eulogized, retributive justice turned the evil influence back on him who uttered it.

Page 38


There prevailed among the practitioners of the hula from one end of the group to the other a mutual understanding, amounting almost to a sort of freemasonry, which gave to any member of the guild the right of free entrance at all times to the hall, or halau, where a performance was under way. Admission was conditioned, however, on the utterance of a password at the door. A snatch of song, an oli, denominated mele kahea, or mele wehe puka, was chanted, which, on being recognized by those within, was answered in the same language of hyperbole, and the door was opened.

The verbal accuracy of any mele kahea that may be adduced is at the present day one of the vexed questions among hula authorities, each hula-master being inclined to maintain that the version given by another is incorrect. This remark applies, though in smaller measure, to the whole body of mele, pule, and oli that makes up the songs and liturgy of the hula as well as to the traditions that guided the maestro, or kumu-hula, in the training of his company. The reasons for these differences of opinion and of test, now that there is to be a written text, are explained by the following facts: The devotees and practitioners of the hula were divided into groups that were separated from one another by wide intervals of sea and land. They belonged quite likely to more than one cult, for indeed there were many gods and au-makua to whom they sacrificed and offered prayers. The passwords adopted by one generation or by the group of practitioners on one island might suffer verbal changes in transmission to a later generation or to a remote island.

Again, it should be remembered that the entire body of material forming the repertory of the hula—pule, mele, and oli—was intrusted to the keeping of the memory, without the aid of letters or, so far as known, of any mnemonic device; and the human mind, even under the most athletic discipline, is at best an imperfect conservator of literary form. The result was what might be expected: as the imagination and emotions of the minstrel warmed under the inspiration of his trust, glosses and amendments crept in. These, however, caused but slight variations in the text. The substance remains substantially the same.

After carefully weighing the matter, the author can not avoid the conclusion that jealousy had much to do with the slight differences now manifest, that one version is as Page 39 authoritative as another, and that it would be well for each kumu-hula to have kept in mind the wise adage that shines among the sayings of his nation: Aohe pau ka ike i kau halau 56—“Think not that all of wisdom resides in you halau.” 57

Footnote 56: (return) Sophocles (Antigone, 705) had said the same thing:[Greek: me nun en ethos pounon en sautô phorei ôs phes su, kouden allo, tout’ orphôs echein]—“Don’t get this idea fixed in your head, that what you say, and nothing else, is right.”

Footnote 57: (return) Halau. As previously explained, in this connection halau has a meaning similar to our word “school,” or “academy,” a place where some art was taught, as wrestling, boxing, or the hula.

Mele Kahea

Li’u-li’u aloha ia’u,

Ka uka o Koholá-lele,

Ka nahele mauka o Ka-papala 58 la.

Komo, e komo aku hoi au maloko.


Mai ho’ohewahewa mai oe ia’u; oau no ia,

Ke ka-nae-nae a ka mea hele,

He leo, e-e,

A he leo wale no, e-e!

Eia ka pu’u nui owaho nei la,


He ua, lie ino, he anu, he ko’e-ko’e.

E ku’u aloha, e,

Maloko aku au.



Long, long have I tarried with love

In the uplands of Koholá-lele,

The wildwood above Ka-papala.

To enter, permit me to enter, I pray;


Refuse me not recognition; I am he,

A traveler offering mead of praise,

Just a voice,

Only a human voice.

Oh, what I suffer out here,


Rain, storm, cold, and wet.

O sweetheart of mine,

Let me come in to you.

Footnote 58: (return) Ka-papala. A verdant region on the southeastern flank of Mauna-Loa.

Hear now the answer chanted by voices from within:

Mele Komo

Aloha na hale o makou i maka-maka ole,

Ke alanui hele mauka o Pu’u-kahea la, e-e!


E Kahea aku ka pono e komo mai oe iloko nei.

Eia ka pu’u nui o waho nei, he anu.

Page 40


Song of Welcome

What love to our cottage-homes, now vacant,

As one climbs the mount of Entreaty!

We call,

We voice the welcome, invite you to enter.

The hill of Affliction out there is the cold.

Another fragment that was sometimes used as a password is the following bit of song taken from the story of Hiiaka, sister of Pele. She is journeying with the beautiful Hopoe to fetch prince Lohiau to the court of Pele. They have come by a steep and narrow path to the brink of the Wai-lua river, Kauai, at this point spanned by a single plank. But the bridge is gone, removed by an ill-tempered naiad (witch) said to have come from Kahiki, whose name, Wai-lua, is the same as that of the stream. Hiiaka calls out, demanding that the plank be restored to its place. Wai-lua does not recognize the deity in Hiiaka and, sullen, makes no response. At this the goddess puts forth her strength, and Wai-lua, stripped of her power and reduced to her true station, that of a mo’o, a reptile, seeks refuge in the caverns beneath the river. Hiiaka betters the condition of the crossing by sowing it with stepping stones. The stones remain in evidence to this day.

Mele Kahea

Kunihi ka mauna i ka la’i e,

O Wai-ale-ale 59 la i Wai-lua,

Huki a’e la i ka lani

Ka papa au-wai o ka Wai-kini;


Alai ia a’e la e Nou-nou,

Nalo ka Ipu-ha’a,

Ka laula mauka o Kapa’a, e!

Mai pa’a i ka leo!

He ole ka hea mai, e!



Steep stands the mountain in calm,

Profile of Wai-ale-ale at Wai-lua.

Gone the stream-spanning plank of Wai-kini,

Filched away by Nou-nou;


Shut off the view of the hill Ipu-ha’a,

And the upland expanse of Ka-pa’a.

Give voice and make answer.

Dead silence—no voice in reply.

In later, in historic times, this visitor, whom we have kept long waiting at the door, might have voiced his appeal in the passionate words of this comparatively modern song:

Footnote 59: (return) Wai-ale-ale (Leaping-water). The central mountain-mass of Kauai.

Page 41

Mele Kahea 60

Ka uka holo-kia ahi-manu o La’a, 61

I po-ele i ka uahi, noe ka nahele,

Nohe-nohea i ka makani luhau-pua.

He pua oni ke kanaka—


He mea laha ole la oe.

Mai kaua e hea nei;

E hea i ke kanaka e komo maloko,

E hanai ai a hewa 62 ka wa’ha.

Eia no ka uku la, o ka wa’a. 63



In the uplands, the darting flame-bird of La’a,

While smoke and mist blur the woodland,

Is keen for the breath of frost-bitten flowers.

A fickle flower is man—


A trick this not native to you.

Come thou with her who is calling to thee;

A call to the man to come in

And eat till the mouth is awry.

Lo, this the reward—the canoe.

Footnote 60: (return) This utterance of passion is said to have been, the composition of the Princess-Kamamalu, as an address to Prince William Lunalilo, to whom she was at one time affianced and would have married, but that King Liholiho (Kamehameha IV) would not allow the marriage. Thereby hangs a tragedy.

Footnote 61: (return) La’a. The region in Hawaii now known as Ola’a was originally called La’a. The particle o has become fused with the word.

Footnote 62: (return) Hewa ka waha. This expression, here tortured into “(till) the mouth awry,” is difficult of translation. A skilled Hawaiian scholar suggests, it may mean to change one from, an enemy to a friend by stopping his mouth with food.

Footnote 63: (return) Wa’a. Literally a canoe. This is a euphemism for the human body, a gift often too freely granted. It will be noted that in the answering mele komo, the song of admission, the reward promised is more modestly measured—“Simply the voice.”

The answer to this appeal for admission was in these words:

Mele Komo

E hea i ke kanaka e komo maloko,

E hanai ai a hewa waha;

Eia no ka uku la, o ka leo,

A he leo wale no, e!



Call to the man to come in,

And eat till the mouth is estopt;

And this the reward, the voice,

Simply the voice.

The cantillation of the mele komo: in answer to the visitor’s petition, meant not only the opening to him of the halau door, but also his welcome to the life of the halau as a heart-guest of honor, trebly welcome as the bringer of fresh tidings from the outside world.

Page 42


The first duty of a visitor on being admitted to the halau while the tabu was on—that is, during the conduct of a regular hula—was to do reverence at the kuahu. The obligations of religion took precedence of all social etiquette. He reverently approaches the altar, to which all eyes are turned, and with outstretched hands pours out a supplication that breathes the aroma of ancient prayer:

Pule Kuahu (no Laka)

O Laka oe,

O ke akua i ke a’a-lii 64 nui.

E Laka mai uka!

E Laka mai kai!


O hoo-ulu 65 o Lono,

O ka ilio nana e haehae ke aha,

O ka ie-le ku i ka wao,

O ka maile hihi i ka nahele,

O ka lau ki-ele 66 ula o ke akua,


O na ku’i 67 o Hauoli,

O Ha’i-ka-malama, 68

Wahine o Kina’u. 69

Kapo ula 70 o Kina’u.

O Laka oe,


O ke akua i ke kuahu nei la, e!

E ho’i, e ho’i a nolao i kou kuahu.

Hoo-ulu ia!

Footnote 64: (return) A’a-lii. A deep-rooted tree, sacred to Laka or to Kapo.

Footnote 65: (return) Hoo-ulu. Literally to make grow; secondarily, to inspire, to prosper, to bring good luck. This is the meaning most in mind in modern times, since the hula has become a commercial venture.

Footnote 66: (return) Ki-ele. A flowering plant native to the Hawaiian woods, also cultivated, sacred to Laka, and perhaps to Kapo. The leaves are said to be pointed and curved like the beak of the bird i-iwi, and the flower has the gorgeous yellow-red color of that bird.

Footnote 67: (return) It has been proposed to amend this verse by substituting akua, for ku’i, thus making the idea the gods of the hula.

Footnote 68: (return) Haí-ka-malama. An epithet applied to Laka.

Footnote 69: (return) Kina’u. Said to mean Hiiaka, the sister of Pele.

Footnote 70: (return) Kapo ula. Red, ula, was the favorite color of Kapo. The kahuna anaana, high priests of sorcery, of the black art, and of murder, to whom Kapo was at times procuress, made themselves known as such by the display of a red flag and the wearing of a red malo.


Altar-Prayer (to Laka)

Thou art Laka,

God of the deep-rooted a’a-lii.

O Laka from the mountains,

O Laka from the ocean!

Page 43 5

Let Lono bless the service,

Shutting the mouth of the dog,

That breaks the charm with his barking.

Bring the i-e that grows in the wilds,

The maile that twines in the thicket,


Red-beaked kiele, leaf of the goddess,

The joyous pulse of the dance

In honor of Ha’i-ka-malama,

Friend of Kina’u,

Red-robed friend of Kina’u.


Thou art Laka,

God of this altar here.

Return, return and reside at your altar!

Bring it good luck!

A single prayer may not suffice as the offering at Laka’s altar. His repertory is full; the visitor begins anew, this time on a different tack:

Pule Kuahu (no Laka)

Eia ke kuko, ka li’a;

I ka manawa he hiamoe ko’u,

Hoala ana oe,

O oe o Halau-lani,


O Hoa-lani,

O Puoho-lani,

Me he manu e hea ana i ka maha lehua

Ku moho kiekie la i-uka.

I-uka ho’i au me Laka


A Lea, 71 a Wahie-loa, 72, i ka nahelehele;

He hoa kaana ia no’u,

No kela kuahiwi, kualono hoi.

E Laka, e Laka, e!

E maliu mai!


A maliu mai oe pono au,

A a’e mai oe pono au!


Altar-Prayer (to Laka)

This my wish, my burning desire,

That in the season of slumber

Thy spirit my soul may inspire,





Bird from covert calling,

Where forest champions stand.

There roamed I too with Laka,

Page 44 10

Of Lea and Loa a wilderness-child;

On ridge, in forest boon companion she

To the heart that throbbed in me.

O Laka, O Laka,

Hark to my call!


You approach, it is well;

You possess me, I am blest!

Footnote 71:(return) Lea. The same as Laia, or probably Haumea.

Footnote 72:(return) Wahie loa. This must be a mistake. Laka the son of Wahie-loa was a great voyager. His canoe (kau-méli-éli) was built for him by the gods. In it he sailed to the South to rescue his father’s bones from the witch who had murdered him. This Laka had his home at Kipahulu, Maui, and is not to be confounded with Laka, goddess of the hula.

In the translation of this pule the author has found it necessary to depart from the verse arrangement that obtains in the Hawaiian text.

The religious services of the halau, though inspired by one motive, were not tied to a single ritual or to one set of prayers. Prayer marked the beginning and the ending of every play—that is, of every dance—and of every important event in the programme of the halau; but there were many prayers from which the priest might select. After the prayer specially addressed to Laka the visitor might use a petition of more general scope. Such is ’the one now to be given:

He Pule Kuahu (ia Kane ame Kapo); a he Pule Hoolei

Kane, hiki a’e, he maláma 73 la luna;

Ha’aha’a, he maláma ia lalo;

Oni-oni, 74 he málama ia ka’u;

He wahine 75 lei, málama ia Kapo;


E Kapo nui, hala-hala 76 a i’a;

E Kapo nui, hala-hala 77 a mea,

Ka alihi 78 luna, ka alihi lalo;

E ka poha-kú. 79

Noho ana Kapo i ka ulu wehi-wehi;


Ku ana i Moo-helaia, 80

Ka ohi’a-Ku iluna o Mauna-loa.

Aloha mai Kaulana-a-ula 81 ia’u;

Eia ka ula la, he ula leo, 82

He uku, he mohai, he alana,

Page 45 15

He kanaenae na’u ia oe, e Kapo ku-lani.

E moe hauna-ike, e hea au, e o mai oe.

Aia la na lehua o Kaana, 83

Ke kui ia mai la e na wahine a lawa

I lei no Kapo—


O Kapo, alii nui no ia moku,

Ki’e-ki’e, ha’a-ha’a;

Ka la o ka ike e ike aku ai:

He ike kumu, he ike lono;

He ike pu-awa 84 hiwa,


He ike a ke Akua, e!

E Kapo, ho’i!

E ho’i a noho i kou kuahu.

Ho’ulu ia!

Eia ka wai, 85 la,


He wai e ola.

E ola nou, e!

Footnote 73: (return) Maláma. Accented on the penult, as here, the word means to enlighten or a light (same in second verse). In the third and fourth verses the accent is changed to the first syllable, and the word here means to preserve, to foster. These words furnish an example of poetical word-repetition.

Footnote 74: (return) Onioni. To squirm, to dodge, to move. The meaning here seems to be to move with delight.

Footnote 75: (return) Wahine lei. A reference to Laka, the child of Kapo, who was symbolized by a block of wood on the altar. (See p. 23.)

Footnote 76: (return) Hala-hala a i’a. Said to be a certain kind of fish that was ornamented about its tailend with a band of bright color; therefore an object of admiration and desire.

Footnote 77: (return) Hala-Hala a mea. The ending mea is perhaps taken from the last half of the proper name Hau-mea who was Kapo’s mother. It belongs to the land, in contrast to the sea, and seems to be intended to intensify and extend the meaning of the term previously used. The passage is difficult. Expert Hawaiians profess their inability to fathom its meaning.

Footnote 78: (return) Alihi luna. The line or “stretching cord,” that runs the length of a net at its top, the a lalo being the corresponding line at the bottom of the net. The exact significance of this language complimentary to Kapo can not be phrased compactly.

Footnote 79: (return) Poha-kú. The line that runs up and down at the end of a long net, by which it may be anchored.

Footnote 80: (return) Moo-helaia. See note a, p. 33.

Footnote 81: (return) Kaulana-a-ula. See note d, p, 33.

Footnote 82: (return) Ula leo. See note e, p. 33.

Footnote 83: (return) Kaana. A place on Mauna-loa, Molokai, where the lehua greatly flourished. The body of Kapo, it is said, now lies there in appearance a rock. The same claim is made for a rock at Wailua, Hana, Maui.

Footnote 84: (return) Pu-awa hiwa (hiwa, black). A kind of strong awa. The gentle exhilaration, as well as the deep sleep, of awa were benefits ascribed to the gods. Awa was an essential to most complete sacrifices.

Footnote 85: (return) Wai. Literally water, refers to the bowl of awa, replenished each day, which set on the altar of the goddess.

Verses 9 to 15, inclusive, are almost identical in form with the first seven verses in the Mele Kuahu addressed to Laka, given on page 33.


An Altar-Prayer (to Kane and Kapo): also a Garland-Prayer, used while decorating the altar

Now, Kane, approach, illumine the altar;

Stoop, and enlighten mortals below;

Rejoice in the gifts I have brought.

Wreathed goddess fostered by Kapo—


Hail Kapo, of beauty resplendent!

Great Kapo, of sea and land,

The topmost stay of the net,

Its lower stay and anchoring line.

Kapo sits in her darksome covert;


On the terrace, at Mo’o-he-laia,

Stands the god-tree of Ku, on Mauna-loa.

God Kaulana-ula twigs now mine ear,

His whispered suggestion to me is

This payment, sacrifice, offering,


Tribute of praise to thee, O Kapo divine.

Inspiring spirit in sleep, answer my call.

Behold, of lehua bloom of Kaana

The women are stringing enough

To enwreath goddess Kapo;


Kapo, great queen of that island,

Of the high and the low.

The day of revealing shall see what it sees:

Page 46

A seeing of facts, a sifting of rumors,

An insight won by the black sacred awa,


A vision like that of a god!

O Kapo, return!

Return, and abide in your altar!

Make it fruitful!

Lo, here is the water,


The water of life!

Hail, now, to thee!

The little god-folk, whom the ancients called Kini Akua—myriads of gods—and who made the wildwoods and wilderness their playground, must also be placated. They were a lawless set of imps; the elfins, brownies, and kobolds of our fairy world were not “up to them” in wanton deviltry. If there is to be any luck in the house, it can only be when they are dissuaded from outbreaking mischief.

The pule next given is a polite invitation to these little brown men of the woods to honor the occasion with their presence and to bring good luck at their coming. It is such a prayer as the visitor might choose to repeat at this time, or it might be used on other occasions, as at the consecration of the kuahu:

He Pule Kuahu (no Kini Akua)

E ulu, e ulu, Kini o ke Akua!

Ulu Kane me Kanaloa!

Ulu Ohi’a-lau-koa, me ka Ie-ie!

A’e mai a noho i kou kuahu!


Eia ka wai la, he wai e ola.

E ola no, e-e!


An Altar-Prayer (to the Kini Akua)

Gather, oh gather, ye hosts of godlings!

Come Kane with Kanaloa!

Come leafy Ohi’a and I-e!

Possess me and dwell in your altar!


Here’s water, water of life!

Life, give us life!

The visitor, having satisfied his sense of what the occasion demands, changes his tone from that of cantillation to ordinary speech, and concludes his worship with a petition conceived in the spirit of the following prayer:

E ola ia’u, i ka malihini; a pela hoi na kamaaina, ke kumu, na haumana, ia oe, e Laka. E Laka ia Pohaku i ka wawae. E Laka i ke kupe’e. E Laka ia Luukia i ka pa-u; e Laka i ke kuhi; e Laka i ka leo; e Laka i ka lei. E Laka i ke ku ana imua o ke anaina.

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Thy blessing, O Laka, on me the stranger, and on the residents, teacher and pupils. O Laka, give grace to the feet of Pohaku; and to her bracelets and anklets; comeliness to the figure and skirt of Luukia. To (each one) give gesture and voice. O Laka, make beautiful the lei; inspire the dancers when they stand before the assembly.

At the close of this service of song and prayer the visitor will turn from the kuahu and exchange salutations and greetings with his friends in the halau.

The song-prayer “Now, Kane, approach, illumine the altar” (p. 45) calls for remark. It brings up again the question, previously discussed, whether there were not two distinct cults of worshipers, the one devoted to Laka, the other to Kapo. The following facts will throw light on the question. On either side of the approach to the altar stood, sentinel-like, a tall stem of hala-pepe, a graceful, slender column, its head of green sword-leaves and scarlet drupes making a beautiful picture. (See p. 24.) These are said to have been the special emblems of the goddess Kapo.

The following account of a conversation the author had with an old woman, whose youthful days were spent as a hula dancer, will also help to disentangle the subject and explain the relation of Kapo to the hula:

“Will you not recite again the prayer you just now uttered, and slowly, that it may be written down?” the author asked of her. “Many prayers for the kuahu have been collected, but this one differs from them all.”

“We Hawaiians,” she answered, “have been taught that these matters are sacred (kapu) and must not be bandied about from mouth to mouth.”

“Aye, but the time of the tabus has passed. Then, too, in a sense having been initiated into hula matters, there can be no impropriety in my dealing with them in a kindly spirit.”

“No harm, of course, will come to you, a haole (foreigner). The question is how it will affect us.”

“Tell me, were there two different classes of worshipers, one class devoted to the worship of Laka and another class devoted to the worship of Kapo?”

“No,” she answered, “Kapo and Laka were one in spirit, though their names were two.”

“Haumea was the mother of Kapo. Who was her father?”

“Yes, Haumea was the mother, and Kua-ha-ilo 86 was the father:”

“How about Laka?”

Footnote 86: (return) Kua-ha-ilo. A god of the kahuna anaana; meaning literally to breed maggots in the back.

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“Laka was the daughter of Kapo. Yet as a patron, of the hula Laka stands first; she was worshiped at an earlier date than Kapo; but they are really one.”

Further questioning brought out the explanation that Laka was not begotten in ordinary generation; she was a sort of emanation from Kapo. It was as if the goddess should sneeze and a deity should issue with the breath from her nostrils; or should wink, and thereby beget spiritual offspring from the eye, or as if a spirit should issue forth at some movement of the ear or mouth.

When the old woman’s scruples had been laid to rest, she repeated slowly for the author’s benefit the pule given on pages 45 and 46, “Now, Kane, approach,” * * * of which the first eight lines and much of the last part, to him, were new.

Page 49


The costume of the hula dancer was much the same for both sexes, its chief article a simple short skirt about the waist, the pa-ú. (PL I.)

When the time has come for a dance, the halau becomes one common dressing room. At a signal from the kumu the work begins. The putting on of each article of costume is accompanied by a special song.

First come the ku-pe’e, anklets of whale teeth, bone, shell-work, dog-teeth, fiber-stuffs, and what not. While all stoop in unison they chant the song of the anklet:

Mele Ku-pe’e

Aala kupukupu 87 ka uka o Kane-hoa. 88

E ho-a! 89

Hoa na lima o ka makani, he Wai-kaloa. 90

He Wai-kaloa ka makani anu Lihue.


Alina 91 lehua ï kau ka opua—

Ku’u pua,

Ku’u pua i’ini e ku-i a lei.

Ina ia oe ke lei ’a mai la.



Fragrant the grasses of high. Kane-hoa.

Bind on the anklets, bind!

Bind with finger deft as the wind

That cools the air of this bower.


Lehua bloom pales at my flower,

O sweetheart of mine,

Bud that I’d pluck and wear in my wreath,

If thou wert but a flower!

Footnote 87: (return) Kupukupu. Said to be a fragrant grass.

Footnote 88: (return) Kane-hoa. Said to be a hill at Kaupo, Maul. Another person says it is a hill at Lihue, on Oahu. The same name is often repeated.

Footnote 89: (return) Ho-a. To bind. An instance of word-repetition, common in Hawaiian poetry.

Footnote 90: (return) Wai-kaloa. A cool wind that Wows at Lihue, Kauai

Footnote 91: (return) Alina. A scar, or other mark of disfigurement, a moral blemish. In ancient times lovers inflicted injuries on themselves to prove devotion.

The short skirt, pa-u, was the most important piece of attire worn by the Hawaiian female. As an article of daily wear it represented many stages of evolution beyond the primitive fig-leaf, being fabricated from a great variety of Page 50 materials furnished by the garden of nature. In its simplest terms the pa-ú was a mere fringe of vegetable fibers. When placed as the shield of modesty about the loins of a woman of rank, or when used as the full-dress costume of a dancing girl on a ceremonious occasion, it took on more elaborate forms, and was frequently of tapa, a fabric the finest specimens of which would not have shamed the wardrobe of an empress.

In the costuming of the hula girl the same variety obtained as in the dress of a woman of rank. Sometimes her pa-ú would be only a close-set fringe of ribbons stripped from the bark of the hibiscus (hau), the ti leaf or banana fiber, or a fine rush, strung upon a thong to encircle the waist. In its most elaborate and formal style the pa-ú consisted of a strip of fine tapa several yards long and of width to reach nearly to the knees. It was often delicately tinted or printed, as to its outer part, with stamped figures. The part of the tapa skirt thus printed, like the outer, decorative one in a set of tapa bed-sheets, was termed the kilohana.

The pa-ú worn by the danseuse, when of tapa, was often of such volume as to balloon like the skirt of a coryphée. To put it on was quite an art, and on that account, if not on the score of modesty, a portion of the halau, was screened off and devoted to the use of the females as a dressing room, being known as the unu-lau-koa, and to this place they repaired as soon as the kumu gave the signal for dressing.

The hula pa-ú of the women was worn in addition to that of daily life; the hula pa-ú of the men, a less pretentious affair, was worn outside the malo, and in addition to it.

The method of girding on the pa-ú was peculiar. Beginning at the right hip—some say the left—a free end was allowed to hang quite to the knee; then, passing across the back, rounding the left hip, and returning by way of the abdomen to the starting point, another circuit of the waist was accomplished; and, a reverse being made, the garment was secured by passing the bight of the tapa beneath the hanging folds of the pa-ú from below upward until it slightly protruded above the border of the garment at the waist. This second end was thus brought to hang down the hip alongside of the first free end; an arrangement that produced a most decorative effect.

The Hawaiians, in their fondness for giving personal names to inanimate objects, named the two free ends (apua) of the pa-ú respectively Ku-kápu-úla-ka-láni and Léle-a-mahu’i.

According to another method, which was simpler and more commonly employed, the piece was folded sidewise and, being gathered into pleats, a cord was inserted the length of the fold. The cord was passed about the waist, knotted at the hip, and thus held the garment secure.

Page 51

While the girls are making their simple toilet and donning their unique, but scanty, costume, the kumu, aided by others, soothes the impatience of the audience and stimulates their imagination by cantillating a mele that sets forth in grandiloquent imagery the praise of the pa-ú.

Oli Pa-ú

Kakua pa-ú, ahu na kikepa! 92

I ka pa-ú noenoe i hooluu’a,

I hookakua ia a paa iluna o ka imu. 93

Ku ka nu’a 94 o ka pali o ka wai kapu,


He kuina 95 pa-ú pali 96 no Kupe-hau,

I holo a paa ia, paa e Hono-kane. 97

Malama o lilo i ka pa-ú.

Holo ilio la ke ala ka Manú 98 i na pali;

Pali ku kahakó liaka a-i,


I ke keiki pa-ú pali a Kau-kini, 99

I hoonu’anu’a iluna o ka Auwana. 100

Page 52

Akahi ke ana, ka luhi i ka pa-ú:

Ka ho-oio i ke kapa-wai,

I na kikepa wai o Apua, 101


I hopu ’a i ka ua noe holo poo-poo,

Me he pa-ú elehiwa wale i na pali.

Ohiohi ka pali, ki ka liko o ka lama,

Mama ula 102 ia ka malua ula,

I hopu a omau ia e ka maino.


I 103 ka malo o Umi ku huná mai.

Ike’a ai na maawe wai oloná, 104

E makili ia nei i Wahilau. 105

Holo ke oloná, paa ke kapa.

Hu’a lepo ole ka pa-ú;


Nani ka o-iwi ma ka maka kilo-hana. 106

Makalii ka ohe, 107 paa ke kapa.

Opua ke ahi i na pali,

I hookau kalena ia e ka makani,

I kaomi pohaku ia i Wai-manu,


I na alá 108 ki-óla-óla;

I na alá, i alá lele

Ia Kane-poha-ka’a. 109

Paa ia Wai-manu, 110 o-oki Wai-pi’o;

Lalau o Ha’i i ka ohe,


Ia Koa’e-kea, 111

I kauhihi ia ia ohe laulii, ia ohe.

Oki’a a moku, mo’ ke kini, 112

Page 53

Mo ke kihl, ka maiáma ka Hoaka, 113

I apahu ia a poe,


O awili 114 o Malu-ô.

He pola ia no ka pa-ú;

E hii ana e Ka-holo-kua-iwa,

Ke amo la e Pa-wili-wlli

I ka pa-ú poo kau-poku— 115


Kau poku a hana ke ao,

Kau iluna o Hala’a-wili,

I owili hana haawe.

Ku-ka’a, olo-ka’a wahie;

Ka’a ka opeope, ula ka pali; 116


Uwá, kamalii, hookani ka pihe,

Hookani ka a’o, 117 a hana pilo ka leo,

I ka mahalo i ka pa-ú,

I ka pa-ú wai-lehua a Hi’i-lawe 118 iluna,

Pi’o anuenue a ka ua e ua nei.

Footnote 92: (return) Kikepa. The bias, the one-sided slant given the pa-ú by tucking it in at one side, as previously described.

Footnote 93: (return) Imu. An oven; an allusion to the heat and passion of the part covered by the pa-ú.

Footnote 94: (return) Hu’a. Foam; figurative of the fringe at the border of the pa-ú.

Footnote 95: (return) Kuina. A term applied to the five sheets that were stitched together (kui) to make a set of bed-clothes. Five turns also, it is said, complete a pa-ú.

Footnote 96: (return) Pali no Kupe-Hau. Throughout the poem the pa-ú is compared to a pali, a mountain wall. Kupe-hau is a precipitous part of Wai-pi’o valley.

Footnote 97: (return) Hono-kane. A valley near Wai-pi’o. Here it is personified and said to do the work on the pa-ú.

Footnote 98: (return) Manú. A proper name given to this pa-ú.

Footnote 99: (return)

Kau-kini. The name of a hill back of Lahaina-luna, the traditional residence of a kahuna named Lua-hoo-moe, whose two sons were celebrated for their manly beauty. Ole-pau, the king of the island Maui, ordered his retainer, Lua-hoo-moe, to fetch for his eating some young u-a’u, a sea-bird that nests and rears its young in the mountains. These young birds are esteemed a delicacy. The kahuna, who was a bird-hunter, truthfully told the king that it was not the season for the young birds; the parent birds were haunting the ocean. At this some of the king’s boon companions, moved by ill-will, charged the king’s mountain retainer with suppressing the truth, and in proof they brought some tough old birds caught at sea and had them served for the king’s table. Thereupon the king, not discovering the fraud, ordered that Lua-hoo-moe should be put to death by fire. The following verses were communicated to the author as apropos of Kau-kini, evidently the name of a man:

Ike ia Kau-kini, he lawaia manu.

He upena ku’u i ka noe i Poha-kahi,

Ua hoopulu ia i ka ohu ka kikepa;

Ke na’i la i ka luna a Kea-auwana;

Ka uahi i ke ka-peku e hei ai ka manu o Pu-o-alii.

O ke alii wale no ka’u i makemake

Ali’a la, ha’o, e!


Behold Kau-kini, a fisher of birds;

Net spread in the mist of Poha-kahi,

That is soaked by the sidling fog.

It strives on the crest of Koa-auwana.

Smoke traps the birds of Pu-o-alii.

It’s only the king that I wish:

But stay now—I doubt.

Footnote 100: (return) Auwana. Said to be an eminence on the flank of Haleakala, back of Ulupalakua.

Footnote 101: (return) Apua. A place on Hawaii, on Maui, on Oahu, on Kauai, and on Molokai.

Footnote 102: (return) Mama ula ia ka malua ula. The malua-ula was a variety of tapa that was stained with hili kukui (the root-bark of the kukui tree). The ripe kukui nut was chewed into a paste and mingled with this stain. Mama ula refers to this chewing. The malua ula is mentioned as a foil to the pa-ú, being a cheap tapa.

Footnote 103: (return) I. A contracted form of ti or ki, the plant or, as in this case, the leaf of the ti, the Dracæna (pl. V). Liloa, the father Of Umi, used it to cover himself after his amour with the mother of Umi, having given his malo in pledge to the woman. Umi may have used this same leaf as a substitute for the malo while in the wilderness of Laupahoehoe, hiding away from his brother, King Hakau.

Footnote 104: (return) Oloná. A strong vegetable fiber sometimes added to tapa to give it strength. The fibers of olona in the fabric of the pa-ú are compared to the runnels and brooklets of Waihilau.

Footnote 105: (return) Wai-hilau. Name applied to the water that drips in a cave in Puna. It is also the name of a stream in Wai-pi’o valley, Hawaii.

Footnote 106: (return) Kilo-hana. The name given the outside, ornamented, sheet of a set (kuina) of five tapas used as bed-clothing. It was also applied to that part of a pa-ú which was decorated with figures. The word comes from kilohi, to examine critically, and hana, to work, and therefore means an ornamental work.

Footnote 107: (return) Ohe. Bamboo. In this case the stamp, made from bamboo, used to print the tapa.

Footnote 108: (return) Alá. The hard, dark basalt of which the Hawaiian ko’i, adz, is made; any pebble, or small water-worn stone, such as would be used to hold in place the pa-ú while spread out to dry.

Footnote 109: (return) Kane-poha-ka’a. Kane-the-hail-sender. The great god Kane was also conceived of as Kane-hekili, the thunderer; Kane-lulu-honua, the earthquake-sender, etc.

Footnote 110: (return) Wai-manu and Wai-pi’o are neighboring valleys.

Footnote 111: (return) Ko-a’e-kea. A land in Wai-pi’o valley.

Footnote 112: (return) Mo’ ke kihi. Mo’ is a contracted form of moku.

Footnote 113: (return) Hoaka. The name of the moon in its second day, or of the second day of the Hawaiian month; a crescent.

Footnote 114: (return) O awili o Malu-á.

The most direct and evident sense of the word awili is to wrap. It probably means the wrapping of the pa-ú about the loins; or it may mean the movable, shifty action of the pa-ú caused by the lively actions of the dancer. The expression Malw-á may be taken from the utterance of the king’s ilamuku (constable or sheriff) or other official, who, in proclaiming a tabu, held an idol in his arms and at the same time called out Kapu, o-o! The meaning is that the pa-ú, when wrapped about the woman’s loins, laid a tabu on the woman. The old Hawaiian consulted on the meaning of this passage quoted the following, which illustrates the fondness of his people for endless repetitions and play upon words:

Awiliwili i ka hale 119 o ka lauwili, e.

He lauwili ka makanl, he Kaua-ula, 120

I hoapaapa i ka hale o ka lauwili, e:


Unstable the house of the shifty man,

Fickle as the wind Kaua-ula.

Treachery lurks in the house of Unstable.

Footnote 115: (return) Kaupoku. A variant of the usual form, which is kaupaku, the ridgepole of a house, its apex. The pa-ti when, worn takes the shape of a grass house, which has the form of a haystack.

Footnote 116: (return) Ula ka pali. Red shows the pali, i. e., the side hill. This is a euphemism for some accident by which the pa-ú has been displaced, and an exposure of the person has taken place, as a result of which the boys scream and even the sea-bird, the a’o, shrieks itself hoarse.

Footnote 117: (return) A’o. A sea-bird, whose raucous voice is heard in the air at night at certain seasons.

Footnote 118: (return) Hi’i-lawe. A celebrated waterfall in Wai-pi’o valley, Hawaii.

Footnote 119: (return) Primitive meaning, house; second, the body as the house of the soul.

Footnote 120: (return) Kaua-ula. A strong wind that shifted from one point to another, and that blew, often with great violence, at Lahaina, Maul. The above triplet was often quoted by the chiefs of olden time apropos of a person who was fickle in love or residence. As the old book has it, “The double-minded man is unstable in all his ways.” (O ke kanáka lolilua ka manao lauwili kona mau aoao a pau.)

This is a typical Hawaiian poem of the better sort, keyed in a highly imaginative strain. The multitude of specific allusions to topographical names make it difficult to Page 54 translate it intelligently to a foreign mind. The poetical units are often so devised that each new division takes its clue from the last word of the previous verse, on the principle of “follow your leader,” a capital feature in Hawaiian poetry.


Pa-ú Song

Gird on the pa-ú, garment tucked in one side,

Skirt lacelike and beauteous in staining,

That is wrapped and made fast about the oven.

Bubbly as foam of falling water it stands,


Quintuple skirt, sheer as the cliff Kupe-hau.

One journeyed to work on it at Honokane.

Have a care the pa-ú is not filched.

Scent from the robe Manú climbs the valley walls—

Abysses profound, heights twisting the neck.


A child is this steep thing of the cliff Kau-kini,

A swelling cloud on the peak of Auwana.

Wondrous the care and toil to make the pa-ú!

What haste to finish, when put a-soak

In the side-glancing stream of Apua!


Caught by the rain-scud that searches the glen,

The tinted gown illumines the pali—

The sheeny steep shot with buds of lama—

Outshining the comely malua-ula.

Which one may seize and gird with a strong hand.


Leaf of ti for his malo, Umi 121 stood covered.

Look at the oloná fibers inwrought,

Like the trickling brooklets of Wai-hilau.

The oloná, fibers knit with strength

This dainty immaculate web, the pa-ú,


And the filmy weft of the kilo-hana.

With the small bamboo the tapa is finished.

A fire seems to bud on the pali,

When the tapa is spread out to dry,

Pressed down with stones at Wai-manu—


Stones that are shifted about and about,

Stones that are tossed here and there,

Like work of the hail-thrower Kane.

At Wai-manu finished, ’tis cut at Wai-pi’o;

Ha’l takes the bamboo Ko-a’e-kea;

Page 55 35

Deftly wields the knife of small-leafed bamboo;

A bamboo choice and fit for the work.

Cut, cut through, cut off the corners;

Cut round, like crescent moon of Hoaka;

Cut in scallops this shift that makes tabu:


A fringe is this for the pa-ú.

’Tis lifted by Ka-holo-ku-iwa,

’Tis borne by Pa-wili-wili;

A pa-ú narrow at top like a house,

That’s hung on the roof-tree till morning,


Hung on the roof-tree Ha-la’a-wili.

Make a bundle fitting the shoulder;

Lash it fast, rolled tight like a log.

The bundle falls, red shows the pali;

The children shout, they scream in derision.


The a’o bird shrieks itself hoarse

In wonder at the pa-ú—

Pa-ú with a sheen like Hi’i-lawe falls,

Bowed like the rainbow arch

Of the rain that’s now falling.

Footnote 121: (return) Umi. It was Liloa, the father of Umi, who covered himself with a ti leaf instead of a malo after the amour that resulted in the birth of Umi. His malo he had given as a pledge to the woman, who became the mother of Umi.

The girls of the olapa, their work in the tiring-room completed, lift their voices in a spirited song, and with a lively motion pass out into the hall to bloom before the waiting assembly in the halau in all the glory of their natural charms and adornments:


Ku ka punohu ula i ka moana;

Hele ke ehu-kai, uhi i ka aina;

Olapa ka uila, noho ï Kahiki.

Ulna, nakolo,


Uwa, ka pihe,

Lau 122 kánaka ka hula.

E Laka, e!


Tiring Song.

The rainbow stands red o’er the ocean;

Mist crawls from the sea and covers the land;

Far as Kahiki flashes the lightning;

A reverberant roar,


A shout of applause

From the four hundred.

I appeal to thee, Laka!

Footnote 122: (return) Lau (archaic). Four hundred.

Page 56

The answering song, led by the kumu, is in the same flamboyant strain:


Lele Mahu’ilani 123 a luna,

Lewa ia Kauna-lewa! 124



Lift Mahu’ilani on high;

Thy palms Kauna-lewa a-waving!

Footnote 123: (return) Mahu’ilani. A poetlcal name for the right hand; this the olapa, the dancing girls, lifted in extension as they entered the halau from, the dressing room. The left hand was termed Kaohi-lani.

Footnote 124: (return) Kauna-lewa. The name of a celebrated grove of coconuts at Kekaha, Kauai, near the residence of the late Mr. Knudsen.

After the ceremony of the pa-ú came that of the lei, a wreath to crown the head and another for the neck and shoulders. It was not the custom in the old times to overwhelm the body with floral decorations and to blur the outlines of the figure to the point of disfigurement; nor was every flower that blows acceptable as an offering. The gods were jealous and nice in their tastes, pleased, only with flowers indigenous to the soil—the ilima (pl. VI), the lehua, the maile, the ie-ie, and the like (see pp. 19, 20). The ceremony was quickly accomplished. As the company knotted the garlands about head or neck, they sang:

Oli Lei

Ke lei mai la o Ka-ula i ke kai, e!

Ke malamalama o Niihau, ua malie.

A malie, pa ka Inu-wai.

Ke inu mai la na hala o Naue i ke kai.


No Naue, ka hala, no Puna ka wahine. 125

No ka lua no i Kilauea.


Wreath Song

Ka-ula wears the ocean as a wreath;

Nii-hau shines forth in the calm.

After the calm blows the wind Inu-wai;

Naue’s palms then drink in the salt.


From Naue the palm, from Puna the woman—

Aye, from the pit, Kilauea.

Tradition tells a pathetic story (p. 212) in narrating an incident touching the occasion on which this song first was sung.

Footnote 125: (return) Wahine. The woman, Pele.

Page 57


Every formal hula was regarded by the people of the olden time as a sacred and religious performance (tabu); but all hulas were not held to be of equal dignity and rank (hanohano). Among those deemed to be of the noblest rank and honor was the ala’a-papa. In its best days this was a stately and dignified performance, comparable to the old-fashioned courtly minuet.

We shall observe in this hula the division of the performers into two sets, the hoopa’a and the olapa. Attention will naturally bestow itself first on the olapa, a division of the company made up of splendid youthful figures, young men, girls, and women in the prime of life. They stand a little apart and in advance of the others, the right hand extended, the left resting upon the hip, from which hangs in swelling folds the pa-ú. The time of their waiting for the signal to begin the dance gives the eye opportunity to make deliberate survey of the forms that stand before us.

The figures of the men are more finely proportioned, more statuesque, more worthy of preservation in marble or bronze than those of the women. Only at rare intervals does one find among this branch of the Polynesian race a female shape which from crown to sole will satisfy the canons of proportion—which one carries in the eye. That is not to say, however, that the artistic eye will not often meet a shape that appeals to the sense of grace and beauty. The springtime of Hawaiian womanly beauty hastes away too soon. Would it were possible to stay that fleeting period which ushers in full womanhood!

One finds himself asking the question to what extent the responsibility for this overthickness of leg and ankle—exaggerated in appearance, no doubt, by the ruffled anklets often worn—this pronounced tendency to the growth of that degenerate weed, fat, is to be explained by the standard of beauty which held sway in Hawaii’s courts and for many ages acted as a principle of selection in the physical molding of the Hawaiian female.

The prevailing type of physique among the Hawaiians, even more marked in the women than in the men, is the short and thick, as opposed to the graceful and slender. One does occasionally find delicacy of modeling in the young and immature; but with adolescence fatness too often comes to blur the outline.

The hoopa’a, who act as instrumentalists, very naturally maintain a position between sitting and kneeling, the better Page 58 to enable them, to handle that strangely effective drumlike instrument, the ipu, the one musical instrument used as an accompaniment in this hula. The ipu is made from the bodies of two larger pear-shaped calabashes of unequal sizes, which are joined together at their smaller ends in such a manner as to resemble a figure-of-eight. An opening is left at the top of the smaller calabash to increase the resonance. In moments of calm the musicians allow the body to rest upon the heels; as the action warms they lift themselves to such height as the bended knee will permit.

The ala’a-papa is a hula of comparatively moderate action. While the olapa employ hands, feet, and body in gesture and pose to illustrate the meaning and emotion of the song, the musicians mark the time by lifting and patting with the right hand the ipu each holds in the left hand. If the action of the play runs strong and stirs the emotions, each hoopa’a lifts his ipu wildly, fiercely smites it, then drops it on the padded rest in such manner as to bring out its deep mysterious tone.

At a signal from the kumu, who sits with the hoopa’a, the poo-pua’a, leader of the olapa, calls the mele (kahea i ka mele)—that is, he begins its recitation—in a tone differing but little from that of ordinary conversation, a sing-song recitation, a vocalization less stilted and less punctilious than that usually employed in the utterance of the oli or mele. The kumu, the leader of the company, now joins in, mouthing his words in full observance of the mele style. His manner of cantillation may be either what may be called the low relief, termed ko’i-honua, or a pompous alto-relievo style, termed ai-ha’a. This is the signal for the whole company to chime in, in the same style as the kumu. The result, as it seems to the untutored ear, is a confusion of sounds like that of the many-tongued roar of the ocean.

The songs cantillated for the hula ala’a-papa were many and of great variety. It seems to have been the practice for the kumu to arrange a number of mele, or poetical pieces, for presentation in the hula in such order as pleased him. These different mele, thus arranged, were called pale, compartments, or mahele, divisions, as if they were integral parts of one whole, while in reality their relation to one another was only that of the juxtaposition imposed upon them by the kumu.

The poetical pieces first to be presented were communicated to the author as mahele, divisions—hardly cantos—in the sense above defined. They are, however, distinct poems, though there chances to run through them all a somewhat similar motive. The origin of many of these is referred to a past so remote that tradition assigns them to what the Hawaiians call the wa po, the night of tradition, or they say of them, no ke akua mai, they are from the gods. It Page 59 matters not how faithful has been the effort to translate these poems, they will not be found easy of comprehension. The local allusions, the point of view, the atmosphere that were in the mind of the savage are not in our minds to-day, and will not again be in any mind on earth; they defy our best efforts at reproduction. To conjure up the ghostly semblance of these dead impalpable things and make them live again is a problem that must be solved by each one with such aid from the divining rod of the imagination as the reader can summon to his help.

Now for the play, the song:

Mele no Ka Hula Alá’a-papa



A Koolau wau, ike i ka ua,

E ko-kolo la-lepo ana ka ua,

E ka’i ku ana, ka’i mai ana ka ua,

E nu mai ana ka ua i ke kuahiwi,


E po’i ana ka ua me he nalu la.

E puka, a puka mai ka ua la.

Waliwali ke one i ka hehi’a e ka ua;

Ua holo-wai na kaha-wai;

Ua ko-ké wale na pali.


Aia ka wai la i ka ilina, 126 he ilio,

He ilio hae, ke nahu nei e puka.


Song for the Hula Alá’a-papa.



’Twas in Koolau I met with the rain:

It comes with lifting and tossing of dust,

Advancing in columns, dashing along.

The rain, It sighs In the forest;


The rain, it beats and whelms, like the surf;

It smites, it smites now the land.

Pasty the earth from the stamping rain;

Full run the streams, a rushing flood;

The mountain walls leap with the rain.


See the water chafing its bounds like a dog,

A raging dog, gnawing its way to pass out.

This song is from the story of Hiiaka on her journey to Kauai to bring the handsome prince, Lohiau, to Pele. The region is that on the windward, Koolau, side of Oahu.

Footnote 126: (return) Ilina. A sink, a place where a stream sinks into the earth or sand.

Page 60


Hoopono oe, he aina kai Waialua i ka hau;

Ke olelo 127 wale no la i ka lani.

Lohe ka uka o ka pehu i Ku-kani-loko. 128

I-loko, i-waho kaua la, e ka hoa,


I kahi e pau ai o ka oni?

Oni ana i ka manawa o ka lili.

Pee oe, pee ana iloko o ka hilahila.

I hilahila wale ia no e oe;

Nou no ka hale, 129 komo mai maloko.

The lines from, the fourth to the ninth in this stanza (pauku) represent a dialogue between two lovers.



Look now, Waialua, land clothed with ocean-mist—

Its wilderness-cries heaven’s ear only hears,

The wilderness-gods of Ku-kani-loko.

Within or without shall we stay, friend,


Until we have stilled the motion?

To toss is a sign of impatience.

You hide, hiding as if from shame,

I am bashful because of your presence;

The house is yours, you’ve only to enter.



Pakú Kea-au, 130 lulu Wai-akea; 131

Noho i ka la’i Ioa o Hana-kahi, 132

O Hilo, i olokea 133 ia, i au la, e, i kai,

O Lele-iwi, 134 o Maka-hana-loa. 135


Me he kaele-papa 136 la Hilo, i lalo ka noho.

Kaele 137 wale Hilo i ke alai ia e ka ua.

Oi ka niho o ka ua o Hilo i ka lani;

Kua-wa’a-wa’a Hilo eli ’a e ka wai;

Kai-koo, haki na nalu, ka ua o Hilo;

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Ha’i lau-wili mai ka nahele.

Nanalu, kahe waikahe o Wai-luku;

Hohonu Waiau, 138 nalo ke poo o ka lae o Moku-pane; 139

Wai ulaula o Wai-anue-nue; 140

Ka-wowo nui i ka wai o Kolo-pule-pule; 141


Halulu i ha-ku’i, ku me he uahi la

Ka puá, o ka wai ua o-aka i ka lani.

Eleele Hilo e, pano e, i ka ua;

Okakala ka hulu o Hilo i ke anu;

Pili-kau 142 mai Hilo ia ua loa.


Pali-ku laau ka uka o Haili 143

Ka lae ohi’a e kope-kope,

Me he aha moa la, ka pale pa laau,

Ka nahele o Pa-ie-ie, 144

Ku’u po’e lehua iwaena konu o Mo-kau-lele; 145


Me ka ha’i laau i pu-kaula hala’i i ka ua.

Ke nana ia la e la’i i Hanakahi.

Oni aku Hilo, oni ku’u kai lipo-lipo,

A Lele-iwi, ku’u kai ahu mimiki a ka Malua. 146

Lei kahiko, lei nalu ka poai.


Nana Pu’u-eo 147 e! makai ka iwi-honua, 148 e!

Puna-hoa la, ino, ku, ku wau a Wai-akea la.

Footnote 127: (return) Olelo. To speak, to converse; here used figuratively to mean that the place is lonely, has no view of the ocean, looks only to the sky. “Looks that commerce with the sky.”

Footnote 128: (return) Ku-kani-loko. A land in Waialua, Oahu, to which princesses resorted in the olden times at the time of childbirth, that their offspring might have the distinction of being an alii kapu, a chief with a tabu.

Footnote 129: (return) Hale House; a familiar euphemism of the human body.

Footnote 130: (return) Kea-au. An ahu-pua’a, small division of land, in Puna adjoining Hilo, represented as sheltering Hilo on that side.

Footnote 131: (return) Waiakea. A river in Hilo, and the land through which it flows.

Footnote 132: (return) Hana-kahi. A land on the Hamakua side of Hilo, also a king whose name was a synonym for profound peace.

Footnote 133: (return) Olo-kea. To be invited or pulled many ways at once; distracted.

Footnote 134: (return) Lele-iwi. A cape on the north side of Hilo.

Footnote 135: (return) Maka-hana-loa. A cape.

Footnote 136: (return) Kaele-papa. A large, round, hollowed board on which to pound taro in the making of poi. The poi-board was usually long and oval.

Footnote 137: (return) Kaele. In this connection the meaning is surrounded, encompassed by.

Footnote 138: (return) Waiau. The name given to the stretch of Wailuku river near its mouth.

Footnote 139: (return) Moku-pane. The cape between the mouth of the Wailuku river and the town of Hilo.

Footnote 140: (return) Wai-anue-nue. Rainbow falls and the river that makes the leap.

Footnote 141: (return) Kolo-pule-pule. Another branch of the Wailuku stream.

Footnote 142: (return) Pili-kau. To hang low, said of a cloud.

Footnote 143: (return) Haili. A region in the inland, woody, part of Hilo.

Footnote 144: (return) Pa-ieie. A well-wooded part of Hilo, once much resorted to by bird-hunters; a place celebrated in Hawaiian song.

Footnote 145: (return) Mokau-lele. A wild, woody region In the interior of Hilo.

Footnote 146: (return) Malua. Name given to a wind from a northerly or northwesterly direction on several of the islands. The full form is Malua-lua.

Footnote 147: (return) Pu’u-eo. A village in the Hilo district near Puna.

Footnote 148: (return) Iwi-honua. Literally a bone of the earth: a projecting rock or a shoal; if in the water, an object to be avoided by the surf-rider. In this connection see note e, p. 36.



(With distinct utterance)

Kea-au shelters, Waiakea lies in the calm,

The deep peace of King Hana-kahi.

Hilo, of many diversions, swims in the ocean,

’Tween Point Lele-iwi and Maka-hana-loa;


And the village rests in the bowl,

Its border surrounded with rain—

Sharp from the sky the tooth of Hilo’s rain.

Trenched is the land, scooped out by the downpour—

Tossed and like gnawing surf is Hilo’s rain—


Beach strewn with a tangle of thicket growth;

A billowy freshet pours in Wailuku;

Swoll’n is Wai-au, flooding the point Moku-pane;

And red leaps the water of Anue-nue.

A roar to heaven sends up Kolo-pule,

Page 62 15

Shaking like thunder, mist rising like smoke.

The rain-cloud unfolds in the heavens;

Dark grows Hilo, black with the rain.

The skin of Hilo grows rough from the cold;

The storm-cloud hangs low o’er the land.


A rampart stand the woods of Haili;

Ohi’as thick-set must be brushed aside,

To tear one’s way, like a covey of fowl,

In the wilds of Pa-ie-ie—

Lehua growths mine—heart of Mokau-lele.


A breaking, a weaving of boughs, to shield from rain;

A look enraptured on Hana-kahi,

Sees Hilo astir, the blue ocean tossing

Wind-thrown-spray—dear sea—’gainst Point Lele-iwi—

A time-worn foam-wreath to encircle its brow.


Look, Pu’u-eo! guard ’gainst the earth-rib!

It’s Puna-hoa reef; halt!

At Waiakea halt!



Kua loloa Kea-au i ka nahele;

Hala kua hulu-hulu Pana-ewa i ka laau;

Inoino ka maha o ka ohia o La’a.

Ua ku kepakepa ka maha o ka lehua;


Ua po-po’o-hina i ka wela a ke Akua.

Ua u-ahi Puna i ka oloka’a pohaku,

I ka huna pa’a ia e ka wahine.

Nanahu ahi ka papa o Olu-ea;

Momoku ahi Puna hala i Apua;


Ulu-á ka nahele me ka laau.

Oloka’a kekahi ko’i e Papa-lau-ahi;

I eli ’a kahi ko’i e Ku-lili-kaua.

Kai-ahea a hala i Ka-li’u;

A eu e, e ka La, ka malama-lama.


O-na-naka ka piko o Hilo ua me ke one,

I hull i uka la, i hulihia i kai;

Ua wa-wahi ’a, ua na-ha-há,

Ua he-hele-lei!



(Bombastic style)

Ke’-au is a long strip of wildwood;

Shag of pandanus mantles Pan’-ewa;

Scraggy the branching of Laa’s ohias;

The lehua limbs at sixes and sevens—


They are gray from the heat of the goddess.

Page 63

Puna smokes mid the bowling of rocks—

Wood and rock the She-god heaps in confusion,

The plain Oluea’s one bed of live coals;

Puna is strewn with fires clean to Apua,


Thickets and tall trees a-blazing.

Sweep on, oh fire-ax, thy flame-shooting flood!

Smit by this ax is Ku-lili-kaua.

It’s a flood tide of lava clean to Kali’u,

And the Sun, the light-giver, is conquered.


The bones of wet Hilo rattle from drought;

She turns for comfort to mountain, to sea,

Fissured and broken, resolved into dust.

This poem is taken from the story of Hiiaka. On her return from the journey to fetch Lohiau she found that her sister Pele had treacherously ravaged with fire Puna, the district that contained her own dear woodlands. The description given in the poem is of the resulting desolation.


No-luna ka Hale-kai 149 no ka ma’a-lewa, 150

Nana ka maka ia Moana-nui-ka-lehua. 151

Noi au i ke Kai, e mali’o. 152

Ina ku a’e la he lehua 153 ilaila!


Hopoe-lehua 154 kiekie.

Maka’u ka lehua i ke kanáka, 155

Lilo ilalo e hele ai, e-e,

A ilalo hoi.

O Kea-au 156 ili-ili nehe ke kai,

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Hoo-lono 157 ke kai o Puna

I ka ulu hala la, e-e,

Kai-ko’o Puna.

Ia hooneenee ia pili mai 158 kaua, e ke hoa.

Ke waiho e mai la oe ilaila.


Ela ka mea ino la, he anu,

A he anu me he mea la iwaho kaua, e ke hoa;

Me he wai la ko kaua ili.

Footnote 149: (return) Hale-kai. A wild mountain, glen back of Hanalei valley, Kauai.

Footnote 150: (return) Ma’alewa. An aerial root that formed a sort of ladder by which one climbed the mountain steeps; literally a shaking sling.

Footnote 151: (return) Moana-nui-ka-lehua. A female demigod that came from the South (Ku-kulu-o-Kahiki) at about the same mythical period as that of Pele’s arrival—If not in her company—and who was put in charge of a portion of the channel that lies between Kauai and Oahu. This channel was generally termed Ie-ie-waena and Ie-ie-waho. Here the name Moana-nui-ka-lehua seems to be used to indicate the sea as well as the demigoddess, whose dominion it was. Ordinarily she appeared as a powerful fish, but she was capable of assuming the form of a beautiful woman (mermaid?). The title lehua was given her on account of her womanly charms.

Footnote 152: (return) Mali’o. Apparently another form of the word malino, calm; at any rate it has the same meaning.

Footnote 153: (return) Lehua. An allusion to the ill-fated’ young woman Hopoe, who was Hiiaka’s intimate friend. The allusion is amplified in the next line.

Footnote 154: (return) Hopoe-lehua. The lehua tree was one of the forms in which Hopoe appeared, and after her death, due to the jealous rage of Pele, she was turned into a charred lehua tree which stood on the coast subject to the beating of the surf.

Footnote 155: (return) Maka’u ka lehua i ke kanaka. Another version has it Maka’u ke kanaka i ka lehua; Man fears the lehua. The form here used is perhaps an ironical allusion to man’s fondness not only to despoil the tree of its scarlet flowers, but womanhood, the woman it represented.

Footnote 156: (return) Kea-au. Often shortened in pronunciation to Ke-au, a fishing village in Puna near Hilo town. It now has a landing place for small vessels.

Footnote 157: (return) Hoolono. To call, to make an uproar, to spread a report.

Footnote 158: (return) Ia hoo-nee-nee ia pili mai. A very peculiar figure of speech. It Is as if the poet personified, the act of two lovers snuggling up close to each other. Compare with this the expression No huli mai, used by another poet in the thirteenth line of the lyric given on p. 204. The motive is the same in each case.

The author of this poem of venerable age is not known. It is spoken of as belonging to the wa po, the twilight of tradition. It is represented to be part of a mele taught to Hiiaka by her friend and preceptress in the hula, Hopoe. Hopoe is often called Hopoe-wahine. From internal evidence one can see that it can not be in form the same as was given to Hiiaka by Hopoe; it may have been founded on the poem of Hopoe. If so, it has been modified.



From mountain retreat and root-woven ladder

Mine eye looks down on goddess Moana-Lehua;

I beg of the Sea, Be thou calm;

Would there might stand on thy shore a lehua—


Lehua-tree tall of Ho-poe.

The lehua is fearful of man;

It leaves him to walk on the ground below,

To walk the ground far below.

The pebbles at Ke’-au grind in the surf.


The sea at Ke’-au shouts to Puna’s palms,

“Fierce is the sea of Puna.”

Move hither, snug close, companion mine;

You lie so aloof over there.

Oh what a bad fellow is cold!


’Tis as if we were out on the wold;

Our bodies so clammy and chill, friend!

The last five verses, which sound like a love song, may possibly be a modern addition to this old poem. The sentiment they contain is comparable to that expressed in the Song of Welcome on page 39:

Eia ka pu’u nui o waho nei, he anu.

The hill of Affliction out there is the cold.

Page 65


Hi’u-o-lani, 159 kii ka ua o Hilo 160 i ka lani;

Ke hookiikii mai la ke ao o Pua-lani; 161]

O mahele ana, 162 pulu Hilo i ka ua—

O Hilo Hana-kahi. 163


Ha’i ka nalu, wai kaka lepo o Pii-lani;

Hai’na ka iwi o Hilo,

I ke ku ia e ka wai.

Oni’o lele a ka ua o Hilo i ka lanu

Ke hookiikii mai la ke ao o Pua-lani,


Ke holuholu a’e la e puka,

Puka e nana ke kiki a ka ua,

Ka nonoho a ka ua i ka hale o Hilo.

Like Hilo me Puna ke ku a mauna-ole 164

He ole ke ku a mauna Hilo me Puna.


He kowa Puna mawaena Hilo me Ka-ú;

Ke pili wale la i ke kua i mauna-ole;

Pili hoohaha i ke kua o Mauna-loa.

He kuahiwi Ka-ú e pa ka makani.

Ke alai ia a’e la Ka-ú e ke A’e; 165


Ka-u ku ke ehu lepo ke A’e;

Ku ke ehu-lepo mai la Ka-ú i ka makani.

Makani Kawa hu’a-lepo Ka-ú i ke A’e.

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Kahiko mau no o Ka-ú i ka makani.

Makani ka Lae-ka-ilio i Unu-lau,


Kaili-ki’i 166 a ka lua a Kaheahea, 167

I ka ha’a nawali ia ino.

Ino wa o ka mankani o Kau-ná.

Nana aku o ka makani malaila!

O Hono-malino, malino i ka la’i o Kona.


He inoa la!

Footnote 159: (return) Hi’u-o-lani. A very blind phrase. Hawaiians disagree as to its meaning. In the author’s opinion, it is a word referring to the conjurer’s art.

Footnote 160: (return) Ua o Hilo. Hilo is a very rainy country. The name Hilo seems to be used here as almost a synonym of violent rain. It calls to mind the use of the word Hilo to signify a strong wind:

Pa mai, pa mai,

Ka makani a Hilo! 168

Waiho ka ipu iki,

Homai ka ipu nui!


Blow, blow, thou wind of Hilo!

Leave the little calabash,

Bring on the big one!

Footnote 161: (return) Pua-lani. The name of a deity who took the form of the rosy clouds of morning.

Footnote 162: (return) Mahele ana. Literally the dividing; an allusion to the fact, it is said, that in Hilo a rain-cloud, or rain-squall, as it came up would often divide and a part of it turn off toward Puna at the cape named Lele-iwi, one-half watering, in the direction of the present town, the land known as Hana-kahi.

Footnote 163: (return) Hana-kahi. Look at note f, p. 60.

Footnote 164: (return) Mauna-ole. According to one authority this should be Mauna-Hilo. Verses 13, 14, 16, and 17 are difficult of translation. The play on the words ku a, standing at, or standing by, and kua, the back; also on the word kowa, a gulf or strait; and the repetition of the word mauna, mountain—all this is carried to such an extent as to be quite unintelligible to the Anglo-Saxon mind, though full of significance to a Hawaiian.

Footnote 165: (return) A’e. A strong wind that prevails in Ka-u. The same word also means to step on, to climb. This double-meaning gives the poet opportunity for a euphuistic word-play that was much enjoyed by the Hawaiians. The Hawaiians of the present day are not quite up to this sort of logomachy.

Footnote 166: (return) Kaili-ki’i. The promontory that shelters the cove Ka-hewa-hewa.

Footnote 167: (return) Ka-hea-hea. The name of the cove Ka-hewa-hewa, above mentioned, is here given in a softened form obtained by the elision of the letter w.

Footnote 168: (return) Hilo, or Whiro, as in the Maori, was a great navigator.



Heaven-magic, fetch a Hilo-pour from heaven!

Morn’s cloud-buds, look! they swell in the East.

The rain-cloud parts, Hilo is deluged with rain,

The Hilo of King Hana-kahi.


Surf breaks, stirs the mire of Pii-lani;

The bones of Hilo are broken

By the blows of the rain.

Ghostly the rain-scud of Hilo in heaven;

The cloud-forms of Pua-lani grow and thicken.


The rain-priest bestirs him now to go forth,

Forth to observe the stab and thrust of the rain,

The rain that clings to the roof of Hilo.

Hilo, like Puna, stands mountainless;

Aye, mountain-free stand Hilo and Puna.


Puna ’s a gulf ’twixt Ka-ú and Hilo;

Just leaning her back on Mount Nothing,

She sleeps at the feet of Mount Loa.

A mountain-back is Ka-ú which the wind strikes,

Ka-ú, a land much scourged by the A’e.


A dust-cloud lifts in Ka-ú as one climbs.

A dust-bloom floats, the lift of the wind:

’Tis blasts from mountain-walls piles dust, the A’e.

Ka-ú was always tormented with wind.

Cape-of-the-Dog feels Unulau’s blasts;


They turmoil the cove of Ka-hea-hea,

Defying all strength with their violence.

There’s a storm when wind blows at Kau-ná.

Just look at the tempest there raging!

Hono-malino sleeps sheltered by Kona.


A eulogy this of a name.

“What name?” was asked of the old Hawaiian.

“A god,” said he.

“How is that? A mele-inoa celebrates the name and glory of a king, not of a god.”

Page 67

His answer was, “The gods composed the mele; men did not compose it.”

Like an old-time geologist, he solved the puzzle of a novel phenomenon by ascribing it to God.



A Koa’e-kea,[169] i Pueo-hulu-nui, 169

Neeu a’e la ka makahiapo o ka pali;

A a’e, a a’e, a’e 170 la iluna

Kaholo-kua-iwa, ka pali o Ha’i. 171


Ha’i a’e la ka pali;

Ha-nu’u ka pali;

Hala e Malu-ó;

Hala a’e la Ka-maha-la’a-wili,

Ke kaupoku hale a ka ua.


Me he mea i uwae’na a’e la ka pali;

Me he hale pi’o ka lei na ka manawa o ka pali Halehale-o-ú;

Me he aho i hilo ’a la ka wai o Wai-hi-lau;

Me he uahi pulehu-manu la ke kai o ka auwala hula ana.

Au ana Maka’u-kiu 172 iloko o ke kai;


Pohaku lele 173 o Lau-nui, Lau-pahoehoe.

Ka eku’na a ke kai i ka ala o Ka-wai-kapu—

Eku ana, me he pua’a la, ka lae Makani-lele,




(Bombastic style)

Haunt of white tropic-bird and big ruffled owl,

Up rises the firstborn child of the pali.

He climbs, he climbs, he climbs up aloft,

Kaholo-ku’-iwa, the pali of Ha’i.


Accomplished now is the steep,

The ladder-like series of steps.

Malu-ó is left far below.

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Passed is Ka-maha-la’-wili,

The very ridge-pole of the rain—


It’s as if the peak cut it in twain—

An arched roof the peak’s crest Hale-hale-o-ú.

A twisted cord hangs the brook Wai-hilau;

Like smoke from roasting bird Ocean’s wild dance;

The shark-god is swimming the sea;


The rocks leap down at Big-leaf[174] and Flat-leaf— 174

See the ocean charge ’gainst the cliffs,

Thrust snout like rooting boar against Windy-cape,

Against Koholá-lele.

Footnote 169: (return) Koa’e-kea, Pueo hulu-nui. Steep declivities, pali, on the side of Waipio valley, Hawaii. Instead of inserting these names, which would be meaningless without an explanation, the author has given a literal translation of the names themselves, thus getting a closer insight into the Hawaiian thought.

Footnote 170: (return) A’e. The precipices rise one above another like the steps of a stairway, climbing, climbing up, though the probable intent of the poet is to represent some one as climbing the ascent.

Footnote 171: (return) Ha’i. Short for Ha’ina-kolo; a woman about whom there is a story of tragic adventure. Through eating when famished of some berries in an unceremonious way she became distraught and wandered about for many months until discovered by the persistent efforts of her husband. The pali which she climbed was named after her.

Footnote 172: (return) Maka’u-kiu. The name of a famous huge shark that was regarded with reverential fear.

Footnote 173: (return) Pohaku lele. In order to determine whether a shark was present, it was the custom, before going into the clear water of some of these coves, to throw rocks into the water in order to disturb the monster and make his presence known.

Footnote 174: (return) Big-leaf. A literal translation of Lau-nui. Laupahoehoe, Flat-leaf.


Hole 175 Waimea i ka ihe a ka makani,

Hao mai na ale a ke Ki-pu’u-pu’u; 176

He laau kala-ihi ia na ke anu,

I o’o i ka nahele o Mahiki. 177


Ku aku la oe i ka Malanai 178 a ke Ki-puu-puu;

Nolu ka maka o ka oha-wai 179 o Uli;

Niniau, eha ka pua o Koaie, 180

Eha i ke anu ka nahele o Wai-ka-é,

A he aloha, e!


Aloha Wai-ká, ia’u me he ipo la;

Me he ipo la ka maka lena o ke Koo-lau, 181

Ka pua i ka nahele o Mahule-i-a,

E lei hele i ke alo o Moo-lau. 182

E lau ka huaka’i-hele i ka pali loa;


Hele hihiu, puli 183 noho i ka nahele.

O ku’u noho wale iho no i kahua, e-e.

A he aloha, e-e!

O kou aloha ka i hiki mai i o’u nei.

Mahea la ia i nalo iho nei?

This mele, Hole Waimea, is also sung in connection with the hula ipu.

Footnote 175: (return) Hole. To rasp, to handle rudely, to caress passionately. Waimea is a district and village on Hawaii.

Footnote 176: (return) Kipu’u-pu’u. A cold wind from Mauna-Kea that blows at Waimea.

Footnote 177: (return) Mahiki. A woodland in Waimea, in mythological times haunted by demons and spooks.

Footnote 178: (return) Mala-nai. The poetical name of a wind, probably the trade wind; a name much used in Hawaiian sentimental poetry.

Footnote 179: (return) Oha-wai. A water hole that is filled by dripping; an important source of supply for drinking purposes in certain parts of Hawaii.

Footnote 180: (return) Pua o Koaie, The koaie is a tree that grows in the wilds, the blossom of which is extremely fragrant. (Not the same as that subspecies of the koa (Acacia koa) which Hillebrand describes and wrongly spells koaia. Here a euphemism for the delicate parts.)

Footnote 181: (return) Koolau, or, full form, Ko-kao-lau. Described by Doctor Hillebrand as Kokolau, a wrong spelling. It has a pretty yellow flower, a yellow eye—maka lena—as the song has it. Here used tropically. (This is the plant whose leaf is sometimes used as a substitute for tea.)

Footnote 182: (return) Moolau. An expression used figuratively to mean a woman, more especially her breasts. The term Huli-lau, is also used, in a slang way, to signify the breasts of a woman, the primitive meaning being a calabash.

Footnote 183: (return) Pili. To touch; touched. This was the word used in the forfeit-paying love game, kilu, when the player made a point by hitting the target of his opponent with his kilu. (For further description see p. 235.)

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The song above given, the translation of which is to follow, belongs to historic times, being ascribed to King Liholiho—Kamehameha II—who died in London July 13, 1824, on his visit to England. It attained great vogue and still holds its popularity with the Hawaiians. The reader will note the comparative effeminacy and sentimentality of the style and the frequent use of euphemisms and double-entendre. The double meaning in a Hawaiian mele will not always be evident to one whose acquaintance with the language is not intimate. To one who comes to it from excursions in Anglo-Saxon poetry, wandering through its “meadows trim with daisies pied,” the sly intent of the Hawaiian, even when pointed out, will, no doubt, seem an inconsequential thing and the demonstration of it an impertinence, if not a fiction to the imagination. Its euphemisms in reality have no baser intent than the euphuisms of Lyly, Ben Jonson, or Shakespeare.


Song—Hole Waimea


Love tousled Waimea with, shafts of the wind,

While Kipuupuu puffed jealous gusts.

Love is a tree that blights in the cold,

But thrives in the woods of Mahiki.


Smitten art thou with the blows of love;

Luscious the water-drip in the wilds;

Wearied and bruised is the flower of Koaie;

Stung by the frost the herbage of Wai-ka-é:

And this—it is love.


Wai-ká, loves me like a sweetheart.

Dear as my heart Koolau’s yellow eye,

My flower in the tangled wood, Hule-í-a,

A travel-wreath to lay on love’s breast,

A shade to cover my journey’s long climb.


Love-touched, distraught, mine a wilderness-home;

But still do I cherish the old spot,

For love—it is love.

Your love visits me even here:

Where has it been hiding till now?


Kau ka ha-é-a, kau o ka hana wa ele,

Ke ala-ula ka makani,

Kulu a e ka ua i kou wabi moe.

Palepale i na auwai o lalo;


Eli mawaho o ka hale o Koolau, e.

E lau Koolau, he aina ko’e-ko’e;

Maka’u i ke anu ka uka o ka Lahuloa.

Loa ia mea, na’u i waiho aku ai.

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A mackerel sky, time for foul weather;

The wind raises the dust—

Thy couch is a-drip with the rain;

Open the door, let’s trench about the house:


Koolau, land of rain, will shoot green leaves.

I dread the cold of the uplands.

An adventure that of long ago.

The poem above given from beginning to end is figurative, a piece of far-fetched, enigmatical symbolism in the lower plane of human nature.


Hoe Puna i ka wa’a po-lolo’ 184 a ka ino;

Ha-uke-uke i ka wa o Koolau:

Eha e! eha la!

Eha i ku’i-ku’i o ka Ulu-mano. 185


Hala ’e ka waluahe a ke A’e, 186

Ku iho i ku’i-ku’i a ka Ho-li’o; 187

Hana ne’e ke kikala o ko Hilo Khii.

Ho’i lu’u-lu’u i ke one o Hana-kahi, 188

I ka po-lolo’ ua wahine o ka lua:


Mai ka lua no, e!



Puna plies paddle night-long in the storm;

Is set back by a shift in the weather,

Feels hurt and disgruntled;

Dismayed at slap after slap of the squalls;


Is struck with eight blows of Typhoon;

Then smit with the lash of the North wind.

Sad, he turns back to Hilo’s sand-beach:

He’ll shake the town with a scandal—

The night-long storm with the hag of the pit,


Hag from Gehenna!

Footnote 184: (return) Po-lolo. A secret word, like a cipher, made up for the occasion and compounded of two words, po, night, and loloa, long, the final a, of loloa being dropped. This form of speech was called kepakepa, and was much used by the Hawaiians in old times.

Footnote 185: (return) Ulu-mano. A violent wind which blows by night only on the western side of Hawaii. Kamehameha with a company of men was once wrecked by this wind off Nawawa; a whole village was burned to light them ashore. (Dictionary of the Hawaiian Language, by Lorrin Andrews.)

Footnote 186: (return) Walu-ihe a ke A’e. The A’e is a violent wind that is described as blowing from different points of the compass in succession; a circular storm. Walu-ihe—eight spears—was a name applied to this same wind during a certain portion of its circuitous range, covering at least eight different points, as observed by the Hawaiians. It was well fitted, therefore, to serve as a figure descriptive of eight different lovers, who follow each other in quick succession, in the favors of the same wanton.

Footnote 187: (return) Ho-Wo The name of a wind, but of an entirely different character from those above mentioned.

Footnote 188: (return) Hana-kahi. (See note f, p. 60.)

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This is not a line-for-line translation; that the author found infeasible. Line 8 of the English represents line 7 of the Hawaiian. Given more literally, it might be, “He’ll shake the buttocks of Hilo’s forty thousand.”

The metaphor of this song is disjointed, but hot with the primeval passions of humanity.


Ho-ina-inau mea ipo i ka nahele;

Haa-kokoe ana ka maka i ka Moani,

I ka ike i na pua i hoomahie ’Iuna;

Ua hi-hi-hina wale i ka moe awakea.


Ka ino’ ua poina ia Mali’o.

Aia ka i Pua-lei o Ha’o.

I Puna no ka waihona o ka makani;

Kaela ka malama ana a ka Pu’u-lena,

I kahi mea ho-aloha-loha, e!


E aloha, e!



Love is at play in the grove,

A jealous swain glares fierce

At the flowers tying love-knots,

Lying wilted at noon-tide.


So you’ve forgotten Mali’o,

Turned to the flower of Puna—

Puna, the cave of shifty winds.

Long have I cherished this blossom,

A treasure hid in my heart!


Oh, sweetheart!

The following account is taken from the Polynesian Researches of the Rev. William Ellis, the well-known English missionary, who visited these islands in the years 1822 and 1823, and whose recorded observations have been of the highest value in preserving a knowledge of the institutions of ancient Hawaii:

In the afternoon, a party of strolling musicians and dancers arrived at Kairua. About four o’clock they came, followed by crowds of people, and arranged themselves on a fine sandy beach in front of one of the governor’s houses, where they exhibited a native dance, called hura araapapa.

The five musicians first seated themselves in a line on the ground, and spread a piece of folded cloth on the sand before them. Their instrument was a large calabash, or rather two, one of an oval shape about three feet high, the other perfectly round, very neatly fastened to it, having also an aperture about three inches in diameter at the top. Each musician held his instrument before him with both hands, and produced his music by striking it on the ground, where he had laid a piece of cloth, and beating it with his fingers, or the palms of his hands. As soon as they began to sound their calabashes, the dancer, a young man about the middle stature, advanced through the opening crowd.

Page 72

His jet-black hair hung in loose and flowing ringlets on his naked shoulders; his necklace was made of a vast number of strings of nicely braided human hair, tied together behind, while a paraoa (an ornament made of a whale’s tooth) hung pendent from it on his breast; his wrists were ornamented with bracelets formed of polished tusks of the hog, and his ankles with loose buskins, thickly set with dog’s teeth, the rattle of which, during the dance, kept time with the music of the calabash drum. A beautiful yellow tapa was tastefully fastened round his loins, reaching to his knees. He began his dance in front of the musicians, and moved forward and backwards, across the area, occasionally chanting the achievements of former kings of Hawaii. The governor sat at the end of the ring, opposite to the musicians, and appeared gratified with the performance, which continued until the evening. (Vol. IV, 100-101, London, Fisher, Son & Jackson, 1831.)

NOTE BY THE AUTHOR.—At the time of Mr. Ellis’ visit to Hawaii the orthography of the Hawaiian language was still in a formative stage, and it is said that his counsels had influence in shaping it. His use of r instead of l in the words hula, alaapapa, and palaoa may, therefore, be ascribed to the fact of his previous acquaintance with the dialects of southern Polynesia, in which the sound of r to a large extent substitutes that of l, and to the probability that for that reason his ear was already attuned to the prevailing southern fashion, and his judgment prepossessed in that direction.

Page 73


The pa-ípu, called also the kuólo, was a hula of dignified character, in which all the performers maintained the kneeling position and accompanied their songs with the solemn tones of the ípu (pl. vii), with which each one was provided. The proper handling of this drumlike instrument in concert with the cantillation of the mele made such demands upon the artist, who was both singer and instrumentalist, that only persons of the most approved skill and experience were chosen to take part in the performance of this hula.

The manner of treating the ípu in this hula differed somewhat from that employed in the ala’a-papa, being subdued and quiet in that, whereas in the pa-ípu it was at times marked with great vigor and demonstrativeness, so that in moments of excitement and for the expression of passion, fierce joy, or grief the ípu might be lifted on high and wildly brandished. It thus made good its title as the most important instrument of the Hawaiian orchestra.

In the pa-ípu, as in the hulas generally, while the actors were sometimes grouped according to sex, they were quite as often distributed indiscriminately, the place for the leader, the kumu, being the center.

The vigor that marks the literary style of the mele now given stamps it as belonging to the archaic period, which closed in the early part of the eighteenth century, that century which saw the white man make his advent in Hawaii. The poem deals apparently with an incident in one of the migrations such as took place during the period of intercourse between the North and the South Pacific. This was a time of great stir and contention, a time when there was much paddling and sailing about and canoe-fleets, often manned by warriors, traversed the great ocean in every direction. It was then that Hawaii received many colonists from the archipelagoes that lie to the southward.



Wela Kahiki, e!

Wela Kahiki, e!

Wela aku la Kahiki;

Ua kaulu-wela ka moku;

Page 74 5

Wela ka ulu o Hawaii;

Kakala wela aku la Kahiki ia Olopana, 189

Ka’u wahi kanaka;

O ka hei kapu 190 o Hana-ka-ulani, 191

Ka hei kapu a ke alii,


Ka hoo-mamao-lani, 192

Ke kapu o Keawe, 193

A o Keawe

Ke alii holo, ho-i’a i kai, e-e!

Footnote 189: (return) Olopana. A celebrated king of Waipio valley, Hawaii, who had to wife the famous beauty, Luukia. Owing to misfortune, he sailed away to Kahiki, taking with him his wife and his younger brother, Moikeha, who was his puna-lua, settling in a land called Moa-ula-nui-akea. Olopana probably ended his days in his new-found home, but Moi-keha, heart-sick at the loss of Luukia’s favors, came hack to Hawaii and became the progenitor of a line of distinguished men, several of whom were famous navigators. Exactly what incident in the life of Olopana is alluded to in the sixth and preceding verses, the traditions that narrate his adventures do not inform us.

Footnote 190: (return) Hei kapu. An oracle; the place where the high priest kept himself while consulting the deities of the heiau. It was a small house erected on an elevated platform of stones, and there he kept himself in seclusion at such times as he sought to be the recipient of communications from the gods.

Footnote 191: (return) Hana-ka-ulani. A name applied to several heiau (temples). The first one so styled, according to tradition, was built at Hana, Maui, and another one at Kaluanui, on Oahu, near the famous valley of Ka-liu-wa’a. These heiau are said to have been built by the gods in the misty past soon after landing on these shores. Was it to celebrate their escape from perils by sea and enemies on land, or was it in token of thankfulness to gods still higher than themselves?
The author’s informant can not tell whether these followed the fierce, strict cult of Kane or the milder cult of Lono.

Footnote 192: (return) Hoo-mamao-lani. An epithet meaning remote in the heavens, applied to an alii of very high rank.

Footnote 193: (return) Keawe.

This is a name that belonged, to several kings and a large family of gods—papa akua—all of which gods are said to have come from Kahiki and to have dated their origin from the Wa Po, the twilight of antiquity. Among the demigods that were called Keawe may be mentioned: (1) Keawe-huli, a prophet and soothsayer. (2) Keawe-kilo-pono, a wise and righteous one, who loved justice. (3) Keawe-hula-maemae. It was his function to maintain purity and cleanliness; he was a devouring flame that destroyed rubbish and all foulness. (4) Keawe-ula-o-ka-lani. This was the poetical appellation, given to the delicate flush of early morning. Apropos of this the Hawaiians have the following quatrain, which they consider descriptive not only of morning blush, but also of the coming in of the reign of the gods:

O Keawe-ula-i-ka-lani,

O Keawe-liko-i-ka-lani,

O Ke’awe-uina-poha-i-Kahiki;

Hikl mai ana o Lono.





Till Lono comes in to reign.

(5) Keawe-pa-makani. It was his function to send winds from Kukulu-o-Kahiki, as well as from some other points. (6) Keawe-ío-ío-moa. This god inspected the ocean tides and currents, such as Au-miki and Au-ká. (7) Keawe-i-ka-liko. He took charge of flowerbuds and tender shoots, giving them a chance to develop. (8) Keawe-ulu-pu. It was his function to promote the development and fruitage of plants. (9) Keawe-lu-pua. He caused flowers to shed their petals. (10) Keawe-opala. It was his thankless task to create rubbish and litter by scattering the leaves of the trees. (11) Keawe-hulu, a magician, who could blow a feather into the air and see it at once become a bird with power to fly away. (12) Keawe-nui-ka-ua-o-Hilo, a sentinel who stood guard by night and by day to watch over all creation. (13) Keawe-pulehu. He was a thief and served as Page 75[Page 75] cook for the ods. There were gods of evil as well as of good in this set. (14) Keawe-oili. He was gifted with the power to convey and transfer evil, sickness, misfortune, and death. (15) Keawe-kaili. He was a robber. (16) Keawe-aihue. He was a thief. (17) Keuwe-mahilo. He was a beggar. He would stand round while others were preparing food, doing honest work, and plead with his eyes. In this way he often obtained a dole. (18) Keawe-puni-pua’a. He was a glutton, very greedy of pork; he was also called Keawe-ai-pua’a. (19) Keawe-inoino. He was a sloven, unclean in all his ways. (20) Keawe-ilio. The only title to renown of this superhuman creature was his inordinate fondness for the flesh of the dog. So far none of the superhuman heings mentioned seemed fitted to the role of the Keawe of the text, who was passionately fond of the sea. The author had given up in despair, when one day, on repeating his inquiry in another quarter, he was rewarded by learning of—(21) Keawe-i-na-’kai. He was a resident of the region about the southeastern point of Molokai, called Lae-ka-Ilio—Cape of the Dog. He was extravagantly fond of the ocean and allowed no weather to interfere with the indulgence of his penchant. An epithet applied to him describes his dominating passion: Keawe moe i ke kai o Kohakú, Keawe who sleeps in (or on) the sea of Kohakú. It seems probable that this was the Keawe mentioned in the twelfth and thirteenth lines of the mele.

The appellation Keawe seems to have served as a sort of Jack among the demigods of the Hawaiian pantheon, on whom was to be laid the burden of a mongrel host of virtues and vices that were not assignable to the regular orthodox deities. Somewhat in the same way do we use the name Jack as a caption, for a miscellaneous lot of functions, as when we speak of a “Jack-at-all-trades.”



(Distinct utterance)

Glowing is Kahiki, oh!

Glowing is Kahiki!

Lo, Kahiki is a-blaze,

The whole island a-burning.


Scorched is thy scion, Hawaii.

Kahiki shoots flame-tongues at Olopana,

That hero of yours, and priest

Of the oracle Hana-ka-ulani,

The sacred shrine of the king—


He is of the upper heavens,

The one inspired by Keawe,

That tabu-famous Keawe,

The king passion-fond of the sea.



Lau lehua punoni ula ke kai o Kona,

Ke kai punoni ula i oweo ia;

Wewena ula ke kai la, he kokona;

Ula ia kini i ka uka o Alaea,


I hili ahi ula i ke kapa a ka wahine,

I hoeu ia e ka ni’a, e ka hana,

E ka auwai lino mai la a kehau.

He hau hoomoe ka lau o ka niu,

Ke oho o ka laau, lauoho loloa.


E lóha ana i ka la i o Kailua la, i-u-a,

O ke ku moena ololi a ehu

O ku’u aina kai paeaea.

Ea, hoea iluna o Mauna Kilohana,

Na kaha poohiwi mau no he inoa.


Ua noa e, ua pii’a kou wahi kapu, e-e!

I a’e ’a mai e ha’i.

Page 76




Leaf of lehua and noni-tint, the Kona sea,

Iridescent saffron and red,

Changeable watered red, peculiar to Kona;

Red are the uplands Alaea;


All, ’tis the flame-red stained robes of women

Much tossed by caress or desire.

The weed-tangled water-way shines like a rope of pearls,

Dew-pearls that droop the coco leaf,

The hair of the trees, their long locks—


Lo, they wilt in the heat of Kailua the deep.

A mat spread out narrow and gray,

A coigne of land by the sea where the fisher drops hook.

Now looms the mount Kilohana—

Ah, ye wood-shaded heights, everlasting your fame!


Your tabu is gone! your holy of holies invaded!

Broke down by a stranger!

The intricately twisted language of this mele is allegorical, a rope whose strands are inwrought with passion, envy, detraction, and abuse. In translating it one has to choose between the poetic verbal garb and the esoteric meaning which the bard made to lurk beneath the surface.



Kauó pu ka iwa kala-pahe’e,

Ka iwa, ka manu o Kaula i ka makani.

E ka manu o-ú pani-wai o Lehua,

O na manu kapu a Kuhai-moana,


Mai hele a luna o Lei-no-ai,

O kolohe, o alai mai ka Unu-lau.

Puni’a iluna o ka Halau-a-ola;

A ola aku i ka luna o Maka-iki-olea,

I ka lulu, i ka la’i o kai maio,


Ma ka ha’i-wá, i ka mole o Lehua la, Le-hú-a!

O na lehua o Alaka’i ka’u aloha,

O na lehua iluna o Ko’i-alana;

Ua nonoho hooipo me ke kohe-kohe;

Ua anu, maeele i ka ua noe.


Ua mai oe; kau a’e ka naná, laua nei, e-e,

Na ’lii e o’oni mai nei, e-e!




The iwa flies heavy to nest in the brush,

Its haunt on windy Ke-ula.

The watch-bird, that fends off the rain from Le-hu-a—

Page 77

Bird sacred to Ku-hai, the shark-god—


Shrieks, “Light not on terrace of Lei-no-ai,

Lest Unu-lau fiercely assail you.”

Storm sweeps the cliffs of the islet;

A covert they seek neath the hills,

In the sheltered lee of the gale,


The cove at the base of Le-hu-a.

The shady groves there enchant them,

The scarlet plumes of lehua.

Love-dalliance now by the water-reeds,

Till cooled and appeased by the rain-mist.


Pour on, thou rain, the two heads press the pillow:

Lo, prince and princess stir in their sleep!

The scene of this mele is laid on one of the little bird-islands that lie to the northwest of Kauai. The iwa bird, flying heavily to his nesting place in the wiry grass (kala-pahee), symbolizes the flight of a man in his deep-laden pirogue, abducting the woman of his love. The screaming sea-birds that warn him off the island, represented as watch-guards of the shark-god Kuhai-moana (whose reef is still pointed out), figure the outcries of the parents and friends of the abducted woman.

After the first passionate outburst (Puni’a iluna o ka Halau-a-ola) things go more smoothly (ola, ...). The flight to covert from the storm, the cove at the base of Le-hu-a, the shady groves, the scarlet pompons of the lehua—the tree and the island have the same name—all these things are to be interpreted figuratively as emblems of woman’s physical charms and the delights of love-dalliance.




Ku aku la Kea-aú, lele ka makani mawaho,

Ulu-mano, ma ke kaha o Wai-o-lono.

Ua moani lehua a’e la mauka;

Kani lehua iluna o Kupa-koili,


I ka o ia i ka lau o ka hala,

Ke poo o ka hala o ke aku’i.

E ku’i e, e ka uwalo.

Loli ka mu’o o ka hala,

A helelei ka pua, a pili ke alanui:


Pu ia Pana-ewa, ona-ona i ke ala,

I ka nahele makai o Ka-unu-loa la.

Nani ke kaunu, ke kaunu a ke alii,

He puni ina’i poi na maua.

Ua hala ke Kau a me ka Hoilo,


Mailaila mai no ka hana ino.

Ino mai oe, noho malie aku no hoi au;

Hopo o’ ka inaina, ka wai, e-e;

Wiwo au, hopohopo iho nei, e-e!

Page 78




(In turgid style)

A storm, from the sea strikes Ke-au,

Ulu-mano, sweeping across the barrens;

It sniffs the fragrance of upland lehua,

Turns back at Kupa-koili;


Sawed by the blows of the palm leaves,

The groves of pandanus in lava shag;

Their fruit he would string ’bout his neck;

Their fruit he finds wilted and crushed,

Mere rubbish to litter the road—


Ah, the perfume! Pana-ewa is drunk with the scent;

The breath of it spreads through the groves.

Vainly flares the old king’s passion,

Craving a sauce for his meat and mine.

The summer has flown; winter has come:


Ah, that is the head of our troubles.

Palsied are you and helpless am I;

You shrink from a plunge in the water;

Alas, poor me! I’m a coward.

The imagery of this mele sets forth the story of the fierce, but fruitless, love-search of a chief, who is figured by the Ulu-mano, a boisterous wind of Puna, Hawaii. The fragrance of upland lehua (moani lehua, a’e la mauka, verse 3) typifies the charms of the woman he pursues. The expression kani lehua (verse 4), literally the sudden ending of a rain-squall, signifies the man’s failure to gain his object. The lover seeks to string the golden drupe of the pandanus (halo), that he may wear them as a wreath about his neck (uwalo); he is wounded by the teeth of the sword-leaves (o ia i ka lau o ka hala, verse 5). More than this, he meets powerful, concerted resistance (ke poo o ka hala o ke aku’i, verse 6), offered by the compact groves of pandanus that grow in the rough lava-shag (aku’i), typifying, no doubt, the resistance made by the friends and retainers of the woman. After all, he finds, or declares that he finds, the hala fruit he had sought to gather and to wear as a lei about his neck, to be spoiled, broken, fit only to litter the road (loli ka mu’o o ka hala, verse 8; A helelei ka’pua, a pili ke alanui, verse 9). In spite of his repulse and his vilification of the woman, his passion, still feeds on the thought of the one he has lost; her charms intoxicate his imagination, even as the perfume of the hala bloom bewitches the air of Pana-ewa (Pu ia Panaewa, ona-ona i ke ala, verse 10).

It is difficult to interpret verses 12 to 18 in harmony with the story as above given. They may be regarded as a Page 79 commentary on the passionate episode in the life of the lover, looked at from the standpoint of old age, at a time when passion still survives but physical strength is in abeyance.

As the sugar-boiler can not extract from the stalk the last grain of sugar, so the author finds it impossible in any translation to express the full intent of these Hawaiian mele.



Aole au e hele ka li’u-lá o Maná,

Ia wai crape-kanaka 194 o Lima-loa; 195

A e hoopunipuni ia a’e nei ka malihini;

A mai puni au: lie wai oupe na.


He ala-pahi ka li’u-lá o Maná;

Ke poloai 196 la i ke Koolau-waline. 197

Ua ulu mai ka hoaloha i Wailua,

A ua kino-lau 198 Kawelo 199 mahamaha-i’ 200

Page 80

A ua aona 201 mai nei lio oiwi e.


He mea e wale au e noho aku nei la.


O ka noho kau a ka mea waiwai;

O kau ka i’a a haawi ia mai.

Oli-oli au ke loaa ia oe.


A pela ke ahi o Ka-maile, 202

He alualu hewa a’e la ka malihini,

Kukuni hewa i ka ili a kau ka uli, e;

Kau ka uli a ka mea aloha, e.

Footnote 194: (return) Wai oupe-kanaka. Man-fooling water; the mirage.

Footnote 195: (return) Lima-loa. The long-armed, the god of the mirage, who made his appearance at Maná, Kauai.

Footnote 196: (return) Poloai. To converse with, to have dealings with one.

Footnote 197: (return) Koolau-wahine. The sea-breeze at Mana. There is truth as well as poetry in the assertion made in this verse. The warm moist air, rising from the heated sands of Maná, did undoubtedly draw in the cool breeze from the ocean—a fruitful dalliance.

Footnote 198: (return) Kino-lau. Having many (400) bodies, or metamorphoses, said of Kawelo.

Footnote 199: (return) Kawelo.

A sorcerer who lived in the region of Maná. His favorite metamorphosis was into the form of a shark. Even when in human form he retained the gills of a fish and had the mouth of a shark at the back of his shoulders, while to the lower part of his body were attached the tail and flukes of a shark. To conceal these monstrous appendages he wore over his shoulders a kihei of kapa and allowed himself to be seen only while in the sitting posture. He sometimes took the form of a worm, a moth, a caterpillar, or a butterfly to escape the hands of his enemies. On land he generally appeared as a man squatting, after the manner of a Hawaiian gardener while weeding his garden plot.

The cultivated lands of Kawelo lay alongside the much-traveled path to the beach where the people of the neighborhood resorted to bathe, to fish, and to swim in the ocean. He made a practice of saluting the passers-by and of asking them, “Whither are you going?” adding the caution, “Look to it that you are not swallowed head and tail by the shark; he has not breakfasted yet” (E akahele oukou o pau po’o, pau hi’u i ka manó; aohe i paina i kakahiaka o ka manó). As soon as the traveler had gone on his way to the ocean, Kawelo hastened to the sea and there assumed his shark-form. The tender flesh of children was his favorite food. The frequent utterance of the same caution, joined to the great mortality among the children and youth who resorted to the ocean at this place, caused a panic among the residents. The parents consulted a soothsayer, who surprised them with the information that the guilty one was none other than the innocent-looking farmer, Kawelo. Instructed by the soothsayer, the people made an immense net of great strength and having very fine meshes. This they spread in the ocean at the bathing place. Kawelo, when caught in the net, struggled fiendishly to break away, but in vain. According to directions, they flung the body of the monster into an enormous oven which they had heated to redness, and supplied with fresh fuel for five times ten days—elima anahulu. At the end of that time there remained only gray ashes. The prophet had commanded them that when this had been accomplished they must fill the pit of the oven with dry dirt; thus doing, the monster would never come to life. They neglected this precaution. A heavy rain flooded the country—the superhuman work of the sorcerer—and from the moistened ashes sprang into being a swarm of lesser sharks. From them have come the many species of shark that now infest our ocean.

The house which once was Kawelo’s ocean residence is still pointed out, 7 fathoms deep, a structure regularly built of rocks.

Footnote 200: (return) Maha-maha i’a. The gills or fins of a fish such as marked Kawelo.

Footnote 201: (return) Aona. A word of doubtful meaning; according to one it means lucky. That expounder (T—— P——) says it should, or-might be, haona; he instances the phrase iwi paou, in which the word paoa has a similar, but not identical, form and means lucky bone.

Footnote 202: (return) Ka-maile. A place on Kauai where prevailed the custom of throwing firebrands down the lofty precipice of Nuololo. This amusement made a fine display at night. As the fire-sticks fell they swayed and drifted in the breeze, making it difficult for one standing below to premise their course through the air and to catch one of them before it struck the ground or the water, that being one of the objects of the sport. When a visitor had accomplished this feat, he would sometimes mark his flesh with the burning stick that he might show the brand to his sweetheart as a token of his fidelity.




I will not chase the mirage of Maná,

That man-fooling mist of god Lima-loa,

Which still deceives the stranger—

And came nigh fooling me—the tricksy water!


The mirage of Maná, is a fraud; it

Wantons with the witch Koolau.

A friend has turned up at Wailua,

Changeful Kawelo, with gills like a fish,

Has power to bring luck in any queer shape.


As a stranger now am I living,

Aye, living.

You flaunt like a person of wealth,

Yours the fish, till it comes to my hook.

I am blest at receiving from you:


Like fire-sticks flung at Ka-maile—

The visitor vainly chases the brand:

Fool! he burns his flesh to gain, the red mark,

A sign for the girl he loves, oho!



(Ai-ha’a, a he Ko’i-honua paha)

Kauhua Ku, ka Lani, i-loli ka moku;

Hookohi ke kua-koko o ka Lani;

He kua-koko, pu-koko i ka honua;

He kna-koko kapu no ka Lani;

Page 81 5

He ko’i ula ana a maku’i i ka ala,

Hoomau ku-wá mahu ia,

Ka maka o ke ahi alii e a nei.

Ko mai ke keiki koko a ka Lani,

Ke keiki he nuuhiwa ia Hitu-kolo,


O ke keiki hiapo anuenue, iloko o ka manawa,

O hi ka wai nui o ka nuuhiwa a Ke-opu-o-lani,

O ua alii lani alewa-lewa nei,

E u-lele, e ku nei ma ka lani;

O ka Lani o na mu’o-lau o Liliha,


Ka hakina, ka pu’e, ka maka, o Kuhi-hewa a Lola—

Kalola, nana ke keiki laha-laha;

Ua kela, he kela ka pakela

O na pahi’a loa o ka pu likoliko i ka lani

O kakoo hulu manu o o-ulu,


O ka hulu o-ku’i lele i ka lani,

O hiapo o ka manu leina a Pokahi,

O Ka-lani-opu’u hou o ka moku,

O na kupuna koikoi o Keoua, o ka Lani Kui-apo-iwa.




(To be recited in bombastic style, or, it may be, distinctly)

Big with child is the Princess Ku;

The whole island suffers her whimsies;

The pangs of labor are on her;

Labor that stains the land with blood,


Blood-clots of the heavenly born,

To preserve and guard the royal line,

The spark of king-fire now glowing:

A child is he of heavenly stock,

Like the darling of Hitu-kolo,


First womb-fruit born to love’s rainbow.

A bath for this child of heaven’s breast,

This mystical royal offspring,

Who ranks with the heavenly peers,

This tender bud of Liliha,


This atom, this parcel, this flame,

In the line Kuhi-hewa of Lola—

Ka-lola, who mothered a babe prodigious,

For glory and splendor renowned,

A scion most comely from heaven,


The finest down of the new-grown plume,

From bird whose moult floats to heaven,

Prime of the soaring birds of Pokahi,

The prince, heaven-flower of the island,

Ancestral sire of Ke-oua,


And of King Kui-apo-iwa.

Page 82

The heaping up of adulations, of which this mele is a capital instance, was not peculiar to Hawaiian poetry. The Roman Senate bestowed divinity on its emperors by vote; the Hawaiian bard laureate, careering on his Pegasus, thought to accomplish the same end by piling Ossa on Pelion with high-flown phrases; and every loyal subject added his contribution to the cairn that grew heavenward.

In Hawaii, as elsewhere, the times of royal debasement, of aristocratic degeneracy, of doubtful or disrupted succession, have always been the times of loudest poetic insistence on birth-rank and the occasion for the most frenzied utterance of high-sounding titles. This is a disease that has grown with the decay of monarchy.

Applying this criterion to the mele above given, it may be judged to be by no means a product wholly of the archaic period. While certain parts, say from the first to the tenth verses, inclusive, bear the mark of antiquity, the other parts do not ring clear. It seems as if some poet of comparatively modern times had revamped an old mele to suit his own ends. Of this last part two verses were so glaringly an interpolation that they were expunged from the text.

The effort to translate into pure Anglo-Saxon this vehement outpour of high-colored phrases has made heavy demands on the vocabulary and has strained the idioms of our speech well-nigh to the point of protest.

In lines 1, 2, 4, 8, 14, and 23 the word Lani means a prince or princess, a high chief or king, a heavenly one. In lines 12, 13, 18, and 20 the same word lani means the heavens, a concept in the Hawaiian mind that had some far-away approximation to the Olympus of classic Greece.


Ooe no paha ia, e ka lau o ke aloha,

Oia no paha ia ke kau mai nei ka hali’a.

Ke hali’a-li’a mai nei ka maka,

Manao hiki mai no paha an anei.


Hiki mai no la ia, na wai e uwe aku?

Ua pau kau la, kau ike iaia;

Ka manawa oi’ e ai ka manao iloko.

Ua luu iho nei an i ke kai nui;

Nui ka ukiuki, paio o ka naau.


Aone kanaka eha ole i ke aloha.

A wahine e oe, kanaka e au;

He mau alualu ka ha’i e lawe.

Ike aku i ke kula i’a o Ka-wai-nui.

Nui ka opala ai o Moku-lana.


Lana ka limu pae hewa o Makau-wahine.

O ka wahine no oe, o ke kane no ia.

Hiki mai no la ia, na wai e uwe aku?

Hoi mai no la ia, a ia wai e uwe aku?

Page 83



Methinks it is you, leaf plucked from Love’s tree,

You mayhap, that stirs my affection.

There’s a tremulous glance of the eye,

The thought she might chance yet to come:


But who then would greet her with song?

Your day has flown, your vision of her—

A time this for gnawing the heart.

I’ve plunged just now in deep waters:

Oh the strife and vexation of soul!


No mortal goes scathless of love.

A wife thou estranged, I a husband estranged,

Mere husks to be cast to the swine. 203

Look, the swarming of fish at the weir!

Their feeding grounds on the reef


Are waving with mosses abundant.

Thou art the woman, that one your man—

At her coming who’ll greet her with song?

Her returning, who shall console?

Footnote 203: (return) In the original, He mau alualu ka, ha’i e lawe, literally “Some skins for another to take.”

This song almost explains itself. It is the soliloquy of a lover estranged from his mistress. Imagination is alive in eye and ear to everything that may bring tidings of her, even of her unhoped-for return. Sometimes he speaks as if addressing the woman who has gone from him, or he addresses himself, or he personifies some one who speaks to him, as in the sixth line: “Your day has flown, ...”

The memory of past vexation and anguish extorts the philosophic remark, “No mortal goes scathless of love.” He gives over the past, seeks consolation in a new attachment—he dives, lu’u, into the great ocean, “deep waters,” of love, at least in search of love. The old self (selves), the old love, he declares to be only alualu, empty husks.

He—it is evidently a man—sets forth the wealth of comfort, opulence, that surrounds him in his new-found peace. The scene, being laid in the land Kailua, Oahu—the place to which the enchanted tree Maka-léi 204 was carried long ago, from which time its waters abounded in fish—fish are naturally the symbol of the opulence that now bless his life. But, in spite of the new-found peace and prosperity that attend him, there is a lonely corner in his heart; the old question echoes in its vacuum, “Who’ll greet her with song? who shall console?”

Footnote 204: (return) Maka-léi. (See note b, p. 17.)

Page 84


O Ewa, aina kai ula i ka lepo,

I ula i ka makani anu Moa’e,

Ka manu ula i ka lau ka ai,

I palahe’a ula i ke kai o Kuhi-á.


Mai kuhi mai oukou e, owau ke kalohe;

Aohe na’u, na lakou no a pau.

Aohe hewa kekahi keiki a ke kohe.

Ei’ a’e; oia no palm ia.

I lono oukou ia wai, e, ua moe?


Oia kini poai o lakou la paha?

Ike aku ia ka mau’u hina-hina—

He hina ko’u, he aka mai ko ia la.

I aka mai oe i kou la manawa le’a;

A manawa ino, nui mai ka nuku,


Hoomokapu, hoopale mai ka maka,

Hoolahui wale mai i a’u nei.

E, oia paha; ae, oia no paha ia.



Ewa’s lagoon is red with dirt—

Dust blown by the cool Moa’e,

A plumage red on the taro leaf,

An ocherous tint in the bay.


Say not in your heart that I am the culprit.

Not I, but they, are at fault.

No child of the womb is to blame.

There goes, likely he is the one.

Who was it blabbed of the bed defiled?


It must have been one of that band.

But look at the rank grass beat down—

For my part, I tripped, the other one smiled.

You smiled in your hour of pleasure;

But now, when crossed, how you scold!


Avoiding the house, averting the eyes—

You make of me a mere stranger.

Yes it’s probably so, he’s the one.

A poem this full of local color. The plot of the story, as it may be interpreted, runs somewhat as follows: While the man of the house, presumably, is away, it would seem—fishing, perhaps, in the waters of Ewa’s “shamrock lagoon”—the mistress sports with a lover. The culprit impudently defends himself with chaff and dust-throwing. The hoodlums, one of whom is himself the sinner, have been blabbing, says he. Page 85 His accuser points to the beaten down hina-hina grass as evidence against him. At this the brazen-faced culprit parries the stroke with a humorous euphemistic description, in which he plays on the word hina, to fall. Such verbal tilting in ancient Hawaii was practically a defense against a charge of moral obliquity as decisive and legitimate as was an appeal to arms in the times of chivalry. He euphemistically speaks of the beaten herbage as the result of his having tripped and fallen, at which, says he, the woman smiled, that is she fell in with his proposals. He gives himself away; but that doesn’t matter.

It requires some study to make out who is the speaker in the tit-for-tat of the dialogue.



He lua i ka Hikina,

Ua ena e Pele;

Ke haoloolo e la ke ao,

Ke lele la i-luna, i-lalo;


Kawewe ka o-ó i-lalo i akea;

A ninau o Wakea,

Owai nei akua e eli nei?

Owan no, o Pele,

Nona i eli aku ka lua i Niihau a a.


He lua i Niihau, ua ena e Pele.

He haoloolo e la ke ao,

Ke lele la i-luna, i-lalo;

Kawewe ka o-ó i-lalo i akea;

A ninau o Wakea,


Owai nei akua e eli nei?

Owau no, o Pele,

Nana i eli aku ka lua i Kauai a a.

He lua i Kauai ua ena e Pele.

Ke haoloolo e la ke ao,


Ke lele la i-luna, i-lalo;

Kawewe ka o-ó i-Ialo i akea;

Ninau o Wakea,

Owai nei akua e eli nei?

Owau no, o Pele,


Nana i eli ka lua i Oahu a a.

He lua i Oahu, ua ena e Pele.

Ke haoloolo e la ke ao,

Ke lele la i-luna, i-lalo;

Kawewe ka o-ó i-lalo i akea;


A ninau o Wakea,

Owai nei akua e eli nei?

Owau no, o Pele,

Nana i eli ka lua i Molokai a a.

Page 86

He lua i Molokai, ua ena e Pele.


Ke haoloolo e la ke ao,

Ke lele la i-luna, i-lalo;

Kawewe ka o-ó i-lalo, i akea.

Ninau o Wakea,

Owai nei akua e eli nei?


Owau no, o Pele,

Nana i eli aku ka lua i Lanai a a.

He lua i Lanai, ua ena e Pele.

Ke haoloolo e la ke ao,

Ke lele la i-luna, i-lalo;


Kawewe ka o-ó i-lalo i akea.

Ninau o Wakea,

Owai nei akua e eli nei?

Owau no, o Pele,

Nana i eli aku ka lua i Maul a a.


He lua i Maui, ua ena e Pele.

Ke haoloolo e la ke ao,

Ke lele la i-luna, i-lalo;

Kawewe ka o-ó i-lalo, i akea.

Ninau o Wakea,


Owai, nei akua e eli nei?

Owau no, o Pele,

Nana i eli aku ka lua i Hu’ehu’e a a.

He lua i Hu’ehu’e, ua ena e Pele.

Ke haoloolo e la ke ao,


Ke lele la i-luna, i-lalo;

Kawewe ka o-ó i-lalo, i akea.

Eli-eli, kau mai!



(In turgid style)

A pit lies (far) to the East,

Pit het by the Fire-queen Pele.

Heaven’s dawn is lifted askew,

One edge tilts up, one down, in the sky;


The thud of the pick is heard in the ground.

The question is asked by Wakea,

What god’s this a-digging?

It is I, it is Pele,

Who dug Mihau deep down till it burned,


Dug fire-pit red-heated by Pele.

Night’s curtains are drawn to one side,

One lifts, one hangs in the tide.

Crunch of spade resounds in the earth.

Wakea ’gain urges the query,


What god plies the spade in the ground?

Quoth Pele, ’tis I:

Page 87

I mined to the fire neath Kauai,

On Kauai I dug deep a pit,

A fire-well flame-fed by Pele.


The heavens are lifted aslant,

One border moves up and one down;

There’s a stroke of o-ó ’neath the ground.

Wakea, in earnest, would know,

What demon’s a-grubbing below?


I am the worker, says Pele:

Oahu I pierced to the quick,

A crater white-heated by Pele.

Now morn lights one edge of the sky;

The light streams up, the shadows fall down;


There’s a clatter of tools deep down.

Wakea, in passion, demands,

What god this who digs ’neath the ground?

It is dame Pele who answers;

Hers the toil to dig down to fire,


To dig Molokai and reach fire.

Now morning peeps from the sky

With one eye open, one shut.

Hark, ring of the drill ’neath the plain!

Wakea asks you to explain,


What imp is a-drilling below?

It is I, mutters Pele:

I drilled till flame shot forth on Lanai,

A pit candescent by Pele.

The morning looks forth aslant;


Heaven’s curtains roll up and roll down;

There’s a ring of o-ó ’neath the sod.

Who, asks Wakea, the god,

Who is this devil a-digging?

’Tis I, ’tis Pele, I who


Dug on Maui the pit to the fire:

Ah, the crater of Maui,

Red-glowing with Pele’s own fire!

Heaven’s painted one side by the dawn,

Her curtains half open, half drawn;


A rumbling is heard far below.

Wakea insists he will know

The name of the god that tremors the land.

’Tis I, grumbles Pele,

I have scooped out the pit Hu’e-hu’e,


A pit that reaches to fire,

A fire fresh kindled by Pele.

Now day climbs up to the East;

Morn folds the curtains of night;

The spade of sapper resounds ’neath the plain:


The goddess is at it again!

Page 88

This mele comes to us stamped with the hall-mark of antiquity. It is a poem of mythology, but with what story it connects itself, the author knows not.

The translation here given makes no profession of absolute, verbal literalness. One can not transfer a metaphor bodily, head and horns, from one speech to another. The European had to invent a new name for the boomerang or accept the name by which the Australian called it. The Frenchman, struggling with the English language, told a lady he was gangrened, he meant he was mortified. The cry for literalism is the cry for an impossibility; to put the chicken back into its shell, to return to the bows and arrows of the stone age.

To make the application to the mele in question: the word hu-olo-olo, for example, which is translated in several different ways in the poem, is of such generic and comprehensive meaning that one word fails to express its meaning. It is, by the way, not a word to be found in any dictionary. The author had to grope his way to its meaning by following the trail of some Hawaiian pathfinder who, after beating about the bush, finally had to acknowledge that the path had become so much overgrown since he last went that way that he could not find it.

The Arabs have a hundred or more words meaning sword—different kinds of swords. To them our word sword is very unspecific. Talk to an Arab of a sword—you may exhaust the list of special forms that our poor vocabulary compasses, straight sword, broadsword, saber, scimitar, yataghan, rapier, and what hot, and yet not hit the mark of Ms definition.


Haku’i ka uahi o ka lua, pa i ka lani;

Ha’aha’a Hawaii, moku o Keawe i hanau ia.

Kiekie ke one o Maláma ia Lohiau,

I a’e ’a mai e ke alii o Kahiki,


Nana i hele kai uli, kai ele,

Kai popolo-hu’a a Kane,

Ka wa i po’i ai ke Kai-a-ka-Mna-lii,

Kai nu’u, kai lewa.

Hoopua o Kane i ka la’i;


Pa uli-hiwa mai la ka uka o ke ahi a Laka,

Oia wahine kihene lehua o Hopoe,

Pu’e aku-o na hala,

Ka hala o Panaewa,

O Panaewa nui, moku lehua;


Ohia kupu ha-o’e-o’e;

Lehua ula, i will ia e lie ahi.

A po, e!

Po Puna, po Hilo!

Po i ka uahi o ku’u aina.


Ola ia kini!

Ke a mai la ke ahi!

Page 89



A burst of smoke from the pit lifts to the skies;

Hawaii’s beneath, birth-land of Keawe;

Malama’s beach looms before Lohian,

Where landed the chief from Kahiki,


From a voyage on the blue sea, the dark sea,

The foam-mottled sea of Kane,

What time curled waves of the king-whelming flood.

The sea up-swells, invading the land—

Lo Kane, outstretched at his ease!


Smoke and flame o’ershadow the uplands,

Conflagration by Laka, the woman

Hopoe wreathed with flowers of lehua,

Stringing the pandanus fruit.

Screw-palms that clash in Pan’-ewa—


Pan’-ewa, whose groves of lehua

Are nourished by lava shag,

Lehua that bourgeons with flame.

Night, it is night

O’er Puna and Hilo!


Night from the smoke of my land!

For the people salvation!

But the land is on fire!

The Hawaiian who furnished the meles which, in their translated forms, are designated as canto I, canto II, and so on, spoke of them as pále, and, following his nomenclature, the term has been retained, though more intimate acquaintance with the meles and with the term has shown that the nearest English synonym to correspond with pale would be the word division. Still, perhaps with a mistaken tenderness for the word, the author has retained the caption Canto, as a sort of nodding recognition of the old Hawaiian’s term—division of a poem. No idea is entertained that the five pále above given were composed by the same bard, or that they represent productions from the same individual standpoint. They do, however, breathe a spirit much in common; so that when the old Hawaiian insisted that they are so far related to one another as to form a natural series for recitation in the hula, being species of the same genus, as it were, he was not far from the truth. The man’s idea seemed to be that they were so closely related that, like beads of harmonious colors and shapes, they might be strung on the same thread without producing a dissonance.

Of these five poems, or pále (páh-lay), numbers I, II, and IV were uttered in a natural tone of voice, termed kawele, otherwise termed ko’i-honua. The purpose of this style of recitation was to adapt the tone to the necessities of the Page 90 aged when their ears no longer heard distinctly. It would require an audiphone to illustrate perfectly the difference between this method of pronunciation and the ai-ha’a, which was employed in the recitation of cantos III and V. The ai-ha’a was given in a strained and guttural tone.

The poetical reciter and cantillator, whether in the halau or in the king’s court, was wont to heighten the oratorical effect of his recitation by certain crude devices, the most marked of which was that of choking the voice down, as it were, into the throat, and there letting it strain and growl like a hungry lion. This was the ai-ha’a, whose organic function was the expression of the underground passions of the soul.

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I was not a little surprised when I learned that the ancient hula repertory of the Hawaiians included a performance with marionettes, ki’i, dressed up to represent human beings. But before accepting the hula ki’i as a product indigenous to Hawaii, I asked myself: Might not this be a performance in imitation of the Punch-and-Judy show familiar to Europe and America?

After careful study of the question no evidence was found, other than what might be inferred from general resemblance, for the theory of adoption from a European or American origin. On the contrary, the words used as an accompaniment to the play agree with report and tradition, and bear convincing evidence in form, and matter to a Hawaiian antiquity. That is not to say, however, that in the use of marionettes the Hawaiians did not hark back to their ancestral homes in the southern sea or to a remoter past in Asia.

The six marionettes, ki’i (pls. VIII and IX), in the writer’s possession were obtained from a distinguished kumu-hula, who received them by inheritance, as it were, from his brother. “He gave them to me,” said he, “with these words,’ Take care of these things, and when the time comes, after my death, that the king wants you to perform before him, be ready to fulfill his desire.’”

It was in the reign of Kamehameha III that they came into the hands of the elder brother, who was then and continued to be the royal hula-master until his death. These ki’i have therefore figured in performances that have been graced by the presence of King Kauikeaouli (Kamehameha III) and his queen, Kalama, and by his successors since then down to the times of Kalakaua. At the so-called “jubilee,” the anniversary of Kalakaua’s fiftieth birthday, these marionettes were very much in evidence.

The make-up and style of these ki’i are so similar that a description of one will serve for all six. This marionette represents the figure of a man, and was named Maka-kú (pl. IX). The head is carved out of some soft wood—either kukui or wiliwili—which is covered, as to the hairy scalp, with a dark woven fabric much like broadcloth. It is encircled at the level of the forehead with a broad band of gilt braid, as if to ape the style of a soldier. The median line from the forehead over the vertex to the back-head is crested with the mahiole ridge. This, taken in connection with the Page 92 encircling gilt band, gives to the head a warlike appearance, somewhat as if it were armed with the classical helmet, the Hawaiian name for which is mahi-ole. The crest of the ridge and its points of junction with the forehead and back-head are decorated with fillets of wool dyed of a reddish color, in apparent imitation of the mamo or o-ó, the birds whose feathers were used in decorating helmets, cloaks, and other regalia. The features are carved with some attempt at fidelity. The eyes are set with mother-of-pearl.

The figure is of about one-third life size, and was originally draped, the author was told, in a loose robe, holokú of tapa cloth of the sort known as mahuna, which is quite thin. This piece of tapa is perforated at short intervals with small holes, kiko’i. It is also stained with the juice from the bark of the root of the kukui tree, which imparts a color like that of copper, and makes the Hawaiians class it as pa’ikukui. A portion of its former, its original, apparel has been secured.

The image is now robed in a holokú of yellow cotton, beneath which is an underskirt of striped silk in green and white. The arms are loosely jointed to the body.

The performer in the hula, who stood behind a screen, by insinuating his hands under the clothing of the marionette, could impart to it such movements as were called for by the action of the play, while at the same time he repeated the words of his part, words supposed to be uttered by the marionette.

The hula ki’i was, perhaps, the nearest approximation made by the Hawaiians to a genuine dramatic performance. Its usual instrument of musical accompaniment was the ipu, previously described. This drumlike object was handled by that division of the performers called the hoopa’a, who sat in full view of the audience manipulating the ipu in a quiet, sentimental manner, similar to that employed in the hula kuolo.

As a sample of the stories illustrated in a performance of the hula ki’i the following may be adduced, the dramatis personae of which are four:

1. Maka-kú: a famous warrior, a rude, strong-handed braggart, as boastful as Ajax.

2. Puapua-kea, a small man, but brave and active.

3. Maile-lau-lii (Small-leafed-maile), a young woman, who becomes the wife of Maka-ku.

4. Maile-Pakaha, the younger sister of Maile-lau-lii, who becomes the wife of Puapua-kea.

Maka-kú, a rude and boastful son of Mars, at heart a bully, if not a coward, is represented as ever aching for a fight, in which his domineering spirit and rough-and-tumble ways for a time gave him the advantage over abler, but more modest, adversaries.

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Puapuakea, a man of genuine courage, hearing of the boastful achievements of Maka-kú, seeks him out and challenges him.

At the first contest they fought with javelins, ihe, each one taking his turn according to lot in casting his javelins to the full tale of the prescribed number; after which the other contestant did the same. Neither was victorious.

Next they fought with slings, each one having the right to sling forty stones at the other. In this conflict also neither one of them got the better of the other. The next trial was with stone-throwing. The result was still the same.

Now it was for them to try the classical Hawaiian game of lua. This was a strenuous form of contest that has many features in common with the panathlion of the ancient Hellenes, some points in common with boxing, and still more, perhaps, partakes of the character of the grand art of combat, wrestling. Since becoming acquainted with the fine Japanese art of jiu-jitsu, the author recognizes certain methods that were shared by them both. But to all of these it added the wild privileges of choking, bone-breaking, dislocating, eye-gouging, and the infliction of tortures and grips unmentionable and disreputable. At first the conflict was in suspense, victory favoring neither party; but as the contest went on Puapuakea showed a slight superiority, and at the finish he had bettered Maka-kú by three points, or ai 205, as the Hawaiians uniquely term it.

Footnote 205: (return) Ai, literally a food, a course.

The sisters, Maile-lau-lii and Maile-pakaha, who had been interested spectators of the contest, conceived a passionate liking for the two warriors and laid their plans in concert to capture them for themselves. Fortunately their preferences were not in conflict. Maile-lau-lii set her affections on Maka-ku, while the younger sister devoted herself to Pua-pua-kea.

The two men had previously allowed their fancies to range abroad at pleasure; but from this time they centered their hearts on these two Mailes and settled down to regular married life.

Interest in the actual performance of the hula ki’i was stimulated by a resort to byplay and buffoonery. One of the marionettes, for instance, points to some one in the audience; whereupon one of the hoopaa asks, “What do you want?” The marionette persists in its pointing. At length the interlocutor, as if divining the marionette’s wish, says: “Ah, you want So-and-so.” At this the marionette nods assent, and the hoopaa asks again, “Do you wish him to come to you?” The marionette expresses its delight and approval by nods and gestures, to the immense satisfaction of the audience, who join in derisive laughter at the expense of the person held up to ridicule.

Besides the marionettes already named among the characters found in the different hula-plays of the hula ki’i, the Page 94 author has heard mention of the following marionettes: Ku, Kini-ki’i, Hoo-lehelehe-ki’i, Ki’i-ki’i, and Nihi-aumoe.

Nihi-aumoe was a man without the incumbrance of a wife, an expert in the arts of intrigue and seduction. Nihi-aumoe is a word of very suggestive meaning, to walk softly at midnight. In Judge Andrews’s dictionary are found the following pertinent Hawaiian verses apropos of the word nihi:

E hoopono ka hele i ka uka o Puna;

E nihi ka hele, mai hoolawehala,

Mai noho a ako i ka pua, o hewa,

O inaina ke Akua, paa ke alanui,

Aole ou ala e hiki aku ai.


Look to your ways in upland Puna;

Walk softly, commit no offense;

Dally not, nor pluck the flower sin;

Lest God in anger bar the road,

And you find no way of escape.

The marionette Ki’i-ki’i was a strenuous little fellow, an ilamuku, a marshal, or constable of the king. It was his duty to carry out with unrelenting rigor the commands of the alii, whether they bade him take possession of a taro patch, set fire to a house, or to steal upon a man at dead of night and dash out his brains while he slept.

Referring to the illustrations (pl. VIII), a judge of human nature can almost read the character of the libertine Nihi-aumoe written in his features—the flattened vertex, indicative of lacking reverence and fear, the ruffian strength of the broad face; and if one could observe the reverse of the picture he would note the flattened back-head, a feature that marks a large number of Hawaiian crania.

The songs that were cantillated to the hula ki’i express in some degree the peculiar libertinism of this hula, which differed from all others by many removes. They may be characterized as gossipy, sarcastic, ironical, scandal-mongering, dealing in satire, abuse, hitting right and left at social and personal vices—a cheese of rank flavor that is not to be partaken of too freely. It might be compared to the vaudeville in opera or to the genre picture in art.


E Wewehi, ke, ke!

Wewehi oiwi, ke, ke!

Punana 206 i ka luna, ke, ke!

Hoonoho kai-oa 207 ke, ke!

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Oluna ka wa’a 208, ke, ke!

O kela wa’a, ke, ke!

O keia wa’a, ke, ke!

Ninau o Mawi 209, ke, ke!

Nawai ka luau’i?[209] ke, ke!


Na Wewehi-loa 210, ke, ke!

Ua make Wewehi, ke, ke!

Ua ku i ka ihe, ke, ke!

Ma ka puka kahiko 211 ke, ke!

Ka puka a Mawi, ke, ke!


Ka lepe, ka lepe, la!

Ka lepe, ua hina a uwe!

Ninau ka lepe, la!

Mana-mana lii-lii,

Mana-mana heheiao,


Ke kumu o ka lepe?

Ka lepe hiolo, e?

Footnote 206: (return) Punana. Literally a nest; here a raised couch on the pola, which was a sheltered platform in the waist of a double canoe, corresponding to our cabin, for the use of chiefs and other people of distinction.

Footnote 207: (return) Kai-oa. The paddle-men; here a euphemism.

Footnote 208: (return) Wa’a. A euphemism for the human body.

Footnote 209: (return) Mawi. The hero of Polynesian mythology, whose name is usually spelled Maui, like the name of the island. Departure from the usual orthography is made in order to secure phonetic accuracy. The name of the hero is pronounced Máh-wee, not Mów-ee, as is the island. Sir George Gray, of New Zealand, following the usual orthography, has given a very full and interesting account of him in his Polynesian mythology.

Footnote 210: (return) Wewehi-loa. Another name for Wahie-loa, who is said to have been the grandfather of Wewehi. The word luau’i in the previous verse, meaning real father, is an archaic form. Another form is kua-u’i.

Footnote 211: (return) Puka kahiko. A strange story from Hawaiian mythology relates that originally the human anatomy was sadly deficient in that the terminal gate of the primae viæ was closed. Mawi applied his common-sense surgery to the repair of the defect and relieved the situation. Ua olelo ia i kinahi ua hana ia kanaka me ka hemahema no ka nele i ka hou puka ole ia ka okole, a na Mawi i hoopau i keia pilikia mamuli o kana hana akamai. Ua kapa ia keia puka ka puka kahiko.



O Wewehi, la, la!

Wewehi, peerless form, la, la!

Encouched on the pola, la, la!

Bossing the paddlers, la, la!


Men of the canoe, la, la!

Of that canoe, la, la!

Of this canoe, la, la!

Mawi inquires, la, la!

Who was her grand-sire? la, la!


’Twas Wewehi-loa, la, la!

Wewehi is dead, la, la!

Wounded with spear, la, la!

The same old wound, la, la!

Wound made by Mawi, la, la!

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The flag, lo the flag!

The flag weeps at half-mast!

The flag, indeed, asks—

Many, many the flags,

A scandal for number.


Why are they overturned?

Why their banners cast down?

The author has met with several variants to this mele, which do not greatly change its character. In one of these variants the following changes are to be noted:

Line 4. Pikaka 212 e ka luna, ke, ke!

Line 5. Ka luna o ka hale, ke, ke!

Line 8. Ka puka o ka hale, a ke, ke!

Line 9. E noho i anei, a ke, ke!

To attempt a translation of these lines which are unadulterated slang:

Line 4. The roof is a-dry, la, la!

Line 5. The roof of the house, la, la!

Line 8. The door of the house, la, la!

Line 9. Turn in this way, la, la!

Footnote 212: (return) Pikaka (full form pikakao). Dried up, juiceless.

The one who supplied the above lines expressed inability to understand their meaning, averring that they are “classical Hawaiian,” meaning, doubtless, that they are archaic slang. As to the ninth line, the practice of “sitting in the door” seems to have been the fashion with such folk as far back as the time of Solomon.

Let us picture this princess of Maui, this granddaughter of Wahieloa, Wewehi, as a Helen, with all of Helen’s frailty, a flirt-errant, luxurious in life, quickly deserting one lover for the arms of another; yet withal of such humanity and kindness of fascination that, at her death, or absence, all things mourned her—not as Lycidas was mourned:

“With cowslips wan that hang the pensive head,


And daffodillies fill their cups with tears,”

but in some rude pagan fashion; all of which is wrought out and symbolized in the mele with such imagery as is native to the mind of the savage.

The attentive reader will not need be told that, as in many another piece out of Hawaii’s old-time legends, the path through this song is beset with euphuistic stumbling blocks. The purpose of language, says Talleyrand, is to conceal thought. The veil in this case is quite gauzy.

The language of the following song for the marionette dance, hula ki’i, as in the one previously given, is mostly of that Page 97 kind which the Hawaiians term olelo kapékepéke, or olelo huná, shifty talk, or secret talk. We might call it slang, though, it is not slang in the exact sense in which we use that word, applying it to the improvised counters of thought that gain currency in our daily speech until they find admission to the forum, the platform, and the dictionary. It is rather a cipher-speech, a method of concealing one’s meaning from all but the initiated, of which the Hawaiian, whether alii or commoner, was very fond. The people of the hula were famous for this sort of accomplishment and prided themselves not a little in it as an effectual means of giving appropriate flavor and gusto to their performances.


Ele-ele kau-kau; 213

Ka hala-le, 214 e kau-kau,

Ka e-ele ihi,

Ele ihi, ele a,


Ka e-ele ku-pou; 215


Ka hala, e! 216



Point to a dark one,

Point to a dainty piece,

A delicate morsel she!

Very choice, very hot!


She that stoops over—

Aye stoops!

Lo, the hala fruit!

The translation has to be based largely on conjecture. The author of this bit of fun-making, which is couched in old-time slang, died without making known the key to his cipher, and no one whom the present writer has met with is able to unravel its full meaning.

Footnote 213: (return) Kau-kau. Conjectural meaning to point out some one in the audience, as the marionettes often did. People were thus sometimes inveigled in behind the curtain.

Footnote 214: (return) Hala-le. Said to mean a sop, with which one took up the juice or gravy of food; a choice morsel.

Footnote 215: (return) Ku-pou. To stoop over, from devotion to one’s own pursuits, from modesty, or from shame.

Footnote 216: (return) The meaning of this line has been matter for much conjecture. The author has finally adopted the suggestion embodied in the translation here given, which is a somewhat gross reference to the woman’s physical charms.

The following mele for the hula ki’i, in language colored by the same motive, was furnished by an accomplished practitioner who had traveled far and wide in the practice of her art, having been one of a company of hula dancers that attended the Columbian exposition in Chicago. It was her good Page 98 fortune also to reach the antipodes in her travels, and it was at Berlin, she says, that she witnessed for the first time the European counterpart of the hula ki’i, the “Punch and Judy” show:

Mele no ka Hula Ki’i

E le’e kau-kau, kala le’e;

E le’e kau-kau.

E le’e kau-kau, kala le’e.

E lepe kau-kau.


E o-ku ana i kai;

E u-au ai aku;

E u-au ai aku;

E u-au ai aku!

E-he-he, e!


Song for the Hula Ki’i

Now for the dance, dance in accord;

Prepare for the dance.

Now for the dance, dance in time.

Up, now, with the flag!


Step out to the right

Step out to the left!

Ha, ha, ha!

This translation is the result of much research, yet its absolute accuracy can not be vouched for. The most learned authorities (kaka-olelo) in old Hawaiian lore that have been found by the writer express themselves as greatly puzzled at the exact meaning of the mele just given. Some scholars, no doubt, would dub these nonsense-lines. The author can not consent to any such view. The old Hawaiians were too much in earnest to permit themselves to juggle with words in such fashion. They were fond of mystery and concealment, appreciated a joke, given to slang, but to string a lot of words together without meaning, after the fashion of a college student who delights to relieve his mind by shouting “Upidee, upida,” was not their way. “The people of the hula,” said one man, “had ways of fun-making peculiar to themselves.”

When the hula-dancer who communicated to the author the above song—a very accomplished and intelligent woman—was asked for information that would render possible its proper translation, she replied that her part was only that of a mouthpiece to repeat the words and to make appropriate gestures, he pono hula wale no, mere parrot-work. The language, she said, was such “classic” Hawaiian as to be beyond her understanding. Page 99 Here, again, is another song in argot, a coin of the same mintage as those just given:


E kau-kau i hale manu, e!

Ike oe i ka lola huluhulu, e?

I ka huluhulu a we’uwe’u, e?

I ka punohu, 217 e, a ka la e kau nei?


Walea ka manu i ka wai, e!

I ka wai lohi o ke kini, e!



Let’s worship now the bird-cage.

Seest thou the furzy woodland,

The shag of herb and forest,

The low earth-tinting rainbow,


Child of the Sun that swings above?

O, happy bird, to drink from the pool,

A bliss free to the million!

Footnote 217: (return) Punohu. A compact mass of clouds, generally lying low in the heavens; a cloud-omen; also a rainbow that lies close to the earth, such as is formed when the sun is high in the heavens.

This is the language of symbolism. When Venus went about to ensnare Adonis, among her other wiles she warbled to him of mountains, dales, and pleasant fountains.

The mele now presented is of an entirely different character from those that have just preceded. It is said to have been the joint composition of the high chief Keiki-o-ewa of Kauai, at one time the kahu of Prince Moses, and of Kapihe, a distinguished poet—haku-mele—and prophet. (To Kapihe is ascribed the prophetic and oracular utterance, E iho ana o luna, e pii ana o lalo; e ku ana ka paia; e moe ana kaula; e kau ana kau-huhu—o lani iluna, o honua ilalo—“The high shall be brought low, the lowly uplifted; the defenses shall stand; the prophet shall lie low; the mountain walls shall abide—heaven above, earth beneath.”)

This next poem may be regarded as an epithalamium, the celebration of the mystery and bliss of the wedding night, the hoáo ana of a high chief and his high-born kapu sister. The murmur of the breeze, the fury of the winds, the heat of the sun, the sacrificial ovens, all are symbols that set forth the emotions, experiences, and mysteries of the night:

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O Wanahili 218 ka po loa ia Manu’a, 219

O ka pu kau kama 220 i Hawaii akea;

O ka pu leina 221 kea a Kiha—

O Kiha nui a Pii-lani— 222


O Kauhi kalana-honu’-a-Kama; 223

O ka maka iolena 224 ke koohaulani i-ó!

O kela kanaka hoali mauna, 225

O Ka Lani ku’i hono i ka moku. 226

I waihona kapuahi kanaka ehá, 227


Ai’ i Kauai, i Oahu, i Maui,

I Hawaii kahiko o Keawe enaena, 228

Ke a-á, mai la me ke o-koko,

Ke lapa-lapa la i ka makani,

Makani kua, he Naulu. 229


Kua ka Wainoa i ka Mikioi,

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Pu-á ia lalo o Hala-li’i, 230

Me he alii, alii, la no ka hele i Kekaha,

Ka hookiekie i ka li’u-la, 231

Ka hele i ke alia-lia la, alia!


Alia-lia la’a-laau Kekaha.

Ke kaha o Kala-ihi, Wai-o-lono.

Ke olo la ke pihe a ka La, e!

Ke nu la paha i Honua-ula.

Footnote 218: (return) Wanahili. A princess of the mythological period belonging to Puna, Hawaii.

Footnote 219: (return) Manu’a. A king of Hilo, the son of Kane-hili, famous for his skill in spear-throwing, maika-rolling, and all athletic exercises. He was united in marriage, ho-ao, to the lovely princess Wanahili. Tradition deals with Manua as a very lovable character.

Footnote 220: (return) Pu kau kama. The conch (pu) is figured as the herald of fame. Kau is used in the sense of to set on high, in contrast with such a word as waiho, to set down. Kama is the word of dignity for children.

Footnote 221: (return) Pu leina. It is asserted on good authority that the triton (pu), when approached in its ocean habitat, will often make sudden and extraordinary leaps in an effort to escape. There is special reference here to the famous conch known in Hawaiian story as Kiha-pu. It was credited with supernatural powers as a kupua. During the reign of Umi, son of Liloa, it was stolen from the heiau in Waipio valley and came into the hands of god Kane. In his wild awa-drinking revels the god terrified Umi and his people by sounding nightly blasts with the conch. The shell was finally restored to King Umi by the superhuman aid of the famous dog Puapua-lena-lena.

Footnote 222: (return) Kiha-nui a Piilani. Son of Piilani, a king of Maui. He is credited with the formidable engineering work of making a paved road over the mountain palis of Koolau, Maui.

Footnote 223: (return) Kauhi kalana-honu’-a-Kama. This Kauhi, as his long title indicates, was the son of the famous king, Kama-lala-walu, and succeeded his father in the kingship over Maui and, probably, Lanai. Kama-lala-walu had a long and prosperous reign, which ended, however, in disaster. Acting on the erroneous reports of his son Kauhi, whom he had sent to spy out the land, he invaded the kingdom of Lono-i-ka-makahiki on Hawaii, was wounded and defeated in battle, taken prisoner, and offered up as a sacrifice on the altar of Lono’s god, preferring that death, it is said, to the ignominy of release.

Footnote 224: (return) I-olena. Roving, shifty, lustful.

Footnote 225: (return) Kanaka hoali mauna. Man who moved mountains; an epithet of compliment applied perhaps to Kiha, above mentioned, or to the king mentioned in the next verse, Kekaulike.

Footnote 226: (return) Ku’i hono i ka moku. Who bound together into one (state) the islands Maui, Molokai, Lanai, and Kahoolawe. This was, it is said, Kekaulike, the fifth king of Maui after Kama-lala-walu. At his death he was succeeded by Kamehameha-nui—to be distinguished from the Kamehameha of Hawaii—and he in turn by the famous warrior-king Kahekili, who routed the invading army of Kalaniopuu, king of Hawaii, on the sand plains of Wailuku.

Footnote 227: (return) I waihona kapuahi kanaka ehá. This verse presents grammatical difficulties. The word I implies the imperative, a form of request or demand, though that is probably not the intent. It seems to be a means, authorized by poetical license, of ascribing honor and tabu-glory to the name of the person eulogized, who, the context leads the author to think, was Kekaulike. The island names other than that of Maui seem to have been thrown in for poetical effect, as that king, in the opinion of the author, had no power over Kauai, Oahu, or Hawaii. The purpose may have been to assert that his glory reached to those islands.

Footnote 228: (return) Keawe enaena. Keawe, whose tabu was hot as a burning oven. Presumably Keawe, the son of Umi, is the one meant.

Footnote 229: (return) Naulu. The sea-breeze at Waimea, Kauai.

Footnote 230: (return) Hala-lii. A sandy plain on Niihau, where grows a variety of sugar-cane that lies largely covered by the loose soil, ke ko eli o Hala-lii.

Footnote 231: (return) Li’u-la. The mirage, a common phenomenon on Niihau, and especially at Mana, on Kauai.



(Distinct utterance)

Wanahili bides the whole night with Manu’a,

By trumpet hailed through broad Hawaii,

By the white vaulting conch of Kiha—

Great Kiha, offspring of Pii-lani,


Father of eight-branched Kama-lala-walu

The far-roaming eye now sparkles with joy,

Whose energy erstwhile shook mountains,

The king who firm-bound the isles in one state,

His glory, symboled by four human altars,


Reaches Kauai, Oahu, Maui,

Hawaii the eld of Keawe,

Whose tabu, burning with blood-red blaze,

Shoots flame-tongues that leap with the wind,

The breeze from the mountain, the Naulu.


Waihoa humps its back, while cold Mikioi

Blows fierce and swift across Hala-li’i.

It vaunts like a king at Kekaha,

Flaunting itself in the sun’s heat,

And lifts itself up in mirage,


Ghost-forms of woods and trees in Kekaha—

Sweeping o’er waste Kala-ihi, Water-of-Lono;

While the sun shoots forth its fierce rays—

Its heat, perchance, reaches to Honua-ula.

The mele next given takes its local color from Kauai and brings vividly to mind the experiences of one who has climbed the mountain walls pali, that buffet the winds of its northern coast.


Kalalau, pali eku i ka makani;

Pu ka Lawa-kua, 232 hoi mau i Kolo-kini;

Nu a anahulu ka pa ana i-uka—

Anahulu me na po keu elua.

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Elua Hono-pu o ia kua kanaka;

Elua Ko’a-mano 233 me Wai-aloha,

Ka pali waha iho, waha iho 234 me ke kua;

Ke keiki puu iloko o ka pali nui.

E hii an’ 235 e Makua i Kalalau.

Footnote 232: (return) Laiea-kua. A wind in Kalalau that blows for a time from the mountains and then, it is said, veers to the north, so that it comes from the direction of a secondary valley, Kolo-kini, a branch of Kalalau. The bard describes it as continuing to blow for twelve nights before It shifts, an instance, probably, of poetic license.

Footnote 233: (return) Ko’a-mano. A part of the ocean into which the stream Wai-aloha falls.

Footnote 234: (return) Waha iho. With mouth that yawns downward, referring, doubtless, to the overarching of the pali, precipice. The same figure is applied to the back (kua) of the traveler who climbs it.

Footnote 235: (return) Elision of the final a in ana.



The mountain walls of Kalalau

Buffet the blasts of Lawa-kau,

That surge a decade of nights and twain;

Then, wearied, it veers to the north.


Two giant backs stand the cliffs Hono-pu;

The falls Wai-aloha mate with the sea:

An overhung pali—the climber’s back swings in

Its mouth—to face it makes one a child—

Makua, whose arms embrace Kalalau.

The mind of the ancient bard was so narrowly centered on the small plot his imagination cultivated that he disregarded the outside world, forgetting that it could not gaze upon the scenes which filled his eyes.

The valley of Kalalau from its deep recess in the northwestern coast of Kauai looks out upon the heaving waters of the Pacific. The mountain walls of the valley are abrupt, often overhanging. Viewed from the ocean, the cliffs are piled one upon another like the buttresses of a Gothic cathedral. The ocean is often stormy, and during several months in the year forbids intercourse with other parts of the island, save as the hardy traveler makes his way along precipitous mountain trails.

The hula ala’a-papa, hula ipu, hula pa-ipu (or kuolo), the hula hoo-naná, and the hula ki’i were all performed to the accompaniment of the ipu or calabash, and, being the only ones that were so accompanied, if the author is correctly informed, they may be classed together under one head as the calabash hulas.

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The hula pahu was so named from the pahu, 236 or drum, that was its chief instrument of musical accompaniment (pl. x).

Footnote 236: (return) Full form, pahu-hula.

It is not often that the story of an institution can be so closely fitted to the landmarks of history as in the case of this hula; and this comes about through our knowledge of the history of the pahu itself. Tradition, direct and reliable, informs us that the credit of introducing the big drum belongs to La’a. This chief flourished between five and six centuries ago, and from having spent most of his life in the lands to the south, which the ancient Hawaiians called Kahiki, was himself generally styled La’a-mai-Kahiki (La’a-from-Kahiki). The young man was of a volatile disposition, given to pleasure, and it is evident that the big drum he brought with him to Hawaii on one of his voyages from Kahiki was in his eyes by no means the least important piece of baggage that freighted his canoes. On nearing the land he waked the echoes with the stirring tones of his drum, which so astonished the people that they followed him from point to point along the coast and heaped favors upon him whenever he came ashore.

La’a was an enthusiastic patron of the hula and is said to have made a tour of the islands, in which he instructed the natives in new forms of this seductive pastime, one of which was the hula ka-eke.

There is reason to believe, it seems, that the original use of the pahu was in connection with the services of the temple, and that its adaptation to the halau was simply a transference from one to another religious use.

The hula pahu was preeminently a performance of formal and dignified character, not such as would be extemporized for the amusement of an irreverent company. Like all the formal hulas, it was tabu, by which the Hawaiians meant that it was a religious service, or so closely associated with the notion of worship as to make it an irreverence to trifle with it. For this reason as well as for its intrinsic dignity its performance was reserved for the most distinguished guests and the most notable occasions.

Both classes of actors took part in the performance of the hula pahu, the olapa contributing the mele as they stood and went through the motions of the dance, while the hoopaa maintained the kneeling position and operated the big drum with the left hand. While his left hand was thus engaged, the Page 104 musician with a thong held in his right hand struck a tiny drum, the pu-niu, that was conveniently strapped to the thigh of the same side. As its name signifies, the pu-niu was made from coconut shell, being headed with fish-skin.

The harmonious and rhythmic timing of these two instruments called for strict attention on the part of the performer. The pahu, having a tone of lower pitch and greater volume than the other, was naturally sounded at longer intervals, while the pu-niu delivered its sharp crisp tones in closer order.



O Hilo oe, Hilo, muliwai a ka ua i ka lani,

I hana ia Hilo, ko-í ana e ka ua.

E haló ko Hilo ma i-o, i-anei;

Lenalena Hilo e, panopano i ka ua.


Ua lono Pili-keko o Hilo i ka wai;

O-kakala ka hulu o Hilo i ke anu;

Ua ku o ka paka a ka ua i ke one;

Ua moe oni ole Hilo i-luna ke alo;

Ua hana ka uluna lehu o Hana-kahi.


Haule ka onohi Hilo o ka ua i ke one;

Loku kapa ka hi-hilo kai o Pai-kaka.

Ha, e!


A Puna au, i Kuki’i au, i Ha’eha’e,

Ike au i ke a kino-lau lehua.

He laau malalo o ia pohaku.

Hanohano Puna e, kehakeha i ka ua,


Káhiko mau no ia no-laila.

He aina haaheo loa no Puna;

I haaheo i ka hala me ka lehua;

He maikai maluna, he a malalo;

He kelekele ka papa o Mau-kele.


Kahuli Apua e, kele ana i Mau-kele.



(Bombastic style)

Thou art Hilo, Hilo, flood-gate of heaven.

Hilo has power to wring out the rain.

Let Hilo turn here and turn there;

Hilo’s kept from employ, somber with rain;


Pili-keko roars with full stream;

The feathers of Hilo bristle with cold,

And her hail-stones smite on the sand.

She lies without motion, with upturned face,

The fire-places pillowed with ashes;


The bullets of rain are slapping the land,

Pitiless rain turmoiling Pai-kaka.

So, indeed.

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In Puna was I, in Ku-ki’i, in Ha’e-ha’e,

I saw a wraith of lehua, a burning bush,

A fire-tree beneath the lava plate.

Magnificent Puna, fertile from rain,


At all times weaving its mantle.

Aye Puna’s a land of splendor,

Proudly bedight with palm and lehua;

Beauteous above, but horrid below,

And miry the plain of Mau-kele.


Apua upturned, plod on to Mau-kele.


Kau lilua i ke anu Wai-aleale;

He maka halalo ka lehua makanoe; 237

He lihilihi kuku ia no Aipo, 238 e;

O ka hulu a’a ia o Hau-a-iliki; 239


Ua pehi ’a e ka ua a éha ka nahele,

Maui ka pua, uwe éha i ke anu,

I ke kukuna la-wai o Mokihana. 240

Ua hana ia aku ka pono a ua pololei;

Ua hai ’na ia aku no ia oe;


O ke ola no ia.

O kia’i loko, kia’i Ka-ula, 241

Nana i ka makani, hoolono ka leo,

Ka halulu o ka Malua-kele; 242

Kiei, halo i Maka-ike-ole.


Kamau ke ea i ka halau 243 a ola;

He kula lima ia no Wawae-noho, 244

Me he puko’a hakahaka la i Waahila

Ka momoku a ka unu-lehua o Lehua.

A lehulehu ka hale pono ka noho ana,


Loaa kou haawina—o ke aloha,

Ke hauna 245 mai nei ka puka o ka hale.


Footnote 237: (return) Lehua makanoe. The lehua trees that grow on the top of Wai-aleale, the mountain mass of Kauai, are of peculiar form, low, stunted, and so furzy as to be almost thorny, kuku, as mentioned in the next line.

Footnote 238: (return) Ai-po. A swamp that occupies the summit basin of the mountain, in and about which the thorny lehua trees above mentioned stand as a fringe.

Footnote 239: (return) Hau-a-iliki. A word made up of hau, dew or frost, and iliki, to smite. The a is merely a connective.

Footnote 240: (return) Mokihana. The name of a region on the flank of Wai-aleale, also a plant that grows there, whose berry is fragrant and is used in making wreaths.

Footnote 241: (return) Ka-ula. A small rocky island visible from Kauai.

Footnote 242: (return) Malua-kele. A wind.

Footnote 243: (return) Halau. The shed or house which sheltered the canoe, wa’a, which latter, as we have seen, was often used figuratively to mean the human body, especially the body of a woman. Kamau ke ea i ka halau might be translated “persistent the breath from her body.” “There’s kames o’ hinny ’tween my luve’s lips.”

Footnote 244: (return) Wawae-noho. Literally the foot that abides; it is the name of a place. Here it is to be understood as meaning constancy. It is an instance in which the concrete stands for the abstract.

Footnote 245: (return) Hauna. An odor. In this connection it means the odor that hangs about a human habitation. The hidden allusion, it is needless to say, is to sexual attractiveness.

Page 106



Wai-aleale stands haughty and cold,

Her lehua bloom, fog-soaked, droops pensive;

The thorn-fringe set ahout swampy Ai-po is

A feather that flaunts in spite of the pinching frost.


Her herbage is pelted, stung by the rain;

Bruised all her petals, and moaning in cold

Mokihana’s sun, his wat’ry beams.

I have acted in good faith and honor,

My complaint is only to you—


A matter that touches my life.

Best watch within and toward Ka-ula;

Question each breeze, note every rumor,

Even the whisper of Malua-kele.

Search high and search low, unobservant.


There is life in the breath from her body,

Fond caress by a hand not inconstant.

Like fissured groves of coral

Stand the ragged clumps of lehua.

Many the houses, easy the life.


You have your portion—of love;

Humanity smells at the door.

Aye, indeed.

The imagery of this poem is peculiarly obscure and the meaning difficult of translation. The allusions are so local and special that their meaning does not carry to a distance.

Wai-aleale is the central mountain mass of Kauai, about 6,000 feet high. Its summit, a cold, fog-swept wilderness of swamp and lake beset with dwarfish growths of lehua, is used as the symbol of a woman, impulsively kind, yet in turn passionate and disdainful. The physical attributes of the mountain are ascribed to her, its spells of frosty coldness, its gloom and distance, its fickleness of weather, the repellant hirsuteness of the stunted vegetation that fringes the central swamp—these things are described as symbols of her temper, character, and physical make-up. The bloom and herbage of the wilderness, much pelted by the storm, are figures to represent her physical charms. But spite of all these faults and imperfections, a perennial fragrance, as of mokihana, clings to her person, and she is the object of devoted love, capable of weaving the spell of fascination about her victims.

This poem furnishes a good example of a peculiarity that often is an obstacle to the understanding of Hawaiian poetry. It is the breaking up of the composition into a number of parts that have but a loose seeming connection the one with the other.

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The hula úli-ulí was so called from the rattle which was its sole instrument of accompaniment. This consisted of a small gourd about the size of a large orange, into the cavity of which were put shot-like seeds, like those of the canna; a handle was then attached (pl. xi).

The actors who took part in this hula belonged, it is said, to the class termed hoopaa, and went through with the performance while kneeling or squatting, as has been described. While cantillating the mele they held the rattle, úli-ulí, in the right hand, shaking it against the palm of the other hand or the thigh, or making excursions in one direction and another. In some performances of this hula which the author has witnessed the olapa also took part, in one case a woman, who stood and cantillated the song with movement and gesture, while the hoopaa devoted themselves exclusively to handling the úli-ulí rattles.

The sacrificial offerings that preceded the old-time performances of this hula are said to have been awa and a roast porkling, in honor of the goddess Laka.

If the dignity and quality of the meles now used, or reported to have been used, in the hula úli-ulí are to be taken as any criterion of the quality and dignity of this hula, one has to conclude that it must be assigned to a rank below that of some others, such, for instance, as the ala’a-papa, pa-ipu, Pele, and others.

David Malo, the Hawaiian historian, author of Ka Moolelo Hawaii, 246 in the short chapter that he devotes to the hula, mentions only ten hulas by name, the ka-laau, pa’i-umauma, pahu, pahu’a, ala’a-papa, pa’i-pa’i, pa-ipu, ulili, kolani, and the kielei. Ulili is but another form of the word úli-ulí. Any utterance of Malo is to be received seriously; but it seems doubtful if he deliberately selected for mention the ten hulas that were really the most important. It seems more probable that he set down the first ten that stood forth prominent in his memory. It was not Malo’s habit, nor part of his education, to make an exhaustive list of sports and games, or in fact of anything. He spoke of what occurred to him. It must also be remembered that, being an ardent convert to Christianity, Page 108 Malo felt himself conscience-bound to set himself in opposition to the amusements, sports, and games of his people, and he was unable, apparently, to see in them any good whatsoever. Malo was a man of uncompromising honesty and rigidity of principles. His nature, acting under the new influences that surrounded him after the introduction of Christianity, made it impossible for him to discriminate calmly between the good and the pernicious, between the purely human and poetic and the depraved elements in the sports practised by his people during their period of heathenism. There was nothing halfway about Malo. Having abandoned a system, his nature compelled him to denounce it root and branch.

Footnote 246: (return) Translated by N.B. Emerson, M.D., under the title “Hawaiian Antiquities,” and published by the B.P. Bishop Museum. Hawaiian Gazette Company (Limited), Honolulu, 1903.

The first mele here offered as an accompaniment to this hula can boast of no great antiquity; it belongs to the middle of the nineteenth century, and was the product of some gallant at a time when princes and princesses abounded in Hawaii:


Aole i manao ia.

Kahi wai a o Alekoki.

Hookohu ka ua i uka,

Noho mai la i Nuuanu.


Anuanu, makehewa au

Ke kali ana i-laila.

Ea ino paha ua paa

Kou manao i ane’i,

Au i hoomalu ai.


Hoomalu oe a malu;

Ua malu keia kino

Mamuli a o kou leo.

Kau nui aku ka manao

Kani wai a o Kapena.


Pani’a paa ia mai

Na manowai a o uka;

Ahu wale na ki’owai,

Na papa-hale o luna.

Maluna a’e no wau,


Ma ke kuono liilii.

A waho, a o Mamala,

Hao mai nei ehu-ehu;

Pulu au i ka huna-kai,

Kai heahea i ka ili.


Hookahi no koa nui,

Nana e alo ia ino.

Ino-ino mai nei luna,

I ka hao a ka makani.

He makani ahai-lono;


Lohe ka luna i Pelekane.

O ia pouli nui

Mea ole i ku’u manao.

I o, i a-ne’i au,

Ka piina la o Ma’ema’e,

Page 109 35

E kilohi au o ka nani

Na pua i Mauna-ala.

He ala ona-ona kou,

Ke pili mai i ane’i,

O a’u lehua ula i-luna,


Ai ono a na manu.



I spurn the thought with disdain

Of that pool Alekoki:

On the upland lingers the rain

And fondly haunts Nuuanu.


Sharp was the cold, bootless

My waiting up there.

I thought thou wert true,

Wert loyal to me,

Whom thou laids’t under bonds.


Take oath now and keep it;

This body is sacred to thee,

Bound by the word of thy mouth.

My heart leaps up at thought

Of the pool, pool of Kapena;


To me it is fenced, shut off,

The water-heads tightly sealed up.

The fountains must be a-hoarding,

For skies are ever down-pouring;

The while I am lodged up aloft,


Bestowed in the cleft of a rock.

Now, tossed by sea at Mamala,

The wind drives wildly the surf;

I’m soaked with the scud of the ocean,

My body is rough with the rime.


But one stout hero and soldier,

With heart to face such a storm.

Wild scud the clouds,

Hurled by the tempest,

A tale-bearing wind,


That gossips afar.

The darkness and storm

Are nothing to me.

This way and that am I turning,

Climbing the hill Ma’e-ma’e,


To look on thy charms, dear one,

The fragrant buds of the mountain.

What perfume breathes from thy body,

Such time as to thee I come close,

My scarlet bloom of lehua


Yields nectar sought by the birds.

This mele is said to have been the production of Prince Page 110 William Lunalilo—afterward King of the Hawaiian islands—and to have been addressed to the Princess Victoria Kamamalu, whom he sought in marriage. Both of them inherited high chief rank, and their offspring, according to Hawaiian usage, would have outranked her brothers, kings Kamehameha IV and V. Selfish and political considerations, therefore, forbade the match, and thereby hangs a tale, the shadow of which darkens this song. Every lover is one part poet; and Lunalilo, even without the love-flame, was more than one part poet.

The poem shows the influence of foreign ways and teachings and the pressure of the new environment that had entered Hawaii, in its form, in the moderation of its language and imagery, and in the coherence of its parts; at the same time the spirit of the song and the color of its native imagery mark it as the product of a Polynesian mind.

According to the author’s interpretation of the song, Alekoki (verse 2), a name applied to a portion of the Nuuanu stream lower down than the basin and falls of Kapena (Kahiwai a o Kapena—verse 14), symbolizes a flame that may once have warmed the singer’s imagination, but which he discards in favor of his new love, the pool of Kapena. The rain, which prefers to linger in the upland regions of Nuuanu (verses 3 and 4) and which often reaches not the lower levels, typifies his brooding affection. The cold, the storm, and the tempest that rage at Mamala (verse 21)—a name given to the ocean just outside Honolulu harbor—and that fill the heavens with driving scud (verses 27 and 28) represent the violent opposition in high quarters to the love-match. The tale-bearing wind, makani ahai-lono (verse 29), refers, no doubt, to the storm of scandal. The use of the place-names Ma’ema’e and Mauna-ala seem to indicate Nuuanu as the residence of the princess.



Auhea wale oe, e ka Makani Inu-wai?

Pa kolonahe i ka ili-kai,

Hoonui me ka Naulu,

Na ulu hua i ka hapapa.


Anó au ike i ke ko Hala-li’i,

I keia wa nana ia Lehua.


Aia i Waimea ku’u haku-lei?

Hui pu me ka wai ula iliahi,

Mohala ta pua i ke one o Pawene;


Ka lawe a ke Koolau

Noho pu me ka ua punonohu ula i ka nahele,

Ike i ka wai kea o Makaweli;

Page 111

Ua noho pu i ka nahele

Me ka lei hinahina o Maka-li’i.


Liilii ka uka o Koae’a;

Nana i ka ua lani-pili,

Ka ó-ó, manu le’a o ka nahele.

I Pa-ie-ie an, noho pu me ke anu.

E ha’i a’e oe t ka puana:


Ke kahuna kalai-hoe o Puu-ka-Pele.




Whence art thou, thirsty wind,

That gently kissest the sea,

Then, wed to the ocean breeze,

Playest fan with the breadfruit tree?


Here sprawl Hala-lii’s canes,

There stands bird-haunted Lehua.


My wreath-maker dwells at Waimea.

Partnered is she to the swirling river;

They plant with flowers the sandy lea,


While the bearded surf, tossed by the breeze,

Vaunts on the hills as the sun-bow,

Looks on the crystal stream Makaweli,

And in the wildwood makes her abode

With Hinahina of silvern wreaths.


Koaea’s a speck to the eye,

Under the low-hanging rain-cloud,

Woodland home of the plaintive ó-ó.

From frost-bitten Pa-ie-ie

I bid you, guess me the fable:


Paddle-maker on Pele’s mount.

This mele comes from Kauai, an Island in many respects individualized from the other parts of the group and that seems to have been the nurse of a more delicate imagination than was wont to flourish elsewhere. Its tone is archaic, and it has the rare merit of not transfusing the more crudely erotic human emotions into the romantic sentiments inspired by nature.

The Hawaiians dearly loved fable and allegory. Argument or truth, dressed out in such fanciful garb, gained double force and acceptance. We may not be able to follow a poet in his wanderings; his local allusions may obscure to us much of his meaning; the doctrine of his allegory may be to us largely a riddle; and the connection between the body of its thought and illustration and the application, or solution, of the poetical conundrum may be past our comprehension; but the Page 112 play of the poet’s fancy, whether childish or mature, is an interesting study, and brings us closer in human sympathy to the people who took pleasure in such things.

In translating this poem, while not following literally the language of the poet, the aim has been to hit the target of his deeper meaning, without hopelessly involving the reader in the complexities of Hawaiian color and local topography. A few words of explanation must suffice.

The Makani Inu-wai (verse 1)—known to all the islands—is a wind that dries up vegetation, literally a water-drinking wind.

The Naulu (verse 3) is the ordinary sea-breeze at Waimea, Kauai, sometimes accompanied by showers.

Hala-li’i (verse 5) is a sandy plain on Niihau, and the peculiarity of its canes is that they sprawl along on the ground, and are often to a considerable extent covered by the loose soil.

Lehua (verse 6) is the well-known bird-island, lying north of Niihau and visible from the Waimea side of Kauai.

The wreath-maker, haku-lei (verse 7), who dwells at Waimea, is perhaps the ocean-vapor, or the moist sea-breeze, or, it may be, some figment of the poet’s imagination—the author can not make out exactly what.

The hinahina (verse 14), a native geranium, is a mountain shrub that stands about 3 feet high, with silver-gray leaves.

Maka-weli, Maka-li’i, Koae’a, and Pa-ie-ie are names of places on Kauai.

Puu-ka-Pele (verse 20) as the name indicates, is a volcanic hill, situated near Waimea.

The key or answer (puana), to the allegory given in verse 20, Ke kahuna kalai-hoe o Puu-ka-Pele, the paddle-making kahuna of Pele’s mount, when declared by the poet (haku-mele), is not very informing to the foreign mind; but to the Hawaiian auditor it, no doubt, took the place of our haec fabula docet, and it at least showed that the poet was not without an intelligent motive. In the poem in point the author acknowledges his inability to make connection between it and the body of the song.

One merit we must concede to Hawaiian poetry, it wastes no time in slow approach. The first stroke of the artist places the auditor in medias res.

Page 113


The character of a hula was determined to some extent by the nature of the musical instrument that was its accompaniment. In the hula puíli it certainly seems as if one could discern the influence of the rude, but effective, instrument that was its musical adjunct. This instrument, the puíli (fig. 1), consisted of a section of bamboo from which one node with its diaphragm had been removed and the hollow joint at that end split up for a considerable distance into fine divisions, which gave forth a breezy rustling when the instrument was struck or shaken.

The performers, all of them hoopaa, were often placed in two rows, seated or kneeling and facing one another, thus favoring a responsive action in the use of the puíli as well as in the cantillation of the song. One division would sometimes shake and brandish their instruments, while the others remained quiet, or both divisions would perform at once, each individual clashing one puíli against the other one held by himself, or against that of his vis-a-vis; or they might toss them back and forth to each other, one bamboo passing another in mid air.

While the hula puíli is undeniably a performance of classical antiquity, it is not to be regarded as of great dignity or importance as compared with many other hulas. Its character, like that of the meles associated with it, is light and trivial.

The mele next presented is by no means a modern production. It seems to be the work of some unknown author, a fragment of folklore, it might be called by some, that has drifted down to the present generation and then been put to service in the hula. If hitherto the word folklore has not been used it is not from any prejudice against it, but rather from a feeling that there exists an inclination to stretch the application of it beyond its true limits and to make it include popular songs, stories, myths, and the like, regardless of its fitness of application. Some writers, no doubt, would apply this vague term to a large part of the poetical pieces which are given in this book.

Page 114

On the same principle, why should they not apply the term folklore to the myths and stories that make up the body of Roman and Greek mythology? The present author reserves the term folklore for application to those unappropriated scraps of popular song, story, myth, and superstition that have drifted down the stream of antiquity and that reach us in the scrap-bag of popular memory, often bearing in their battered forms the evidence of long use.


Hiki mai, niki mai ka La, e.

Aloha wale ka La e kau nei,

Aia malalo o Ka-wai-hoa, 247

A ka lalo o Kauai, o Lehua.


A Kauai au, ike i ka pali;

A Milo-lii 248 pale ka pali loloa.

E kolo ana ka pali o Makua-iki; 249

Kolo o Pu-á, he keiki,

He keiki makua-ole ke uwe nei.



It has come, it has come; lo the Sun!

How I love the Sun that’s on high;

Below it swims Ka-wai-hoa,

Oa the slope inclined from Lehua.


On Kauai met I a pali,

A beetling cliff that bounds Milo-lii,

And climbing up Makua-iki,

Crawling up was Pua, the child,

An orphan that weeps out its tale.

The writer has rescued the following fragment from the wastebasket of Hawaiian song. A lean-to of modern verse has been omitted; it was evidently added within a generation:


Malua, 250 ki’i wai ke aloha,

Hoopulu i ka liko mamane.

Uleuleu mai na manu,

Inu wai lehua o Panaewa, 251


E walea ana i ke onaona,

Ke one wali o Ohele.

Page 115

Hele mal nei kou aloha

A lalawe i ko’u nui kino,

Au i hookohu ai,


E kuko i ka manao.

Kuhi no paha oe no Hopoe 252

Nei lehua au i ka hana ohi ai.

Footnote 247: (return) Kawaihoa. The southern point of Niihau, which is to the west of Kauai, the evident standpoint of the poet, and therefore “below” Kauai.

Footnote 248: (return) Milo-lii. A valley on the northwestern angle of Kauai, a precipitous region, in which travel from one point to another by land is almost impossible.

Footnote 249: (return) Makua-iki. Literally “little father,” a name given to an overhanging pali, where was provided a hanging ladder to make travel possible. The series of palis in this region comes to an end at Milo-lii.

Footnote 250: (return) The Malua was a wind, often so dry that it sucked up the moisture from the land and destroyed the tender vegetation.

Footnote 251: (return) Panaewa was a woodland region much talked of in poetry and song.

Footnote 252: (return) Hopoe was a beautiful young woman, a friend of Hiiaka, and was persecuted by Pele owing to jealousy. One of the forms in which she as a divinity showed herself was as a lehua tree in full bloom.



Malua, fetch water of love,

Give drink to this mamane bud.

The birds, they are singing ecstatic,

Sipping Panaewa’s nectared lehua,


Beside themselves with the fragrance

Exhaled from the garden Ohele.

Your love comes to me a tornado;

It has rapt away my whole body,

The heart you once sealed as your own,


There planted the seed of desire.

Thought you ’twas the tree of Hopoe,

This tree, whose bloom you would pluck?

What is the argument of this poem? A passion-stricken swain, or perhaps a woman, cries to Malua to bring relief to his love-smart, to give drink to the parched mamane buds—emblems of human feeling. In contrast to his own distress, he points to the birds caroling in the trees, reveling in the nectar of lehua bloom, intoxicated with the scent of nature’s garden. What answer does the lovelorn swain receive from the nymph he adores? In lines 11 and 12 she banteringly asks him if he took her to be like the traditional lehua tree of Hopoe, of which men stood in awe as a sort of divinity, not daring to pluck its flowers? It is as if the woman had asked—if the poet’s meaning is rightly interpreted—“Did you really think me plighted to vestal vows, a tree whose bloom man was forbidden to pluck?”

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The hula ka-laau (ka, to strike; laau, wood) was named from the instruments of wood used in producing the accompaniment, a sort of xylophone, in which one piece of resonant wood was struck against another. Both divisions of the performers, the hoopaa and the olapa, took part and each division was provided with the instruments. The cantillation was done sometimes by one division alone, sometimes by both divisions in unison, or one division would answer the other, a responsive chanting that was termed haawe aku, haawe mai—“to give, to return.”

Ellis gives a quotable description of this hula, which he calls the “hura ka raau:”

Five musicians advanced first, each, with a staff in his left hand, five or six feet long, about three or four inches in diameter at one end, and tapering off to a point at the other. In his right hand he held a small stick of hard wood, six or nine inches long, with which he commenced his music by striking the small stick on the larger one, beating time all the while with his right foot on a stone placed on the ground beside him for that purpose. Six women, fantastically dressed in yellow tapas, crowned, with garlands of flowers, having also wreaths of native manufacture, of the sweet-scented flowers of the gardenia, on their necks, and branches of the fragrant mairi (another native plant,) bound round their ankles, now made their way by couples through the crowd, and, arriving at the area, on one side of which the musicians stood, began their dance. Their movements were slow, and, though not always graceful, exhibited nothing offensive to modest propriety. Both musicians and dancers alternately chanted songs in honor of former gods and chiefs of the islands, apparently much to the gratification of the spectators. (Polynesian Researches, by William Ellis, IV, 78-79, London, 1836.)

The mele here first presented is said to be an ancient mele that has been modified and adapted to the glorification of that astute politician, genial companion, and pleasure-loving king, Kalakaua.

It was not an uncommon thing for one chief to appropriate the mele inoa of another chief. By substituting one name for another, by changing a genealogy, or some such trifle, the skin of the lion, so to speak, could be made to cover with more or less grace and to serve as an apparel of masquerade for the ass, and without interruption so long as there was no lion, or lion’s whelp, to do the unmasking.

The poets who composed the mele for a king have been spoken of as “the king’s washtubs.” Mele inoa were not crown-jewels Page 117 to be passed from one incumbent of the throne to another. The practice of appropriating the mele inoa composed in honor of another king and of another line was one that grew up with the decadence of honor in times of degeneracy.


O Kalakaua, be inoa,

O ka pua mae ole i ka la;

Ke pua mai la i ka mauna,

I ke kuahiwi o Mauna-kea;


Ke a la i Ki-lau-e-a,

Malamalama i Wahine-kapu,

I ka luna o Uwe-kahuna,

I ka pali kapu o Ka-au-e-a.

E a mai ke alii kia-manu;


Ua Wahi i ka hulu o ka mamo,

Ka pua nani o Hawaii;

O Ka-la-kaua, he inoa!



Ka-la-kaua, a great name,

A flower not wilted by the sun;

It blooms on the mountains,

In the forests of Mauna-kea;


It burns in Ki-lau-e-a,

Illumines the cliff Wahine-kapu,

The heights of Uwe-kabuna,

The sacred pali of Ka-au-e-a.

Shine forth, king of bird-hunters,


Resplendent in plumage of mamo,

Bright flower of Hawaii:

Ka-la-kaua, the Illustrious!

The proper names Wahine-kapu, Uwe-kahuna, and Ka-au-e-a in the sixth, seventh, and eighth verses are localities, cliffs, bluffs, precipices, etc., in and about the great caldera of Kilauea, following up the mention (in the fifth verse) of that giant among the world’s active volcanoes.

The purpose of the poem seems to be to magnify the prowess of this once famous king as a captivator of the hearts and loving attentions of the fair sex.


Kona kai opua 253 i kala i ka la’i;

Opua binano ua i ka malie;

Hiolo na wai naoa a ke kehau,

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Ke’ na-ú 254 la na kamalii,


Ke kaohi la i ke kukuna o ka la;

Ku’u la koili i ke kai—

Pumehana wale ia aina!

Aloha wale ke kini o Hoolulu,

Aohe lua ia oe ke aloha,


O ku’u puni, o ka me’ owá.

Footnote 253: (return) Opua means a distinct cloud-pile, an omen, a weather-sign.

Footnote 254: (return) The word na-ú refers to a sportive contest involving a trial of lung-power, that was practised by the youth of Kona, Hawaii, as well as of other places. They stood on the shore at sunset, and as the lower limb of the sun touched the ocean horizon each one, having filled his lungs to the utmost, began the utterance of the sound na-u-u-u-u, which he must, according to the rules of the game, maintain continuously until the sun had disappeared, a lapse of about two minutes’ time. This must be done without taking fresh breath. Anyone inhaling more air into his lungs or intermitting the utterance of the sound was compelled by the umpire to withdraw from the contest and to sit down, while anyone who maintained the droning utterance during the prescribed time was declared victor. It was no mean trial.



The cloud-piles o’er Kona’s sea whet my joy,

Clouds that drop fain in fair weather.

The clustered dew-pearls shake to the ground;

The boys drone out the na-ú to the West,


Eager for Sol to sink to his rest.

This my day for a plunge in the sea—

The Sun will be warming other shores—

Happy the tribes of that land of calm!

Fathomless, deep is my love


To thee, my passion, my mate.

The author of this love-song, mele ipo, is said to have been Kalola, a widow of Kamehameha I, at a time when she was an old woman; the place was Lahaina, and the occasion an amour between Liholiho (Kamehameha II) and a woman of rank. The last two verses of the poem have been omitted from the present somewhat free, yet faithful translation, as they do not seem to be of interest or pertinent from our point of view, and there is internal evidence that they were added as an afterthought.

The hulas on the various islands differed somewhat from one another. In general, it may be said that on Kauai they were presented with more spirit and in greater variety than in other parts of the group. The following account will illustrate this fact:

About the year 1870 the late Queen Emma made the tour of the island of Kauai, and at some places the hula was performed as a recreation in her honor. The hula ka-laau was thus presented; it was marked, however, by such peculiarities as to make it hardly recognizable as being the same performance as the one elsewhere known by that name. As given on Kauai, both the olapa and the hoopaa took part, as they do on the Page 119] other islands, but in the Kauai performance the olapa alone handled the two sticks of the xylophone, which in other parts formed the sole instrument of musical accompaniment to this hula. Other striking novelties also were introduced. The olapa held between their toes small sticks with which they beat upon a resonant beam of wood that lay on the floor, thus producing tones of a low pitch. Another departure from the usual style of this hula was that the hoopaa, at the same time, devoted themselves with the right hand to playing upon the pu-niu, the small drum, while with the left they developed the deep bass of the pahu. The result of this outre combination must have been truly remarkable.

It is a matter of observation that on the island of Kauai both the special features of its spoken language and the character of its myths and legends indicate a closer relationship to the groups of the southern Pacific, to which the Hawaiian people owe their origin, than do those of the other islands of the Hawaiian group.

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The hula íli-íli, pebble-dance, was a performance of the classical times, in which, according to one who has witnessed it, the olapa alone took part. The dancers held in each hand a couple of pebbles, ili-ili—hence the name of the dance—which they managed to clash against each other, after the fashion of castanets, thus producing a rude music of much the same quality as that elicited from the “bones” in our minstrel performances. According to another witness, the drum also was sometimes used in connection with the pebbles as an accompaniment to this hula.

The ili-ili was at times a hula of intensity—that is to say, was acted with that stress of voice and manner which the Hawaiians termed ai-ha’a; but it seems to have been more often performed in that quiet natural tone of voice and of manner termed ko’i-honua, which may be likened to utterance in low relief.

The author can present only the fragment of a song to illustrate this hula:


A lalo maua o Wai-pi’o,

Ike i ka nani o Hi’i-lawe.

E lawe mai a oki

I na hala o Naue i ke kai,


I na lehua lu-lu’u pali;

Noho ana lohe i ke kani o ka o-ó,

Hoolono aku i ka leo o ke kahuli.



We twain were lodged in Wai-pi’o,

Beheld Hi’i-lawe, the grand.

We brought and cut for our love-wreath

The rich hala drupe from Naue’s strand,


Tufted lehua that waves on the cliff;

Then sat and gave ear to song of o-ó,

Or harked the chirp of the tree-shell.

Wai-pi’o, the scene of this idyl, is a valley deep and broad which the elements have scooped out in the windward exposure of Hawaii, and scarce needs mention to Hawaiian Page 121 tourists. Hi’i-lawe is one of several high waterfalls that leap from the world of clouds into the valley-basin.

Kahuli is a fanciful name applied to the beautiful and unique genus of tree-shells (Achatinella), plate XII, that inhabit the Hawaiian woods. The natives are persuaded that these shells have the power of chirping a song of their own, and the writer has often heard the note which they ascribe to them; but to his ear it was indistinguishable from the piping of the cricket. This is the song that the natives credit to the tree-shells:


Kahuli aku,

Kahuli mai,

Kahuli lei ula,

Lei akolea. 255


Kolea, kolea, 256

Ki’i ka wai,

Wai akolea.


Song of the Tree-shell

Trill a-far,

Trill a-near,

A dainty song-wreath,

Wreath akolea.


Kolea, Kolea,

Fetch me some dew,

Dew from pink akolea.

This little piece of rustic imagination is said to have been used in the hula, but in connection with what dance the author has not been able to learn.

Footnote 255: (return) The akolea is a fern (by some classed as a Polypodium) which, according to Doctor Hillebrand (Flora of the Hawaiian Islands), “sustains its extraordinary length by the circinnate tips which twine round the branches of neighboring shrubs or trees.”

Footnote 256: (return) Kolea. The red-breasted plover.

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The kaekeeke was a formal hula worthy of high consideration. Some authorities assert that the performers in this dance were chosen from the hoopaa alone, who, it will be remembered, maintained the kneeling position, while, according to another authority, the olapa also took part in it. There is no reason for doubting the sincerity of both these witnesses. The disagreement probably arose from hasty generalization. One is reminded of the wise Hawaiian saw, already noted, “Do not think that your halau holds all the knowledge.”

This hula took its name from the simple instrument that formed its musical accompaniment. This consisted of a single division of the long-jointed bamboo indigenous to Hawaii, which was left open at one end. (The varieties of bamboo imported from China or the East Indies have shorter joints and thicker walls, and will not answer the purpose, being not sufficiently resonant.) The joints used in the kaekeeke were of different sizes and lengths, thus producing tones of various pitch. The performer held one in each hand and the tone was elicited by striking the base of the cylinder sharply against the floor or some firm, nonresonant body.

On making actual trial of the kaekeeke, in order to prove by experience its musical quality and capabilities, the writer’s pleasure was as great as his surprise when he found it capable of producing musical tones of great purity and of the finest quality. Experiment soon satisfied him that for the best production of the tone it was necessary to strike the bamboo cylinder smartly upon some firm, inelastic substance, such as a bag of sand. The tone produced was of crystalline purity, and by varying the size and length of the cylinders it proved possible to represent a complete musical scale. The instrument was the germ of the modern organ.

The first mele to be presented partakes of the nature of the allegory, a form of composition not a little affected by the Hawaiians:


A Hamakua au,

Noho i ka ulu hala.

Malihini au i ka hiki ana,

I ka ua pe’epe’e pohaku.


Noho oe a li’u-li’u,

A luli-luli malie iho.

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He keiki akamai ko ia pali;

Elima no pua i ka lima.

Kui oe a lawa


I lei no ku’u aloha;

Malama malie oe i ka makemake,

I lei hooheno no ke aloha ole.

Moe oe a ala mai;

Nana iho oe i kou pono.


Hai’na ia ka puana:

Keiki noho pali o Hamakua;

A waka-waka, a waka-waka.



It was in Hamakua;

I sat in a grove of Pandanus,

A stranger at my arrival,

A rock was my shelter from rain.


I found it a wearisome wait,

Cautiously shifting about.

There’s a canny son of the cliff

That has five buds to his hand.

You shall twine me a wreath of due length,


A wreath to encircle my love,

Whilst you hold desire in strong curb,

Till love-touch thaws the cold-hearted.

When you rise from sleep on the mat,

Look down, see the conquest of love.


The meaning of this short story?

What child fondly clings to the cliff?

Waka-waka, the shell-fish.

The scene of this idyl, this love-song, mele hoipoipo, is Hamakua, a district on the windward side of Hawaii, subject to rain-squalls. The poet in his allegory represents himself as a stranger sitting in a pandanus grove, ulu hala (verse 2); sheltering himself from a rain-squall by crouching behind a rock, ua pe’epe’e pohaku (verse 4); shifting about on account of the veering of the wind, luli-luli malie iho (verse 6). Interpreting this figuratively, Hamakua, no doubt, is the woman in the case; the grove an emblem of her personality and physical charms; the rain-squall, of her changeful moods and passions. The shifting about of the traveler to meet the veering of the wind would seem to mean the man’s diplomatic efforts to deal with the woman’s varying caprices and outbursts.

He now takes up a parable about some creature, a child of the cliff—Hamakua’s ocean boundary is mostly a precipitous wall—which he represents as a hand with five buds. Addressing it as a servant, he bids this creature twine a Page 124 wreath sufficient for his love, kui oe a lawa (verse 9), I lei no ku’u aloha (verse 10). This creature with five buds, what is it but the human hand, the errand-carrier of man’s desire, makemake (verse 11)? The pali, by the way, is a figure often used by Hawaiian poets to mean the glory and dignity of the human body.

That is a fine imaginative touch in which the poet illustrates the power of the human hand to kindle love in one that is cold-hearted, as if he had declared the hand itself to be not only the wreath-maker, but the very wreath that is to encircle and warm into response the unresponsive loved one, I lei hooheno no ke aloha ole (verse 12).

Differences of physical environment, of social convention, of accepted moral and esthetic standards interpose seemingly impassable barriers between us and the savage mind, but at the touch of an all-pervading human sympathy these barriers dissolve into very thin air.


Kahiki-nui, auwahi 257 ka makani!

Nana aku au ia Kona,

Me ke kua lei ahi 258 la ka moku;

Me ke lawa uli e, la, no


Ku’u kai pa-ú hala-ká 259

I ka lae o Hana-maló; 260

Me he olohe ili polohiwa,

Ke ku a mauna,

Ma ka ewa lewa 261 Hawaii.


Me he ihu leiwi la, ka moku,

Kou mauna, kou palamoa: 262

Kau a waha mai Mauna-kea 263

A me Mauna-loa,[263]

Ke ku a Maile-hahéi. 264


Uluna mai Mauna Kilohana 265

I ka poohiwi o Hu’e-Hu’e.[265]

Footnote 257: (return) Auwahi (a word not found in any dictionary) is said by a scholarly Hawaiian to be an archaic form of the word uwahi, or uahi (milk of fire), smoke, Kahiki-nui is a dry region and the wind (makani) often fills the air with dust.

Footnote 258: (return) Kua lei ahi. No Hawaiian has been found who professes to know the true meaning of these words. The translation of them here given is, therefore, purely formal.

Footnote 259: (return) Pa-ú halaká. An expression sometimes applied to the hand when used as a shield to one’s modesty; here it is said of the ocean (kai) when one’s hody is immersed in it.

Footnote 260: (return) Hana-maló. A cape that lies between Kawaihae and Kailua in north Kona.

Footnote 261: (return) Ewa lewá. In this reading the author has followed the authoritative suggestion of a Hawaiian expert, substituting it for that first given by another, which was elewa. The latter was without discoverable meaning. Even as now, given conjectures as to its meaning are at variance. The one followed presents the less difficulty.

Footnote 262: (return) Palamoa. The name of a virulent kupua that acted as errand-carrier and agent for sorcerers (kahuna ánaaná); also the name of a beautiful grass found on Hawaii that has a pretty red seed. Following the line of least resistance, the latter meaning has been adopted; in it is found a generic expression for the leafy covering of the island.

Footnote 263: (return) Mauna-kea and Mauna-loa. The two well-known mountains of the big island of Hawaii.

Footnote 264: (return) Maile-hahei. Said to be a hill in Kona.

Footnote 265: (return) Kilohana and Hu’e-hu’e. The names of two hills in Kona, Hawaii.

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Kahiki-nui, land of wind-driven smoke!

Mine eyes gaze with longing on Kona;

A fire-wreath glows aback of the district,

And a robe of wonderful green


Lies the sea that has aproned my loins

Off the point of Hana-malo.

A dark burnished form is Hawaii,

To one who stands on the mount—

A hamper swung down from heaven,


A beautiful carven shape is the island—

Thy mountains, thy splendor of herbage:

Mauna-kea and Loa stand (in glory) apart,

To him who looks from Maile-hahéi;

And Kilohana pillows for rest


On the shoulder of Hu’e-hu’e.

This love-song—mele hoipoipo—which would be the despair of a strict literalist—what is it all about? A lover in Kahiki-nui—of the softer sex, it would appear— looks across the wind-swept channel and sends her thoughts lovingly, yearningly, over to Kona of Hawaii, which district she personifies as her lover. The mountains and plains, valleys and capes of its landscapes, are to her the parts and features of her beloved. Even in the ocean that flows between her and him, and which has often covered her nakedness as with a robe, she finds a link in the chain of association.

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During the performance of a hula the halau and all the people there assembled are under a tabu, the imposition of which was accomplished by the opening prayer that had been offered before the altar. This was a serious matter and laid everyone present under the most formal obligations to commit no breach of divine etiquette; it even forbade the most innocent remarks and expressions of emotion. But when the performers, wearied of the strait-jacket, determined to unbend and indulge in social amenities, to lounge, gossip, and sing informal songs, to quaff a social bowl of awa, or to indulge in an informal dance, they secured the opportunity for this interlude, by suspending the tabu. This was accomplished by the utterance of a pule hoo-noa, a tabu-lifting prayer. If the entire force of the tabu was not thus removed, it was at least so greatly mitigated that the ordinary conversations of life might be carried on without offense. The pule was uttered by the kumu or some person who represented the whole-company:

Pule Hoo-noa

Lehua 266] i-luna,

Lehua i-lalo,

A wawae,

A Ka-ulua, 267


A o Haumea, 268

Kou makua-kane, 269

Manu o Kaáe; 270


O Pe-kau, 271


O Pe-ka-nana, 272

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Papa pau.

Pau a’e iluna;

O Ku-mauna,

A me Laka,


A me Ku.

Ku i ka wao,

A me Hina,

Huna mele-lani.

A ua pau;


Pau kakou;

A ua noa;

Noa ke kahua;


Footnote 266: (return) Lehua. See plate XIII.

Footnote 267: (return) Ka-ulua. The name of the third month of the Hawaiian year, corresponding to late January or February, a time when In the latitude of Hawaii nature does not refrain from leafing and flowering.

Footnote 268: (return) Haumea. The name applied after her death and apotheosis to Papa, the wife of Wakea, and the ancestress of the Hawaiian race. (The Polynesian Race, A. Fornander, 1, 205. London, 1878.)

Footnote 269: (return) It is doubtful to whom the expression “makua-kane” refers, possibly to Wakea, the husband of Papa; and if so, very properly termed father, ancestor, of the people.

Footnote 270: (return) Manu o Kaáe (Manu-o-Kaáe it might be written) is said to have been a goddess, one of the family of Pele, a sister of the sea nymph Moana-nui-ka-lehua, whose dominion was in the waters between Oahu and Kauai. She is said to have had the gift of eloquence.

Footnote 271: (return) Pe-káu refers to the ranks and classes of the gods.

Footnote 272: (return) Pe-ka-naná refers to men, their ranks and classes.


Power to Remove Tabu

Bloom of lehua on altar piled,

Bloom of lehua below,

Bloom of lehua at altar’s base,

In the month Ka-ulua.


Present here is Haumea,

And the father of thee,

And the goddess of eloquent speech;

Gather, now gather,

Ye ranks of gods,


And ye ranks of men,

Complete in array.

The heavenly service is done,

Service of Ku of the mount,

Service of Laka,


And the great god Ku,

Ku of the wilds,

And of Hina,

Hina, the heavenly singer.

Now it is done,


Our work is done;

The tabu is lifted,

Free is the place,


Here also is another pule hoo-noa, a prayer-song addressed to Laka, an intercession for the lifting of the tabu. It will be noticed that the request is implied, not explicitly stated. All heads are lifted, all eyes are directed heavenward or to the altar, and the hands with a noiseless motion keep time as the voices of the company, led by the kumu, in solemn cantillation, utter the following prayer:

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Pule Hoo-noa no Laka

Pupu we’u-we’u 273 e, Láka e,

O kona we’u-we’u e ku-wá; 274

O Ku-ka-ohia-Laká, 275 e;

Laua me Ku-pulu-pulu; 276


Ka Lehua me ke Koa lau-lii;

O ka Lama me Moku-halii,

Kú-i-kú-i 277 me ka Hala-pepe;

Lakou me Lau-ka-ie-ie,

Ka Palai me Maile-lau-lii.


Noa, noa i kou kuahu;

Noa, noa ia oe, Làka;

Pa-pá-lùa noa!


Tabu-lifting Prayer (to Laka)

Oh wildwood bouquet, O Láka!

Set her greenwood leaves in order due;

And Ku, god of Ohia-La-ká,

He and Ku, the shaggy,


Lehua with small-leafed Koa,

And Lama and Moku-hali’i,

Kú-i-kú-i and Haia-pé-pé;

And with these leafy I-e-i-e,

Fern and small-leafed Maile.


Free, the altar is free!

Free through, you, Laka,

Doubly free!

Footnote 273: (return) Pupu we’u-we’u. A bouquet. The reference is to the wreaths and floral decorations that bedecked the altar, and that were not only offerings to the goddess, but symbols of the diverse forms in which she manifested herself. At the conclusion of a performance the players laid upon the altar the garlands they themselves had worn. These were in addition to those which were placed there before the play began.

Footnote 274: (return) Ku-wá. It has cost much time and trouble to dig out the meaning of this word. The fundamental notion is that contained in its two parts, ku, to stand, and wa, an interval or space, the whole meaning to arrange or set in orderly intervals.

Footnote 275: (return) La-ká. A Tahitian name for the tree which in Hawaii is called lehua, or ohia. In verse 3 the Hawaiian name ohia and the Tahitian laká (accented on the final syllable, thus distinguishing it from the name of the goddess Láka, with which it has no discoverable connection) are combined in one form as an appellation of the god Ku-ku-ka-ohia-Laká. This is a notable instance of the survival of a word as a sacred epithet in a liturgy, which otherwise, had been lost to the language.

Footnote 276: (return) Ku-pulu-pulu. Ku, the fuzzy or shaggy, a deity much worshiped by canoe-makers, represented as having the figure of an old man with a long beard. In the sixth verse the full form of the god’s name here given as Moku-ha-li’i would be Ku-moku-hali’i, the last part being an epithet applied to Ku working in another capacity. Moku-hali’i is the one who bedecks the island. His special emblem, as here implied, was the lama, a beautiful tree, whose wood was formerly used in making certain sacred inclosures. From this comes the proper name Palama, one of the districts of Honolulu.

Footnote 277: (return) Kú-i-kú-i. The same as the tree now called ku-kú-i, the tree whose nuts were used as candles and flambeaus. The Samoan name of the same tree is tú-i-tú-i.

But even now, when the tabu has been removed and the assembly is supposed to have assumed an informal character, before they may indulge themselves in informalities, there remains to be chanted a dismissing prayer, pule hooku’u, in which all voices must join:

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Pule Hooku’u

Ku ka makaia a ka huaka’i moe ipo; 278

Ku au, hele;

Noho oe, aloha!

Aloha na hale o makou i makamaka ole,


Ke alanui hele mauka o Huli-wale, 279 la;


E huli a’e ana i ka makana,

I ke alana ole e kanaenae aku ia oe.

Eia ke kanaenae, o ka leo.


Dismissing Prayer

Doomed sacrifice I in the love-quest,

I stand [loin-girt] 280 for the journey;

To you who remain, farewell!

Farewell to our homes forsaken.


On the road beyond In-decision,

I turn me about—

Turn me about, for lack of a gift,

An offering, intercession, for thee—

My sole intercession, the voice.

Footnote 278: (return) A literal translation of the first line would be as follows: (Here) stands the doomed sacrifice for the journey in search of a bed-lover.

Footnote 279: (return) Huli-wale. To turn about, here used as the name of a place, is evidently intended figuratively to stand for mental indecision.

Footnote 280: (return) The bracketed phrase is not in the text of the original.

This fragment—two fragments, in fact, pieced together—belongs to the epic of Pele. As her little sister, Hiiaka, is about to start on her adventurous journey to bring the handsome Prince Lohiau from the distant island of Kauai she is overcome by a premonition of Pole’s jealousy and vengeance, and she utters this intercession.

The formalities just described speak for themselves. They mark better than any comments can do the superstitious devotion of the old-timers to formalism, their remoteness from that free touch of social and artistic pleasure, the lack of which we moderns often lament in our own lives and sigh for as a lost art, conceiving it to have been once the possession of “the children of nature.”

The author has already hinted at the form and character of the entertainments with which hula-folk sometimes beguiled their professional interludes. Fortunately the author is able to illustrate by means of a song the very form of entertainment they provided for themselves on such an occasion. The following mele, cantillated with an accompaniment of expressive gesture, is one that was actually given at an awa-drinking bout indulged in by hula-folk. The author has an account of its recital at Kahuku, island of Oahu, so late as the year 1849, during a circuit of that Page 130 island made by King Kamehameha III. This mele is reckoned as belonging to the ordinary repertory of the hula; but to which particular form of the dance it was devoted has not been learned:


Ua ona o Kane i ka awa;

Ua kau ke kéha 281 i ka uluna;

Ua hi’o-lani 282 i ka moena.

Kipú mai la i ke kapa o ka noe.


Noe-noe na hokú o ka lani—

Imo-imo mai la i ka po a’e-a’e.

Mahana-lua 283 na kukui a Lanikaula, 284

He kaula no Kane. 285

Meha na pali o Wai-pi’o


I ke kani mau o Kiha-pú;

A ono ole ka awa a ke alii

I ke kani mau o Kiha-pú;

Moe ole kona po o ka Hooilo;

Uluhua, a uluhua,


I ka mea nana e hull a loaa

I kela kupua ino i ka pali,

Olali la, a olali.



Kane is drunken with awa;

His head is laid on the pillow;

His body stretched on the mat.

A trumpet sounds through the fog,


Dimmed are the stars in the sky;

When the night is clear, how they twinkle!

Lani-kaula’s torches look double,

The torches that burn for Kane.

Ghostly and drear the walls of Waipio


At the endless blasts of Kiha-pú.

The king’s awa fails to console him;

’Tis the all-night conching of Kiha-pú.

Broken his sleep the whole winter;

Downcast and sad, sad and downcast,


At loss to find a brave hunter

Shall steal the damned conch from the cliff.

Look, how it gleams [through the fog]!

Footnote 281: (return) Kéha is an elegant expression for the side of the head.

Footnote 282: (return) Hi’o-lani, literally to turn the side to heaven, is a classic expression of refinement.

Footnote 283: (return) Mahana-lua, literally to see double, was an accepted test of satisfactory drunkenness. It reminds the author of an expression he once heard used by the comedian Clarke in the play of Toodles. While in a maudlin state from liquor he spoke of the lighted candle that was in his hand as a “double-barreled candle.”

Footnote 284: (return) Lani-kaula was a prophet who lived on Molokai at a place that still bears his name. He had his residence in the midst of a grove of fine kukui trees, the remnants of which remain to this day. Torches made from the nuts of these trees were supposed to be of superior quality and they furnished the illumination for the revelries of Kane and his fellows.

Footnote 285: (return) He kaula no Kane. A literal translation would be, a prophet of Kane.

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Kane, the chief god of the Hawaiian pantheon, in company with other immortals, his boon companions, met in revelry on the heights bounding Wai-pi’o valley. With each potation of awa they sounded a blast upon their conch-shells, and the racket was almost continuous from the setting of the sun until drowsiness overcame them or the coming of day put an end to their revels.

The tumult of sound made it impossible for the priests to perform acceptably the offices of religion, and the pious king, Liloa, was distressed beyond measure. The whole valley was disturbed and troubled with forebodings at the suspension of divine worship.

The chief offender was Kane himself. The trumpet which he held to his lips was a conch of extraordinary size (pl. XIV) and credited with a divine origin and the possession of supernatural power; its note was heard above all the others. This shell, the famed Kiha-pú, had been stolen from the heiau of Paka’a-lána, Liloa’s temple in Waipi’o valley, and-after many-adventures had come into the hands of god Kane, who used it, as we see, for the interruption of the very services that were intended for his honor.

The relief from this novel and unprecedented situation came from an unexpected quarter. King Liloa’s awa-patches were found to be suffering from the nocturnal visits of a thief. A watch was set; the thief proved to be a dog, Puapua-lenalena, whose master was a confirmed awa-toper. When master and dog were brought into the presence of King Liloa, the shrewd monarch divined the remarkable character of the animal, and at his suggestion the dog was sent on the errand which resulted in the recovery by stealth of the famed conch Kiha-pú. As a result of his loss of the conch, Kane put an end to his revels, and the valley of Wai-pi’o again had peace.

This mele is an admirable specimen of Hawaiian poetry, and may be taken as representative of the best product of Hawaii’s classical period. The language is elegant and concise, free from the redundancies that so often load down Hawaiian compositions. No one, it is thought, will deny to the subject-matter of this mele an unusual degree of interest.

There is a historic side to the story of the conch-shell Kiha-pú. Not many years ago the Hawaiian Museum contained an ethnological specimen of great interest, the conch-shell Kiha-pú. It was fringed, after the fashion of a witch-doll, with strings, beads, and wampumlike bits of mother-of-pearl, and had great repute as a kupua or luckbringer. King Kalakaua, who affected a sentimental leaning to the notions of his mother’s race, took possession of this famous “curio” and it disappeared from public view.

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The hula niau-kani was one of the classic dances of the halau, and took its name from the musical instrument that was its accompaniment. This was a simple, almost extemporaneous, contrivance, constructed, like the Jew’s-harp, on the principle of a reed instrument. It was made of two parts, a broad piece of bamboo with a longitudinal slit at one end and a thin narrow piece of the same material, the reed, which was held firmly against the fenestra on the concave side of part number one. The convexity of the instrument was pressed against the lips and the sound was produced by projecting the breath through the slit in a speaking or singing tone in such a way as to cause vibrations in the reed. The manner of constructing and operating this reed instrument is suggestive of the jew’s-harp. It is asserted by those who should know that the niau-kani was an instrument of purely Hawaiian invention.

The performer did not depend simply upon the musical tone, but rather upon the modification it produced in the utterances that were strained through it. It would certainly require a quick ear, much practice, and a thorough acquaintance with the peculiarities of Hawaiian mele to enable one to distinguish the words of a song after being transformed by passage through the niau-kani.

As late as about thirty or forty years ago the niau-kani was often seen in the hands of the native Hawaiian youth, who used it as a means of romantic conversations and flirtation. Since the coming in of the Portuguese and their importation of the uku-lele, the taro-patch-fiddle, and other cheap stringed instruments, the niau-kani has left the field to them and disappeared.

The author’s informant saw the niau-kani dance performed some years ago at Moana-lua, near Honolulu, and again on the island of Kauai. The dance in each case was the same. The kumu, aided by a pupil, stood and played on the niau-kani, straining the cantillations through the reed-protected aperture, while the olapa, girls, kept time to the music with the movements of their dancing.

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E pi’i ka wai ka nahele,

U’ina, nakolo i na Molo-kama; 286

Ka ua lele mawaho o Mamala-hoa.

He manao no ko’u e ike


I na pua ohi’a o Kupa-koili, 287

I hoa kaunu no Manu’a-kepa; 288

Ua like laua me Maha-moku. 289

Anapa i ke kai o Mono-lau. 290

Lalau ka lima a noa ia ia la,


I hoa pili no Lani-huli. 291

E huli oe i ku’u makemake,

A loa’a i Kau-ka-opua. 292

Elua no pua kau

A ka manao i makemake ai.


Hoohihi oe a hihi

I lei kohu no neia kino.

Ahea oe hiki mai?

A kau ka La i na pali; 293

Ka huli a ka makani Wai-a-ma’o, 294


Makemake e iki ia ka Hala-mapu-ana,

Ka wai halana i Wai-pá. 295

NOTE.—The proper names belong to localities along the course of the Wai-oli stream.

Footnote 286: (return) Molokama (more often given as Na Molo-kama). The name applied to a succession of falls made by the stream far up in the mountains. The author has here used a versifier’s privilege, compressing this long word into somewhat less refractory shape.

Footnote 287: (return) Kupa-koili. A grove of mountain-apples, ohia ai, that stand on the bank of the stream not far from the public road.

Footnote 288: (return) Manu’a-kepa. A sandy, grass-covered meadow on the opposite side of the river from Kupa-koili.

Footnote 289: (return) Maha-moku. A sandy beach near the mouth of the river, on the same bank as Manu’a-kepa.

Footnote 290: (return) Mono-lau. That part of the bay into which the river flows, that is used as an anchorage for vessels.

Footnote 291: (return) Lani-huli. The side of the valley Kilauea of Wai-oli toward which the river makes a bend before it enters the ocean.

Footnote 292: (return) Kau-ka-opua. Originally a phrase meaning “the cloud-omen hangs,” has come to be used as the proper name of a place. It is an instance of a form of personification often employed by the Hawaiians, in which words having a specific meaning—such, for instance, as our “jack-in-the-box”—have come to be used as a noun for the sake of the meaning wrapped up in the etymology. This figure of speech is, no doubt, common to all languages, markedly so in the Hawaiian. It may be further illustrated by the Hebrew name Ichabod—“his glory has departed.”

Footnote 293: (return) A kau ka La, i na pali. When stands the sun o’er the pali, evening or late in the afternoon. On this part of Kauai the sun sets behind the mountains.

Footnote 294: (return) Wai-a-ma’o. The land-breeze, which sometimes springs up at night.

Footnote 295: (return) Wai-pá. A spot on the bank of the stream where grew a pandanus tree, hala, styled Ka-hala-mapu-ana, the hala-breathing-out-its-fragrance.



Up to the streams in the wildwood,

Where rush the falls Molo-kama,

While the rain sweeps past Mala-hoa,

I had a passion to visit


The forest of bloom at Koili,

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To give love-caress to Manu’a,

And her neighbor Maha-moku,

And see the waters flash at Mono-lau;

My hand would quiet their rage,


Would sidle and touch Lani-huli.

Grant me but this one entreaty,

We’ll meet ’neath the omens above.

Two flowers there are that bloom

In your garden of being;


Entwine them into a garland,

Fit emblem and crown of our love.

And what the hour of your coming?

When stands the Sun o’er the pali,

When turns the breeze of the land,


To breathe the perfume of hala,

While the currents swirl at Wai-pá.

This mele is the language of passion, a song in which the lover frankly pours into the ear of his inamorata the story of his love up to the time of his last enthrallment. Verses 11, 12, and 17 are the language of the woman. The scene is laid in the rainy valley of Hanalei, Kauai, a broad and deep basin, to the finishing of which the elements have contributed their share. The rush and roar of the waters that unite to form the river Wai-oli, from their wild tumbling in the falls of Molo-kama till they pass the river’s mouth and mingle with the flashing waves of the ocean at Mono-lau, Anapa i ke kai o Mono-lau (verse 8), are emblematic of the man’s passion and his quest for satisfaction.

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The action of the hula ohe had some resemblance to one of the figures of the Virginia reel. The dancers, ranged in two parallel rows, moved forward with an accompaniment of gestures until the head of each row had reached the limit in that direction, and then, turning outward to right and left, countermarched in the same manner to the point of starting, and so continued to do. They kept step and timed their gestures and movements to the music of the bamboo nose-flute, the ohe.

In a performance of this hula witnessed by an informant the chorus of dancers was composed entirely of girls, while the kumu operated the nose-flute and at the same time led the cantillation of the mele. This seemed an extraordinary statement, and the author challenged the possibility of a person blowing with the nose into a flute and at the same time uttering words with the mouth. The Hawaiian asserted, nevertheless, that, the leader of the hula, the kumu, did accomplish these two functions; yet his answer did not remove doubt that they were accomplished jointly and at the same time. The author is inclined to think that the kumu performed the two actions alternately.

The musical range of the nose-flute was very limited; it had but two or, at the most, three stops. The player with his left hand held the flute to the nostril, at the same time applying a finger of the same hand to keep the other nostril closed. With the fingers of his right hand he operated the stops (pl. xv).


E pi’ i ka nahele,

E ike ia Ka-wai-kini, 296

Nana ia Pihaua-ka-lani, 297

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I kela manu hulu ma’e-ma’e, 298


Noho pu me Ka-hale-lehua,

Punahele ia Kaua-kahi-alii. 299

E Kaili, 300 e Kaili, e!

E Kaili, lau o ke koa,

E Kaili, lau o ke koa,


Moopuna a Hooipo-i-ka-Malanai, 301

Hiwa-hiwa a ka Lehua-wehe! 302

Aia ka nani i Wai-ehu,

I ka wai kaili puuwai o ka makemake.

Makemake au i ke kalukalu o Kewá, 303


E he’e ana i ka nalu o Maka-iwa.

He iwa-iwa oe na ke aloha,

I Wai-lua nui hoano.

Ano-ano ka hale, aohe kanaka,

Ua la’i oe no ke one o Ali-ó.


Aia ka ipo i ka nahele.

Footnote 296: (return) Ka-wai-kini. The name of a rocky bluff that stands on the side of Mount Wai-ale-ale, looking to Wailua. It as said to divide the flow from the great morass, the natural reservoir formed by the hollow at the top of the mountain, turning a part of it in the direction of Wai-niha, a valley not far from Hanalei, which otherwise would, it is said by Hawaiians, go to swell the stream that forms the Wailua river. This rock, in the old times, was regarded as a demigod, a kupua, and had a lover who resided in Wai-lua, also another who resided in the mountains. The words in the first two or three verses may be taken as if they were the utterance of this Wai-lua lover, saying “I will go up and see my sweetheart Ka-wai-kini.”

Footnote 297: (return) Pihana-ka-lani. Literally, the fullness of heaven. This was a forest largely of lehua that covered the mountain slope below Ka-wai-kini. It seems as if the purpose of its mention was to represent the beauties and charms of the human body. In this romantic region lived the famous mythological princes—alii kupua, the Hawaiians called them—named Kaua-kahi-alii and Aiwohi-kupua, with their princess sister Ka-hale-lehua. The second name mentioned was the one who married the famous heroine of the romantic story of Laie-i-ka-wai.

Footnote 298: (return) Manu hulu ma’ema’e. An allusion to the great number of plumage birds that were reputed to be found in this place.

Footnote 299: (return) Puna-hele ia Kaua-kahi-alli. The birds of the region are said to have been on very intimate and friendly terms with Kaua-kahi-alii. (See note b, p. 135.)

Footnote 300: (return) Kaili. The full form is said to be Ka-ili-lau-o-ke-koa—Skin-like-the-leaf-of-the-koa. In the text of the mele this name is analyzed into its parts and written as if the phrase at the end were an appellative and not an integral part of the name itself. This was a mythical character of unusual beauty, a person of superhuman power, kupua, a mistress of the art of surf-riding, which passion she indulged in the waters about Wai-lua.

Footnote 301: (return) Hooipo-i-ka-Malanai. A mythical princess of Wailua, the grandmother of Kaili. This oft-quoted phrase, literally meaning to make love in the (gently-blowing) trade-wind, has become almost a stock expression, standing for romantic love, or love-making.

Footnote 302: (return) Lehua-wehe. The piece of ocean near the mouth of the Wailua river in which Kaili indulged her passion for surf-riding.

Footnote 303: (return)

Kalu-kalu o Kewá. Kalu-kalu may mean a species of soft, smooth grass specially fitted for sliding upon, which flourished on the inclined plain of Kewá, Kauai. One would sit upon a mat, the butt end of a coconut leaf, or a sled, while another dragged it along. The Hawaiian name for this sport is pahe’e. Kalu-kalu is also the name applied to “a very thin gauze-like kapa.” (See Andrews’s Hawaiian Dictionary.) If we suppose the poet to have clearly intended the first meaning, the figure does not tally with the following verse, the fifteenth. Verses 14 and 15 would thus be made to read:

I desire the kalu-kalu (grass) of Kewá,

That is riding the surf of Maka-iwa.

This is an impossible figure and makes no sense. If, on the other hand, we take another version and conceive that the bard had in mind the gauze-like robe of kalu-kalu—using this, of course, as a figure for the person clad in such a robe—the rendering I have given,

I pine for the sylph, robed in gauze,

Who rides the surf Maka-iwa,

would not only make a possible, but a poetic, picture. Let the critical reader judge which of these two versions hits closer to common sense and probability.



Come up to the wildwood, come;

Let us visit Wai-kini,

And gaze on Pihána-ka-lani,

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Its birds of plumage so fine;


Be comrade to Hale-lehua,

Soul-mate to Kau’kahi-alii.

O, Kaili, Kaili!

Kaili, leaf of the koa,

Graceful as leaf of the koa,


Granddaughter of goddess,

Whose name is the breath of love,

Darling of blooming Lehua.

My lady rides with the gray foam,

On the surge that enthralls the desire.


I pine for the sylph robed in gauze,

Who rides on the surf Maka-iwa—

Aye, cynosure thou of all hearts,

In all of sacred Wailua.

Forlorn and soul-empty the house;


You pleasure on the beach Ali-ó;

Your love is up here in the wildwood.

This mele hoipoipo, love-song, like the one previously given, is from Kauai. The proper names that abound in it, whether of places, of persons, or of winds, seem to have been mostly of Kauaian origin, furnished by its topography, its myths and legends. They have, however, become the common property of the whole group through having been interwoven in the national songs that pass current from island to island.

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A bird is easier captured than the notes of a song. The mele and oli of Hawaii’s olden time have been preserved for us; but the music to which they were chanted, a less perdurable essence, has mostly exhaled. In the sudden transition from the tabu system to the new order of things that came in with the death of Kamehameha in 1819, the old fashion of song soon found itself antiquated and outdistanced. Its survival, so far as it did survive, was rather as a memorial and remembrance of the past than as a register of the living emotions of the present.

The new music, with its pa, ko, li—answering to our do, re, mi 304—was soon in everybody’s mouth. From the first it was evidently destined to enact a role different from that of the old cantillation; none the less the musical ideas that came in with it, the air of freedom from tabu and priestcraft it breathed, and the diatonic scale, the highway along which it marched to conquest, soon produced a noticeable reaction in all the musical efforts of the people. This new seed, when it had become a vigorous plant, began to push aside the old indigenous stock, to cover it with new growths, and, incredible as it may seem, to inoculate it with its own pollen, thus producing a cross which to-day is accepted in certain quarters as the genuine article of Hawaiian song. Even now, the people of northwestern America are listening with demonstrative interest to songs which they suppose to be those of the old hula, but which in reality have no more connection with that institution than our negro minstrelsy has to do with the dark continent.

Footnote 304: (return) The early American missionaries to Hawaii named the musical notes of the scale pa, ko, li, ha, no, la, mi.

The one regrettable fact, from a historical point of view, is that a record was not made of indigenous Hawaiian song before this process of substitution and adulteration had begun. It is no easy matter now to obtain the data for definite knowledge of the subject.

While the central purpose of this chapter will be a study of the music native to old Hawaii, and especially of that produced in the halau, Hawaiian music of later times and of the present day can not be entirely neglected; nor will it be without its value for the indirect light it will shed on ancient conditions and on racial characteristics. The reaction that has taken place in Hawaii within historic times in response to the stimulus from abroad can not fail to be of Page 139 interest in itself.

There is a peculiarity of the Hawaiian speech which can not but have its effect in determining the lyric tone-quality of Hawaiian music; this is the predominance of vowel and labial sounds in the language. The phonics of Hawaiian speech, we must remember, lack the sounds represented by our alphabetic symbols b, c or s, d, f, g, j, q, x, and z—a poverty for which no richness in vowel sounds can make amends. The Hawaiian speech, therefore, does not call into full play the uppermost vocal cavities to modify and strengthen, or refine, the throat and mouth tones of the speaker and to give reach and emphasis to his utterances. When he strove for dramatic and passional effect, he did not make his voice resound in the topmost cavities of the voice-trumpet, but left it to rumble and mutter low down in the throat-pipe, thus producing a feature that colors Hawaiian musical recitation.

This feature, or mannerism, as it might be called, specially marks Hawaiian music of the bombastic bravura sort in modern times, imparting to it in its strife for emphasis a sensual barbaric quality. It can be described further only as a gurgling throatiness, suggestive at times of ventriloquism, as if the singer were gloating over some wild physical sensation, glutting his appetite of savagery, the meaning of which is almost as foreign to us and as primitive as are the mewing of a cat, the gurgling of an infant, and the snarl of a mother-tiger. At the very opposite pole of development from this throat-talk of the Hawaiian must we reckon the highly-specialized tones of the French speech, in which we find the nasal cavities are called upon to do their full share in modifying the voice-sounds.

The vocal execution of Hawaiian music, like the recitation of much of their poetry, showed a surprising mastery of a certain kind of technique, the peculiarity of which was a sustained and continuous outpouring of the breath to the end of a certain period, when the lungs again drank their fill. This seems to have been an inheritance from the old religious style of prayer-recitation, which required the priest to repeat the whole incantation to its finish with the outpour of one lungful of breath. Satisfactory utterance of those old prayer-songs of the Aryans, the mantras, was conditioned likewise on its being a one-breath performance. A logical analogy may be seen between all this and that unwritten law, or superstition, which made it imperative for the heroes and demigods, kupua, of Hawaii’s mythologic age to discontinue any unfinished work on the coming of daylight. 305

Footnote 305: (return) The author can see no reason for supposing that this prolonged utterance had anything to do with that Hindoo practice belonging to the yoga, the exercise of which consists in regulating the breath.

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When one listens for the first time to the musical utterance of a Hawaiian poem, it may seem only a monotonous onflow of sounds faintly punctuated by the primary rhythm that belongs to accent, but lacking those milestones of secondary rhythm which set a period to such broader divisions as distinguish rhetorical and musical phrasing. Further attention will correct this impression and show that the Hawaiians paid strict attention not only to the lesser rhythm which deals with the time and accent of the syllable, but also to that more comprehensive form which puts a limit to the verse.

With the Hawaiians musical phrasing was arranged to fit the verse of the mele, not to express a musical idea. The cadencing of a musical phrase in Hawaiian song was marked by a peculiarity all its own. It consisted of a prolonged trilling or fluctuating movement called i’i, in which the voice went up and down in a weaving manner, touching the main note that formed the framework of the melody, then springing away from it for some short interval—a half of a step, or even some shorter interval—like an electrified pith-ball, only to return and then spring away again and again until the impulse ceased. This was more extensively employed in the oil proper, the verses of which were longer drawn out, than in the mele such as formed the stock pieces of the hula. These latter were generally divided into shorter verses.


The musical instruments of the Hawaiians included many classes, and their study can not fail to furnish substantial data for any attempt to estimate the musical performances, attainments, and genius of the people.

Of drums, or drumlike instruments of percussion, the Hawaiians had four:

1. The pahu, or pahu-hula (pl. x), was a section of hollowed log. Breadfruit and coconut were the woods generally used for this purpose. The tough skin of the shark was the choice for the drumhead, which was held in place and kept tense by tightening cords of coconut fiber, that passed down the side of the cylinder.

The workmanship of the pahu, though rude, was of tasteful design. So far as the author has studied them, each pahu was constructed with a diaphragm placed about two-thirds the distance from the head, obtained by leaving in place a cross section of the log, thus making a closed chamber of the drum-cavity proper, after the fashion of the kettledrum. The lower part of the drum also was hollowed out and carved, as will be seen in the illustration. In the carving of all the specimens examined the artists have shown a notable fondness for a fenestrated design representing a series of arches, Page 141 after the fashion of a two-storied arcade, the haunch of the superimposed arch resting directly on the crown of that below. In one case the lower arcade was composed of Roman,-while the upper was of Gothic, arches. The grace of the design and the manner of its execution are highly pleasing, and suggest the inquiry, Whence came the opportunity for this intimate study of the arch?

The tone of the pahu was produced by striking its head with the finger-tips, or with the palm of the hand; never with a stick, so far as the writer has been able to learn. Being both heavy and unwieldly, it was allowed to rest upon the ground, and, if used alone, was placed to the front of the operator; if sounded in connection with the instrument next to be mentioned, it stood at his left side.

The pahu, if not the most original, was the most important instrument used in connection with the hula. The drum, with its deep and solemn tones, is an instrument of recognized efficiency in its power to stir the heart to more vigorous pulsations, and in all ages it has been relied upon as a means of inspiring emotions of mystery, awe, terror, sublimity, or martial enthusiasm.

Tradition of the most direct sort ascribes the introduction of the pahu to La’a—generally known as La’a-mai-Kahiki (La’a-from-Kahiki)—a prince who flourished about six centuries ago. He was of a volatile, adventurous disposition, a navigator of some renown, having made the long voyage between Hawaii and the archipelagoes in the southern Pacific—Kahiki—not less than twice in each direction. On his second arrival from the South he brought with him the big drum, the pahu, which he sounded as he skirted the coast quite out to sea, to the wonder and admiration of the natives on the land. La’a, being of an artistic temperament and an ardent patron of the hula, at once gave the divine art of Laka the benefit of this newly imported instrument. He traveled from place to place, instructing the teachers and inspiring them with new ideals. It was he also who introduced into the hula the kaékeéke as an instrument of music.

2. The pu-niu (pl. XVI) was a small drum made from the shell of a coconut. The top part, that containing the eyes, was removed, and the shell having been smoothed and polished, the opening was tightly covered with the skin of some scaleless fish—that of the kala (Acanthurus unicornis) was preferred. A venerable kumu-hula states that it was his practice to use only the skin taken from the right side of the fish, because he found that it produced a finer quality of sound than that of the other side. The Hawaiian mind was very insistent on little matters of this sort—the mint, anise, and cummin of their system. The drumhead was stretched and placed in position while moist and flexible, and was then made fast to a ring-shaped cushion—poaha—of fiber or tapa that hugged the base of the shell.

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The Hawaiians sometimes made use of the clear gum of the kukui tree to aid in fixing the drumhead in place.

When in use the pu-niu was lashed to the right thigh for the convenience of the performer, who played upon it with a thong of braided fibers held in his right hand (fig. 2), his left thus being free to manipulate the big drum that stood on the other side.

Of three pu-niu in the author’s collection, one, when struck, gives off the sound of [=c] below the staff; another that of [=c]# below the staff, and a third that of [==c]# in the staff.

While the grand vibrations of the pahu filled the air with their solemn tremor, the lighter and sharper tones of the pu-niu gave a piquancy to the effect, adding a feature which may be likened to the sparkling ripples which the breeze carves in the ocean’s swell.

3. The ipu or ipu-hula (pl. VII), though not strictly a drum, was a drumlike instrument. It was made by joining closely together two pear-shaped gourds of large size in such fashion as to make a body shaped like a figure 8. An opening was made in the upper end of the smaller gourd to give exit to the sound. The cavities of the two gourds were thrown into one, thus making a single column of air, which, in vibration, gave off a note of clear bass pitch. An ipu of large size in the author’s collection emits the tone of c in the bass. Though of large volume, the tone is of low intensity and has small carrying power.

For ease in handling, the ipu is provided about its waist with a loop of cord or tapa, by which device the performer was enabled to manipulate this bulky instrument with one hand. The instrument was sounded by dropping or striking it with well-adjusted force against the padded earth-floor of the Hawaiian house.

The manner and style of performing on the ipu varied with the sentiment of the mele, a light and caressing action when the feeling was sentimental or pathetic, wild and emphatic when the subject was such as to stir the feelings with enthusiasm and passion.

Musicians inform us that the drum—exception is made in the case of the snare and the kettle drum—is an instrument in which the pitch is a matter of comparative indifference, its function being to mark the time and emphasize the rhythm. Page 143 There are other elements, it would seem, that must be taken into the account in estimating the value of the drum. Attention may be directed first to its tone-character, the quality of its note which touches the heart in its own peculiar way, moving it to enthusiasm or bringing it within the easy reach of awe, fear, and courage. Again, while, except in the orchestra, the drum and other instruments of percussion may require no exact pitch, still this does not necessarily determine their effectiveness. The very depth and gravity of its pitch, made pervasive by its wealth of overtones, give to this primitive instrument a weird hold on the emotions.

This combination of qualities we find well illustrated in the pahu and the ipu, the tones of which range in the lower registers of the human voice. The tone-character of the pu-niu, on the other hand, is more subdued, yet lively and cheerful, by reason in part of the very sharpness of its pitch, and thus affords an agreeable offset to the solemnity of the other two.

Ethnologically the pahu is of more world-wide interest than any other member of its class, being one of many varieties of the kettle-drum that are to be found scattered among the tribes of the Pacific, all of them, perhaps, harking back to Asiatic forbears, such as the tom-tom of the Hindus.

The sound of the pahu carries one back in imagination to the dread sacrificial drum of the Aztec teocallis and the wild kettles of the Tartar hordes. The drum has cruel and bloody associations. When listening to its tones one can hardly put away a thought of the many times they have been used to drown the screams of some agonized creature.

For more purely local interest, inventive originality, and simplicity, the round-bellied ipu takes the palm, a contrivance of strictly Hawaiian, or at least Polynesian, ingenuity. It is an instrument of fascinating interest, and when its crisp rind puts forth its volume of sound one finds his imagination winging itself back to the mysterious caverns of Hawaiian mythology.

The gourd, of which the ipu is made, is a clean vegetable product of the fields and the garden, the gift of Lono-wahine—unrecognized daughter of mother Ceres—and is free from all cruel alliances. Fo bleating lamb was sacrificed to furnish parchment for its drumhead. Its associations are as innocent as the pipes of Pan.

4. The ka-éke-éke, though not drumlike in form, must be classed as an instrument of percussion from the manner of eliciting its note. It was a simple joint of bamboo, open at one end, the other end being left closed with the diaphragm provided by nature. The tone is produced by striking the closed end of the cylinder, while held in a vertical position, with a sharp blow against some solid, nonresonant body, such as the matted earth floor of the old Hawaiian Page 144 house. In the author’s experiments with the kaékeéke an excellent substitute was found in a bag filled with sand or earth.

In choosing bamboo for the kaékeéke it is best to use a variety which is thin-walled and long-jointed, like the indigenous Hawaiian varieties, in preference to such as come from the Orient, all of which are thick-walled and short-jointed, and therefore less resonant than the Hawaiian.

The performer held a joint in each hand, the two being of different sizes and lengths, thus producing tones of diverse pitch. By making a proper selection of joints it would be possible to obtain a set capable of producing a perfect musical scale. The tone of the kaékeéke is of the utmost purity and lacks only sustained force and carrying power to be capable of the best effects.

An old Hawaiian once informed the writer that about the year 1850, in the reign of Kamehameha III, he was present at a hula kaékeéke given in the royal palace in Honolulu. The instrumentalists numbered six, each one of whom held two bamboo joints. The old man became enthusiastic as he described the effect produced by their performance, declaring it to have been the most charming hula he ever witnessed.

5. The úli-ulí (pl. XI) consisted of a small gourd of the size of one’s two fists, into which were introduced shotlike seeds, such as those of the canna. In character it was a rattle, a noise-instrument pure and simple, but of a tone by no means disagreeable to the ear, even as the note produced by a woodpecker drumming on a log is not without its pleasurable effect on the imagination.

The illustration of the úliulí faithfully pictured by the artist reproduces a specimen that retains the original simplicity of the instrument before the meretricious taste of modern times tricked it out with silks and feathers. (For a further description of this instrument, see p. 107.)

6. The pu-íli was also a variety of the rattle, made by splitting a long joint of bamboo for half its length into slivers, every alternate sliver being removed to give the remaining ones greater freedom and to make their play the one upon the other more lively. The tone is a murmurous breezy rustle that resembles the notes of twigs, leaves, or reeds struck against one another by the wind—not at all an unworthy imitation of nature-tones familiar to the Hawaiian ear.

The performers sat in two rows facing each other, a position that favored mutual action, in which each row of actors struck their instruments against those of the other side, or tossed them back and forth. (For further account of the manner in which the puili was used in the hula of the same name, see p. 113.)

7. The laau was one of the noise-instruments used in the hula. It consisted of two sticks of hard resonant wood, the Page 145 smaller of which was struck against the larger, producing a clear xylophonic note. While the pitch of this instrument is capable of exact determination, it does not seem that there was any attempt made at adjustment. A laau in the author’s collection, when struck, emits tones the predominant one of which is [=d] (below the staff).

8. The ohe, or ohe-hano-ihu (fig. 3), is an instrument of undoubted antiquity. In every instance that has come under the author’s observation the material has been, as its name—ohe—signifies, a simple joint of bamboo, with an embouchure placed about half an inch from the closed end, thus enabling the player to supply the instrument with air from his right nostril. In every nose-flute examined there have been two holes, one 2 or 3 inches away from the embouchure, the older about a third of the distance from the open end of the flute.

The musician with his left hand holds the end of the pipe squarely against his lip, so that the right nostril slightly overlaps the edge of the embouchure. The breath is projected into the embouchure with modulated force. A nose-flute in the author’s collection with the lower hole open produces the sound of [=f]#; with both holes unstopped it emits the sound [==a]; and when both holes are stopped it produces the sound of [==c]#, a series of notes which are the tonic, mediant, and dominant of the chord of F# minor.

An ohe played by an old Hawaiian named Keaonaloa, an inmate of the Lunalilo Home, when both holes were stopped sounded [=f]; with the lower hole open it sounded [==a], and when both holes were open it sounded [===c].

The music made by Keaonaloa with his ohe was curious, but not soul-filling. We must bear in mind, however, that it was intended only as an accompaniment to a poetical recitation.

Some fifty or sixty years ago it was not uncommon to see bamboo flutes of native manufacture in the hands of Hawaiian musicians of the younger generation. These instruments were avowedly imitations of the D-flute imported from abroad. The idea of using bamboo for this purpose must have been suggested by its previous use in the nose-flute.

“The tonal capacity of the Hawaiian nose-flute,” says Miss Jennie Elsner, “which has nothing harsh and strident about it, embraces five tones, [=f] and [==g] in the middle Page 146 register, and [==f], [=g], and [==a] an octave above. These flutes are not always pitched to the same key, varying half a tone or so.” On inquiring of the native who kindly furnished the following illustrations, he stated that he had bored the holes of his ohe without much measurement, trusting to his intuitions and judgment.

The player began with a slow, strongly accented, rhythmical movement, which continued to grow more and more intricate. Rhythmical diminution continued in a most astounding manner until a frenzied climax was reached; in other words, until the player’s breath-capacity was exhausted.

A peculiar effect, as of several instruments being used at the same time, was produced by the two lower tones being thrown in wild profusion, often apparently simultaneously with one of the upper tones. As the tempo in any one of these increased, the rhythm was lost sight of and a peculiar syncopated effect resulted. 306

Footnote 306: (return) The writer is indebted to Miss Elsner not only for the above comments but for the following score which she has cleverly arranged as a sample of nose-flute music produced by Keaonaloa.

9. The pu-á was a whistle-like instrument. It was made from a gourd of the size of a lemon, and was pierced with three holes, or sometimes only two, one for the nose, by which it Page 147 was blown, while the others were controlled by the fingers. This instrument has been compared to the Italian ocarina.

10. The íli-íli was a noise-instrument pure and simple. It consisted of two pebbles that were held in the hand and smitten together, after the manner of castanets, in time to the music of the voices. (See p. 120.)

11. The niau-kani—singing splinter—was a reed-instrument of a rude sort, made by holding a reed of thin bamboo against a slit cut out in a larger piece of bamboo. This was applied to the mouth, and the voice being projected against it produced an effect similar to that of the Jew’s harp. (See p. 132.)

12. Even still more extemporaneous and rustic than any of these is a modest contrivance called by the Hawaiians pú-la-í. It is nothing more than a ribbon torn from the green leaf of the ti plant, say three-quarters of an inch to an inch in width by 5 or 6 inches long, and rolled up somewhat after the manner of a lamplighter, so as to form a squat cylinder an inch or more in length. This was compressed to flatten it. Placed between the lips and blown into with proper force, it emits a tone of pure reedlike quality, that varies in pitch, according to the size of the whistle, from G in the middle register to a shrill piping note more than an octave above.

The hula girl who showed this simple device offered it in answer to reiterated inquiries as to what other instruments, besides those of more formal make already described, the Hawaiians were wont to use in connection with their informal rustic dances. “This,” said she, “was sometimes used as an accompaniment to such informal dancing as was indulged in outside the halau.” This little rustic pipe, quickly improvised from the leaf that every Hawaiian garden supplies, would at once convert any skeptic to a belief in the pipes of god Pan.

13. The ukeké, the one Hawaiian instrument of its class, is a mere strip of wood bent into the shape of a bow that its elastic force may keep tense the strings that are stretched upon it. These strings, three in number, were originally of sinnet, later after the arrival of the white man, of horsehair. At the present time it is the fashion to use the ordinary gut designed for the violin or the taro-patch guitar. Every ukeké seen followed closely a conventional pattern, which, argues for the instrument a historic age sufficient to have gathered about itself some degree of traditional reverence. One end of the stick is notched or provided with holes to hold the strings, while the other end is wrought into a conventional figure resembling the tail of a fish and serves as an attachment about which to wind the free ends of the strings.

No ukeké seen by the author was furnished with pins, pegs, or any similar device to facilitate tuning. Nevertheless, the Page 148 musician does tune his ukeké, as the writer can testify from his own observation. This Hawaiian musician was the one whose performances on the nose-flute are elsewhere spoken of. When asked to give a sample of his playing on the ukeké, he first gave heed to his instrument as if testing whether it was in tune. He was evidently dissatisfied and pulled at one string as if to loosen it; then, pressing one end of the bow against his lips, he talked to it in a singing tone, at the same time plucking the strings with a delicate rib of grass. The effect was most pleasing. The open cavity of the mouth, acting as a resonator, reenforced the sounds and gave them a volume and dignity that was a revelation. The lifeless strings allied themselves to a human voice and became animated by a living soul.

With the assistance of a musical friend it was found that the old Hawaiian tuned his strings with approximate correctness to the tonic, the third and the fifth. We may surmise that this self-trained musician had instinctively followed the principle or rule proposed by Aristoxenus, who directed a singer to sing his most convenient note, and then, taking this as a starting point, to tune the remainder of his strings—the Greek kithara, no doubt—in the usual manner from this one.

While the ukeké was used to accompany the mele and the oli, its chief employment was in serenading and serving the young folk in breathing their extemporized songs and uttering their love-talk—hoipoipo. By using a peculiar lingo or secret talk of their own invention, two lovers could hold private conversation in public and pour their loves and longings into each other’s ears without fear of detection—a thing most reprehensible in savages. This display of ingenuity has been the occasion for outpouring many vials of wrath upon the sinful ukeké.

Experiment with the ukeké impresses one with the wonderful change in the tone of the instrument that takes place when its lifeless strings are brought into close relation with the cavity of the mouth. Let anyone having normal organs of speech contract his lips into the shape of an O, make his cheeks tense, and then, with the pulp of his finger as a plectrum, slap the center of his cheek and mark the tone that is produced. Practice will soon enable him to render a full octave with fair accuracy and to perform a simple melody that shall be recognizable at a short distance. The power and range thus acquired will, of course, be limited by the skill of the operator. One secret of the performance lies in a proper management of the tongue. This function of the mouth Page 149 familiarly illustrated in the jew’s-harp. The author is again indebted to Miss Elsner for the following comments on the ukeké:

“The strings of this ukeké, the Hawaiian fiddle, are tuned to [=e]; to [=b] and to [=d]. These three strings are struck nearly simultaneously, but the sound being very feeble, it is only the first which, receiving the sharp impact of the blow, gives out enough volume to make a decided impression.”

The early visitors to these islands, as a rule, either held the music of the savages in contempt or they were unqualified to report on its character and to make record of it.

We know that in ancient times the voices of the men as well as of the women were heard at the same time in the songs of the hula. One of the first questions that naturally arises is, Did the men and the women sing in parts or merely in unison?

It is highly gratifying to find clear historical testimony on this point from a competent authority. The quotation that follows is from the pen of Capt. James King, who was with Capt. James Cook on the latter’s last voyage, in which he discovered the Hawaiian islands (January 18, 1778). The words were evidently penned after the death of Captain Cook, when the writer of them, it is inferred, must have succeeded to the command of the expedition. The fact that Captain King weighs his words, as evidenced in the footnote, and that he appreciates the bearing and significance of his testimony, added to the fact that he was a man of distinguished learning, gives unusual weight to his statements. The subject is one of so great interest and importance, that the whole passage is here quoted. 307 It adds not a little to its value that the writer thereof did not confine his remarks to the music, but enters into a general description of the hula. The only regret is that he did not go still further into details.

Footnote 307: (return) Italics used are those of the present author.

Their dances have a much nearer resemblance to those of the New Zealanders than of the Otaheitians or Friendly Islanders. They are prefaced with a slow, solemn song, in which all the party join, moving their legs, and gently striking their breasts in a manner and with attitudes that are perfectly easy and graceful; and so far they are the same with the dances of the Society Islands. When this has lasted about ten minutes, both the tune and the motions gradually quicken, and Page 150 end only by their inability to support the fatigue, which part of the performance is the exact counterpart of that of the New Zealanders; and (as it is among them) the person who uses the most violent action and holds out the longest is applauded as the best dancer. It is to be observed that in this dance the women only took part and that the dancing of the men is nearly of the same kind with what we saw at the Friendly Islands; and which may, perhaps, with more propriety, be called the accompaniment of the songs, with corresponding and graceful motions of the whole body. Yet as we were spectators of boxing exhibitions of the same kind with those we were entertained with at the Friendly Islands, it is probable that they had likewise their grand ceremonious dances, in which numbers of both sexes assisted.

Their music is also of a ruder kind, having neither flutes nor reeds, nor instruments of any other sort, that we saw, except drums of various sizes. But their songs, which they sing in parts, and accompany with a gentle motion of the arms, in the same manner as the Friendly Islanders, had a very pleasing effect.

To the above Captain King adds this footnote:

As this circumstance of their singing in parts has been much doubted by persons eminently skilled in music, and would be exceedingly curious if it was clearly ascertained, it is to be lamented that it can not be more positively authenticated.

Captain Burney and Captain Phillips of the Marines, who have both a tolerable knowledge of music, have given it as their opinion they did sing in parts; that is to say, that they sang together in different notes, which formed a pleasing harmony.

These gentlemen have fully testified that the Friendly Islanders undoubtedly studied their performances before they were exhibited in public; that they had an idea of different notes being useful in harmony; and also that they rehearsed their compositions in private and threw out the inferior voices before they ventured to appear before those who were supposed to be judges of their skill in music.

In their regular concerts each man had a bamboo 308 which was of a different length and gave a different tone. These they beat against the ground, and each performer, assisted by the note given by this instrument, repeated the same note, accompanying it with words, by which means it was rendered sometimes short and sometimes long. In this manner they sang in chorus, and not only produced octaves to each other, according to their species of voice, but fell on concords such as were not disagreeable to the ear.

Footnote 308: (return) These bamboos were, no doubt, the same as the kaékeéke, elsewhere described. (See P. 122.)

Now, to overturn this fact, by the reasoning of persons who did not hear these performances, is rather an arduous task. And yet there is great improbability that any uncivilized people should by accident arrive at this perfection in the art of music, which we imagine can only be attained by dint of study and knowledge of the system and the theory on which musical composition is founded. Such miserable jargon as our country psalm-singers practice, which may be justly deemed the lowest class of counterpoint, or singing in several parts, can not be acquired in the coarse manner in which it is performed in the churches without considerable time and practice. It is, therefore, scarcely credible that a people, semibarbarous, should naturally arrive at any perfection in that art which it is much doubted whether the Greeks and Romans, with all their refinements in music, ever attained, and which the Chinese, who have been longer civilized than any people on the globe, have not yet found out.

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If Captain Burney (who, by the testimony of his father, perhaps the greatest musical theorist of this or any other age, was able to have done it) has written down in European notes the concords that these people sung, and if these concords had been such as European ears could tolerate, there would have been no longer doubt of the fact; but, as it is, it would, in my opinion, be a rash judgment to venture to affirm that they did or did not understand counterpoint; and therefore I fear that this curious matter must be considered as still remaining undecided. (A Voyage to the Pacific Ocean, undertaken by the command of His Majesty, for making discoveries in the Northern Hemisphere. Performed under the direction of Captains Cook, Clerke, and Gore, in His Majesty’s ships the Resolution and Discovery, in the years 1776, 1777, 1778, and 1780, 3 volumes, London, 1784, III, 2d ed., 142, 143, 144.)

While we can not but regret that Captain King did not go into detail and inform us specifically what were the concords those old-time people “fell on,” whether their songs were in the major or minor key, and many other points of information, he has, nevertheless, put science under obligations to him by his clear and unmistakable testimony to the fact that they did arrange their music in parts. His testimony is decisive: “In this manner they sang in chorus, and not only produced octaves to each other, according to their species of voice, but fell on concords such as were not disagreeable to the ear.” When the learned doctor argues that to overturn this fact would be an arduous task, we have to agree with, him—an arduous task indeed. He well knew that one proven fact can overthrow a thousand improbabilities. “What man has done man can do” is a true saying; but it does not thence follow that what man has not done man can not do.

If the contention were that the Hawaiians understood counterpoint as a science and a theory, the author would unhesitatingly admit the improbability with a readiness akin to that with, which he would admit the improbability that the wild Australian understood the theory of the boomerang. But that a musical people, accustomed to pitch their voices to the clear and unmistakable notes of bamboo pipes cut to various lengths, a people whose posterity one generation later appropriated the diatonic scale as their own with the greatest avidity and readiness, that this people should recognize the natural harmonies of sound, when they had chanced upon them, and should imitate them in their songs—the improbability of this the author fails to see.

The clear and explicit statement of Captain King leaves little to be desired so far as this sort of evidence can go. There are, however, other lines of inquiry that must be developed:

1. The testimony of the Hawaiians themselves on this matter. This is vague. No one of whom inquiry has been made is able to affirm positively the existence of part-singing in the olden times. Most of those with whom the writer has talked are inclined to the view that the ancient cantillation was not in any sense part-singing as now practised. One must not, Page 152 however, rely too much on such testimony as this, which at the best is only negative. In many cases it is evident the witnesses do not understand the true meaning and bearing of the question. The Hawaiians have no word or expression synonymous with our expression “musical chord.” In all inquiries the writer has found it necessary to use periphrasis or to appeal to some illustration. The fact must be borne in mind, however, that people often do a thing, or possess a thing, for which they have no name.

2. As to the practice among Hawaiians at the present time, no satisfactory proof has been found of the existence of any case in which in the cantillations of their own songs the Hawaiians—those uninfluenced by foreign music—have given an illustration of what can properly be termed part-singing; nor can anyone be found who can testify affirmatively to the same effect. Search for it has thus far been as fruitless as pursuit of the will-o’-the-wisp.

3. The light that is thrown on this question by the study of the old Hawaiian musical instruments is singularly inconclusive. If it were possible, for instance, to bring together a complete set of kaekeeke bamboos which were positively known to have been used together at one performance, the argument from the fact of their forming a musical harmony, if such were found to be the case—or, on the other hand, of their producing only a haphazard series of unrelated sounds, if such were the fact—would bring to the decision of the question the overwhelming force of indirect evidence. But such an assortment the author has not been able to find. Bamboo is a frail and perishable material. Of the two specimens of kaekeeke tubes found by him in the Bernice Pauahi Bishop Museum one was cracked and voiceless; and so the testimony of its surviving partner was of no avail.

The Hawaiians of the present day are so keenly alive to musical harmony that it is hardly conceivable that their ancestors two or three generations ago perpetrated discords in their music. They must either have sung in unison or hit on “concords such as were not disagreeable to the ear.” If the music heard in the halau to-day in any close degree resembles that of ancient times—it must be assumed that it does—no male voice of ordinary range need have found any difficulty in sounding the notes, nor do they scale so low that a female voice would not easily reach them.

Granting, then, as we must, the accuracy of Captain King’s statement, the conclusion to which the author of this paper feels forced is that since the time of the learned doctor’s visit to these shores, more than one hundred and twenty-eight years ago, the art and practice of singing or cantillating after the old fashion has declined among the Hawaiians. The hula of the old times, in spite of all the efforts to Page 153 maintain it, is becoming more and more difficult of procurement every day. Almost none of the singing that one hears at the so-called hula performances gotten up for the delectation of sightseers is Hawaiian music of the old sort. It belongs rather to the second or third rattoon-crop, which, has sprung up under the influence of foreign stimuli. Take the published hula songs, such as “Tomitomi,” “Wahine Poupou” and a dozen others that might be mentioned, to say nothing about the words—the music is no more related to the genuine Hawaiian article of the old times than is “ragtime” to a Gregorian chant.

The bare score of a hula song, stripped of all embellishments and reduced by the logic of our musical science to the merest skeleton of notes, certainly makes a poor showing and gives but a feeble notion of the song itself—its rhythm, its multitudinous grace-notes, its weird tone-color. The notes given below offer such a skeletal presentation of a song which the author heard cantillated by a skilled hula-master. They were taken down at the author’s request by Capt. H. Berger, conductor of the Royal Hawaiian Band:

The same comment may be made on the specimen next to be given as on the previous one: there is an entire omission of the trills and flourishes with which the singer garlanded his scaffolding of song, and which testified of his adhesion to the fashion of his ancestors, the fashion according to which songs have been sung, prayers recited, brave deeds celebrated since the time when Kane and Pele and the other gods dipped paddle for the first time into Hawaiian waters. Unfortunately, in this as in the previous piece and as in the one next to be given, the singer escaped the author before he was able to catch the words.

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Here, again, is a piece of song that to the author’s ear bears much the same resemblance to the original that an oiled ocean in calm would bear to the same ocean when stirred by a breeze. The fine dimples which gave the ocean its diamond-flash have been wiped out.

Is it our ear that is at fault? Is it not rather our science of musical notation, in not reproducing the fractions of steps, the enharmonics that are native to the note-carving ear of the Chinaman, and that are perhaps essential to the perfect scoring of an oli or mele as sung by a Hawaiian?

None of the illustrations thus far given have caught that fluctuating trilling movement of the voice which most musicians interviewed on the subject declare to be impossible of representation, while some flout the assertion that it represents a change of pitch. One is reminded by this of a remark made by Pietro Mascagni: 309

Footnote 309: (return) The Evolution of Music from the Italian Standpoint, in the Century Library of Music, XVI, 521.

“The feeling that a people displays in its character, its habits, its nature, and thus creates an overprivileged type of music, may be apprehended by a foreign spirit which has become accustomed to the usages and expressions common from that particular people. But popular music, [being] void of any scientific basis, will always remain incomprehensible to the foreigner who seeks to study it technically.”

When we consider that the Chinese find pleasure in musical performances on instruments that divide the scale into intervals less than half a step, and that the Arabian musical scale included quarter-steps, we shall be obliged to admit that this statement of Mascagni is not merely a fling at our musical science.

Here are introduced the words and notes of a musical recitation done after the manner of the hula by a Hawaiian professional and his wife. Acquaintance with the Hawaiian language and a feeling for the allusions connoted in the text of the song would, of course, be a great aid in enabling one to enter into the spirit of the performance. As these Page 155 adjuncts will, be available to only a very few of those who will read these words, in the beginning are given the words of the oli with which he prefaced the song, with a translation of the same, and then the mele which formed the bulk of the song, also with a translation, together with such notes and comments as are necessary to bring one into intellectual and sympathetic relation with the performance, so far as that is possible under the circumstances. It is especially necessary to familiarize the imagination with the language, meaning, and atmosphere of a mele, because the Hawaiian approached song from the side of the poet and elocutionist. Further discussion of this point must, however, be deferred to another division of the subject:

He Oli

Halau 310 Hanalei i ka nini a ka ua;

Kumano 311 ke po’o-wai a ka liko; 312

Nahá ka opi-wai 313 a a Wai-aloha;

O ke kahi koe a hiki i Wai-oli. 314

Ua ike ’a.


A Song

Hanalei is a hall for the dance in the pouring rain;

The stream-head is turned from its bed of fresh green;

Broken the dam that pent the water of love—

Naught now to hinder its rush to the vale of delight.

You’ve seen it.

Footnote 310: (return) Halau. The rainy valley of Hanalei, on Kauai, is here compared to a halau, a dance-hall, apparently because the rain-columns seem to draw together and inclose the valley within walls, while the dark foreshortened vault of heaven covers it as with a roof.

Footnote 311: (return) Kumano. A water-source, or, as here, perhaps, a sort of dam or loose stone wall that was run out into a stream for the purpose of diverting a portion of it into a new channel.

Footnote 312: (return) Liko. A bud; fresh verdure; a word much used in modern Hawaiian poetry.

Footnote 313: (return) Opiwai. A watershed. In Hawaii a knife-edged ridge as narrow as the back of a horse will often decide the course of a stream, turning its direction from one to the other side of the island.

Footnote 314: (return) Waioli (wai, water; oli, joyful). The name given to a part of the valley of Hanalei, also the name of a river.

The mele to which the above oli was a prelude is as follows:


Noluna ka hale kai, e ka ma’a-lewa,

Nana ka maka ia Moana-nui-ka-Lehúa.

Noi au i ke kai e mali’o.

Ane ku a’e la he lehúa ilaila—


Hopoe Lehúa ki’eki’e.

Maka’u ka Lehúa i ke kanáka,

Lilo ilalo e hele ai, ilalo, e.

Keaau iliili nehe; olelo ke kai o Puna

I ka ulu hala la, e, kaiko’o Puna.


Ia hoone’ene’e ia pili mai kaua,

E ke hoa, ke waiho e mai la oe;

Eia ka mea ino, he anu, e.

Aohe anu e!

Me he mea la iwaho kaua, e ke hoa,


Me he wai la ko kaua ili, e.

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Song from the Hula Ala’a-papa

From mountain-retreat and root-woven ladder

Mine eye looks down on goddess Moana-Lehúa.

Then I pray to the Sea, be thou calm;

Would there might stand on thy shore a lehúa—


Lehúa tree tall of Hopoe.

The Lehúa is fearful of man,

Leaves him to walk on the ground below,

To walk on the ground far below.

The pebbles at Keaau grind in the surf;


The sea at Keaau shouts to Puna’s palms,

“Fierce is the sea of Puna.”

Move hither, snug close, companion mine;

You lie so aloof over there.

Oh what a bad fellow is Cold!


Not cold, do you say?

It’s as if we were out in the wold,

Our bodies so clammy and chill, friend.


The acute or stress accent is placed over syllables that take the accent in ordinary speech.

A word or syllable italicized indicates drum-down-beat.

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It will be noticed that the stress-accent and the rhythmic accent, marked by the down-beat, very frequently do not coincide. The time marked by the drum-down-beat was strictly accurate throughout.

The tune was often pitched on some other key than that in which it is here recorded. This fact was noted when, from time to tune, it was found necessary to have the singer repeat certain passages.

The number of measures devoted to the i’i, or fluctuation, which is indicated by the wavering line , varied from time to time, even when the singer repeated the same passage. (See remarks on the i’i p. 140.)

Redundancies of speech (interpolations) which are in disagreement with the present writer’s text (pp. 155-156) are inclosed in brackets. It will be seen that in the fifth verse he gives the version Maka’u ke kanaka i ka lehua instead of the one given by the author, which is Maka’u ka Lehua i ke kanaká. Each version has its advocates, and good arguments are made in favor of each.

On reaching the end of a measure that coincided with the close of a rhetorical phrase the singer, Kualii, made haste to snatch, as it were, at the first word or syllable of the succeeding phrase. This is indicated by the word “anticipating,” or “anticipatory”—written anticip.—placed over the syllable or word thus snatched.

It was somewhat puzzling to determine whether the tones which this man sang were related to each other as five and three of the major key, or as three and one of the minor key. Continued and strained attention finally made it seem evident that it was the major key which he intended, i.e., it was f and dxx in the key of B-flat, rather than f and d in the key of D minor.


In their ordinary speech the Hawaiians were good elocutionists—none better. Did they adhere to this same system of accentuation in their poetry, or did they punctuate their phrases and words according to the notions of the song-maker and the conceived exigencies of poetical composition? After hearing and studying this recitation of Kualii the author is compelled to say that he does depart in a great measure from the accent of common speech and charge his words with intonations and stresses peculiar to the mele. What artificial influence has come in to produce this result? Is it from some demand of poetic or of musical rhythm? Which? It was observed that he substituted the soft sound of t for the stronger sound of k, “because,” as he explained, “the sound of the t is lighter.” Thus he said te tanata instead of ke kanaka, the man. The Hawaiian ear has always a delicate feeling for tone-color.

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In all our discussions and conclusions we must bear in mind that the Hawaiian did not approach song merely for its own sake; the song did not sing of itself. First in order came the poem, then the rhythm of song keeping time to the rhythm of the poetry. The Hawaiian sang not from a mere bubbling up of indefinable emotion, but because he had something to say for which he could find no other adequate form of expression. The Hawaiian boy, as he walks the woods, never whistles to keep his courage up. When he paces the dim aisles of Kaliuwa’a, he sets up an altar and heaps on it a sacrifice of fruit and flowers and green leaves, but he keeps as silent as a mouse.

During his performance Kualii cantillated his song while handling a round wooden tray in place of a drum; his wife meanwhile performed the dance. This she did very gracefully and in perfect time. In marking the accent the left foot was, if anything, the favorite, yet each foot in general took two measures; that is, the left marked the down-beat in measures 1 and 2, 5 and 6, and so on, while the right, in turn, marked the rhythmic accent that comes with the down-beat in measures 3 and 4, 7 and 8, and so on. During the four steps taken by the left foot, covering the time of two measures, the body was gracefully poised on the other foot. Then a shift was made, the position was reversed, and during two measures the emphasis came on the right foot.

The motions of the hands, arms, and of the whole body, including the pelvis—which has its own peculiar orbital and sidelong swing—were in perfect sympathy one part with another. The movements were so fascinating that one was at first almost hypnotized and disqualified for criticism and analytic judgment. Not to derogate from the propriety and modesty of the woman’s motions, under the influence of her Delsartian grace one gained new appreciation of “the charm of woven paces and of waving hands.”

Throughout the whole performance of Kualii and his wife Abi-gaila it was noticed that, while he was the reciter, she took the part of the olapa (see p. 28) and performed the dance; but to this rôle she added that of prompter, repeating to him in advance the words of the next verse, which he then took up. Her verbal memory, it was evident, was superior to his.

Experience with Kualii and his partner, as well as with others, emphasizes the fact that one of the great difficulties encountered in the attempt to write out the slender thread of music (leo) of a Hawaiian mele and fit to it the words as uttered by the singer arises from the constant interweaving of meaningless vowel sounds. This, which the Hawaiians call i’i, is a phenomenon comparable to the weaving of a vine about a framework, or to the Page 160 pen-flourishes that illuminate old German text. It consists of the repetition of a vowel sound—generally i (=ee) or e (=a, as in fate), or a rapid interchange of these two. To the ear of the author the pitch varies through an interval somewhat less than a half-step. Exactly what is the interval he can not say. The musicians to whom appeal for aid in determining this point has been made have either dismissed it for the most part as a matter of little or no consequence or have claimed the seeming variation in pitch was due simply to a changeful stress of voice or of accent. But the author can not admit that the report of his senses is here mistaken.

A further embarrassment comes from the fact that this tone-embroidery found in the i’i is not a fixed quantity. It varies seemingly with the mood of the singer, so that not unfrequently, when one asks for the repetition of a phrase, it will, quite likely, be given with a somewhat different wording, calling for a readjustment of the rhythm on the part of the musician who is recording the score. But it must be acknowledged that the singer sticks to his rhythm, which, so far as observed, is in common time.

In justice to the Hawaiian singer who performs the accommodating task just mentioned it must be said that, under the circumstances in which he is placed, it is no wonder that at times he departs from the prearranged formula of song. His is the difficult task of pitching his voice and maintaining the same rhythm and tempo unaided by instrumental accompaniment or the stimulating movements of the dance. Let any stage-singer make the attempt to perform an aria, or even a simple recitative, off the stage, and without the support—real or imaginary—afforded by the wonted orchestral accompaniment as well as the customary stage-surroundings, and he will be apt to find himself embarrassed. The very fact of being compelled to repeat is of itself alone enough to disconcert almost anyone. The men and women who to-day attempt the forlorn task of reproducing for us a hula mele or an oli under what are to them entirely unsympathetic and novel surroundings are, as a rule, past the prime of life, and not unfrequently acknowledge themselves to be failing in memory.

After making all of these allowances we must, it would seem, make still another allowance, which regards the intrinsic nature and purpose of Hawaiian song. It was not intended, nor was it possible under the circumstances of the case, that a Hawaiian song should be sung to an unvarying tempo or to the same key; and even in the words or sounds that make up its fringework a certain range of individual choice was allowed or even expected of the singer. This privilege of exercising individuality might even extend to the solid framework of the mele or oli and not merely to the filigree, the i’i, that enwreathed it.

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It would follow from this, if the author is correct, that the musical critic of to-day must be content to generalize somewhat and must not be put out if the key is changed on repetition and if tempo and rhythm depart at times from their standard gait. It is questionable if even the experts in the palmy days of the hula attained such a degree of skill as to be faultless and logical in these matters.

It has been said that modern music has molded and developed itself under the influence of three causes, (1) a comprehension of the nature of music itself, (2) a feeling or inspiration, and (3) the influence of poetry. Guided by this generalization, it may be said that Hawaiian poetry was the nurse and pedagogue of that stammering infant, Hawaiian music; that the words of the mele came before its rhythmic utterance in song; and that the first singers were the priests and the eulogists. Hawaiian poetry is far ahead of Hawaiian song in the power to move the feelings. A few words suffice the poet with which to set the picture before one’s eyes, and one picture quickly follows another; whereas the musical attachment remains weak and colorless, reminding one of the nursery pictures, in which a few skeletal lines represent the human frame.

Let us now for refreshment and in continued pursuit of our subject listen to a song in the language and spirit of old-time Hawaii, composed, however, in the middle of the nineteenth century. It is given as arranged by Miss Lillian Byington, who took it down as she heard it sung by an old Hawaiian woman in the train of Queen Liliuokalani, and as the author has since heard it sung by Miss Byington’s pupils of the Kamehameha School for Girls. The song has been slightly idealized, perhaps, by trimming away some of the superfluous i’i, but not more than is necessary to make it highly acceptable to our ears and not so much as to take from it the plaintive bewitching tone that pervades the folk-music of Hawaii. The song, the mele, is not in itself much—a hint, a sketch, a sweep of the brush, a lilt of the imagination, a connotation of multiple images which no jugglery of literary art can transfer into any foreign speech. Its charm, like that of all folk-songs and of all romance, lies in its mysterious tug at the heartstrings.

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He Inoa no Kamehameha

Aia i Waipi’o 315 Paka’alana, 316

Paepae 317 kapu ia o Liloa. 318

He aloha ka wahine pi’i ka pali, 319

Puili ana i ka hua ulei,


I ka ai mo’a i ka lau laau. 320

Hoolaau 321 mai o ka welowelo.

Ua pe’e pa Kai-a-ulu o Waimea, 322

Ua ola i ku’u kai, 323 Keoloewa, 324 e.

Footnote 315: (return) Waipi’o. A deep valley on the windward side of Hawaii.

Footnote 316: (return) Paka’alana. A temple and the residence of King Liloa in Waipi’o.

Footnote 317: (return) Paepae. The doorsill (of this temple), always an object of superstitious regard, but especially so in the case of this temple. Here it stands for the whole temple.

Footnote 318: (return) Liloa. A famous king of Hawaii who had his seat in Waipi’o.

Footnote 319: (return) Wahine pii ka pali, Haina-kolo, a mythical character, is probably the one alluded to. She married a king of Kukulu o Kahiki, and, being deserted by him, swam back to Hawaii. Arrived at Waipi’o in a famishing state, she climbed the heights and ate of the ulei berries without first propitiating the local deity with a sacrifice. As an infliction of the offended deity, she became distraught and wandered away into the wilderness. Her husband repented of his neglect and after long search found her. Under kind treatment she regained her reason and the family was happily reunited.

Footnote 320: (return) Lau laau. Leaves of plants.

Footnote 321: (return) Hoolaau. The last part of this word, laau, taken in connection with the last word of the previous verse, form a capital instance of word repetition. This was an artifice much used in Hawaiian poetry, both as a means of imparting tone-color and for the punning wit it was supposed to exhibit.

Footnote 322: (return) Ua pe’e pa Kai-a-ulu o Waimea. Kai-a-ulu is a fierce rain-squall such as arises suddenly in the uplands of Waimea, Hawaii. The traveler, to protect himself, crouches (pe’e) behind a hummock of grass, or builds up in all haste a barricade (pa) of light stuff as a partial shelter against the oncoming storm.

Footnote 323: (return) Kai. Taken in connection with Kai-a-ulu in the preceding verse, this is another instance of verse repetition. This word, the primary meaning of which is sea, or ocean, is used figuratively to represent a source of comfort or life.

Footnote 324: (return) Keoloewa. The name of one of the old gods belonging to the class called akua noho, a class of deities that were sent by the necromancers on errands of demoniacal possession.

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A Name-song of Kamehameha

In Waipi’o stands Paka’alana,

The sacred shrine of Liloa.

Love to the woman climbing the steep,

Who gathered the ulei berries,


Who ate of the uncooked herbs of the wild,

Craving the swaying fruit like a hungry child.

A covert I found from the storm,

Life in my sea of delight.

The text of this mele—said to be a name-song of Kamehameha V—as first secured had undergone some corruption which obscured the meaning. By calling to his aid an old Hawaiian in whose memory the song had long been stored the author was able to correct it. Hawaiian authorities are at variance as to its meaning. One party reads in it an exclusive allusion to characters that have flitted across the stage within the memory of people now living, while another, taking a more romantic and traditional view, finds in it a reference to an old-time myth—that of Ke-anini-ula-o-ka-lani—the chief character in which was Haina-kolo. (See note e.) After carefully considering both sides of the question it seems to the author that, while the principle of double allusion, so common in Hawaiian poetry, may here prevail, one is justified in giving prominence to the historico-mythological interpretation that is inwoven in the poem. It is a comforting thought that adhesion to this decision will suffer certain unstaged actions of crowned heads to remain in charitable oblivion.

The music of this song is an admirable and faithful interpretation of the old Hawaiian manner of cantillation, having received at the hands of the foreign musician only so much trimming as was necessary to idealize it and make it reducible to our system of notation.


Hoaeae.—This term calls for a quiet, sentimental style of recitation, in which the fluctuating trill i’i, if it occurs at all, is not made prominent. It is contrasted with the olioli, in which the style is warmer and the fluctuations of the i’i are carried to the extreme.

Thus far we have been considering the traditional indigenous music of the land. To come now to that which has been and is being produced in Hawaii by Hawaiians to-day, under influences from abroad, it will not be possible to mistake the presence in it of two strains: The foreign, showing its hand in the lopping away of much redundant foliage, has brought it largely within the compass of scientific and technical expression; the native element reveals itself, now Page 164 in plaintive reminiscence and now in a riotous bonhommie, a rollicking love of the sensuous, and in a style of delivery and vocal technique which demands a voluptuous throatiness, and which must be heard to be appreciated.

The foreign influence has repressed and well-nigh driven from the field the monotonous fluctuations of the i’i, has lifted the starveling melodies of Hawaii out of the old ruts and enriched them with new notes, thus giving them a spring and élan that appeal alike to the cultivated ear and to the popular taste of the day. It has, moreover, tapped the springs of folk-song that lay hidden in the Hawaiian nature. This same influence has also caused to germinate a Hawaiian appreciation of harmony and has endowed its music with new chords, the tonic and dominant, as well as with those of the subdominant and various minor chords.

The persistence of the Hawaiian quality is, however, most apparent in the language and imagery of the song-poetry. This will be seen in the text of the various mele and oli now to be given. Every musician will also note for himself the peculiar intervals and shadings of these melodies as well as the odd effects produced by rhythmic syncopation.

The songs must speak for themselves. The first song to be given, though dating from no longer ago than about the sixth decade of the last century, has already scattered its wind-borne seed and reproduced its kind in many variants, after the manner of other folklore. This love-lyric represents a type, very popular in Hawaii, that has continued to grow more and more personal and subjective in contrast with the objective epic style of the earliest Hawaiian mele.

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Poli Anuanu


Aloha wale oe,

Poli anuanu;

Máeéle au

I ke ánu, e.


He anu e ka ua,

He anu e ka wai,

Li’a kuu ill

I ke anu, e.


Ina paha,

Ooe a owau

Ka i pu-kukú’i,

I ke anu, e.

He who would translate this love-lyric for the ear as well as for the mind finds himself handicapped by the limitations of our English speech—its scant supply of those orotund vowel sounds which flow forth with their full freight of breath in such words as a-ló-ha, pó-li, and á-nu-á-nu. These vocables belong to the very genius of the Hawaiian tongue.


Cold Breast


Love fain compels to greet thee,

Breast so cold, so cold.

Chilled, benumbed am I

With the pinching cold.


How bitter cold the rainfall,

Bitter cold the stream,

Body all a-shiver,

From the pinching cold.


Pray, what think you?

What if you and I

Should our arms enfold,

Just to keep off the cold?

The song next given, dating from a period only a few years subsequent, is of the same class and general character as Poli Anuanu. Both words and music are peculiarly Hawaiian, though one may easily detect the foreign influence that presided over the shaping of the melody.

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He aloha wau ia oe,

I kau hana, hana pono;

La’i ai ke kaunu me ia la,

Hoapaapa i ke kino.


Kaua i ka huahua’i,

E uhene la’i pili koolua,

Pu-kuku’i aku i ke koekoe,

Anu lipo i ka palai.

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O my love goes out to thee,

For thy goodness and thy kindness.

Fancy kindles at that other,

Stirs, with her arts, my blood.


You and I, then, for an outburst!

Sing the joy of love’s encounter,

Join arms against the invading damp,

Deep chill of embowering ferns.

The following is given, not for its poetical value and significance, but rather as an example of a song which the trained Hawaiian singer delights to roll out with an unctuous gusto that bids defiance to all description:

2 PILA = Two measures of an instrumental interlude.

NOTE.—The music to which this hula song is set was produced by a member of the Hawaiian Band, Mr. Solomon A. Hiram, and arranged by Capt. H. Berger, to whom the author is indebted for permission to use it.

Ka Mawae

A e ho’i ke aloha i ka mawae,

I ke Kawelu-holu, Papi’ohúli. 325

Huli mai kou alo, ua anu wau,

Ua pulu i ka ua, malule o-luna.

Footnote 325: (return) Papi’o-huli. A slope in the western valley-side at the head of Nuuanu, where the tall grass (kawelu) waves (holu) in the wind.

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The Refuge

Return, O love, to the refuge,

The wind-tossed covert of Papi’ohúli.

Face now to my face; I’m smitten with cold,

Soaked with the rain and benumbed.

Like no a Like


Ua like no a like

Me ka ua kani-lehua;

Me he la e i mai ana,

Aia ilaila ke aloha.


Ooe no ka’u i upu ai,

Ku’u lei hiki ahiahi,

O ke kani o na manu,

I na hora o ke aumoe.


Maanei mai kaua,

He welina pa’a i ka piko,

A nau no wau i imi mai,

A loaa i ke aheahe a ka makani.


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When the rain drums loud on the leaf,

It makes me think of my love;

It whispers into my ear,

Your love, your love—she is near.


Thou art the end of my longing,

The crown of evening’s delight,

When I hear the cock blithe crowing,

In the middle watch of the night.


This way is the path for thee and me,

A welcome warm at the end.

I waited long for thy coming,

And found thee in waft of the breeze.


NOTE.—The composer of the music and the author of the mele was a Hawaiian named John Meha, of the Hawaiian Band, who died some ten years ago, at the age of 40 years.


O ka ponaha iho a ke ao.

Ka pipi’o malie maluna,

Ike oe i ka hana, mikiala,

Nowelo i ka pili aoao.


Maikai ke aloha a ka ipo—

Hana mao ole i ka puuwai,

Houhou liilii i ka poli—

Nowelo i ka pili aoao.


A mau ka pili’na olu pono;

Huli a’e, hooheno malie,

Hanu liilii nahenahe,

Nowelo i ka pili aoao.


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The author of the mele was a Hawaiian named John Meha, who died some years ago. He was for many years a member of the Hawaiian Band and set the words to the music given below, which has since been arranged by Captain Berger.


Side by Side


Outspreads now the dawn,

Arching itself on high—

But look! a wondrous thing,

A thrill at touch of the side.


Most dear to the soul is a love-touch;

Its pulse stirs ever the heart

And gently throbs in the breast—

At thrill from the touch of the side.


In time awakes a new charm

As you turn and gently caress;

Short comes, the breath—at

The thrill from the touch of the side.


The fragments of Hawaiian music that have drifted down to us no doubt remain true to the ancient type, however much they may have changed in quality. They show the characteristics that stamp all primitive music—plaintiveness to the degree almost of sadness, monotony, lack of acquaintance with the full range of intervals that make up our diatonic scale, and therefore a measurable absence of that ear-charm we call melody. These are among its deficiencies.

If, on the other hand, we set down the positive qualities by the possession of which it makes good its claim to be classed as music, we shall find that it has a firm hold on rhythm. This is indeed one of the special excellencies of Hawaiian music. Added to this, we find that it makes a limited use of such-intervals as the third, fifth, fourth, and at the same time resorts extravagantly, as if in compensation, to a fine tone-carving that divides up the tone-interval into fractions so much less than the semitone that our ears are almost indifferent to them, and are at first inclined to deny their existence. This minute division of the tone, or step, and neglect at the same time of the broader harmonic intervals, reminds one of work in which the artist charges his picture with unimportant detail, while failing in attention to the strong outlines. Among its merits we must not forget to mention a certain quality of tone-color which inheres in the Hawaiian tongue and which greatly tends to the enhancement of Hawaiian music, especially when thrown into rhythmic forms.

The first thing, then, to repeat, that will strike the auditor on listening to this primitive music will be its lack of melody. The voice goes wavering and lilting along like a canoe on a rippling ocean.

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Then, of a sudden, it swells upward, as if lifted by some wave of emotion; and there for a time it travels with the same fluctuating movement, soon descending to its old monotone, until again moved to rise on the breast of some fresh impulse. The intervals sounded may be, as already said, a third, or a fifth, or a fourth; but the whole movement leads nowhere; it is an unfinished sentence. Yet, in spite of all these drawbacks and of this childish immaturity, the amateur and enthusiast finds himself charmed and held as if in the clutch of some Old-World spell, and this at what others will call the dreary and monotonous intoning of the savage.

In matters that concern the emotions it is rarely possible to trace with certainty the lines that lead up from effect to cause. Such is the nature of art. If we would touch the cause which lends attractiveness to Hawaiian music, we must look elsewhere than to melody. In the belief of the author the two elements that conspire for this end are rhythm and tone-color, which comes of a delicate feeling for vowel-values.

The hall-mark of Hawaiian music is rhythm, for the Hawaiians belong to that class of people who can not move hand or foot or perform any action except they do it rhythmically. Not alone in poetry and music and the dance do we find this recurring accent of pleasure, but in every action of life it seems to enter as a timekeeper and regulator, whether it be the movement of a fingerful of poi to the mouth or the swing of a kahili through the incense-laden air at the burial of a chief.

The typical Hawaiian rhythm is a measure of four beats, varied at times by a 2-rhythm, or changed by syncopation into a 3-rhythm.

These people have an emotional susceptibility and a sympathy with environment that belongs to the artistic temperament; but their feelings, though easily stirred, are not persistent and ideally centered; they readily wander away from any example or pattern. In this way may be explained their inclination to lapse from their own standard of rhythm into inexplicable syncopations.

As an instance of sympathy with environment, an experience with a hula dancer may be mentioned. Wishing to observe the movement of the dance in time with the singing of the mele, the author asked him to perform the two at one time. He made the attempt, but failed. At length, bethinking himself, he drew off his coat and bound it about his loins after the fashion of a pa-ú, such as is worn by hula dancers. He at once caught inspiration, and was thus enabled to perform the double rôle of dancer and singer.

It has been often remarked by musical teachers who have had experience with these islanders that as singers they are prone to flat the tone and to drag the time, yet under the stimulus of emotion they show the ability to acquit themselves in these respects with great credit. The native Page 172 inertia of their being demands the spur of excitement to keep them up to the mark. While human nature everywhere shares in this weakness, the tendency seems to be greater in the Hawaiian than in some other races of no higher intellectual and esthetic advancement.

Another quality of the Hawaiian character which reenforces this tendency is their spirit of communal sympathy. That is but another way of saying that they need the stimulus of the crowd, as well as of the occasion, even to make them keep step to the rhythm of their own music. In all of these points they are but an epitome of humanity.

Before closing this special subject, the treatment of which has grown to an unexpected length, the author feels constrained to add one more illustration of Hawaii’s musical productions. The Hawaiian national hymn on its poetical side may be called the last appeal of royalty to the nation’s feeling of race-pride. The music, though by a foreigner, is well suited to the words and is colored by the environment in which the composer has spent the best years of his life. The whole production seems well fitted to serve as the clarion of a people that need every help which art and imagination can offer.

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Page 174



Hawai’i ponoi,

Nana i kou Moi,

Ka lani Ali’i,

Ke Ali’i.


Makua lani, e,

Kamehameha, e,

Na kaua e pale,

Me ka ihe.


Hawai’i ponoi,

Nana i na ’li’i,

Na pua muli kou,

Na poki’i.



Hawai’i ponoi

E ka lahui, e,

O kau hana nui

E ui, e.


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Hawaii Ponoi


Hawaii’s very own,

Look to your sovran Lord,

Your chief that’s heaven-born,

Who is your King.


Protector, heaven-sent,

Kamehameha great,

To vanquish every foe,

With conquering spear.


Men of Hawaii’s land,

Look to your native chiefs,

Your sole surviving lords,

The nation’s pride.



Men of Hawaiian stock,

My nation ever dear,

With loins begirt for work,

Strive with your might.


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Gesture is a voiceless speech, a short-hand dramatic picture. The Hawaiians were adepts in this sort of art. Hand and foot, face and eye, and those convolutions of gray matter which are linked to the organs of speech, all worked in such harmony that, when the man spoke, he spoke not alone with his vocal organs, but all over, from head to foot, every part adding its emphasis to the utterance. Von Moltke could be reticent in six languages; the Hawaiian found it impossible to be reticent in one.

The hands of the hula dancer are ever going out in gesture, her body swaying and pivoting itself in attitudes of expression. Her whole physique is a living and moving picture of feeling, sentiment, and passion. If the range of thought is not always deep or high, it is not the fault of her art, but the limitations of her original endowment, limitations of hereditary environment, the universal limitations imposed on the translation from spirit into matter.

The art of gesture was one of the most important branches taught by the kumu. When the hula expert, the olohe, who has entered the halau as a visitor, utters the prayer (p. 47), “O Laka, give grace to the feet of Pohaku, and to her bracelets and anklets; give comeliness to the figure and skirt of Luukia. To each one give gesture and voice. O Laka, make beautiful the lei; inspire the dancers to stand before the assembly,” his meaning was clear and unmistakable, and showed his high valuation of this method of expression. We are not, however, to suppose that the kumu-hula, whatever his artistic attainments, followed any set of formulated doctrines in his teaching. His science was implicit, unformulated, still enfolded in the silence of unconsciousness, wrapped like a babe in its mother’s womb. To apply a scientific name to his method, it might be called inductive, for he led his pupils along the plain road of practical illustration, adding example to example, without the confusing aid of preliminary rule or abstract proposition, until his pupils had traveled over the whole ground covered by his own experience.

Each teacher went according to the light that was in him, not forgetting the instructions of his own kumu, but using them as a starting point, a basis on which to build as best he knew. There were no books, no manuals of instruction, to pass from hand to hand and thus secure uniformity of instruction. Then, again, it was a long journey from Hawaii to Kauai, or Page 177 even from one island to another. The different islands, as a rule, were not harnessed to one another under the same political yoke; even districts of the same island were not unfrequently under the independent sway of warring chiefs; so that for long periods the separation, even the isolation, in matters of dramatic art and practice was as complete as in politics.

The method pursued by the kumu may be summarized as follows: Having labored to fix the song, the mele or oli, in the minds of his pupils, the haumana, he appointed some one to recite the words of the piece, while the class, standing with close attention to the motions of the kumu and with ears open at the same time to the words of the leader, were required to repeat the kumu’s gestures in pantomime until he judged them to have arrived at a sufficient degree of perfection. That done, the class took up the double task of recitation joined to that of gesture. In his attempt to translate his concepts into physical signs the Hawaiian was favored not only by his vivid power of imagination, but by his implicit philosophy, for the Hawaiian, looked at things from a physical plane—a safe ground to stand upon—albeit he had glimpses at times far into the depths of ether. When he talked about spirit, he still had in mind a form of matter. A god was to him but an amplified human being.

It is not the purpose to attempt a scientific classification of gesture as displayed in the halau. The most that can be done will be to give a few familiar generic illustrations which are typical and representative of a large class.

The pali, the precipice, stands for any difficulty or obstacle of magnitude. The Hawaiian represents this in his dramatic, pictorial manner with the hand vertically posed on the outstretched arm, the palm of the hand looking away. If it is desired to represent this wall of obstacle as being surmounted, the hand is pushed forward, and at the same time somewhat inclined, perhaps, from its rigid perpendicularity, the action being accompanied by a series of slight lifting or waving movements as of climbing.

Another way of dramatically picturing this same concept, that of the pali as a wall of obstacle, is by holding the forearm and hand vertically posed with the palmar aspect facing the speaker. This method of expression, while perhaps bolder and more graphic than that before mentioned, seems more purely oratorical and less graceful, less subtly pictorial and elegant than the one previously described, and therefore less adapted to the hula. For it must be borne in mind that the hula demanded the subordination of strength to grace and elegance. We may at the same time be sure that the halau showed individuality in its choice of methods, that it varied its technique and manner of expression at different times and places, according to the different conception of one or another kumu.

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Progression, as in walking or traveling, is represented by means of a forward undulatory movement of the outstretched arm and hand, palm downward, in a horizontal plane. This gesture is rhythmic and beautifully pictorial. If the other hand also is made a partner in the gesture, the significance would seem to be extended, making it include, perhaps, a larger number in the traveling company. The mere extension of the arm, the back-hand advanced, would serve the purpose of indicating removal, travel, but in a manner less gracious and caressing.

To represent an open level space, as of a sand-beach or of the earth-plain, the Hawaiian very naturally extended his arms and open hands—palms downward, of course—the degree of his reaching effort being in a sense a measure of the scope intended.

To represent the act of covering or protecting oneself with clothing, the Hawaiian placed the hollow of each hand over the opposite shoulder with a sort of hugging action. But here, again, one can lay down no hard and fast rule. There was differentiation; the pictorial action might well vary according to the actor’s conception of the three or more generic forms that constituted the varieties of Hawaiian dress, which were the málo of the man, the pa-ú of the woman, and the decent kiheí, a toga-like robe, which, like the blanket of the North American Indian, was common to both sexes. Still another gesture, a sweeping of the hands from the shoulder down toward the ground, would be used to indicate that costly feather robe, the ahuula, which was the regalia and prerogative of kings and chiefs.

The Hawaiian places his hands, palms up, edge to edge, so that the little finger of one hand touches its fellow of the other hand. By this action he means union or similarity. He turns one palm down, so that the little finger and thumb of opposite hands touch each other. The significance of the action is now wholly reversed; he now means disunion, contrariety.

To indicate death, the death of a person, the finger-tips, placed in apposition, are drawn away from each other with a sweeping gesture and at the same time lowered till the palms face the ground. In this case also we find diversity. One old man, well acquainted with hula matters, being asked to signify in pantomimic fashion “the king is sick,” went through the following motions: He first pointed upward, to indicate the heaven-born one, the king; then he brought his hands to his body and threw his face into a painful grimace. To indicate the death of the long he threw his hands upward toward the sky, as if to signify a removal by flight. He admitted the accuracy of the gesture, previously described, in which the hands are moved toward the ground.

There are, of course, imitative and mimetic gestures galore, as of paddling, swimming, diving, angling, and the like, Page 179 which one sees every day of his life and which are to be regarded as parts of that universal shorthand vocabulary of unvocalized speech that is used the world over from Naples to Honolulu, rather than stage-conventions of the halau. It will suffice to mention one motion or gesture of this sort which the author has seen used with dramatic effect. An old man was describing the action of Hiiaka (the little sister of Pele) while clearing a passage for herself and her female companion with a great slaughter of the reptilian demon-horde of ma’o that came out in swarms to oppose the progress of the goddess through their territory while she was on her way to fetch Prince Lohiau. The goddess, a delicate piece of humanity in her real self, made short work of the little devils who covered the earth and filled the air. Seizing one after another, she bit its life out, or swallowed it as if it had been a shrimp. The old man represented the action most vividly: pressing his thumb, forefinger, and middle finger into a cone, he brought them quickly to his mouth, while he snapped his jaws together like a dog seizing a morsel, an action that pictured the story better than any words.

It might seem at first blush that facial expression, important as it is, owing to its short range of effectiveness, should hardly be put in the same category with what may be called the major stage-gestures that were in vogue in the halau. But such a judgment would certainly be mistaken. The Greek use of masks on the stage for their “carrying power” testified to their valuation of the countenance as a semaphore of emotion; at the same time their resort to this artifice was an implicit recognition of the desirability of bringing the window of the soul nearer to the audience. The Hawaiians, though they made no use of masks in the halau, valued facial expression no less than the Greeks. The means for the study of this division of the subject, from the nature of the case, is somewhat restricted and the pursuit of illustrations makes it necessary to go outside of the halau.

The Hawaiian language was one of hospitality and invitation. The expression mai, or komo mai, this way, or come in, was the most common of salutations. The Hawaiian sat down to meat before an open door; he ate his food in the sight of all men, and it was only one who dared being denounced as a churl who would fail to invite with word and gesture the passer-by to come in and share with him. This gesture might be a sweeping, downward, or sidewise motion of the hand in which the palm faced and drew toward the speaker. This seems to have been the usual form when the two parties were near to each other; if they were separated by any considerable distance, the fingers would perhaps more likely be turned upward, thus making the signal more distinctly visible and at the same time more emphatic.

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In the expression of unvoiced assent and dissent the Hawaiian practised refinements that went beyond our ordinary conventions. To give assent he did not find it necessary so much as to nod the head; a lifting of the eyebrows sufficed. On the other hand, the expression of dissent was no less simple as well as decisive, being attained by a mere grimace of the nose. This manner of indicating dissent was not, perhaps, without some admixture of disdain or even scorn; but that feeling, if predominant, would call for a reenforcement of the gesture by some additional token, such as a pouting of the lips accompanied by an upward toss of the chin. A more impersonal and coldly businesslike way of manifesting a negative was by an outward sweep of the hand, the back of the hand being turned to the applicant. Such a gesture, when addressed to a huckster or a beggar—a rare bird, by the way, in old Hawaii—was accepted as final.

There was another method of signifying a most emphatic, even contemptuous, no. In this the tongue is protruded and allowed to hang down flat and wide like the flaming banner of a panting hound. A friend states that the Maoris made great use of gestures with the tongue in their dances, especially in the war-dance, sometimes letting it hang down broad, flat, and long, directly in front, sometimes curving it to right or left, and sometimes stuffing it into the hollow of the cheek and puffing out one side of the face. This manner—these methods it might be said—of facial expression, so far as observed and so far as can be learned, were chiefly of feminine practice. The very last gesture—that of the protruded tongue—is not mentioned as one likely to be employed on the stage in the halau, certainly not in the performance of what one would call the serious hulas. But it might well have been employed in the hula ki’i (see p. 91), which was devoted, as we have seen, to the portrayal of the lighter and more comic aspects of daily life.

It is somewhat difficult to interpret the meaning of the various attitudes and movements of the feet and legs. Their remoteness from the centers of emotional control, their detachment from the vortices of excitement, and their seeming restriction to mechanical functions make them seem but slightly sympathetic with those tides of emotion that speed through the vital parts of the frame. But, though somewhat aloof from, they are still under the dominion of, the same emotional laws that govern the more central parts.

Man is all sympathy one part with another;

For head with, heart hath joyful amity,

And both with moon and tides.

The illustrations brought to illuminate this division of the subject will necessarily be of the most general application and will seem to belong rather to the domain of oratory than Page 181 to that of dramatic or stage expression, by which is meant expression fitted for the purposes of the halau.

To begin with a general proposition, the attitude of the feet and legs must be sympathetic with that of the other parts of the body. When standing squarely on both feet and looking directly forward, the action may be called noncommittal, general; but if the address is specialized and directed to a part of the audience, or if attention is called to some particular region, the face will naturally turn in that direction. To attain this end, while the leg and arm of the corresponding side will be drawn back, the leg and arm of the opposite side will be advanced, thus causing the speaker to face the point of address. If the speaker or the actor addresses himself, then, to persons, or to an object, on his right, the left leg will be the one more in advance and the left arm will be the one on which the burden of gesture will fall, and vice versa.

It would be a mistake to suppose that every motion or gesture displayed by the actors on the stage of the halau was significant of a purpose. To do that would be to ascribe to them a flawless perfection and strength that no body of artists have ever attained. Many of their gestures, like the rhetoric of a popular orator, were mere flourishes and ornaments. With a language so full of seemingly superfluous parts, it could not well be otherwise than that their rhetoric of gesture should be overloaded with flourishes.

The whole subject of gesture, including facial expression, is worthy of profound study, for it is linked to the basic elements of psychology. The illustrations adduced touch only the skirts of the subject; but they must suffice. An exhaustive analysis, the author believes, would show an intimate and causal relation between these facial expressions and the muscular movements that are the necessary accompaniments or resultants of actual speech. To illustrate, the pronunciation of the Hawaiian word ae (pronounced like our aye), meaning “yes,” involves the opening of the mouth to its full extent; and this action, when accomplished, results in a sympathetic lifting of the eyebrows. It is this ultimate and completing part of the action which the Hawaiian woman adopts as her semaphore of assent.

One of the puzzling things about gesture comes when we try to think of it as a science rooted in psychology. It is then we discover variations presented by different peoples in different lands, which force us to the conviction that in only a part of its domain does it base itself on the strict principles of psychology. Gesture, like language, seems to be made up in good measure of an opportunist growth that springs up in answer to man’s varying needs and conditions. The writer hopes he will not be charged with begging the question in suggesting that another element which we must Page 182[ reckon with as influential in fashioning and stereotyping gesture is tradition and convention. To illustrate—the actor who took the rôle of Lord Dundreary in the first performance of the play of the same name accidentally made a fantastic misstep while crossing the stage. The audience was amused, and the actor, quick to avail himself of any open door, followed the lead thus hinted at. The result is that he won great applause and gave birth to a mannerism which has well-nigh become a stage convention.

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The hula pa-hua was a dance of the classical times that has long been obsolete. Its last exhibition, so far as ascertained, was in the year 1846, on the island of Oahu. In this performance both the olapa and the hoopaa cantillated the mele, while the latter squatted on the floor. Each one was armed with a sharp stick of wood fashioned like a javelin, or a Hawaiian spade, the o-ó; and with this he made motions, thrusting to right and to left; whether in imitation of the motions of a soldier or of a farmer could not be learned. The gestures of these actors were in perfect time with the rhythm of the mele.

The dance-movements performed by the olapa, as the author has heard them described, were peculiar, not an actual rotation, but a sort of half-turn to one side and then to the other, an advance followed by a retreat. While doing this the olapa, who were in two divisions, marked the time of the movement by clinking together two pebbles which they held in each hand.

The use of the pebbles after the manner of castanets, the division of the dancers into two sets, their advance and retreat toward and away from each other are all suggestive of the Spanish bolero or fandango. The resemblance went deeper than the surface. The prime motive of the song, the mele, also is the same, love in its different phases even to its most frenzied manifestations.


Pa au i ka ihee a Kane; 326

Nana ka maka ia Koolau; 327

Kau ka opua 328 ma ka moana.

Lu’u a e-a, lu’u a e-a, 329


Hiki i Wai-ko-loa.

Aole loa ke kula

I ka pai-lani a Kane. 330

Ke kane[330] ia no hoi ia

Ka tula pe-pe’e


A ka hale ku’i.

Ku’i oe a lono Kahiki-nui;

Hoolei ia iluna o Kaua-loa,

Ka lihilihi pua o ka makemake.

Mao ole ke Koolau i ka lihilihi.


He lihi kuleana ia no Puna.

O ko’u puni no ia o ka ike maka.

Aohe makamaka o ka hale, ua hele oe;

Nawai la au e hookipa

I keia mahaoi ana mai nei o ka loa?


He makemake no au e ike maka;

I hookahi no po, le’a ke kaunu,

Ka hana mao ole a ke anu.

He anu mawaho, a he hu’i ma-loko.

A ilaila laua la, la’i pono iho.


Ua pono oe o kaua, ua alu ka moena;

Ka hana mau a ka Inu-wai;

Mao ole i ka nui kino.

Ku’u kino keia mauna ia ha’i.

E Ku, e hoolei la!


A ua noa!

Footnote 326: (return) The a Kane. The spear of Kane. What else can this he than that old enemy to man’s peace and comfort, love, passion?

Footnote 327: (return) Koolau. The name applied to the weather side of an island; the direction in which one would naturally turn first to judge of the weather.

Footnote 328: (return) Opua. A bunch of clouds; a cloud-omen; a heavenly phenomenon; a portent. In this case it probably means a lover. The present translation, is founded on this view.

Footnote 329: (return) Lu’u a e-a. To dive and then come up to take breath, as one does in swimming out to sea against the incoming breakers, or as one might do in escaping from a pursuer, or in avoiding detection, after the manner of a loon.

Footnote 330: (return) A Kane and Ke kane. Instances of word-repetition, previously mentioned as a fashion much used in Hawaiian poetry. See instances also of the same figure in lines 13 and 14 and in lines 16 and 17.

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I am smitten with spear of Kane;

Mine eyes with longing scan Koolau;

Behold the love-omen hang o’er the sea.

I dive and come up, dive and come up;


Thus I reach my goal Wai-ko-loa.

The width of plain is a trifle

To the joyful spirit of Kane.

Aye, a husband, and patron is he

To the dance of the bended knee,


In the hall of the stamping feet.

Stamp, till the echo reaches Kahiki;

Still pluck you a wreath by the way

To crown your fondest ambition;

A wreath not marred by the salt wind


That plays with the skirts of Puna.

I long to look eye into eye.

Friendless the house, you away;

Pray who will receive, who welcome,

This guest uninvited from far?


I long for one (soul-deep) gaze,

One night of precious communion;

Such a flower wilts not in the cold—

Cold without, a tumult within.

What bliss, if we two were together!


You are the blest of us twain;

The mat bends under your form.

The thirsty wind, it still rages,

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Appeased not with her whole body.

My body is pledged to another.


Crown it, Ku, crown it.

Now the service is free!

Some parts of this mele, which is a love-song, have defied the author’s most strenuous efforts to penetrate their deeper meaning. No Hawaiian consulted has made a pretense of understanding it wholly. The Philistines of the middle of the nineteenth century, into whose hands it fell, have not helped matters by the emendations and interpolations with which they slyly interlarded the text, as if to set before us in a strong light the stigmata of degeneracy from which they were suffering.

The author has discarded from the text two verses which followed verse 28:

Hai’na ia mai ka puana:

Ka wai anapa i ke kala.


Declare to me now the riddle:

The waters that flash on the plain.

The author has refrained from casting out the last two verses, though in his judgment they are entirely out of place and were not in the mele originally.

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The Hawaiian drama could lay hold of no worthier theme than that offered by the story of Pele. In this epic we find the natural and the supernatural, the everyday events of nature and the sublime phenomena of nature’s wonderland, so interwoven as to make a story rich in strong human and deific coloring. It is true that the genius of the Hawaiian was not equal to the task of assembling the dissevered parts and of combining into artistic unity the materials his own imagination had spun. This very fact, however, brings us so much nearer to the inner workshop of the Hawaiian mind.

The story of Pele is so long and complicated that only a brief abstract of it can be offered now:

Pele, the goddess of the volcano, in her dreams and wanderings in spirit-form, met and loved the handsome Prince Lohiau. She would not be satisfied with mere spiritual intercourse; she demanded the sacrament of bodily presence. Who should be the ambassador to bring the youth from his distant home on Kauai? She begged her grown-up sisters to attempt the task. They foresaw the peril and declined the thankless undertaking. Hiiaka, the youngest and most affectionate, accepted the mission; but, knowing her sister’s evil temper, strove to obtain from Pele a guaranty that her own forests and the life of her bosom friend Hopoe should be safeguarded during her absence.

Hiiaka was accompanied by Wahine-oma’o—the woman in green—a woman as beautiful as herself. After many adventures they arrived at Haena and found Lohiau dead and in his sepulchre, a sacrifice to the jealousy of Pele. They entered the cave, and after ten days of prayer and incantation Hiiaka had the satisfaction of seeing the body of Lohiau warmed and animated by the reentrance of the spirit; and the company, now of three, soon started on the return to Kilauea.

The time consumed by Hiiaka in her going and doing and returning had been so long that Pele was moved to unreasonable jealousy and, regardless of her promise to her faithful sister, she devastated with fire the forest parks of Hiiaka and sacrificed the life of Hiiaka’s bosom friend, the innocent and beautiful Hopoe.

Hiiaka and Lohiau, on their arrival at Kilauea, seated themselves on its ferny brink, and there, in the open view of Pele’s court, Hiiaka, in resentment at the broken faith of her sister and in defiance of her power, invited and received Page 187 from Lohiau the kisses and dalliance which up to that time she had repelled. Pele, in a frenzy of passion, overwhelmed her errant lover, Lohiau, with fire, turned his body into a pillar of rock, and convulsed earth and sea. Only through the intervention of the benevolent peacemaking god Kane was the order of the world saved from utter ruin.

The ancient Hawaiians naturally regarded the Pele hula with special reverence by reason of its mythological importance, and they selected it for performance on occasions of gravity as a means of honoring the kings and alii of the land. They would have considered its presentation on common occasions, or in a spirit of levity, as a great impropriety.

In ancient times the performance of the hula Pele, like that of all other plays, was prefaced with prayer and sacrifice. The offering customarily used in the service of this hula consisted of salt crystals and of luau made from the delicate unrolled taro leaf. This was the gift demanded of every pupil seeking admission to the school of the hula, being looked upon as an offering specially acceptable to Pele, the patron of this hula. In the performance of the sacrifice teacher and pupil approached and stood reverently before the kuahu while the former recited a mele, which was a prayer to the goddess. The pupil ate the luau, the teacher placed the package of salt on the altar, and the service was complete.

Both olapa and hoopaa took part in the performance of this hula. There was little or no moving about, but the olapa did at times sink down to a kneeling position. The performance was without instrumental accompaniment, but with abundant appropriate gestures. The subjects treated of were of such dignity and interest as to require no extraneous embellishment.

Perusal of the mele which follows will show that the story of Pele dated back of her arrival in this group:

He Oli-O ka mele mua keia o ka, hula Pele

Mai Kahiki ka wahine, o Pele,

Mai ka aina i Pola-pola,

Mai ka punohu ula a Kane,

Mai ke ao lalapa i ka lani,


Mai ka opua lapa i Kahiki.

Lapa-ku i Hawaii ka wahine, o Pele;

Kalai i ka wa’a Houna-i-a-kea,

Kou wa’a, e Ka-moho-alii.

I apo’a ka moku i pa’a;


Ua hoa ka wa’a o ke Akua,

Ka wa’a o Kane-kalai-honua.

Holo mai ke au, a’ea’e Pele-honua-mea;

A’ea’e ka Lani, ai-puni’a i ka moku;

A’ea’e Kini o ke Akua,

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Noho a’e o Malau.

Ua ka ia ka liu o ka wa’a.

Ia wai ka hope, ka uli o ka wa’a, e ne hoa ’lii?

Ia Pele-honua-mea.

A’ea’e kai hoe oluna o ka wa’a.


O Ku ma, laua o Lono,

Noho i ka honua aina,

Kau aku i hoolewa moku.

Hiiaka, noiau, he akua,

Ku ae, hele a noho i ka hale o Pele.


Huahua’i Kahiki, lapa uila, e Pele.

E hua’i, e!


A Song—The first song of the hula Pele

From Kahiki came the woman, Pele,

From the land of Pola-pola,

From the red cloud of Kane,


Fiery cloud-pile in Kahiki.

Eager desire for Hawaii seized the woman, Pele;

She carved the canoe, Honna-i-a-kea,

Your canoe, O Ka-moho-alii.

They push the work on the craft to completion.


The lashings of the god’s canoe are done,

The canoe of Kane, the world-maker.

The tides swirl, Pele-honua-mea o’ermounts them;

The god rides the waves, sails about the island;

The host of little gods ride the billows;


Malau takes his seat;

One bales out the bilge of the craft.

Who shall sit astern, be steersman, O, princes?

Pele of the yellow earth.

The splash of the paddles dashes o’er the canoe.


Ku and his fellow, Lono,

Disembark on solid land;

They alight on a shoal.

Hiiaka, the wise one, a god,

Stands up, goes to stay at the house of Pele.


Lo, an eruption in Kahiki!

A flashing of lightning, O Pele!

Belch forth, O Pele!

Tradition has it that Pele was expelled from Kahiki by her brothers because of insubordination, disobedience, and disrespect to their mother, Honua-mea, sacred land. (If Pele in Kahiki conducted herself as she has done in Hawaii, rending and scorching the bosom of mother earth—Honua-Mea—it is not to be wondered that her brothers were anxious to get rid of her.) She voyaged north. Her Page 189 first stop was at the little island of Ka-ula, belonging to the Hawaiian group. She tunneled into the earth, but the ocean poured in and put a stop to her work. She had the same experience on Lehua, on Kiihau, and on the large island of Kauai. She then moved on to Oahu, hoping for better results; but though she tried both sides of the island, first mount Ka-ala—the fragrant—and then Konahuanui, she still found the conditions unsatisfactory. She passed on to Molokai, thence to Lanai, and to West Maui, and East Maui, at which last place she dug the immense pit of Hale-a-ka-la; but everywhere she was unsuccessful. Still journeying east and south, she crossed the wide Ale-nui-haha channel and came to Hawaii, and, after exploring in all directions, she was satisfied to make her home at Kilauea. Here is (ka piko o ka honua) the navel of the earth. Apropos of this effort of Pele to make a fire-pit for herself, see the song for the hula kuolo (p. 86), “A pit lies (far) to the east.”


A Kauai, a ke olewa 332 iluna,

Ka pua lana i kai o Wailua;

Nana mai Pele ilaila;

E waiho aku ana o Aim. 333


Aloha i ka wai niu o ka aina;

E ala mai ana mokihana,

Wai auau o Hiiaka.

Hoo-paapaa Pele ilaila;

Aohe Kau 334 e ulu ai.


Keehi aku Pele i ka ale kua-loloa,

He onohi no Pele, ka oaka o ka lani, la.

Eli-eli, kau mai!



To Kauai, lifted in ether,

A floating flower at sea off Wailua—

That way Pele turns her gaze,

She’s bidding adieu to Oahu,


Loved land of new wine of the palm.

There comes a perfumed waft—mokihana—

The bath of the maid Hiiaka.

Scene it was once of Pele’s contention,

Put by for future attention.


Her foot now spurns the long-backed wave;

The phosphor burns like Pele’s eye,

Or a meteor-flash in the sky.

Finished the prayer, enter, possess!

Footnote 332: (return) Olewa. Said to be the name of a wooded region high up on the mountain of Kauai. It is here treated as if it meant the heavens or the blue ether. Its origin is the same with the word lewa, the upper regions of the air.

Footnote 333: (return) O Ahu. In this instance the article still finds itself disunited from its substantive. To-day we have Oahu and Ola’a.

Footnote 334: (return) Kau, The summer; time of warm weather; the growing season.

Page 190

The incidents and allusions in this mele belong to the story of Pele’s journey in search of Lohiau, the lover she met in her dreams, and describe her as about to take flight from Oahu to Kauai (verse 4).

Hiiaka’s bath, Wai auau o Hiiaka (verse 7), which was the subject of Pele’s contention (verse 8), was a spring of water which Pele had planted at Huleia on her arrival from Kahiki. The ones with whom Pele had the contention were Kukui-lau-manienie and Kukui-lauhanahana, the daughters of Lima-loa, the god of the mirage. These two women lived at Huleia near the spring. Kamapua’a, the swinegod, their accepted lover, had taken the liberty to remove the spring from the rocky bed where Pele had planted it to a neighboring hill. Pele was offended and demanded of the two women:

“Where is my spring of water?”

“Where, indeed, is your spring? You belong to Hawaii. What have you to do with any spring on Kauai?” was their answer.

“I planted a clean spring here on this rock,” said Pele.

“You have no water here,” they insisted; “your springs are on Hawaii.”

“If I were not going in search of my husband Lohiau,” said Pele, “I would set that spring back again in its old place.”

“You haven’t the power to do that,” said they. “The son of Kahiki-ula (Kama-puaa) moved it over there, and you can’t undo his action.”

The eye of Pele, He onohi no Pele (verse 11), is the phosphorescence which Pele’s footfall stirs to activity in the ocean.

The formal ending of this mele, Elieli, kau mai, is often found at the close of a mele in the hula Pele, and marks it as to all intents and purposes a prayer.

E waiho aku ana, o Ahu (verse 4). This is an instance of the separation of the article o from the substantive Ahu, to which it becomes joined to form the proper name of the island now called Oahu.


Ke amo la ke ko’i ke akua la i-uka;

Haki nu’a-nu’a mai ka nalu mai Kahiki,

Po-po’i aku la i ke alo o Kilauea. 335

Kanaka hea i ka lakou puaa kanu;


He wahine kui lei lehua i uka o Olaa,

Ku’u moku lehua i ke alo o He-eia.

O Kuku-ena 336 wahine,

Komo i ka lau-ki,

Page 191

A’e-a’e a noho.


Eia makou, kou lau kaula la.

Eli-eli, kau mai!

Footnote 335: (return) The figure in the second and third verses, of waves from Kahiki (nalu mai Kahiki) beating against the front of Kilauea (Po-po’i aku la i ke alo o Kilauea), seems to picture the trampling of the multitude splashing the mire as if it were, waves of ocean.

Footnote 336: (return) Kukuena. There is some uncertainty as to who this character was; probably the same as Haumea, the mother of Pele.



They bear the god’s ax up the mountain;

Trampling the mire, like waves from Kahiki

That beat on the front of Kilauea.

The people with offerings lift up a prayer;


A woman strings wreaths in Olaa—

Lehua grove mine bord’ring He-eia.

And now Kukuena, mother god,

Covers her loins with a pa-ú of ti leaf;

She mounts the altar; she sits.


Behold us, your conclave of priests.

Enter in, possess us!

This has the marks of a Hawaiian prayer, and as such it is said to have been used in old times by canoe-builders when going up into the mountains in search of timber. Or it may have been recited by the priests and people who went up to fell the lehua tree from which to carve the Makahiki 337 idol; or, again, may it possibly have been recited by the company of hula folk who climbed the mountain in search of a tree to be set up in the halau as a representation of the god whom they wished to honor? This is a question the author can not settle. That it was used by hula folk is indisputable, but that would not preclude its use for other purposes.


Ku i Wailua ka pou hale 338

Ka ipu hoolono i ka uwalo,

Ka wawa nui, e Ulupo.

Aole uwalo mai, e.


Aloha nui o Ikuwa, Mahoena.

Ke lele la ka makawao o ka hinalo.

Aia i Maná ka oka’i o ka ua o Eleao;

Ke holu la ka a’ahu o Ka-ú 339 i ka makani;

Ke puhi a’e la ka ale kumupali o Ka-ú, Honuapo;


Ke hakoko ka niu o Paiaha’a i ka makani.

Uki-uki oukou:

Ke lele la ke kai;

Lele iao, 340 lele!

O ka makani Koolau-wahine,

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O ka Moa’e-ku.

Lele ua, lele kawa! 341

Lele aku, lele mai!

Lele o-ó, 342 o-ó lele; 343

Lele opuhi, 344 lele;


Lele o Kauná, 345 kaha oe.

E Hiiaka e, ku!

Footnote 337: (return) For an account of the Makahiki idol see Hawaiian Antiquities, p. 189, by David Malo; translated by N.B. Emerson, A.M., M.D., Honolulu, Hawaiian Gazette Company (Limited), 1903.

Footnote 338: (return) Pou hele. The main post of a house, which is here intended, was the pou-haná; it was regarded with a superstitious reverence.

Footnote 339: (return) A’hu o Ka-u. A reference, doubtless, to the long grass that once covered Ka-ú.

Footnote 340: (return) I-áo. A small fish that took short flights in the air.

Footnote 341: (return) Lele kawa. To jump in sport from a height into the water.

Footnote 342: (return) Lele o-ó. To leap feet first into the water.

Footnote 343: (return) O-ó lele. To dive head first into the water.

Footnote 344: (return) Lele opuhi. The same as pahi’a, to leap obliquely into the water from a height, bending oneself so that the feet come first to the surface.

Footnote 345: (return) Kauná. A woman of Ka-ú celebrated for her skill in the hula, also the name of a cape that reaches out into the stormy ocean.



At Wailua stands the main house-post;

This oracle harks to wild voices,

Tumult and clamor, O Ulu-po;

It utters no voice to entreaty.


Alas for the prophet that’s dumb!

But there drifts the incense of hala.

Maná sees the rain-whirl of Eleao.

The robe of Ka-ú sways in the wind,

That dashes the waves ’gainst the sea-wall,


At Honu-apo, windy Ka-ú;

The Pai-ha’a palms strive with the gale.

Such weather is grievous to you:

The sea-scud is flying.

My little i-ao, O fly


With the breeze Koolau!

Fly with the Moa’e-ku!

Look at the rain-mist fly!

Leap with the cataract, leap!

Plunge, now here, now there!


Feet foremost, head foremost;

Leap with a glance and a glide!

Kauná, opens the dance; you win.

Rise, Hiiaka, arise!

The meaning of this mele centers about a phenomenon that is said to have been observed at Ka-ipu-ha’a, near Wailua, on Kauai. To one standing on a knoll near the two cliffs Ikuwa and Mahoena (verse 5) there came, it is said, an echo from the murmur and clamor of the ocean and the moan of the wind, a confused mingling of nature’s voices. The listener, however, got no echoing answer to his own call.

The mele does not stick to the unities as we understand them. The poets of old Hawaii felt at liberty to run to the ends of their earth; and the auditor must allow his imagination to be transported suddenly from one island to another; in this Page 193 case, first from Wailua to Maná on the same island, where he is shown the procession of whirling rain clouds of Eleao (verse 7). Thence the poet carries him to Honuapo, Hawaii, and shows him the waves dashing against the ocean-walls and the clashing of the palm-fronds of Paiaha’a in the wind.

The scene shifts back to Kauai, and one stands with the poet looking down on a piece of ocean where the people are wont to disport themselves. (Maka-iwa, not far from Ka-ipu-ha’a, is said to be such a place.) Verses 12 to 19 in the Hawaiian (13 to 21 in the translation) describe the spirited scene.

It is somewhat difficult to determine whether the Kauná mentioned in the next poem is the name of the woman or of the stormy cape. In the mind of a Hawaiian poet the inanimate and the animate are often tied so closely together in thought and in speech as to make it hard to decide which is intended.


Ike ia Kauná-wahine, Makani Ka-ú,

He umauma i pa ia e ka Moa’e,

E ka makani o-maka o Unulau.

Lau ka wahine kaili-pua o Paía,


Alualu puhala o ka Milo-pae-kanáka, e-e-e-e!

He kanáka ke koa no ka ehu ahiahi,

O ia nei ko ka ehu kakahiaka—

O maua no, me ka makua o makou.

Ua ike ’a!



Behold Kauná, that sprite of windy Ka-ú,

Whose bosom is slapped by the Moa’e-kú,

And that eye-smiting wind Unulaú—

Women by hundreds filch the bloom


Of Paía, hunt fruit of the hala, a-ha!

That one was the gallant, at evening,

This one the hero of love, in the morning—

’Twas our guardian I had for companion.

Now you see it, a-ha!

This mele, based on a story of amorous rivalry, relates to a contest which arose between two young women of rank regarding the favors of that famous warrior and general of Kamehameha, Kalaimoku, whom the successful intrigante described as ka makua o makou (verse 8), our father, i.e., our guardian. The point of view is that of the victorious intrigante, and in speaking of her defeated rival she uses the ironical language of the sixth verse, He kanáka ke koa no ka ehu ahiahi meaning that her opponent’s chance of success faded with the evening twilight, whereas her own success was crowned with Page 194 the glow of morning, O ia neí ko ka ehu kakahiaka (verse 7). The epithet kanáka hints ironically that her rival is of lower rank than herself, though in reality the rank of her rival may have been superior to her own.

The language, as pointed out by the author’s informant, is marked with an elegance that stamps it as the product of a courtly circle.


E oe mauna i ka ohu,

Kahá, ka leo o ka ohi’a;

Auwe! make au i ke ahi a mau

A ka luahine 346 moe naná,


A papa enaena, wai hau,

A wa’a kau-hí. 347

Haila pepe 348 mua me pepe waena,

O pepe ka muimui:

O kiele[348] i na ulu[348]


Ka makahá kai kea

O Niheu 349 kolohe;

Ka makaha kai kea!

Eli-eli, kau mai.



Ho! mountain of vapor-puffs,

Now groans the mountain-apple tree.

Alas! I burn in this deathless flame,

That is fed by the woman who snores


On a lava plate, now hot, now cold;

Now ’tis a canoe full-rigged for sea;

There are seats at the bow, amidships, abaft;

Baggage and men—all is aboard.

And now the powerful thrust of the paddle,

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Making mighty swirl of wat’ry yeast,

As of Nihéu, the mischief-maker—

A mighty swirl of the yeasty wave.

In heavea’s name, come aboard!

Footnote 346: (return) Pele is often spoken of as ka luahine, the old woman; but she frequently used her power of transformation to appear as a young woman of alluring beauty.

Footnote 347: (return) Lava poured out in plates and folds and coils resembles many diverse things, among others the canoe, wa’a here characterized as complete in its appointments and ready for launching, kauhí. The words are subtly intended, no doubt, to convey the thought of Pele’s readiness to launch on the voyage of matrimony.

Footnote 348: (return) Pepe, a seat; kiele, to paddle; and ulu, a shortened form of the old word oulu, meaning a paddle, are archaisms now obsolete.

Footnote 349: (return) Nihéu. One of the mythological heroes of an old-time adventure, in which his elder brother Kana, who had the form of a long rope, played the principal part. This one enterprise of their life in which they joined forces was for the rescue of their mother, Hina, who had been kidnaped by a marauding chief and carried from her home in Hilo to the bold headland of Haupu, Molokai. Nihéu is generally stigmatized as kolohe (verse 11), mischievous, for no other reason apparently than that he was an active spirit, full of courage, given to adventure and heaven-defying audacities, such as put the Polynesian Mawi and the Greek Prometheus in bad odor with the gods of their times. One of these offensive actions was Nihéu’s theft of a certain ulu, breadfruit, which one of the gods rolled with a noise like that of thunder in the underground caverns of the southern regions of the world. Nihéu is represented as a great sport, an athlete, skilled in all the games of his people. The worst that could be said of him was that he had small regard for other people’s rights and that he was slow to pay his debts of honor.

After the death of Lohiau, his best friend, Paoa, came before Pele determined to invite death by pouring out the vials of his wrath on the head of the goddess. The sisters of Pele sought to avert the impending tragedy and persuaded him to soften his language and to forego mere abuse. Paoa, a consummate actor, by his dancing, which has been perpetuated in the hula Pele, and by his skillfully-worded prayer-songs, one of which is given above, not only appeased Pele, but won her.

The piece next appearing is also a song that was a prayer, and seems to have been uttered by the same mouth that, groaned forth the one given above.

It does not seem necessary to take the language of the mele literally. The sufferings that the person in the mele describes in the first person, it seems to the author, may be those of his friend Lohiau; and the first person is used for literary effect.

Mele 350

Aole e mao ka ohu:

Auwe! make au i ke ahi a mau

A ka wahine moe naná,

A papa ena-ena,


A wa’a kau-hí.

Ilaila pepe mua me pepe waena,

O pepe ka mu’imu’i,

O lei’na kiele,

Kau-meli-eli: 351


Ka maka kakahi kea

O Niheu kolohe—

Ka maka kaha-kai kea.

Eli-eli, kau mai!



Alas, there’s no stay to the smoke;

I must die mid the quenchless flame—

Deed of the hag who snores in her sleep,

Bedded on lava plate oven-hot.


Now it takes the shape of canoe;

Page 196

Seats at the bow and amidships,

And the steersman sitting astern;

Their stroke stirs the ocean to foam—

The myth-craft, Kau-meli-eli!


Now look, the white gleam of an eye—

It is Nihéu, the turbulent one—

An eye like the white sandy shore.

Amen, possess me!

Footnote 350: (return) The remarks on pp. 194 and 195 regarding the mele on p. 194 are mostly applicable to this mele.

Footnote 351: (return) Kau-meli-eli. The name of the double canoe which brought a company of the gods from the lands of the South—Kukulu o Kahiki—to Hawaii. Hawaiian myths refer to several migrations of the gods to Hawaii; one of them is that described in the mele given on p. 187, the first mele in this chapter.

The mele now to be given has the form of a serenade. Etiquette forbade anyone to wake the king by rude touch, but it was permissible for a near relative to touch his feet. When the exigencies of business made it necessary for a messenger, a herald, or a courtier to disturb the sleeping monarch, he took his station at the king’s feet and recited a serenade such as this:

Mele Hoala (no ka Hula Pele)

E ala, e Kahiki-ku; 352

E ala, e Kahiki-moe; [352]

E ala, e ke apapa nu’u; 353

E ala, e ke apapa lani.[353]


Eia ka hoala nou, e ka lani 354 la, e-e!

E ala oe!

E ala, ua ao, ua malamalama.

Aia o Kape’a ma, 355 la, i-luna;

Ua hiki mai ka maka o Unulau; 356

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Ke hóolalé mai la ke kupa holowa’a o Ukumehame, 357

Ka lae makaui kaohi-wa’a o Papawai, 358

Ka lae makani o’Anahenahe la, e-e!

E ala oe!

E ala, ua ao, ua malamalama;


Ke o a’e la ke kukuna o ka La i lea ili o ke kai;

Ke hahai a’e la, e like me Kumukahi 359

E hoaikane ana me Makanoni;

Ka papa o Apua, ua lohi i ka La.

E ala oe!


E ala, ua ao, ua malamalama;

Ke kau aku la ka La i Kawaihoa:

Ke kolii aku la ka La i ka ili o ke kai;

Ke anai mai la ka iwa auai-maka o Lei-no-ai,

I ka lima o Maka-iki-olea,


I ka poll wale o Leliua la.

E ala oe!

Footnote 352: (return) Hawaiians conceived of the dome of heaven as a solid structure supported by walls that rested on the earth’s plain. Different names were given to different sections of the wall. Kahiki-ku and Kahiki-moe were names applied to certain of these sections. It would, however, be too much, to expect any Hawaiian, however intelligent and well versed in old lore, to indicate the location of these regions.

Footnote 353: (return)

The words apapa nu’u and apapa lani, which convey to the mind of the author the picture of a series of terraced plains or steppes—no doubt the original meaning—here mean a family or order of gods, not of the highest rank, at or near the head of which stood Pele. Apropos of this subject the following lines have been quoted:

Hanau ke apapa nu’u:

Hanau ke apapa lani;

Hanau Pele, ka hihi’o na lani.


Begotten were the gods of graded rank;

Begotten were the gods of heavenly rank;

Begotten was Pele, quintessence of heaven.

This same expression was sometimes used to mean an order of chiefs, alii. Apapa lani was also used to mean the highest order of gods, Ku, Kane, Kanaloa, Lono. The kings also were gods, for which reason this expression at times applied to the alii of highest rank, those, for instance, who inherited the rank of niau-pi’o or of wohi.

Footnote 354: (return) Lani. Originally the heavens, came to mean king, chief, alii.

Footnote 355: (return) There is a difference of opinion as to the meaning of Kape’a ma. After hearing diverse opinions the author concludes that it refers to the rays of the sun that precede its rising—a Greek idea.

Footnote 356: (return) Unulau. A name for the trade-wind which, owing to the conformation of the land, often sweeps down with great force through the deep valleys that seam the mountains of west Maui between Lahaina and Maalaea bay; such a wind squall was called a mumuku.

Footnote 357: (return) Ukumehame. The name of a deep valley on west Maui in the region above described.

Footnote 358: (return) Papawai. The principal cape on west Maui between Lahaina and Maalaea bay.

Footnote 359: (return)

Kumu-kahi. A cape in Puna, the easternmost part of Hawaii; by some said to be the sun’s wife, and the object of his eager pursuit after coming out of his eastern gate Ha’eha’e. The name was also applied to a pillar of stone that was planted on the northern border of this cape. Standing opposite to it, on the southern side, was the monolith Makanoni. In summer the sun in its northern excursion inclined, as the Hawaiians noted, to the side of Kumukahi, while in the season of cool weather, called Makalii, it swung in the opposite direction and passed over to Makanoni. The people of Puna accordingly said, “The sun has passed over to Makanoni,” or “The sun has passed over to Kumukahi,” as the case might be. These two pillars are said to be of such a form as to suggest the thought that they are phallic emblems, and this conjecture is strengthened by consideration of the tabus connected with them and of the religious ceremonies peformed before them. The Hawaiians speak of them as pohaku eho, which, the author believes, is the name given to a phallus, and describe them as plain uncarved pillars.

These stones were set up in very ancient times and are said to have been tabu to women at the times of their infirmity. If a woman climbed upon them at such a period or even set foot upon the platform on which one of them stood she was put to death. Another stringent tabu forbade anyone to perform an office of nature while his face was turned toward one of these pillars.

The language of the mele, Ke hahai ae la e like me Kumukahi (verse 16), implies that the sun chased after Kumukahi. Apropos of this is the following quotation from an article on the phallus in Chambers’s Encyclopedia: “The common myth concerning it [the phallus] was the story of some god deprived of his power of generation—an allusion to the sun, which in autumn loses its fructifying influence.”

In modern times there seems to have grown up a curious mixture of traditions about these two stones, in which the old have become overlaid with new superstitions; and these last in turn seem to be dying out. They are now vaguely remembered as relics of old demigods, petrified forms of ancient kupua. 360 Fishermen, it is said, not long ago offered sacrifices to them, hoping thus to purchase good luck. Any offense against them, such as that by women, above mentioned, or by men, was atoned for by offering before these ancient monuments the first fish that came to the fisherman’s hook or net.

Mention of the name Kumu-kahi to a Hawaiian versed in ancient lore called up to his memory the name of Pala-moa as his associate. The account this old man gave of them was that they were demigods much worshiped and feared for their power and malignity. They were reputed to be cannibals on the sly, and, though generally appearing in human form, were capable of various metamorphoses, thus eluding detection. They were believed to have the power of taking possession of men through spiritual obsession, as a result of which the obsessed ones were enabled to heal sickness as well as to cause it, to reveal secrets, and to Inflict death, thus terrifying people beyond measure. The names of these, two demigods, especially that of Palamoa, are to this day appealed to by practitioners of the black arts.

Footnote 360: (return) The Hawaiian alphabet had no letter s. The Hawaiians indicated the plural by prefixing the particle na.

Page 198



Awake now, Kahiki-ku;

Awake now, Kahiki-moe;

Awake, ye gods of lower grade;

Awake, ye gods of heavenly rank.


A serenade to thee, O king.

Awake thee!

Awake, it is day, it is light;

The Day-god his arrows is shooting,

Unulau his eye far-flashing,


Canoe-men from Uku-me-hame

Are astir to weather the windy cape,

The boat-baffling cape, Papa-wai,

And the boisterous A-nahe-nahe.

Awake thee!


Awake, day is come and the light;

The sun-rays stab the skin of the deep;

It pursues, as did god Kumu-kahi

To companion with god Maka-noni;

The plain of Apua quivers with heat.


Awake thee!

Awake, ’tis day, ’tis light;

The sun stands over Waihoa,

Afloat on the breast of ocean;

The iwa of Leinoai is preening


On the cliff Maka-iki-olea.

On the breast of naked Lehua.

Awake thee! awake!

The following is a prayer said to have been used at the time of awa-drinking. When given in the hula, the author is informed, its recitation was accompanied by the sound of the drum.

He Pule no Pele


O Pele la ko’u akua:

Miha ka lani, miha ka honua.

Awa iku, awa lani;

Kai awaawa, ka awa nui a Hiiaka,


I kua i Mauli-ola; 361

Page 199

He awa kapu no na wahine.

E kapu!

Ka’i kapu kou awa, e Pele a Honua-mea;

E kala, e Haumea wahine,


O ka wahine i Kilauea,

Nana i eli a hohonu ka lua

O Mau-wahine, o Kupu-ena,

O na wahine i ka inu-hana awa.

E ola na ’kua malihini! 362



I kama’a-ma’a la i ka pua-lei;

E loa ka wai apua,

Ka pii’na i Ku-ka-la-ula; 363

Hoopuka aku i Puu-lena,

Aina a ke Akua i noho ai.


Kanaenae a ke Akua malihini;[362]

O ka’u wale iho la no ia, o ka leo,

He leo wale no, e-e!

E ho-i!

Eia ka ai!

Footnote 361: (return) Maull-ola. A god of health; perhaps also the name of a place. The same word also was applied to the breath of life, or to the physician’s power of healing. In the Maori tongue the word mauri, corresponding to mauli, means life, the seat of life. In Samoan the word mauli means heart. “Sneeze, living heart” (Tihe mauri ora), says the Maori mother to her infant when it sneezes. For this bit of Maori lore acknowledgment is due to Mr. S. Percy Smith, of New Zealand.

Footnote 362: (return) According to one authority, at the close of the first canto the stranger gods—akua malihini—who consisted of that multitude of godlings called the Kini Akua, took their departure from the ceremony, since they did not belong to the Pele family. Internal evidence, however, the study of the prayer itself in its two parts, leads the writer to disagree with this authority. Other Hawaiians of equally deliberate judgment support him in this opinion. The etiquette connected with ceremonious awa-drinking, which the Samoans of to-day still maintain in full form, long ago died out in Hawaii. This etiquette may never have been cultivated here to the same degree as in its home, Samoa; but this poem is evidence that the ancient Hawaiians paid greater attention to it than they of modern times. The reason for this decline of ceremony must be sought for in the mental and esthetic make-up of the Hawaiian people; it was not due to any lack of fondness in the Hawaiian for awa as a beverage or as an intoxicant. It is no help to beg the question by ascribing the decline of this etiquette to the influence of social custom. To do so would but add one more link to the chain that binds cause to effect. The Hawaiian mind was not favorable to the observance of this sort of etiquette; it did not afford a soil fitted to nourish such an artificial growth.

Footnote 363: (return) The meaning of the word Ku-ka-la-ula presented great difficulty and defied all attempts at translation until the suggestion was made by a bright Hawaiian, which was adopted with satisfaction, that it probably referred to that state of dreamy mental exaltation which comes with awa-intoxication. This condition, like that of frenzy, of madness, and of idiocy, the Hawaiian regarded as a divine possession.


A Prayer to Pele


Lo, Pele’s the god of my choice:

Let heaven and earth in silence wait

Here is awa, potent, sacred,

Bitter sea, great Hiiaka’s root;


’Twas cut at Mauli-ola—

Awa to the women forbidden,

Let it tabu be!

Exact be the rite of your awa,

O Pele of the sacred land.

Page 200 10

Proclaim it, mother. Haumea,

Of the goddess of Kilauea;

She who dug the pit world-deep,

And Mau-wahine and Kupu-ena,

Who prepare the awa for drink.


A health to the stranger gods!


Bedeck now the board for the feast;

Fill up the last bowl to the brim;

Then pour a draught in the sun-cave

Shall flow to the mellow haze,


That tints the land of the gods.

All hail to the stranger gods!

This my offering, simply a voice,

Only a welcoming voice.

Turn in!


Lo, the feast!

This prayer, though presented in two parts or cantos, is really one, its purpose being to offer a welcome, kanaenae, to the feast and ceremony to the gods who had a right to expect that courtesy.

One more mele of the number specially used in the hula Pele:


Nou paha e, ka inoa

E ka’i-ka’i ku ana,

A kau i ka nuku.

E hapa-hapai a’e;


A pa i ke kihi

O Ki-lau-é-a.

Ilaila ku’u kama,

O Ku-nui-akea. 364

Hookomo a’e iloko


A o Hale-ma’u-ma’u; 365

A ma-ú na pu’u

E óla-olá, nei.

E kulipe’e nui ai-ahua. 366

E Pele, e Pele!


E Pele, e Pele!

Huai’na! huai’na!

Ku ia ka lani,

Pae a huila!

Footnote 364: (return) Kalakaua, for whom all these fine words are intended, could no more claim kinship with Ku-nui-akea, the son of Kau-i-ke-aouli, than with Julius Cæsar.

Footnote 365: (return) Hale-mau-mau. Used figuratively of the mouth, whose hairy fringe—moustache and beard—gives it a fancied resemblance to the rough lava pit where Pele dwelt. The figure, to us no doubt obscure, conveyed to the Hawaiian the idea of trumpeting the name and making it famous.

Footnote 366: (return) E kuli-pe’e nui ai-ahua. Pele is here figured as an old, infirm woman, crouching and crawling along; a character and attitude ascribed to her, no doubt, from the fancied resemblance of a lava flow, which, when in the form of a-á, rolls and tumbles along over the surface of the ground in a manner suggestive of the motions and attitude of a palsied crone.

Page 201



Yours, doubtless, this name.

Which people are toasting

With loudest acclaim.

Now raise it, aye raise it,


Till it reaches the niches

Of Kí-lau-é-a.

Enshrined is there my kinsman,


Then give it a place


In the temple of Pele;

And a bowl for the throats

That are croaking with thirst.

Knock-kneed eater of land,

O Pele, god Pele!


O Pele, god Pele!

Burst forth now! burst forth!

Launch a bolt from the sky!

Let thy lightnings fly:

When this poem 367 first came into the author’s hands, though attracted by its classic form and vigorous style, he could not avoid being repelled by an evident grossness. An old Hawaiian, to whom he stated his objections, assured him that the mele was innocent of all bad intent, and when the offensive word was pointed out he protested that it was an interloper. The substitution of the right word showed that the man was correct. The offense was at once removed. This set the whole poem in a new light and it is presented with satisfaction. The mele is properly a name-song, mele-inoa. The poet represents some one as lifting a name to his mouth for praise and adulation. He tells him to take it to Kilauea—that it may reecho, doubtless, from the walls of the crater.

Footnote 367: (return) It is said to ue the work of a hula-master, now some years dead, by the name of Namakeelua.

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The hula pa’i-umauma—chest-beating hula—called also hula Pa-láni, 368 was an energetic dance, in which the actors, who were also the singers, maintained a kneeling position, with the buttocks at times resting on the heels. In spite of the restrictions imposed by this attitude, they managed to put a spirited action into the performance; there were vigorous gestures, a frequent smiting of the chest with the open hand, and a strenuous movement of the pelvis and lower part of the body called ami. This consisted of rhythmic motions, sidewise, backward, forward, and in a circular or elliptical orbit, all of which was done with the precision worthy of an acrobat, an accomplishment attained only after long practice. It was a hula of classic celebrity, and was performed without the accompaniment of instrumental music.

Footnote 368: (return) Paláni, French, so called at Moanalua because a woman who was its chief exponent was a Catholic, one of the “poe Paláni.” Much odium has been laid to the charge of the hula on account of the supposed indecency of the motion termed ami. There can be no doubt that the ami was at times used to represent actions unfit for public view, and so far the blame is just. But the ami did not necessarily nor always represent obscenity, and to this extent the hula has been unjustly maligned.

In the mele now to be given the poet calls up a succession of pictures by imagining himself in one scenic position after another, beginning at Hilo and passing in order from one island to another—omitting, however, Maui—until he finds himself at Kilauea, an historic and traditionally interesting place on the windward coast of the garden-island, Kauai. The order of travel followed by the poet forbids the supposition that the Kilauea mentioned is the great caldera of the volcano on Hawaii in which Pele had her seat.

It is useless to regret that the poet did not permit his muse to tarry by the way long enough to give us something more than a single eyeshot at the quickly shifting scenes which unrolled themselves before him, that so he might have given us further reminiscence of the lands over which his Pegasus bore him. Such completeness of view, however, is alien to the poesy of Hawaii.

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A Hilo au e, hoolulu ka lehua 369;

A Wai-luku la, i ka Lua-kanáka 370;

A Lele-iwi 371 la, au i ke kai;

A Pana-ewa 372, i ka ulu-lehna;


A Ha-ili 373, i ke kula-manu;

A Mologai, i ke ala-kahi,

Ke kula o Kala’e 374 wela i ka la;

Mauna-loa 375 la, Ka-lua-ko’i 376, e;

Na hala o Nihoa 377, he mapuna la;


A Ko’i-ahi 378 au, ka maile lau-lu la;

A Makua 379 la, i ke one opio-pio 380,

E holu ana ke kai o-lalo;

He wahine a-po’i-po’i 381 e noho ana,

A Kilauea 382, i ke awa ula.



At Hilo I rendezvoused with, the lehua;

By the Wailuku stream, near the robber-den;

Off cape Lele-iwi I swam in the ocean;

At Pana-ewa, mid groves of lehua;


At Ha-ili, a forest of flocking birds.

On Molokai I travel its one highway;

I saw the plain of Kala’e quiver with heat,

And beheld the ax-quarries of Mauna-loa.

Ah, the perfume Nihoa’s pandanus exhales!


Ko’i-ahi, home of the small-leafed maile;

And now at Makua, lo, its virgin sand,

While ocean surges and scours on below.

Lo, a woman crouched on the shore by the sea,

In the brick-red bowl, Kilauea’s bay.

Footnote 369: (return) Lehúa. A tree that produces the tufted scarlet flower that is sacred to the goddess of the hula, Laka.

Footnote 370: (return) Lua-kanáka. A deep and dangerous crossing at the Wailuku river, which is said to have been the cause of death by drowning of very many. Another story is that it was once the hiding place of robbers.

Footnote 371: (return) Lele-iwi. The name of a cape at Hilo, near the mouth of the Wai-luku river;—water of destruction.

Footnote 372: (return) Pana-ewa. A forest region in Ola’a much mentioned in myth and poetry.

Footnote 373: (return) Haili. A region in Ola’a, a famous: resort for bird-catchers.

Footnote 374: (return) Ka-la’e. A beautiful place in the uplands back of Kaunakakai, on Molokai.

Footnote 375: (return) Mauna-loa. The mountain in the western part of Molokai.

Footnote 376: (return) Ka-lua-ko’i. A place on this same Mauna-loa where was quarried stone suitable for making the Hawaiian ax.

Footnote 377: (return) Nihoa. A small land near Kalaupapa, Molokai, where was a grove of fine pandanus trees.

Footnote 378: (return) Ko’i-ahi. A small valley in the district of Waianae, Oahu, where was the home of the small-leafed maile.

Footnote 379: (return) Makua. A valley in Waianae.

Footnote 380: (return) One opio-pio. Sand freshly smoothed by an ocean wave.

Footnote 381: (return) Apo’i-po’i. To crouch for the purpose, perhaps, of screening oneself from view, as one, for instance, who is naked and desires to escape observation.

Footnote 382: (return) Kilauea. There is some doubt whether this is the Kilauea on Kauai or a little place of the same name near cape Kaeua, the westernmost point of Oahu.

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In the next mele to be given it is evident that, though the motive is clearly Hawaiian, it has lost something of the rugged simplicity and impersonality that belonged to the most archaic style, and that it has taken on the sentimentality of a later period.


E Manono la, e-a,

E Manono la, e-a,

Kau ka ópe-ópe;

Ka ulu hala la, e-a,


Ka uluhe la, e-a.

Ka uluhe la, e-a,

A hiki Pu’u-naná,

Hali’i punána

No huli mai.


Hull mai o-e la;

Moe kaua;

Hali’i punana

No hull mai.

Hull mai o-e la;


Moe kaua;

Moe aku kaua;

O ka wai welawela,

O ka papa lohi

O Mau-kele;


Moe aku kaua;

O ka wai welawela,

O ka papa lohi

O Mau-kele.

A kele, a kele


Kou manao la, e-a;

A kele, a kele

Kou manao la, e-a.



Come now, Manono,

Come, Manono, I say;

Take up the burden;

Through groves of pandanus


And wild stag-horn fern,

Wearisome fern, lies our way.

Arrived at the hill-top,

We’ll smooth out the nest,

That we may snug close.


Turn now to me, dear,

While we rest here.

Make we a little nest,

That we may draw near.

This way your face, dear,

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While, we rest here.

Rest thou and I here,

Near the warm, warm water

And the smooth lava-plate

Of Mau-kele.


Rest thou and I here.

By the water so warm,

And the lava-plate smooth

Of Mau-kele.

Little by little


Your thoughts will be mine.

Little by little

Your thoughts I’ll divine.

Manono was the name of the brave woman, wife of Ke-kua-o-kalani, who fell in the battle of Kuamo’o, in Kona, Hawaii, in 1819, fighting by the side of her husband. They died in support of the cause of law and order, of religion and tabu, the cause of the conservative party in Hawaii, as opposed to license and the abolition of all restraint.

The uluhe (verses 5, 6) is the stag-horn fern, which forms a matted growth most obstructive to woodland travel.

The burden Manono is asked to bear, what else is it but the burden of life, in this case lightened by love?

Whether there is any connection between the name of the hula—breast-beating—and the expression, in the first verse of the following mele is more than the author can say.


Ka-hipa 383, na waiu olewa,

Lele ana, ku ka mahiki akea;

Keké ka niho o Laui-wahine 384;

Opi ke a lalo, ke a luna.


A hoi aku au i Lihue,

Kana aku ia Ewa;

E au ana o Miko-lo-lóu, 385

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A pahú ka naau no Pa-pi’-o 386.

A pa’a ka mano.


Hopu i ka lima.

Ai pakahi, e, i ka nahele, 387

Alawa a’e na ulu kani o Leiwalo.

E noho ana Kolea-kani 388

Ka pii’na i ka Uwa-lua;


Oha-ohá, lei i ka makani.

Footnote 383: (return) Ka-hipa. Said to be the name of a mythological character, now applied to a place in Kahuku where the mountains present the form of two female breasts.

Footnote 384: (return) Lani-wahine. A benignant mo’o, or water-nymph, sometimes taking the form of a woman, that is said to have haunted the lagoon of Uko’a, Waialua, Oahu. There is a long story about her.

Footnote 385: (return) Miko-lo-lóu. A famous man-eating shark-god whose home was in the waters of Hana, Maui. He visited Oahu and was hospitably received by Ka-ahu-pahau and Ka-hi’u-ká, sharks of the Ewa lagoons, who had a human ancestry and were on friendly terms with their kindred. Miko-lo-lóu, when his hosts denied him human flesh, helped himself. In the conflict that rose the Ewa sharks joined with their human relatives and friends on land to put an end to Miko-lo-lóu. After a fearful contest they took him and reduced his body to ashes. A dog, however, snatched and ate a portion—some say the tongue, some the tail—and another part fell into the water. This was reanimated by the spirit of the dead shark and grew to be a monster of the same size and power as the one deceased. Miko-lo-lóu now gathered his friends and allies from all the waters and made war against the Ewa sharks, but was routed.

Footnote 386: (return) Pa-pi’-o. A shark of moderate size, but of great activity, that fought against Mlko-lo-lóu. It entered his enormous mouth, passed down into his stomach, and there played havoc with the monster, eating its way out.

Footnote 387: (return) Ai pakahi, e, i ka nahele. The company represented by the poet to be journeying pass through an uninhabited region barren of food. The poet calls upon them to satisfy their hunger by eating of the edible wild herbs—they abound everywhere in Hawaii—at the same time representing them as casting longing glances on the breadfruit trees of Leiwalo. This was a grove in the lower levels of Ewa that still survives.

Footnote 388: (return) Kolea-kani. A female kupua—witch she might be called now—that had the form of a plover. She looked after the thirsty ones who passed along the road, and benevolently showed them where to find water. By her example the people of the district are said to have been induced to give refreshment to travelers who went that way.



’Tis Kahipa, with pendulous breasts;

How they swing to and fro, see-saw!

The teeth of Lani-wahine gape—

A truce to upper and lower jaw!


From Lihue we look upon Ewa;

There swam the monster, Miko-lo-lóu,

His bowels torn out by Pa-pi’-o.

The shark was caught in grip of the hand.

Let each one stay himself with wild herbs,

And for comfort turn his hungry eyes


To the rustling trees of Lei-walo.

Hark! the whistling-plover—her old-time seat,

As one climbs the hill from Echo-glen,

And cools his brow in the breeze.

The thread of interest that holds together the separate pictures composing this mele is slight. It will, perhaps, give to the whole a more definite meaning if we recognize that it is made up of snapshots at various objects and localities that presented themselves to one passing along the old road from Kahúku, on Oahu, to the high land which gave the tired traveler his first distant view of Honolulu before he entered the winding canyon of Moana-lua.

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The hula ku’i Molokai was a variety of the Hawaiian dance that originated on the island of Molokai, probably at a later period than what one would call the classic times. Its performance extended to the other islands. The author has information of its exhibition on the island of its name as late as the last quarter of the nineteenth century. The actors, as they might be called, in this hula were arranged in pairs who faced each other and went through motions similar to those of boxing. This action, ku’i, to smite, gave the name to the performance. The limiting word Molokai was added to distinguish it from another still more modern form of dance called ku’i, which will be described later.

While the performers stood and went through with their motions, marching and countermarching, as they are said to have done, they chanted or recited in recitative some song, of which the following is an example. This they did with no instrumental accompaniment:


He ala kai olohia, 389

He hiwahiwa na ka la’i luahine,

He me’ aloha na’u ka makani hauai-loli, 390

E uwe ana I ke kai pale iliahi.


Kauwá ke aloha i na lehua o Kaana. 391

Pomaikai au i kou aloha e noho nei;

Ka haluku wale no ia a ka waimaka,

Me he makamaka puka a la

Ke aloha i ke kanaka,


E ho-iloli nei i ku’u nui kino.

Mahea hoi au, a?

Ma ko oe alo no.

Footnote 389: (return) Kai olohia. A calm and tranquil sea. This expression has gained a poetic vogue that almost makes it pass current as a single word, meaning tranquillity, calmness of mind. As thus explained, it is here translated by the expression “heart’s-ease.”

Footnote 390: (return) Makani hanai-loli. A wind so gentle as not to prevent the bêche de mer loli sea-anemones, and other marine slugs from coming out of their holes to feed. A similar figure is used in the next line in the expression kai pale iliahi. The thought is that the calmness of the ocean invites one to strip and plunge in for a bath.

Footnote 391: (return) Kauwá ke aloha i na lehua o Kaana. Kaana is said to be a hill on the road from Keaau to Olaa, a spot where travelers were wont to rest and where they not infrequently made up wreaths of the scarlet lehua bloom which there abounded. It took a large number of lehua flowers to suffice for a wreath, and to bind them securely to the fillet that made them a garland was a work demanding not only artistic skill hut time and patience. If a weary traveler, halting at Kaana, employed his time of rest in plaiting flowers into a wreath for some loved one, there would be truth as well as poetry in the saying, “Love slaves for the lehuas of Kaana.”

Page 208



Precious the gift of heart’s-ease,

A wreath for the cheerful dame;

So dear to my heart is the breeze

That murmurs, strip for the ocean.


Love slaves for wreaths from Kaana.

I’m blest in your love that reigns here;

It speaks in the fall of a tear—

The choicest thing in one’s life,

This love for a man by his wife—


It has power to shake the whole frame.

Ah, where am I now?

Here, face to your face.

The platitudes of mere sentimentalism, when put into cold print, are not stimulating to the imagination; moods and states of feeling often approaching the morbid, their oral expression needs the reenforcement of voice, tone, countenance, the whole attitude. They are for this reason most difficult of translation and when rendered literally into a foreign speech often become meaningless. The figures employed also, like the watergourds and wine-skins of past generations and of other peoples, no longer appeal to us as familiar objects, but require an effort of the imagination to make them intelligible and vivid to our mental vision. If the translator carries these figures of speech over into his new rendering, they will often demand an explanation on their own account, and will thus fail of their original intent; while if he clothes the thought in some new figure he takes the risk of failing to do justice to the intimate meaning of the original. The force of these remarks will become apparent from an analysis of the prominent figures of speech that occur in the mele.


He inoa no ka Lani,

No Náhi-éna-éna;

A ka luna o wahine.

Ho’i ka ena a ka makani;


Noho ka la’i i ka malino—

Makani ua ha-aó;

Ko ke au i hala, ea.

Punawai o Maná, 392

Wai ola na ke kupa


A ka ilio naná,

Hae, nanahu i ke kai;

Ehu kai nána ka pua,

Ka pua o ka iliau,

Page 209

Ka ohai o Mapépe, 393


Ka moena we’u-we’u,

I ulana ia e ke A’e,

Ka naku loloa.

Hea mai o Kawelo-hea, 394

Nawai la, e, ke kapu?


No Náhi-éna-éna.

Ena na pua i ka wai,

Wai au o Holei.

Footnote 392: (return) Punawai o Maná. A spring of water at Honuapo, Hawaii, which bubbled up at such a level that the ocean covered it at high tide.

Footnote 393: (return) Ka ohai o Mapépe. A beautiful flowering shrub, also spoken of as ka ohai o Papi’o-huli, said to have been brought from Kahiki by Namaka-o-kaha’i.

Footnote 394: (return) Kawelo-hea. A blowhole or spouting horn, also at Honuapo, through which the ocean at certain times sent up a column of spray or of water. After the volcanic disturbance of 1868 this spouting horn ceased action. The rending force of the earthquakes must have broken up and choked the subterranean channel through which the ocean had forced its way.



A eulogy for the princess,

For Náhi-éna-éna a name!

Chief among women!

She soothes the cold wind with her flame—


A peace that is mirrored in calm,

A wind that sheddeth rain;

A tide that flowed long ago;

The water-spring of Maná,

Life-spring for the people,


A fount where the lapping dog

Barks at the incoming wave,

Drifting spray on the bloom

Of the sand-sprawling ili-au

And the scarlet flower of ohai,


On the wind-woven mat of wild grass,

Long naku, a springy mattress.

The spout-horn, Kawelo-hea,

Asks, Who of right has the tabu?

The princess Náhi-éna-éna!


The flowers glow in the pool,

The bathing pool of Holei!

This mele inoa—name-song or eulogy—was composed in celebration of the lamented princess, Nahienaena, who, before she was misled by evil influences, was a most attractive and promising character. She was the daughter of Keopuolani and younger sister of Kamehameha III, and came to her untimely death in 1836. The name was compounded from the words na, the, áhi, fires, and énaéna, hot, a meaning which furnishes the motive to the mele.

Page 210


The hula kí-e-léi, or kí-le-léi, was a performance of Hawaii’s classic times, and finds mention as such in the professedly imperfect list of hulas given by the historian David Malo. 395 It was marked by strenuous bodily action, gestures with feet and hands, and that vigorous exercise of the pelvis and body termed ami, the chief feature of which was a rotation of the pelvis in circles and ellipses, which is not to be regarded as an effort to portray sexual attitudes. It was a performance in which the whole company stood and chanted the mele without instrumental accompaniment.

Footnote 395: (return) Hawaiian Antiquities, by David Malo; translated by N.B. Emerson, A.M., M.D. Honolulu, the Hawaiian Gazette Company (Limited), 1903.

The sacrifice offered at the kuahu in connection with the production of this hula consisted of a black pig, a cock of the color termed ula-hiwa—black pointed with red—a white hen, and awa. According to some authorities the offerings deemed appropriate for the sacrifice that accompanied each hula varied with the hula, but was definitely established for each variety of hula. The author’s studies, however, lead him to conclude that, whatever may have been the original demands of the gods, in the long run they were not overparticular and were not only willing to put up with, but were well pleased so long as the offering contained, good pork or fish and strong awa.


Ku piliki’i Hanalei-lehua, 396 la;

Kao’o 397’luna o ka naéle, 398 la;

Ka Pili-iki i ka Hua-moa, la;

E ka mauna o ke a’a lewalewa 399 la.


A lewa ka hope o ko’u hoa, la,

Page 211

A ko-ú ka hope o ke koléa, la—

Na u’i elua. 400

Ki-ki’i ka ua i ka nana keia, la. 401

Footnote 396: (return) Hanalei-lehua. A wilderness back of Hanalei valley, Kauai, in which the lehua tree abounds. The features of this region are as above described.

Footnote 397: (return) Kaó’o. To bend down the shrubs and tussocks of grass to furnish solid footing in crossing swampy ground.

Footnote 398: (return) Naé’le. Boggy ground; a swamp, such as pitted the summit of Kauai’s central mountain mass, Waiáleále.

Footnote 399: (return) A’a lewalewa. Aerial roots such as are put forth by the lehua trees in high altitudes and in a damp climate. They often aid the traveler by furnishing him with a sort of ladder.

Footnote 400: (return) U’i elua. Literally two beauties. One interpreter says the reference is to the arms, with which one pulls himself up; it is here rendered “flanks.”

Footnote 401: (return) Ki-ki’i ka ua i ka nana keia, la. The meaning of this passage is obscure. The most plausible view is that this is an exclamation made by one of the two travelers while crouching for shelter under an overhanging bank. This one, finding himself unprotected, exclaims to his companion on the excellence of the shelter he has found, whereupon the second man comes over to share his comfort only to find that he has been hoaxed and that the deceiver has stolen his former place. The language of the text seems a narrow foundation on which to base such an incident. A learned Hawaiian friend, however, finds it all implied in this passage.



Perilous, steep, is the climb to Hanalei woods;

To walk canny footed over its bogs;

To balance oneself on its ledges,

And toil up ladder of hanging roots.


The bulk of my guide overhangs me,

His loins are well-nigh exhausted;

Two beautiful shapes!

’Neath this bank I crouch sheltered from rain.

At first blush this mele seems to be the account of a perilous climb through that wild mountainous region that lies back of Hanalei, Kauai, a region of tangled woods, oozy steeps, fathomless bogs, narrow ridges, and overhanging cliffs that fall away into profound abysses, making such an excursion a most precarious adventure. This is what appears on the surface. Hawaiian poets, however, did not indulge in landscape-painting for its own sake; as a rule, they had some ulterior end in view, and that end was the portrayal of some primal human passion, ambition, hate, jealousy, love, especially love. Guided by this principle, one asks what uncouth or romantic love adventure this wild mountain climb symbolizes. All the Hawaiians whom the author has consulted on this question deny any hidden meaning to this mele.

Page 212


The conception of this peculiar hula originated from a pathetic incident narrated in the story of Hiiaka’s journey to bring Prince Lohiau to the court of Pele. Hiiaka, standing with her friend Wahine-oma’o on the heights that overlooked the beach at Kahakuloa, Maui, saw the figure of a woman, maimed as to hands and feet, dancing in fantastic glee on a plate of rock by the ocean. She sang as she danced, pouring out her soul in an ecstasy that ill became her pitiful condition; and as she danced her shadow-dance, for she was but a ghost, poor soul! these were the words she repeated:

Auwé, auwé, mo’ ku’u lima!

Auwé, auwé, mo’ ku’u lima!


Alas, alas, maimed are my hands!

Alas, alas, maimed are my hands!

Wahine-oma’o, lacking spiritual sight, saw nothing of this; but Hiiaka, in downright pity and goodness of impulse, plucked a hala fruit from the string about her neck and threw it so that it fell before the poor creature, who eagerly seized it and with the stumps of her hands held it up to enjoy its odor. At the sight of the woman’s pleasure Hiiaka sang:

Le’a wale hoi ka wahine lima-lima ole, wawae ole,

E ha ana i kana i’a, ku’i-ku’i ana i kana opihi,

Wa’u-wa’u ana i kana limu, Mana-mana-ia-kalu-é-a.


How pleased is the girl maimed of hand and foot,

Groping for fish, pounding shells of opihi,

Kneading her moss, Mana-mana-ia-kalu-éa!

The answer of the desolate creature, grateful for Hiiaka’s recognition and kind attention, was that pretty mele appropriated by hula folk as the wreath-song, already given (p. 56), which will bear repetition:

Ke lei mai la o Ka-ula i ke kai, e-e!

Ke malamalama o Niihau, ua malie.

A malie, pa ka Inu-wai.

Ke inu mai la na hala o Naue i ke kai.


No Naue ka hala, no Puna ka wahine,

No ka lua no i Kilauea.

Page 213


Kaula wreathes her brow with the ocean;

Niihau shines forth in the calm.

After the calm blows the Inu-wai,

And the palms of Naue drink of the salt.


From Naue the palm, from Puna the maid,

Aye, from the pit of Kilauea.

The hula mu’u-mu’u, literally the dance of the maimed, has long been out of vogue, so that the author has met with but one person, and he not a practitioner of the hula, who has witnessed its performance. This was in Puna, Hawaii; the performance was by women only and was without instrumental accompaniment. The actors were seated in a half-reclining position, or kneeling. Their arms, as if in imitation of a maimed person, were bent at the elbows and doubled up, so that their gestures were made with the upper arms. The mele they cantillated went as follows:

Pii ana a-áma, 402

A-áma kai nui;

Kai pua-lena;

A-áma, pai-é-a, 403


Naholo i lea laupapa.

Popo’i, popo’i, popo’i!

Pii mai pipipi, 404 alea-lea;

Noho i ka malua kai

O-ú 405 o-í kela.


Ai ka limu akaha-kaha; 406

Ku e, Kahiki, i ke kai nui!

I ke kai pualena a Kane!

A ke Akua o ka lua,

Ua hiki i kai!


Ai humu-humu,

E lau, e lau e,

Ka opihi 407 koele!

Pa i uka, pa i kai,

Kahi a ke Akua i pe’e ai.


Pe’e oe a nalo loa;

Ua nalo na Pele.

E hua’i e, hua’i e, hua’i,

O Ku ka mahu nui akea! 408

Iho i kai o ka Milo-holu; 409


Auau meliana i ka wai o ke Akua.

Ke a e, ke a mai la

Ke ahi a ka Wahine.

E hula e, e hula e, e hula e!

E hula mai oukou!


Ua noa no Manamana-ia-kalu-é-a,

Puili kua, puili alo;

Holo i kai, holo i uka,

Holo i ka lua o Pele—

He Akua ai pohaku no Puna.


O Pi, 410 o Pa,[410] uhini mai ana,

O Pele i ka lua.

A noa!

Footnote 402: (return) A-áma. An edible black crab. When the surf is high, it climbs up on the rocks.

Footnote 403: (return) Pai-é-a. An edible gray crab. The favorite time for taking these crabs is when the high tide or surf forces them to leave the water for protection.

Footnote 404: (return) Pipípi. A black seashell (Nerita). With it is often found the alea-lea, a gray shell. These shellfish, like the crabs above mentioned, crawl up the rocks and cliffs during stormy weather.

Footnote 405: (return) O-ú. A variety of eel that lurks in holes; it is wont to keep its head lifted. The o-í (same verse) is an eel that snakes about in the shallow water or on the sand at the edge of the water.

Footnote 406: (return) Akahakaha. A variety of moss. If one ate of this as he gathered it, the ocean at once became tempestuous.

Footnote 407: (return) Opihi. An edible bivalve found in the salt waters of Hawaii. Pele is said to have been very fond of it. There is an old saying, He akua ai opihi o Pele—“Pele is a goddess who eats the opihi.” In proof of this statement they point to the huge piles of opihi shells that may be found along the coast of Puna, the middens, no doubt, of the old-time people. Koéle was a term applied to the opihi that lives well under water, and therefore are delicate eating. Another meaning given to the word koele—opihi koele,—line 17—is “heaped up.”

Footnote 408: (return) O Ku ka mahu nui akea. The Hawaiians have come to treat this phrase as one word, an epithet applied to the god Ku. In the author’s translation it is treated as an ordinary phrase.

Footnote 409: (return) Milo-hólu. A grove of milo trees that stood, as some affirm, about that natural basin of warm water in Puna, which the Hawaiians called Wai-wela-wela.

Footnote 410: (return) Pi, Pa. These were two imaginary little beings who lived in the crater of Kilauea, and who declared their presence by a tiny shrill piping sound, such, perhaps, as a stick of green wood will make when burning. Pi was active at such times as the fires were retreating, Pa when the fires were rising to a full head.

Page 214


Black crabs are climbing,

Crabs from the great sea,

Sea that is darkling.

Black crabs and gray crabs


Scuttle o’er the reef-plate.

Billows are tumbling and lashing,

Beating and surging nigh.

Seashells are crawling up;

And lurking in holes


Are the eels o-ú and o-í.

But taste the moss akáhakáha,

Kahiki! how the sea rages!

The wild sea of Kane!

The pit-god has come to the ocean,


All consuming, devouring

By heaps the delicate shellfish!

Lashing the mount, lashing the sea,

Lurking place of the goddess.

Pray hide yourself wholly;


The Pele women are hidden.

Burst forth now! burst forth!

Ku with spreading column of smoke!

Now down to the grove Milo-holu;

Bathe in waters warmed by the goddess.


Behold, they burn, behold, they burn!

Page 215

The fires of the goddess burn!

Now for the dance, the dance!

Bring out the dance made public

By Mána-mána-ia-kálu-é-a.


Turn about back, turn about face;

Advance toward the sea;

Advance toward the land,

Toward the pit that is Pele’s,

Portentous consumer of rocks in Puna.


Pi and Pa chirp the cricket notes

Of Pele at home in her pit.

Have done with restraint!

The imagery and language of this mele mark the hula to which it belonged as a performance of strength.

Page 216


For the purpose of this book the rating of any variety of hula must depend not so much on the grace and rhythm of its action on the stage as on the imaginative power and dignity of its poetry. Judged in this way, the kolani is one of the most interesting and important of the hulas. Its performance seems to have made no attempt at sensationalism, yet it was marked by a peculiar elegance. This must have been due in a measure to the fact that only adepts—olóhe—those of the most finished skill in the art of hula, took part in its presentation. It was a hula of gentle, gracious action, acted and sung while the performers kept a sitting position, and was without instrumental accompaniment. The fact that this hula was among the number chosen for presentation before the king (Kamehameha III) while on a tour of Oahu in the year 1846 or 1847 is emphatic testimony as to the esteem in which it was held by the Hawaiians themselves.

The mele that accompanied this hula when performed for the king’s entertainment at Waimanalo was the following:

He ua la, he ua,

He ua pi’i mai;

Noe-noe halau,

Halau loa o Lono.


O lono oe;

Pa-á-a na pali

I ka hana a Ikuwá—

Pohá ko-ele-ele.

A Welehu ka maláma,


Noho i Makali’i;

Li’i-li’i ka hana.

Aia a e’é-u,

He eu ia no ka la hiki.

Hiki mai ka Lani,


Nauweuwe ka honua,

Ka hana a ke ola’i nui:

Moe pono ole ko’u po—

Na niho ai kalakala,

Ka hana a ka Niuhi


A mau i ke kai loa.

He loa o ka hiki’na.

A ua noa, a ua noa.

Page 217


Lo, the rain, the rain!

The rain is approaching;

The dance-hall is murky,

The great hall of Lono.


Listen! its mountain walls

Are stunned with the clatter,

As when in October,

Heaven’s thunderbolts shatter.

Then follows Welehu,


The month of the Pleiads.

Scanty the work then done,

Save as one’s driven.

Spur comes with the sun,

When day has arisen.


Now comes the Heaven-born;

The whole land doth shake,

As with an earthquake;

Sleep quits then my bed:

How shall this maw be fed!


Great maw of the shark—

Eyes that gleam in the dark

Of the boundless sea!

Rare the king’s visits to me.

All is free, all is free!

If the author of this Hawaiian idyl sought to adapt its descriptive imagery to the features of any particular landscape, it would almost seem as if he had in view the very region in which Kauikeaouli found himself in the year 1847 as he listened to the mele of this unknown Hawaiian Theocritus. Under the spell of this poem, one is transported to the amphitheater of Mauna-wili, a valley separated from Waimanalo only by a rampart of hills. At one’s back are the abrupt walls of Konahuanui; at the right, and encroaching so as almost to shut in the front, stands the knife-edge of Olomana; to the left range the furzy hills of Ulamawao; while directly to the front, looking north, winds the green valley, whose waters, before reaching the ocean, spread out into the fish-ponds and duck swamps of Kailua. It would seem as if this must have been the very picture the idyllic poet had in mind. This smiling, yet rock-walled, amphitheater was the vast dance-hall of Lono—Halau loa o Lono (verse 4)—whose walls were deafened, stunned (pa-á-a, verse 6), by the tumult and uproar of the multitude that always followed in the wake of a king, a multitude whose night-long revels banished sleep: Moe pono ole ko’u po (verse 17). The poet seems to be thinking of this same hungry multitude in verse 18, Na niho ai kalakala, literally the teeth that tear the food; also when he speaks of the Niuhi (verse 19), a mythical shark, the glow of whose eyes was said to be visible Page 218 for a great distance in the ocean, A mau i ke kai loa (verse 20). Ikuwá, Welehu, Makali’i (verses 7, 9, and 10). These were months in the Hawaiian year corresponding to a part of September, October and November, and a part of December. The Hawaiian year began when the Pleiades (Makali’i) rose at sunset (about November 20), and was divided into twelve lunar months of twenty-nine or thirty days each. The names of the months differed somewhat in the different parts of the group. The month Ikuwá is said to have been named from its being the season of thunderstorms. This does not of itself settle the time of its occurrence, for the reason that in Hawaii the procession of the seasons and the phenomena of weather follow no definite order; that is, though electrical storms occur, there is no definite season of thunderstorms.

Maka-li’i (verse 10) was not only the name of a month and the name applied to the Pleiades, but was also a name given the cool, the rainy, season. The name more commonly given this season was Hooilo. The Makahiki period, continuing four months, occurred at this time of the year. This was a season when the people rested from unnecessary labor and devoted themselves to festivals, games, and special religious observances. Allusion is made to this avoidance of toil in the words Li’ili’i ka hana (verse 11).

One can not fail to perceive a vein of gentle sarcasm cropping up in this idyl, softened, however, by a spirit of honest good feeling. Witness the following: Noe-noe (verse 3), primarily meaning cloudy, conveys also the idea of agreeable coolness and refreshment. Again, while the multitude that follows the king is compared to the ravenous man-eating Niuhi (verse 19), the final remark as to the rarity of the king’s visits, He loa o ka hiki’na (verse 21), may be taken not only as a salve to atone for the satire, but as a sly self-gratulation that the affliction is not to be soon repeated.

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There was a peculiar class of hulas named after animals, in each one of which the song-maker developed some characteristic of the animal in a fanciful way, while the actors themselves aimed to portray the animal’s movements in a mimetic fashion. To this class belongs the hula kolea. 411 It was a peculiar dance, performed, as an informant asserts, by actors who took the kneeling posture, all being placed in one row and facing in the same direction. There were gestures without stint, arms, heads, and bodies moving in a fashion that seemed to imitate in a far-off way the movements of the bird itself. There was no instrumental accompaniment to the music. The following mele is one that was given with this hula:

Kolea kai piha! 412

I aha mai nei?

Ku-nou 413 mai nei.

E aha kakou?


E ai kakou. 414

Nohea ka ai? 415

No Kahiki mai.[415]

Hiki mai ka Lani,[415]

Olina Hawaii,


Mala’ela’e ke ala,

Nou, e ka Lani.

Puili pu ke aloha,

Pili me ka’u manu. 416

Ka puana a ka moe?


Moe oe a hoolana

Page 220

Ka hali’a i hiki mai;

Ooe pu me a’u

Noho pu i ka wai aliali.

Hai’na ia ka pauna.


O ka hua o ke kolea, aia i Kahiki. 417

Hiki mai kou aloha, mae’ele au.

Footnote 411: (return) The plover.

Footnote 412: (return) Kolea kai piha. The kolea is a feeder along the shore, his range limited to a narrower strip as the tide rises. The snare was one of the methods used by the Hawaiians for the capture of this bird. In his efforts to escape when snared he made that futile bobbing motion with his head that must be familiar to every hunter.

Footnote 413: (return) Usually the bobbing motion, ku-nou, is the prelude to flight; but the snared bird can do nothing more, a fact which suggests to the poet the nodding and bowing of two lovers when they meet.

Footnote 414: (return) E ai kakou. Literally, let us eat. While this figure of speech often has a sensual meaning, it does not necessarily imply grossness. Hawaiian literalness and narrowness of vocabulary is not to be strained to the overthrow of poetical sentiment.

Footnote 415: (return) To the question Nohea ka ai?, whence the food? that is, the bird, the poet answers, No Kahiki mai, from Kahiki, from some distant region, the gift of heaven, it may be, as implied in the next line, Hiki mai ka Lani. The coming of the king, or chief, Lani, literally, the heaven-born, with the consummation of the love. Exactly what this connection is no one can say.

Footnote 416: (return) In the expression Pili me ka’u manu the poet returns to his figure of a bird as representing a loved one.

Footnote 417: (return) O ka hua o ke kolea, aia i Kahiki. In declaring that the egg of the kolea is laid in a foreign land, Kahiki, the poet enigmatizes, basing his thought on some fancied resemblance between the mystery of love and the mystery of the kolea’s birth.


A plover at the full of the sea—

What, pray, is it saying to me?

It keeps bobbing its noddy.

To do what would you counsel?


Why, eat its plump body!

Whence comes the sweet morsel?

From the land of Kahiki.

When our sovereign appears,

Hawaii gathers for play,


Stumble-blocks cleared from the way—

Fit rule of the king’s highway.

Let each one embrace then his love;

For me, I’ll keep to my dove.

Hark now, the signal for bed!


Attentive then to love’s tread,

While a wee bird sings in the soul,

My love comes to me heart-whole—

Then quaff the waters of bliss.

Say what is the key to all this?


The plover egg’s laid in Kahiki.

Your love, when it comes, finds me dumb.

The plover—kolea—is a wayfarer in Hawaii; its nest-home is in distant lands, Kahiki. The Hawaiian poet finds in all this something that reminds him of the spirit of love.

Page 221


The hula manó, shark-dance, as its name signifies, was a performance that takes class with the hula kolea, already mentioned, as one of the animal dances. But little can be said about the physical features of this hula as a dance, save that the performers took a sitting position, that the action was without sensationalism, and that there was no instrumental accompaniment. The cantillation of the mele was in the distinct and quiet tone and manner which the Hawaiians termed ko’i-honua.

The last and only mention found of its performance in modern times was in the year 1847, during the tour, previously mentioned, which Kamehameha III made about Oahu. The place was the lonely and romantic valley of Waimea, a name already historic from having been the scene of the tragic death of Lieutenant Hergest (of the ship Dædalus) in 1792.


Auwe! pau au i ka manó nui, e!

Lala-kea 418 niho pa-kolu.

Pau ka papa-ku o Lono 419

I ka ai ia e ka manó nui,


O Niuhi maka ahi,

Olapa i ke kai lipo.

Ahu e! au-we!

A pua ka wili-wili,

A nanahu ka manó, 420

Page 222 10

Auwe! pau au i ka manó nui!

Kai uli, kai ele,

Kai popolohua o Kane.

A lealea au i ka’u hula,

Pau au i ka manó nui!

Footnote 418: (return) Lala-kea. This proper name, as it seems once to have been, has now become rather the designation of a whole class of man-eating sea-monsters. The Hawaiians worshiped individual sharks as demigods, in the belief that the souls of the departed at death, or even before death, sometimes entered and took possession of them, and that they at times resumed human form. To this class belonged the famous shark Niuhi (verse 5).

Footnote 419: (return) Papa-ku o Lono. This was one of the underlying strata of the earth that must be passed before reaching Mílu, the hades of the Hawaiians. The cosmogony of the southern Polynesians, according to Mr. Tregear, recognized ten papa, or divisions. “The first division was the earth’s surface; the second was the abode of Rongo-ma-tane and Haumia-tiketike; ... the tenth was Meto, or Ameto, or Aweto, wherein the soul of man found utter extinction.” (The Maori-Polynesian Comparative Dictionary, by Edward Tregear, F.R.G.S., etc., Wellington, New Zealand, 1891.)

Footnote 420: (return)

Verses 8 and 9 are from an old proverb which the Hawaiians put into the following quatrain:

A pua ka wiliwili,

A nanahu ka manó;

A pua ka wahine u’i,

A nanahu ke kanawai.


When flowers the wiliwili,

Then bites the shark;

When flowers a young woman.

Then bites the law.

The people came to take this old saw seriously and literally, and during the season when the wiliwili (Erythrina monosperma) was clothed in its splendid tufts of brick-red, mothers kept their children from swimming into the deep sea by setting before them the terrors of the shark.



Alas! I am seized by the shark, great shark!

Lala-kea with triple-banked teeth.

The stratum of Lono is gone,

Torn up by the monster shark,


Niuhi with fiery eyes,

That flamed in the deep blue sea.

Alas! and alas!

When flowers the wili-wili tree,

That is the time when the shark-god bites.


Alas! I am seized by the huge shark!

O blue sea, O dark sea,

Foam-mottled sea of Kane!

What pleasure I took in my dancing!

Alas! now consumed by the monster shark!

Who would imagine that a Hawaiian would ever picture the god of love as a shark? As a bird, yes; but as a shark! What a light this fierce idyl casts on the imagination of the people of ancient Hawaii!

Page 223


The dog took his part and played his enthusiastic rôle in the domestic life of every Hawaiian. He did not starve in a fool’s paradise, a neglected object of man’s superstitious regard, as in Constantinople; nor did he vie with kings and queens in the length and purity of his pedigree, as in England; but in Hawaii he entered with full heart of sympathy into all of man’s enterprises, and at his death bequeathed his body a sacrifice to men and gods. It was fitting that the Hawaiian poet should celebrate the dog and his altogether virtuous and altruistic services to mankind. The hula ilío may be considered as part of Hawaii’s tribute to man’s most faithful friend, the dog.

The hula ilío was a classic performance that demanded of the actors much physical stir; they shifted their position, now sitting, now standing; they moved from place to place; indulged in many gestures, sometimes as if imitating the motions of the dog. This hula has long been out of commission. Like the two animal-hulas previously mentioned, it was performed without the aid of instrumental accompaniment.

The allusions in this mele are to the mythical story that tells of Kane’s drinking, revels on the heights about Waipi’o valley; how he and his fellows by the noise of their furious conching disturbed the prayers and rituals of King Liloa and his priests, Kane himself being the chief offender by his blowing on the conch-shell Kihapú, stolen from Liloa’s temple of Paka’alana: its recovery by the wit and dramatic action of the gifted dog Puapua-lenalena. (See p. 131.)


Ku e, naná e!

Makole 421 o Ku!

Hoolei ia ka lei, 422

I lei no Puapua-lenalena,


He lei hinano no Kahili, 423

He wehiwehi no Niho-kú 424

Page 224

Kaanini ka lani, 425 uwé ka honua:

A aoa aku oe;

Lohe o Hiwa-uli, 426


Ka milimili a ka lani.

Noho opua i ka malámaláma

Málama ia ka ipu. 427

He hano-wai no Kilioe, 428

Wahine noho pali o Haena.


Enaena na ahi o Kilauea, 429

Ka haku pali o Kamohoalii. 430

A noho i Waipi’o,

Ka pali kapu a Kane.

Moe ole ka po o ke alii,


Ke kani mau o Kiha-pú.

Ukiuki, uluhua ke alii:

Hoouna ka elele; 431

Loaa i Kauai o Máno,

Kupueu a Wai-uli me Kahili;


A ao aku oe, aoa, 432 aoa a aoa.

Hana e o Kaua-hoa, 433

Ka mea ūi o Hanalei,

Hu’e’a kaua, moe i ke awakea,

Page 225

Kapae ke kaua o ka hoahanau! 434


Hookahi no pua o ka oi;

Awili pu me ke kaio’e. 435

I lei no Puapua-lenalena.

O ku’u luhi ua hiki iho la,

Ka nioi o Paka’a-lana. 436


A lana ka manao, hakuko’i ’loko,

Ka hae mau ana a Puapua-lenalena,

A hiki i Kuma-kahi, 437

Kahi au i noho ai,

A hiki iho la ka elele,


Inu i ka awa kau-laau o Puna. 438

Aoa, he, he, hene!

Footnote 421: (return) Makole. Red-eyed; ophthalmic.

Footnote 422: (return) The wreath, lei, is not for the god, but for the dog Puapua-lenalena, the one who in the story recovered the stolen conch, Kiha-pú (verse 20), with which god Kane made night hideous and disturbed the repose of pious King Liloa (Moe ole ka po o ke alii, verse 19).

Footnote 423: (return) Kahili. Said to be the foster mother of Puapua-lenalena.

Footnote 424: (return) Niho-kú. Literally an upright tooth, was the name of the hill on which lived the old couple who were the foster parents of the dog.

Footnote 425: (return) Kaanini ka lani, etc. Portents by which heaven and earth expressed their appreciation of the birth of a new prodigy, the dog Puapua-lenalena.

Footnote 426: (return) Hiwa-uli. An epithet applied to the island of Hawaii, perhaps on account of the immense extent of territory on that island that was simply black lava; hiwa, black, was a sacred color. The term uli has reference to its verdancy.

Footnote 427: (return) Ipu. Wai-uli, the foster father of the dog, while fishing in a mountain brook, brought up a pebble on his hook; his wife, who was childless and yearned for offspring, kept it in a calabash wrapped in choice tapa. In a year or two it had developed into the wonderful dog, Puapua-lenalena. The calabash was the ipu here mentioned, the same as the hano wai (verse 13), a water-container.

Footnote 428: (return) Kilióe. A sorceress who lived at Haena, Kauai, on the steep cliffs that were inaccessible to human foot.

Footnote 429: (return) Ena-ena, na ahi o Kilauea. “Hot are the fires of Kilauea.” The duplicated word ena-ena, taken in connection with Ha-ena in the previous verse, is a capital instance of a form of assonance, or nonterminal rhyme, much favored and occasionally used by Hawaiian poets of the middle period. From the fact that its use here introduces a break in the logical relation which it is hard to reconcile with unity one may think that the poet was seduced from the straight and narrow way by this opportunity for an indulgence that sacrifices reason to rhyme.

Footnote 430: (return) Kamoho-alii. The brother of Pele; his person was so sacred that the flames and smoke of Kilauea dared not invade the bank on which he reposed. The connection of thought between this and the main line of argument is not clear.

Footnote 431: (return) Hoouna ka elele. According to one story Liloa dispatched a messenger to bring Puapua-lenalena and his master to Waipi’o to aid him in regaining possession of Kiha-pú.

Footnote 432: (return) A ao aku oe, aoa ... This indicated the dog’s assent. Puapua-lenalena understood what was said to him, but could make no reply in human speech. When a question was put to him, if he wished to make a negative answer, he would keep silent; but if he wished to express assent to a proposition, he barked and frisked about.

Footnote 433: (return) Hana e o Kaua-hoa ... No one has been found who can give a satisfactory explanation of the logical connection existing between the passage here cited and the rest of the poem. It treats of an armed conflict between Kauahoa and his cousin Kawelo, a hero from Oahu, which took place on Kauai. Kauahoa was a retainer and soldier of Ai-kanaka, a king of Kauai. The period was in the reign of King Kakuhihewa, of Oahu. Kawelo invaded Kauai with an armed force and made a proposition to Kauahoa which involved treachery to Kauahoa’s liege-lord Ai-kanaka. Kauahoa’s answer to this proposition is given in verse 28; Hu’e a kaua, moe i ke awakea!—“Strike home, then sleep at midday!” The sleep at midday was the sleep of death.

Footnote 434: (return) Kapae ke kaua o ka hoahanau! This was the reply of Kawelo, urging Kauahoa to set the demands of kinship above those of honor and loyalty to his liege-lord. In the battle that ensued Kauahoa came to his death. The story of Kawelo is full of romance.

Footnote 435: (return) Kaio’e. Said to be a choice and beautiful flower found on Kauai. It is not described by Hillebrand.

Footnote 436: (return) Ka nioi o Paka’a-lana. The doorsill of the temple, heiau, of Paka’a-lana was made of the exceedingly hard wood nioi. It was to this temple that Puapua-lenalena brought the conch Kiha-pú when he had stolen (recovered) it from god Kane.

Footnote 437: (return) Qumukahi. See note c on p. 197.

Footnote 438: (return) Awa kau-laau o Puna. It is said that in Puna the birds sometimes planted the awa in the stumps or in the crotches of the trees, and this awa was of the finest quality.

The author of this mele, apparently under the sanction of his poetic license, uses toward the great god Ku a plainness of speech which to us seems satirical; he speaks of him as makole, red-eyed, the result, no doubt, of his notorious addiction to awa, in which he was not alone among the gods. But it is not at all certain that the Hawaiians looked upon this ophthalmic redness as repulsive or disgraceful. Everything connected with awa had for them a cherished value. In the mele given on p. 130 the cry was, “Kane is drunken with awa!” The two gods Kane and Ku were companions in their revels as well as in nobler adventures. Such a poem as this flashes a strong light into the workings of the Hawaiian mind on the creations of their own imagination, the beings who stood to them as gods; not robbing them of their power, not deposing them from the throne of the universe, perhaps not even penetrating the veil of enchantment and mystery with which the popular regard covered them, at the most perhaps giving them a hold on the affections of the people.



Look forth, god Ku, look forth!

Huh! Ku is blear-eyed!

Aye, weave now the wreath—

A wreath for the dog Pua-lena;


A hala plume for Kahili,

Choice garlands from Niho-kú.

Page 226

There was a scurry of clouds, earth groaned;

The sound of your baying reached

Hawaii the verdant, the pet of the gods;


A portent was seen in the heavens.

You were kept in a cradle of gourd,

Water-gourd of the witch Kilioe,

Who haunted the cliffs of Haena—

The fiery blasts of the crater


Touch not Kamoho-alii’s cliff.

Your travel reaches Waipi’o,

The sacred cliff of god Kane.

Sleep fled the bed of the king

At the din of the conch Kiha-pú.


The king was tormented, depressed;

His messenger sped on his way;

Found help from Kauai of Máno—

The marvelous foster child,

By Waiuli, Kahuli, upreared;


Your answer, a-o-a, a-o-a!—

’Twas thus Kauahoa made ready betimes,

That hero of old Hanalei—

“Strike home! then sleep at midday!”

“God fend a war between kindred!”


One flower all other surpasses;

Twine with it a wreath of kai-o’e,

A chaplet to crown Pua-lena.

My labor now has its reward,

The doorsill of Pa-ka’a-lana.


My heart leaps up in great cheer;

The bay of the dog greets my ear,

It reaches East Cape by the sea,

Where Puna gave refuge to thee,

Till came the king’s herald, hot-foot,


And quaffed the awa’s tree-grown root.

A-o-a, a-o-a, he, he, hene!

The problem to be solved by the translator of this peculiar mele is a difficult one. It involves a constant readjustment of the mental standpoint to meet the poet’s vagrant fancy, which to us seems to occupy no consistent point of view. If this difficulty arises from the author’s own lack of insight, he can at least absolve himself from the charge of negligence and lack of effort to discover the standpoint that shall give unity to the whole composition; and can console himself with the reflection that no native Hawaiian scholar with whom he has conferred has been able to give a key to the solution of this problem. In truth, the native Hawaiian scholars of to-day do not appreciate as we do the necessity of holding fast to one viewpoint. They seem to be willing to accept with gusto any production of their old-time singers, though they may not be able to explain them, and though to us, in whose hearts the songs of the masters ever make music, they may seem empty riddles.

Page 227

The solution of this problem here furnished is based on careful study of the text and of the allusions to tradition and myth that therein abound. Its expression in the translation has rendered necessary occasional slight departures from absolute literalness, and has involved the supplying of certain conjunctive and explanatory words and phrases of which the original, it is true, gives no hint, but without which the text would be meaningless.

One learned Hawaiian with whom the author has enjoyed much conference persists in taking a most discouraging and pessimistic view of this mele. It is gratifying to be able to differ from him in this matter and to be able to sustain one’s position by the consenting opinion of other Hawaiians equally accomplished as the learned friend just referred to.

The incidents in the story of Puapua-lenalena alluded to in the mele do not exactly chime with any version of the legend met with. That is not strange. Hawaiian legends of necessity had many variants, especially where, as in this case, the adventures of the hero occurred in part on one and in part on another island. The author’s knowledge of this story is derived from various independent sources, mainly from a version given to his brother, Joseph S. Emerson, who took it down from the words of an intelligent Hawaiian youth of Kohala.

English literature, so far as known to the author, does not furnish any example that is exactly comparable to or that will serve as an illustration of this nonterminal rhyme, which abounds in Hawaiian poetry. Perhaps the following will serve the purpose of illustration:

’Twas the swine of Gadara, fattened on mast.

The mast-head watch of a ship was the last

To see the wild herd careering past,

Or such a combination as this:

He was a mere flat,

Yet flattered the girls.

Such artificial productions as these give us but a momentary intellectual entertainment. While the intellectual element in them was not lacking with the Hawaiians, the predominant feeling, no doubt, was a sensuous delight coming from the repetition of a full-throated vowel-combination.

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The hula pua’a rounds out the number of animal-dances that have survived the wreck of time, or the memory of which has come down to us. It was a dance in which only the olapa took part without the aid of instrumental accompaniment. Women as well as men were eligible as actors in its performance. The actors put much spirit into the action, beating the chest, flinging their arms in a strenuous fashion, throwing the body into strained attitudes, at times bending so far back as almost to touch the floor. This energy seems to have invaded the song, and the cantillation of the mele is said to have been done in that energetic manner called ai-ha’a.

The hula pua’a seems to have been native to Kauai. The author has not been able to learn of its performance within historic times on any other island.

The student of Hawaiian mythology naturally asks whether the hula pua’a concerned itself with the doings of the mythological hog-deity Kama-pua’a whose amour with Pele was the scandal of Hawaiian mythology. It takes but a superficial reading of the mele to answer this question in the affirmative.

The following mele, or oli more properly, which was used in connection with the hula pua’a, is said to have been the joint production of two women, the daughters of a famous bard named Kana, who was the reputed brother of Limaloa (long-armed), a wonder-working hero who piled up the clouds in imitation of houses and mountains and who produced the mirage:


Ko’i maka nui, 439

Ike ia na pae moku,

Na moku o Mala-la-walu, 440

Ka noho a Ka-maulu-a-niho,


Kupuna o Kama-pua’a.

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Ike ia ka hono a Pii-lani; 441

Ku ka paóa i na mokupuni.

Ua puni au ia Pele,

Ka u’i noho mau i Kilauea,


Anau hewa i ke a o Puna.

Keiki kolohe a Ku ame Hina— 442

Hina ka opua, kau i ke olewa,

Ke ao pua’a 443 maalo i Haupu.

Haku’i ku’u manao e hoi 444 i Kahiki;


Pau ole ka’u hoohihi ia Hale-ma’u-ma’u, 445

I ka pali kapu a Ka-moho-alii. 446

Kela kuahiwi a mau a ke ahi.

He manao no ko’u e noho pu;

Pale ’a mai e ka hilahila,


I ka hakukole ia mai e ke Akua wahine

Pale oe, pale au, iloko o ka hilahila;

A hilahila wale ia iho no e oe;

Nau no ia hale i noho. 447

Ka hana ia a ke Ko’i maka nui,


Ike ia na pae moku.

He hiapo 448 au na Olopana,

He hi’i-alo na Ku-ula,

Ka mea nana na haka moa;

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Noho i ka uka o Ka-liu-wa’a; 449


Ku’u wa’a ia ho’i i Kahiki.

Pau ia ike ana ia Hawaii,

Ka aina a ke Akua i hiki mai ai,

I noho malihini ai i na moku o Hawaii.

Malihini oe, malihini au,


Ko’i maka nui, ike ia na-pae opuaa.

A pepelu, a pepelu, a pepelu

Ko ia la huelo! pili i ka lemu!

Hu! hu! hu! hu!

Ka-haku-ma’a-lani 450 kou inoa!


A e o mai oe, e Kane-hoa-lani.

Ua noa.

Footnote 439: (return) Ko’i maka nui The word maka, which from the connection here must mean the edge of an ax, is the word generally used to mean an eye. Insistence on their peculiarity leads one to think that there must have been something remarkable about the eyes of Kama-pua’a. One account describes Kama-pua’a as having eight eyes and as many feet. It is said that on one occasion as Kama-pua’a was lying in wait for Pele in a volcanic bubble in the plains of Puna Pele’s sisters recognized his presence by the gleam of his eyes. They immediately walled up the only door of exit.

Footnote 440: (return) Mala-la-walu. A celebrated king of Maui, said to have been a just ruler, who was slain in battle on Hawaii while making war against Lono-i-ka-makahiki, the rightful ruler of the island. It may be asked if the name is not introduced here because of the word walu (eight) as a reference to Kama-pua’a’s eight eyes.

Footnote 441: (return) Pi’i-lani. A king of Maui, father-in-law to Umi, the son of Liloa.

Footnote 442: (return) Hina. There were several Hinas in Hawaiian mythology and tradition. Olopana, the son of Kamaulu-a-niho (Fornander gives this name as Ka-maunu-a-niho), on his arrival from Kahiki, settled in Koolau and married a woman named Hina. Kama-pua’a is said to be the natural son of Hina by Kahiki-ula, the brother of Olopana. To this Olopana was attributed the heiau of Kawaewae at Kaneohe.

Footnote 443: (return) Ao pu-a’a. The cloud-cap that often rested on the summit of Haupu, a mountain on Kauai, near Koloa, is said to have resembled the shape of a pig. It was a common saying, “The pig is resting on Haupu.”

Footnote 444: (return) Ho’i. To return. This argues that, if Kama-pua’a was not originally from Kahiki, he had at least visited there.

Footnote 445: (return) Hale-ma’u-ma’u. This was an ancient lava-cone which until within a few years continued to be the most famous fire-lake in the caldera of Kilauea. It was so called, probably, because the roughness of its walls gave it a resemblance to one of those little shelters made from rough ama’u fern such as visitors put up for temporary convenience. The word has not the same pronunciation and is not to be confounded with that other word mau, meaning everlasting.

Footnote 446: (return) Kamoho-ali’i. The brother of Pele; in one metamorphosis he took the form of a shark. A high point in the northwest quarter of the wall of Kilauea was considered his special residence and regarded as so sacred that no smoke or flame from the volcano ever touched it. He made his abode chiefly In the earth’s underground caverns, through which the sun made its nightly transit from West back to the East. He often retained the orb of the day to warm and illumine his abode. On one such occasion the hero Mawi descended into this region and stole away the sun that his mother Hina might have the benefit of its heat in drying her tapas.

Footnote 447: (return) Hale i noho. The word hale, meaning house, is frequently used metaphorically for the human body, especially that of a woman. Pele thus acknowledges her amour with Kama-pua’a.

Footnote 448: (return) Hiapo. A firstborn child. Legends are at variance with one another as to the parentage of Kama-pua’a. According to the legend referred to previously, Kama-pua’a was the son of Olopana’s wife Hina, his true father being Kahiki-ula, the brother of Olopana. Olopana seems to have treated him as his own son. After Kama-pua’a’s robbery of his mother’s henroosts, Olopana chased the thief into the mountains and captured him. Kama eventually turned the tables against his benefactor and caused the death of Olopana through the treachery of a priest in a heiau; he was offered up on the altar as a sacrifice.

Footnote 449: (return) Ka-liu-wa’a. The bilge of the canoe. This is the name of a deep and narrow valley at Hauula, Koolau, Oahu, and is well worth a visit. Kama-pua’a, hard pressed by the host of his enemies, broke through the multitude that encompassed him on the land side and with his followers escaped up this narrow gorge. When the valley came to an abrupt end before him, and he could retreat no farther, he reared up on his hind legs and scaled the mountain wall; his feet, as he sprang up, scored the precipice with immense hollowed-out grooves or flutings. The Hawaiians call these wa’a from their resemblance to the hollow of a Hawaiian canoe. This feat of the hog-god compelled recognition of Kama-pua’a as a deity; and from that time no one entered Ka-liu-wa’a valley without making an offering to Kama-pua’a.

Footnote 450: (return) Ka-haku-ma’a-lani. A name evidently applied to Kama-pua’a.



Ax of broadest edge I’m hight;

The island groups I’ve visited,

Islands of Mala-la-walu,

Seat of Ka-maulu-a-niho,


Grandam of Kama, the swine-god.

I have seen Pi’i-lani’s glory,

Whose fame spreads over the islands.

Enamored was I of Pele;

Her beauty holds court at the fire-pit,


Given to ravage the plains of Puna.

Mischievous son of Ku, and of Hina,

Whose cloud-bloom hangs in ether,

The pig-shaped cloud that shadows Haupu.

An impulse comes to return to Kahiki—


The chains of the pit still gall me,

The tabu cliff of Ka-moho-alii,

The mount that is ever ablaze.

I thought to have domiciled with her;

Was driven away by mere shame—


The shameful abuse of the goddess!

Go thou, go I—a truce to the shame.

It was your manners that shamed me.

Free to you was the house we lived in.

These were the deeds of Broad-edged-Ax,


Who has seen the whole group of islands.

Olopana’s firstborn am I,

Nursed in the arms of Ku-ula;

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Hers were the roosts for the gamecocks.

The wilds of Ka-liu-wa’a my home,


That too my craft back to Kahiki;

This my farewell to Hawaii,

Land of the God’s immigration.

Strangers we came to Hawaii;

A stranger thou, a stranger I,


Called Broad-edged-Ax:

I’ve read the cloud-omens in heaven.

It curls, it curls! his tail—it curls!

Look, it clings to his buttocks!

Faugh, faugh, faugh, faugh, uff!


What! Ka-haku-ma’a-lani your name!

Answer from heaven, oh Kane!

My song it is done!

If one can trust, the statement of the Hawaiian who communicated the above mele, it represents only a portion of the whole composition, the first canto—if we may so term it—having dropped into the limbo of forgetfulness. The author’s study of the mele lends no countenance to such a view. Like all Hawaiian poetry, this mele wastes no time with introductory flourishes; it plunges at once in medias res.

Hawaiian mythology figured Pele, the goddess of the volcano, as a creature of passion, capable of many metamorphoses; now a wrinkled hag, asleep in a cave on a rough lava bed, with banked fires and only an occasional blue flame playing about her as symbols of her power; now a creature of terror, riding on a chariot of flame and carrying destruction; and now as a young woman of seductive beauty, as when she sought passionate relations with the handsome prince, Lohiau; but in disposition always jealous, fickle, vengeful.

Kama-pua’a was a demigod of anomalous birth, character, and make-up, sharing the nature and form of a man and of a hog, and assuming either form as suited the occasion. He was said to be the nephew of Olopana, a king of Oahu, whose kindness in acting as his foster father he repaid by the robbery of his henroosts and other unfilial conduct. He lived the lawless life of a marauder and freebooter, not confining his operations to one island, but swimming from one to another as the fit took him. On one occasion, when the farmers of Waipi’o, whom he had robbed, assembled with arms to bar his retreat and to deal vengeance upon him, he charged upon the multitude, overthrew them with great slaughter, and escaped with his plunder.

Toward Pele Kama-pua’a assumed the attitude of a lover, whose approaches she at one time permitted to her peril. The incident took place in one of the water caves—volcanic bubbles—in Puna, and at the level of the ocean; but when he had the audacity to invade her privacy and call to her as she reposed in her home at Kilauea she repelled his advances and answered his persistence with a fiery onset, from which he Page 232 fled in terror and discomfiture, not halting until he had put the width of many islands and ocean channels between himself and her.

In seeking an explanation of this myth of Pele, the volcano god and Kama-pua’a, who, on occasion, was a sea-monster, there is no necessity to hark back to the old polemics of Asia. Why not account for this remarkable myth as the statement in terms of passion familiar to all Hawaiians of those impressive natural phenomena that were daily going on before them? The spectacle of the smoking mountain pouring out its fiery streams, overwhelming river and forest, halting not until they had invaded the ocean; the awful turmoil as fire and water came in contact; the quick reprisal as the angry waves overswept the land; then the subsiding and retreat of the ocean to its own limits and the restoration of peace and calm, the fiery mount still unmoved, an apparent victory for the volcanic forces. Was it not this spectacular tournament of the elements that the Hawaiian sought to embody and idealize in his myth of Pele and Kama-pua’a? 451

Footnote 451: (return) “The Hawaiian tradition of Pele, the dread goddess of the volcanic fires,” says Mr. Fornander, “analogous to the Samoan Fe’e, is probably a local adaptation in aftertimes of an elder myth, half forgotten and much distorted. The contest related in the legend between Pele and Kamapua’a, the eight-eyed monster demigod, indicates, however, a confused knowledge of some ancient strife between religious sects, of which the former represented the worshipers of fire and the latter those with whom water was the principal element worthy of adoration.” (Abraham Fornander, The Polynesian Race, pp. 51, 52, Trubner & Co., London.)

The likeness to be found between the amphibious Kama-pua’a and the hog appeals picturesquely to one’s imagination in many ways. The very grossness of the hog enables him becomingly to fill the role of the Beast as a foil to Pele, the Beauty. The hog’s rooting snout, that ravages the cultivated fields; his panicky retreat when suddenly disturbed; his valiant charge and stout resistance if cornered; his lowered snout in charge or retreat; his curling tail—how graphically all these features appeal to the imagination in support of the comparison which likens him to a tidal wave.

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The hula ohelo was a very peculiar ancient dance, in which the actors, of both sexes, took a position almost that of reclining, the body supported horizontally by means of the hand and extended leg of one side, in such a manner that flank and buttock did not rest upon the floor, while the free leg and arm of the opposite side swung in wide gestures, now as if describing the arch of heaven, or sweeping the circle of the horizon, now held straight, now curved like a hook. At times the company, acting in concert, would shift their base of support from the right hand to the left hand, or vice versa. The whole action, though fantastical, was conducted with modesty. There was no instrumental accompaniment; but while performing the gymnastics above described the actors chanted the words of a mele to some Old World tune, the melody and rhythm of which are lost.

A peculiar feature of the training to which pupils were subjected in preparation for this dance was to range them in a circle about a large fire, their feet pointing to the hearth. The theory of this practice was that the heat of the fire suppled the limbs and imparted vivacity to the motions, on the same principle apparently as fire enables one to bend into shape a crooked stick. The word kapuahi, fireplace, in the fourth line of the mele, is undoubtedly an allusion to this practice.

The fact that the climate of the islands, except in the mountains and uplands, is rarely so cold as to make it necessary to gather about a fire seems to argue that the custom of practising this dance about a fireplace must have originated in some land of climate more austere than Hawaii.

It is safe to say that very few kumu-hulas have seen and many have not even heard of the hula ohelo. The author has an authentic account of its production at Ewa in the year 1856, its last performance, so far as he can learn, on the public stage.



Ku, oe ko’u wahi ohelo nei la, auwe, auwe!

Maka’u au i kau mea nui wali-wali, wali-wali!

Ke hoolewa nei, a lewa la, a lewa nei!

Minomino, enaena ka ia la kapuahi, kapuahi!


Nenea i ka la’i o Kona, o Kona, a o Kona!

Ponu malino i ke kai hawana-wana, hawana-wana!

He makau na ka lawaia nui, a nui e, a nui la!

Ke o-é nei ke aho o ka ipu-holoholona, holoholona!

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Naná, i ka opua makai e, makai la!


Maikai ka hana a Mali’o e, a Mali’o la!

Kohu pono ka inu ana i ka wai, a wai e!

Auwe, ku oe ko’u wahi ohelo nei la, ohelo nei la!


Ki-ó lele, ki-ó lele, ki-ó lele, e!

Ke mapu mai nei ke ala, ke ala e!


Ua malihini ka hale, ua hiki ia, ua hiki e!

Ho’i paoa i ka uka o Manai-ula, ula la, ula e!

Maanei oe, e ka makemake e noho malie, ma-li-e!

Ka pa kolonahe o ka Unulau mahope, ma-ho-pe!

Pe’e oe, a pe’e au, pe’e o ia la,


A haawe ke aloha i ke kaona, i ke kaona la!

Mo-li-a i ka nahele e, nahele la!

E hele oe a manao mai i ka luhi mua, a i-mua!

O moe hewa na iwi i ke alanui, alanui.

Kaapa Hawaii a ka moku nui, a nui e!


Nui mai ke aloha a uwe au, a uwe au.

Au-we! pau au i ka manó nui, manó nui!

Au-we! pau au i ka manó nui, manó nui!




Touched, thou art touched by my gesture, I fear, I fear.

I dread your mountain of flesh, of flesh;

How it sways, how it sways, it sways!

I’m scorched by the heat of this hearth, this hearth.


We bask in this summer of Kona, of Kona;

Calm mantles the whispering sea, the whispering sea.

Lo, the hook of the fisherman great, oh so great!

The line hums as it runs from the gourd, from the gourd.

Regard the cloud-omens over the sea, the sea.


Well skilled in his craft is Mali’o, Mali’o.

How grateful now were a draught of water, of water!

Pardon! thou art touched by thrust of my leg, of my leg!


Forth and return, forth and return, forth and return!

Now waft the woodland perfumes, the woodland perfumes.


The house ere we entered was tenant-free, quite free.

Heart-heavy we turn to the greenwood, the greenwood;

This the place, Heart’s desire, you should tarry,

And feel the soft breath of the Unulau, Unulau—

Retirement for you, retirement for me, and for him.


We’ll give then our heart to this task, this great task,

And build in the wildwood a shrine, ay a shrine.

You go; forget not the toils we have shared, have shared,

Lest your bones lie unblest in the road, in the road.

How wearisome, long, the road ’bout Hawaii, great Hawaii!


Love carries me off with a rush, and I cry, I cry,

Alas, I’m devoured by the shark, great shark!

This is not the first time that a Hawaiian poet has figured love by the monster shark.

Page 235


The hula kilu was so called from being used in a sport bearing that name which was much patronized by the alii class of the ancient regime. It was a betting game, or, more strictly, forfeits were pledged, the payment of which was met by the performance of a dance, or by the exaction of kisses and embraces. The satisfaction of these forfeits not infrequently called for liberties and concessions that could not be permitted on the spot or in public, but must wait the opportunity of seclusion. There were, no doubt, times when the conduct of the game was carried to such a pitch of license as to offend decency; but as a rule the outward proprieties were seemingly as well regarded as at an old-fashioned husking bee, when the finding of the “red ear” conferred or imposed the privilege or penalty of exacting or granting the blushing tribute of a kiss. Actual improprieties were not witnessed.

The game of kilu was played in an open matted space that lay between the two divisions of the audience—the women being on one side and the men on the other. Any chief of recognized rank in the papa alii was permitted to join in the game; and kings and queens were not above participating in the pleasures of this sport. Once admitted to the hall or inclosure, all were peers and stood on an equal footing as to the rules and privileges of the game. King nor queen could plead exemption from the forfeits incurred nor deny to another the full exercise of privileges acquired under the rules.

The players, five or more of each sex, having been selected by the president, La anoano (“quiet day”), sat facing each other in the space between the spectators. In front of each player stood a conical block of heavy wood, broad at the base to keep it upright. The kilu, with which the game was played, was an oval, one-sided dish, made by cutting in two an egg-shaped coconut shell. The object of the player was to throw his kilu so that it should travel with a sliding and at the same time a rotary motion across the matted floor and hit the wooden block which stood before the one of his choice on the side opposite. The men and the women took turns in playing. A successful hit entitled the player to claim a kiss from his opponent, a toll which was exacted at once. Success in winning ten points made one the victor in the game, and, according to some, entitled him to claim the larger forfeit, Page 236 such as was customary in the democratic game of ume. The payment of these extreme forfeits was delayed till a convenient season, or might be commuted—on grounds of policy, or at the request of the loser, if a king or queen—by an equivalent of land or other valuable possession. Still no fault could be found if the winner insisted on the strict payment of the forfeit.

The game of kilu was often got up as a compliment, a supreme expression of hospitality, to distinguished visitors of rank, thus more than making good the polite phrase of the Spanish don, “all that I have is yours.”

The fact that the hula kilu was performed by the alii class, who took great pains and by assiduous practice made themselves proficient that they might be ready to exhibit their accomplishment before the public, was a guarantee that this hula, when performed by them, would be of more than usual grace and vivacity. When performed in the halau as a tabu dance, according to some, the olapa alone took part, and the number of dancers, never very large, was at times limited to one performer. Authorities differ as to whether any musical instrument was used as an accompaniment. From an allusion to this dance met with in an old story it is quite certain that the drum was sometimes used as an accompaniment.

Let us picture to ourselves the scene: A shadowy, flower-scented hall; the elite of some Hawaiian court and their guests, gathered, in accord with old-time practice, to contend in a tournament of wit and grace and skill, vying with one another for the prize of beauty. The president has established order in the assembly; the opposing players have taken their stations, each one seated behind his target-block. The tallykeeper of one side now makes the challenge. “This kilu,” says he, “is a love token; the forfeit a kiss.” An Apollo of the opposite side joyfully takes up the gauge. His tallykeeper introduces him by name. He plumes himself like a wild bird of gay feather, standing forth in the decorous finery of his rank, girded and flowerbedecked after the manner of the halau, eager to win applause for his party not less than to secure for himself the loving reward of victory. In his hand is the instrument of the play, the kilu; the artillery of love, however, with which he is to assail the heart and warm the imagination of the fair woman opposed to him is the song he shoots from his lips.

The story of the two songs next to be presented is one, and will show us a side of Hawaiian life on which we can not afford entirely to close our eyes. During the stay at Lahaina of Kamehameha, called the Great—whom an informant in this matter always calls “the murderer,” in protest against the treacherous assassination of Keoua, which took place at Kawaihae in Kamehameha’s very presence—a high chiefess of his court named Kalola engaged in a love affair with a young Page 237 man of rank named Ka’i-áma. He was much her junior, but this did not prevent his infatuation. Early one morning she rose, leaving him sound asleep, and took canoe for Molokai to serve as one of the escort to the body of her relative, Keola, on the way to its place of sepulture.

Some woman, appreciating the situation, posted to the house and waked the sleeper with the information. Ka’iáma hastened to the shore, and as he strained his vision to gain sight of the woman of his infatuation the men at the paddles and the bristling throng on the central platform—the pola—of the craft, vanishing in the twilight, made on his imagination the impression of a hazy mountain thicket floating on the waves, but hiding from view some rare flower. He gave vent to his feelings in song:


Pua ehu kamaléna 452 ka uka o Kapa’a;

Luhi-ehu iho la 453 ka pua i Maile-húna;

Hele a ha ka iwi 454 a ke Koolau,

Ke puá mai i ka maka o ka nahelehele,


I hali hoo-muú, 455 hoohalana i Wailua.

Pa kahea a Koolau-wahine,

O Pua-ke’i, e-e-e-e!

He pua laukona 456 ka moe e aloh’ aí;

O ia moe la, e kaulele hou 457


No ka po i hala aku aku nei.

Hoiho kaua a eloelo, e ka hoa, e,

A hookahi!



Misty and dim, a bush in the wilds of Kapa’a,

The paddlers bend to their work, as the flower-laden

Shrub inclines to the earth in Maile-húna;

They sway like reeds in the breeze to crack their bones


Such the sight as I look at this tossing grove,

The rhythmic dip and swing on to Wailua.

My call to the witch shall fly with the breeze,

Shall be heard at Pua-ke’i, e-he, e-he!

The flower-stalk Laukóna beguiles man to love,


Can bring back the taste of joys once our own,

Page 238

Make real again the hours that are flown.

Turn hither, mine own, let’s drench us with love—

Just for one night!

Footnote 452: (return) Pua ehu Kamaléna (yellow child). This exclamation is descriptive of the man’s visual impression on seeing the canoe with its crowd of passengers and paddlers, in the misty light of morning, receding in the distance. The kamaléna is a mountain shrub having a yellow flower.

Footnote 453: (return) Luhi ehu iho la. Refers to the drooping of a shrub under the weight of its leaves and flowers, a figure applied to the bending of the paddlemen to their work.

Footnote 454: (return) Hele a ha ka iwi. An exaggerated figure of speech, referring to the exertions of the men at their paddles (ha, to strain).

Footnote 455: (return) I hali hoomú. This refers in a fine spirit of exaggeration to the regular motions of the paddlers.

Footnote 456: (return) Pua laukona. A kind of sugar-cane which was prescribed and used by the kahunas as an aphrodisiac.

Footnote 457: (return) Kaulele hou. To experience, or to enjoy, again.

The unchivalrous indiscretion of the youth in publishing the secret of his amour elicited from Kamehameha only the sarcastic remark, “Couldn’t he eat his food and keep his mouth shut?” The lady herself took the same view of his action. There was no evasion in her reply; her only reproach was for his childishness in blabbing.


Kálakálaíhi, kaha 458 ka La ma ke kua o Lehua;

Lulana iho la ka pihe a ke Akua; 459

Ea mai ka Unulau 460 o Halali’i;

Lawe ke Koolau-wahine 461 i ka hoa la, lilo;


Hao ka Mikioi 462 i ke kai o Lehua:

Puwa-i’a na hoa-makani 463 mai lalo, e-e-e, a.

I hoonalonalo i ke aloha, pe’e ma-loko;

Ha’i ka wai-maka hanini;

I ike aku no i ka uwe ana iho;


Pelá wale no ka hoa kamalii, e-e, a!



The sun-furrow gleams at the back of Lehua;

The King’s had his fill of scandal and chaff;

The wind-god empties his lungs with a laugh;

And the Mikioi tosses the sea at Lehua,


As the trade-wind wafts his friend on her way—

A congress of airs that ruffles the bay.

Hide love ’neath a mask—that’s all I would ask.

To spill but a tear makes our love-tale appear;

He pours out his woe; I’ve seen it, I know;


That’s the way with a boy-friend, heigh-ho!

The art of translating from the Hawaiian into the English tongue consists largely in a fitting substitution of generic for specific terms. The Hawaiian, for instance, had at command scores of specific names for the same wind, or for Page 239 the local modifications that were inflicted upon it by the features of the landscape. One might almost say that every cape and headland imposed a new nomenclature upon the breeze whose direction it influenced. He rarely contented himself with using a broad and comprehensive term when he could match the situation with a special form.

Footnote 458: (return) The picture of the sun declining, kaha, to the west, its reflected light-track, kala kalaihi, farrowing the ocean with glory, may be taken to be figurative of the loved and beautiful woman, Kalola, speeding on her westward canoe-flight.

Footnote 459: (return) Akua. Literally a god, must stand for the king.

Footnote 460: (return) Unulau. A special name for the trade-wind.

Footnote 461: (return) Koolau-wahine. Likewise another name for the trade-wind, here represented as carrying off the (man’s) companion.

Footnote 462: (return) Mikioi. An impetuous, gusty wind is represented as lashing the ocean at Lehua, thus picturing the emotional stir attending Kalola’s departure.

Footnote 463: (return) The words Puwa-i’a na hoa makani, which literally mean that the congress of winds, na hoa makani, have stirred up a commotion, even as a school of fish agitate the surface, of the ocean, puwa-i’a, refer to the scandal caused by Ka’i-ama’s conduct.

The singer restricts her blame to charging her youthful lover with an indiscreet exhibition of childish emotion. The mere display of emotion evinced by the shedding of tears was in itself a laudable action and in good form.

This first reply of the woman to her youthful lover did not by any means exhaust her armament of retaliation. When she next treats of the affair it is with an added touch of sarcasm and yet with a sang-froid that proved it had not unsettled her nerves.


Ula Kala’e-loa 464 i ka lepo a ka makani;

Hoonu’anu’a na pua i Kalama-ula,

He hoa i ka la’i a ka manu— 465

Manu ai ia i ka hoa laukona.


I keke lau-au’a ia e ka moe;

E kuhi ana ia he kanaka e.

Oau no keia mai luna a lalo;

Huná, ke aloha, pe’e maloko.

Ike ’a i ka uwe ana iho.


Pelá ka hoa kamalii—

He uwe wale ke kamalii.



Red glows Kala’e through the wind-blown dust

That defiles the flowers of Lama-ula,

Outraged by the croak of this bird,

That eats of the aphrodisiac cane,


And then boasts the privileged bed.

He makes me a creature of outlaw:

True to myself from crown to foot-sole,

My love I’ve kept sacred, pent up within.

He flouts it as common, weeping it forth—


That is the way with a child-friend;

A child just blubbers at nothing.

Footnote 464: (return) Kala’e-loa. The full name of the place on Molokai now known as Kala’e.

Footnote 465: (return) La’i a ka manu. Some claim this to be a proper name, La’i-a-ka-manu, that of a place near Kala’e. However that may be the poet evidently uses the phrase here in its etymological sense.

To return to the description of the game, the player, having uttered his vaunt in true knightly fashion, with a dexterous whirl now sends his kilu spinning on its course. If his play is successful and the kilu strikes the target on the other Page 240 side at which he aims, the audience, who have kept silence till now, break forth in applause, and his tally-keeper proclaims his success in boastful fashion:


A úweuwé ke kó’e a ke kae;

Puehuehu ka la, komo inoino;

Kakía, kahe ka ua ilalo.


Now wriggles the worm to its goal;

A tousling; a hasty encounter;

A grapple; down falls the rain.

It is now the winner’s right to cross over and claim his forfeit. The audience deals out applause or derision in unstinted measure; the enthusiasm reaches fever-point when some one makes himself the champion of the game by bringing his score up to ten, the limit. The play is often kept up till morning, to be resumed the following night. 466

Footnote 466: (return) The account above given is largely based on David Malo’s description of the game kilu. In his confessedly imperfect list of the hulas he does not mention the hula kilu. This hula was, however, included in the list of hulas announced for performance in the programme of King Kalakaua’s coronation ceremonies.

Here also is a mele, which tradition reports to have been cantillated by Hiiaka, the sister of Pele, during her famous kilu contest with the Princess Pele-ula, which took place at Kou—the ancient name for Honolulu—on Hiiaka’s voyage of return from Kauai to her sister’s court at Kilauea. In this affair Lohiau and Wahineoma’o contended on the side of Hiiaka, while Pele-ula was assisted by her husband, Kou, and by other experts. But on this occasion the dice were cogged; the victory was won not by human skill but by the magical power of Hiiaka, who turned Pele-ula’s kilu away from the target each time she threw it, but used her gift to compel it to the mark when the kilu was cast by herself.


Ku’u noa mai ka makani kuehu-kapa o Kalalau, 467

Mai na pali ku’i 468 o Makua-iki,

Ke lawe la i ka haka, 469 a lilo!

A lilo o-e, la!


Ku’u kane i ka uhu ka’i o Maka-pu’u,

Huki iluna ka Lae-o-ka-laau; 470

Oia pali makua-ole 471 olaila.

Ohiohi ku ka pali o Ulamao, e-e!

A lilo oe, la!

Footnote 467: (return) Ka-lalau (in the translation by the omission of the article ka, shortened to Lalau). A deep cliff-bound valley on the windward side of Kauai, accessible only at certain times of the year by boats and by a steep mountain trail at its head.

Footnote 468: (return) Pali ku’i. Ku’i means literally to join together, to splice or piece out. The cliffs tower one above another like the steps of a stairway.

Footnote 469: (return) Haka. A ladder or frame such as was laid across a chasm or set up at an impassable place in a precipitous road. The windward side of Kauai about Kalalau abounded in such places.

Footnote 470: (return) Lae-o-ka-laau. The southwest point of Molokai, on which is a light-house.

Footnote 471: (return) Makua-ole. Literally fatherless, perhaps meaning remarkable, without peer.

Page 241



Comrade mine in the robe-stripping gusts of Lalau,

On the up-piled beetling cliffs of Makua,

The ladder... is taken away... it is gone!

Your way is cut off, my man!


With you I’ve backed the uhu of Maka-pu’u,

Tugging them up the steeps of Point-o’-woods,

A cliff that stands fatherless, even as

Sheer stands the pali of Ula-mao—

And thus... you are lost!

This is but a fragment of the song which Hiiaka pours out in her efforts to calm the fateful storm which she saw piling up along the horizon. The situation was tragic. Hiiaka, daring fate, defying the dragons and monsters of the primeval world, had made the journey to Kauai, had snatched away from death the life of Lohiau and with incredible self-denial was escorting the rare youth to the arms of her sister, whose jealousy she knew to be quick as the lightning, her vengeance hot as the breath of the volcano, and now she saw this featherhead, with monstrous ingratitude, dallying with fate, calling down upon the whole party the doom she alone could appreciate, all for the smile of a siren whose charms attracted him for the moment; but, worst of all, her heart condemned her as a traitress—she loved him.

Hiiaka held the trick-card and she won; by her miraculous power she kept the game in her own hands and foiled the hopes of the lovers.


Ula ka lani ia Kanaloa, 472

Ula ma’ema’e ke ahi a ke A’e-loa. 473

Pohina iluna i ke ao makani,

Naue pu no i ka ilikai o Makahana-loa, 474


Makemake i ka ua lihau. 475

Aohe hana i koe a Ka-wai-loa; 476

Noho a ka li’u-lá i ke kula.

I kula oe no ka makemake, a hiki iho,

I hoa hula no ka la le’ale’a,


I noho pu me ka uahi pohina. 477

Page 242

Hina oe i ka Naulu, 478 noho pu me ka Inuwai. 479

Akahi no a pumehana ka hale, ua hiki oe:

Ma’ema’e ka luna i Haupu. 480

Upu ka makemake e ike ia Ka-ala.


He ala ka makemake e ike ia Lihu’e; 481

Ku’u uka ia noho ia Halemano. 482

Maanei oe, pale oe, pale au,

Hana ne’e ke kikala i ka ha’i keiki.

Hai’na ka manao—noho i Waimea,


Hoonu’u pu i ka i’a ku o ka aina. 483

E kala oe a kala au a kala ia Ku, Ahuena. 484

Footnote 472: (return) Kanaloa. One of the four great gods of the Hawaiians, here represented as playing the part of Phoebus Apollo.

Footnote 473: (return) A’e-loa. The name of a wind whose blowing was said to be favorable to the fisherman in this region.

Footnote 474: (return) Makahana-loa, A favorite fishing ground. The word ilikai (“skin of the sea”) graphically depicts the calm of the region. In the translation the name aforementioned has been shortened to Kahana.

Footnote 475: (return) Lihau. A gentle rain that was considered favorable to the work of the fisherman.

Footnote 476: (return) Ka-wai-loa. A division of Waialua, here seemingly used to mean the farm.

Footnote 477: (return) Uahi pohina. Literally gray-headed smoke. It is said that when studying together the words of the mele the pupils and the kumu would often gather about a fire, while the teacher recited and expounded the text. There is a possible allusion to this in the mention of the smoke.

Footnote 478: (return) Naulu. A wind.

Footnote 479: (return) Inu-wai. A wind that dried up vegetation, here indicating thirst.

Footnote 480: (return) Haupu. A mountain on Kauai, sometimes visible on Oahu in clear weather. (See note c, p. 229, on Haupu.)

Footnote 481: (return) Lihu’e. A beautiful and romantic region nestled, as the Hawaiians say, “between the thighs of the mountain,” Mount Kaala.

Footnote 482: (return) Hale-mano. Literally the multitude of houses; a sylvan region bound to the southwestern flank of the Konahuanui range of mountains, a region of legend and romance, since the coming of the white man given over to the ravage and desolation that follow the free-ranging of cattle and horses, the vaquero, and the abusive use of fire and ax by the woodman.

Footnote 483: (return) I’a ku o ka aina. Fish common to a region; in this place it was probably the kala, which word is found in the next line, though in a different sense. Here the expression is doubtless a euphemism for dalliance.

Footnote 484: (return) Ku, Ahuena. At Waimea, Oahu, stood two rocks on the opposite bluffs that sentineled the bay. These rocks were said to represent respectively the gods Ku and Ahuena, patrons of the local fishermen.



Kanaloa tints heaven with a blush,

’Tis the flame of the A’e, pure red,

And gray the wind-clouds overhead.

We trudge to the waters calm of Kahana—


Heaven grant us a favoring shower!

The work is all done on the farm.

We stay till twilight steals o’er the plain,

Then, love-spurred, tramp o’er it again,

Have you as partner in holiday dance—


We’ve moiled as one in the gray smoke;

Cast down by the Naulu, you thirst.

For once the house warms at your coming.

How clear glow the heights of yon Haupu!

I long for the sight of Ka-ala,


And sweet is the thought of Lihu’e,

And our mountain retreat, Hale-mano.

Here, fenced from each other by tabu,

Your graces make sport for the crowd.

What then the solution? Let us dwell


At Waimea and feast on the fish

That swarm in the neighboring sea,

With freedom to you and freedom to me,

Licensed by Ku and by Ahu-éna.

Page 243

The scene of this idyl is laid in the district of Waialua, Oahu, but the poet gives his imagination free range regardless of the unities. The chief subjects of interest that serve as a trellis about which the human sentiments entwine concern the duties of the fisherman, who is also a farmer; the school for the hula, in which the hero and the heroine are pupils; and lastly an ideal condition of happiness which the lovers look forward to tinder the benevolent dispensation of the gods Ku and Ahuena.

Among the numerous relatives of Pele was one said to be a sister, who was stationed on a bleak sun-burnt promontory in Koolau, Oahu, where she supported a half-starved existence, striving to hold soul and body together by gathering the herbs of the fields, eked out by unsolicited gifts of food contributed by passing travelers. The pathetic plaint given below is ascribed to this goddess.


Mao wale i ka lani

Ka leo o ke Akua pololi.

A pololi a moe au

O ku’u la pololi,


A ola i kou aloha;

I na’i pu no i ka waimaka e uwe nei.

E uwe kaua, e!



Engulfed ill heaven’s abyss

Is the cry of the famished god.

I sank to the ground from faintness,

My day of utter starvation;


Was rescued, revived, by your love:

Ours a contest of tears sympathetic—

Let us pour out together our tears.

The Hawaiian thought it not undignified to express sympathy (aloha-ino) with tears.

Page 244


The hula hoo-na-ná—to quiet, amuse—was an informal dance, such as was performed without the usual restrictions of tabu that hedged about the set dances of the halau. The occasion of an outdoor festival, an ahaaina or luau, was made the opportunity for the exhibition of this dance. It seems to have been an expression of pure sportiveness and mirth-making, and was therefore performed without sacrifice or religious ceremony. While the king, chiefs, and aialo—courtiers who ate in the king’s presence—are sitting with the guests about the festal board, two or three dancers of graceful carriage make a circuit of the place, ambling, capering, gesturing as they go in time to the words of a gay song.

A performance of this sort was witnessed by the author’s informant in Honolulu many years ago; the occasion was the giving of a royal luau. There was no musical instrument, the performers were men, and the mele they cantillated went as follows:

A pili, a pili,

A pili ka’u manu

Ke kepau 485 o ka ulu-laau.

Poai a puni,


Noho ana i muli-wa’a; 486

Hoonu’u ka momona a ke alii.

Eli-eli 487 ke kapu; ua noa.

Noa ia wai?

Noa ia ka lani.


Kau lilua, 488 kaohi ka maku’u

E ai ana ka ai a ke alii!

Hoonu’u, hoonu’u hoonu’u

I ka i’a a ke alii!

Footnote 485: (return) Kepáu. Gum, the bird-lime of the fowler, which was obtained from forest trees, but especially from the ulu, the breadfruit.

Footnote 486: (return) Muli-wa’a (muli, a term applied to a younger brother). The idea involved is that of separation by an interval, as a younger brother is separated from his older brother by an interval. Muliwai is an interval of water, a stream. Wa’a, the last part of the above compound word, literally a canoe, is here used tropically to mean the tables, or the dishes, on which the food was spread, they being long and narrow, in the shape of a canoe. The whole term, consequently, refers to the people and the table about which they are seated.

Footnote 487: (return) Eli-eli. A word that is found in ancient prayers to emphasize the word kapu or the word noa.

Footnote 488: (return) Lilua. To stand erect and act without the restraint usually prescribed in the presence of royalty.

Page 245


She is limed, she is limed,

My bird is limed,

With the gum of the forest.

We make a great circuit,


Outskirting the feast.

You shall feast on king’s bounty:

No fear of the tabu, all’s free.

Free! and By whom?

Free by the word of the king.


Then a free rein to mirth!

Banish the kill-joy

Who eats the king’s dainties!

Feast then till replete

With the good king’s meat!

Page 246


The hula ulili, also called by the descriptive name kolili—to wave or flutter, as a pennant—was a hula that was not at all times confined to the tabu restrictions of the halau. Like a truant schoolboy, it delighted to break loose from restraint and join the informal pleasurings of the people. Imagine an assembly of men and women in the picturesque illumination given by flaring kukui torches, the men on one side, the women on the other. Husbands and wives, smothering the jealousy instinctive to the human heart, are there by mutual consent—their daughters they leave at home—each one ready to play his part to the finish, with no thought of future recrimination. It was a game of love-forfeits, on the same lines as kilu and ume.

Two men, armed with wands furnished with tufts of gay feathers, pass up and down the files of men and women, waving their decorated staffs, ever and anon indicating with a touch of the wand persons of the opposite sex, who under the rules must pay the forfeit demanded of them. The kissing, of course, goes by favor. The wand-bearers, as they move along, troll an amorous ditty:


Kii na ka ipo * * *

Mahele-hele i ka la o Kona! 489

O Kona, kai a ke Akua. 490

Elua la, huli ka Wai-opua, 491


Nehe i ke kula,

Leha iluna o Wai-aloha 492

Kani ka aka a ka ua i ka laau,

Hoolaau ana i ke aloha ilaila.

Pili la, a pili i ka’u manu—


O pili o ka La-hiki-ola.

Ola ke kini o-lalo.

Hana i ka mea he ipo.

A hui e hui la!

Hui Koolau-wahine 493 o Pua-ke-i! 494

Footnote 489: (return) La o Kona. A day of Kona, i.e., of fine weather.

Footnote 490: (return) Kai a ke Akua. Sea of the gods, because calm.

Footnote 491: (return) Wai-opua. A wind which changed its direction after blowing for a few days from one quarter.

Footnote 492: (return) Wai-aloha. The name of a hill. In the translation the author has followed its meaning (“water of love”).

Footnote 493: (return) Koolau-wahine. The name of a refreshing wind, often mentioned in Hawaiian poetry; here used as a symbol of female affection.

Footnote 494: (return) Pua-ke-i. The name of a sharp, bracing wind felt on the windward side of Molokai; used here apparently as a symbol of strong masculine passion.

Page 247



A search for a sweetheart...

Sport for a Kona day!

Kona, calm sea of the gods.

Two days the wind surges;


Then, magic of cloud!

It veers to the plain,

Drinks up the water of love.

How gleesome the sound

Of rain on the trees,


A balm to love’s wound!

The wand touches, heart-ease!

It touches my bird—

Touch of life from the sun!

Brings health to the million.


Ho, now comes the fun!

A meeting, a union—

The nymph, Koo-lau,

And the hero, Ke-í.

Page 248


The so-called hula o-niu is not to be classed with the regular dances of the halau. It was rather a popular sport, in which men and women capered about in an informal dance while the players engaged in a competitive game of top-spinning: The instrument of sport was made from the lower pointed half of an oval coconut shell, or from the corresponding part of a small gourd. The sport was conducted in the presence of a mixed gathering of people amid the enthusiasm and boisterous effervescence which betting always greatly stimulated in Hawaii.

The players were divided into two sides of equal number, and each player had before him a plank, slightly hollowed in the center—like the board on which the Hawaiians pounded their poi—to be used as the bed for spinning his top. The naked hand, unaided by whip or string, was used to impart to the rude top a spinning motion and at the same time the necessary projectile force—a balancing of forces that called for nice adjustment, lest the whirling thing reel too far to one side or run wild and fly its smooth bed. Victory was declared and the wager given to the player whose top spun the longest.

The feature that most interests us is the singing, or cantillation, of the oli. In a dance and game of this sort, which the author’s informant witnessed at Kahuku, Oahu, in 1844, one contestant on each side, in turn, cantillated an oli during the performance of the game and the dance.


Ke pohá, nei; u’ína la!

Kani óle-oléi, hau-walaau!

Ke wawa Pu’u-hina-hina; 495

Kani ka aka, he-hene na pali,


Na pali o Ka-iwi-ku’i. 496

Hanohano, makana i ka Wai-opua. 497

Malihini ka hale, ua hiki mai;

Kani ka pahu a Lohiau,

A Lohiau-ipo 498 i Haena la.


Enaena ke aloha, ke hiki mai;

Page 249

Auau i ka wai a Kanaloa. 499

Nana kaua ia Lima-huli, 500 e.

E huli oe a loaa pono

Ka ia nei o-niu.

Footnote 495: (return) Pu’u-hina-hina. A precipitous place on the coast near Haena.

Footnote 496: (return) Ka-iwi-ku’i. A high cliff against which the waves dash.

Footnote 497: (return) Wai-opua. The name of a pleasant breeze.

Footnote 498: (return) Lohiau-ipo. The epithet ipo, sweetheart, dear one, was often affixed to the name of Lohiau, in token, no doubt, of his being distinguished as the object of Pele’s passionate regard.

Footnote 499: (return) Kanaloa. There is a deep basin, of clear water, almost fluorescent in its sparkle, in one of the arched caves of Haena, which is called the water of Kanaloa—the name of the great God. This is a favorite bathing place.

Footnote 500: (return) Lima-huli. The name of a beautiful valley that lies back of Haena.



The rustle and hum of spinning top,

Wild laughter and babel of sound—

Hear the roar of the waves at Pu’u-hina!

Bursts of derision echoed from cliffs,


The cliffs of Ka-iwi-ku’i;

And the day is stirred by a breeze.

The house swarms with women and men.

List! the drum-beat of Lohiau,

Lohiau, the lover, prince of Haena—


Love glows like an oven at his coming;

Then to bathe in the lake of the God.

Let us look at the vale Lima-huli, look!

Now turn we and study the spinning—

That trick we must catch to be winning.

This fragment from antiquity, as the local coloring indicates, finds its setting at Haena, the home of the famous mythological Prince Lohiau, of whom Pele became enamored in her spirit journey. Study of the mele suggests the occasion to have been the feast that was given in celebration of Lohiau’s restoration to life and health through the persevering incantations of Hiiaka, Pele’s beloved sister. The feast was also Lohiau’s farewell to his friends at Haena. At its conclusion Hiiaka started with her charge on the journey which ended with the tragic death of Lohiau at the brink of the volcano. Pele in her jealousy poured out her fire and consumed the man whom she had loved.

Page 250


The account of the Hawaiian hulas would be incomplete if without mention of the hula ku’i. This was an invention, or introduction, of the last quarter of the nineteenth century. Its formal, public, appearance dates from the coronation ceremonies of the late King Kalakaua, 1883, when it filled an important place in the programme. Of the 262 hula performances listed for exhibition, some 30 were of the hula ku’i. This is perhaps the most democratic of the hulas, and from the date of its introduction it sprang at once into public favor. Not many years ago one could witness its extemporaneous performance by nonprofessionals at many an entertainment and festive gathering. Even the school-children took it up and might frequently be seen innocently footing its measures on the streets. (Pl. XXIV.)

The steps and motions of the hula ku’i to the eyes of the author resemble those of some Spanish dances. The rhythm is in common, or double, time. One observes the following motions:

Figure A.—1. A step obliquely forward with the left foot, arms pointing the same way, body inclining to the right. 2. The ball of the left foot (still advanced) gently pressed on the floor; the heel swings back and forth, describing an arc of some 30 or 40 degrees. 8. The left foot is set firmly in the last position, the body inclining to it as the base of support; the right foot is advanced obliquely, and 4, performs the heel-swinging motions above described, arms pointing obliquely to the right.

Figure B.—Hands pressed to the waist, fingers directed forward, thumbs backward, elbows well away from the body; left foot advanced as in figure A, 1, body inclining to the right. 2. The left foot performs the heel-waving motions, as above. 3. Hands in same position, right foot advanced as previously described. 4. The right foot performs the swinging motions previously described—the body inclined to the left.

Figure C.—In this figure, while the hands are pressed as before against the waist, with the elbows thrown well away from the body, the performer sways the pelvis and central axis of the trunk in a circular or elliptical orbit, a movement, which, carried to the extreme, is termed ami.

There are other figures and modifications, which the ingenuity and fancy of performers have introduced into this dance; but this account must suffice.

Page 251

Given a demand for a pas seul, some pleasing dance combining grace with dexterity, a shake of the foot, a twist of the body, and a wave of the hands, the hula ku’i filled the bill to perfection. The very fact that it belonged by name to the genus hula, giving it, as it were, the smack of forbidden fruit, only added to its attractiveness. It became all the rage among dancing folk, attaining such a vogue as almost to cause a panic among the tribunes and censors of society. Even to one who cares nothing for the hula per se, save as it might be a spectacle out of old Hawaii, or a setting for an old-time song, the innocent grace and Delsartian flexibility of this solo dance, which one can not find in its Keltic or African congeners, associate it in mind with the joy and light-heartedness of man’s Arcadian period.

The instruments generally used in the musical accompaniment of the hula ku’i are the guitar, the uku-lele, 501 the taro-patch fiddle,[501] or the mandolin; the piano also lends itself effectively for this purpose; or a combination of these may be used.

The songs that are sung to this dance as a rule belong naturally to later productions of the Hawaiian muse, or to modifications of old poetical compositions. The following mele was originally a namesong (mele-inoa). It was appropriated by the late Princess Kino-iki; and by her it was passed on to Kalani-ana-ole, a fact which should not prejudice our appreciation of its beauty.


I aloha i ke ko a ka wai,

I ka i mai, e, anu kaua.

Ua anu na pua o ka laina, 502

Ka wahine noho anu o ke kula.


A luna au a o Poli-ahu; 503

Ahu wale kai a o Wai-lua.

Lua-ole ka hana a ka makani,

A ke Kiu-ke’e 504 a o na pali,

Pa iho i ke kai a o Puna—


Ko Puna mea ma’a mau ia.

Pau ai ko’u lihi hoihoi

I ka wai awili me ke kai.

Ke ono hou nei ku’u pu’u

I ka wai hu’ihu’i o ka uka,

Page 252 15

Wai hone i ke kumu o ka pali,

I malu i ka lau kui-kui. 505

Ke kuhi nei au a he pono

Ka ilima lei a ke aloha,

Au i kau nui aku ai,


I ka nani oi a oia pua.

Footnote 501: (return) The uku-lele and the taro-patch fiddle are stringed instruments resembling in general appearance the fiddle. They seem to have been introduced into these islands by the Portuguese immigrants who have come in within the last twenty-five years. As with the guitar, the four strings of the uku-lele or the five strings of the taro-patch fiddle are plucked with the finger or thumb.

Footnote 502: (return) Na pua o ka laina. The intent of this expression, which seems to have an erotic meaning, may perhaps be inferred from its literal rendering in the translation. It requires a tropical imagination to follow a Hawaiian poem.

Footnote 503: (return) Poli-ahu. A place or region on Mauna-kea.

Footnote 504: (return) Kiu-ke’e. The name of a wind felt at Nawiliwili, Kauai. The local names for winds differed on the various islands and were multiplied almost without measure: as given in the mythical story of Kama-pua’a, or in the semihistoric tale of Kú-a-Paka’a, they taxed the memories of raconteurs.

Footnote 505: (return) Kui-kui. The older name-form of the tree (Aleurites triloba), popularly known by some as the candle-nut tree, from the fact that its oily nuts were used in making torches. Kukui, or tutui, is the name now applied to the tree, also to a torch or lamp. The Samoan language still retains the archaic name tuitui. This is one of the few instances in which the original etymology of a word is retained in Hawaiian poetry.



How pleasing, when borne by the tide,

One says, you and I are a-cold.

The buds of the center are chilled

Of the woman who shivers on shore.


I stood on the height Poli-ahu;

The ocean enrobed Wai-lua.

Ah, strange are the pranks of the wind,

The Kiu-ké’e wind of the pali!

It smites now the ocean at Puna—


That’s always the fashion at Puna.

Gone, gone is the last of my love,

At this mixture of brine in my drink!

My mouth is a-thirst for a draught

Of the cold mountain-water,


That plays at the foot of the cliff,

In the shade of the kui-kui tree.

I thought our love-flower, ilima—

Oft worn as a garland by you—

Still held its color most true.


You’d exchange its beauty for rue!


Kaulana mai nei Pua Lanakila;

Olali oe o ke aupuni hui,

Nana i koké áku ke kahua,

Na ale o ka Pakipika.


Lilo i mea ole na enemi;

Puuwai hao-kila, he manao paa;

Na ka nupepa la i hoike mai.

Ua kau Lanakila i ka hanohano,

O ka u’i mapela la o Aina-hau;


O ko’u hoa ia la e pili ai—

I hoa kaaua i ka puuwai,

I na kohi kelekele i ka Pu’ukolu.

Ina ilaila Pua Komela,

Ka u’i kaulana o Aina-pua!


O ka pua o ka Lehua me ka Ilima

I lei kahiko no ko’u kino,

Ka Palai lau-lii me ka Maile,

Ke ala e hoene i kou poli.

Page 253



Fame trumpets your conquests each day,

Brave Lily Victoria!

Your scepter finds new hearts to sway,

Subdues the Pacific’s wild waves,


Your foes are left stranded ashore,

Firm heart as of steel!

Dame Rumor tells us with glee

Your fortunes wax evermore,

Beauty of Aina-hau,


Comrade dear to my heart.

And what of the hyacinth maid,

Nymph of the Flowery Land?

I choose the lehua, ilima,

As my wreath and emblem of love,


The small-leafed fern and the maile—

What fragrance exhales from thy breast!

The story that might explain this modern lyric belongs to the gossip of half a century ago. The action hinges about one who is styled Pua Lanakila—literally Flower of Victory. Now there is no flower, indigenous or imported, known by this name to the Hawaiians. It is an allegorical invention of the poet. A study of the name and of its interpretation, Victory, at once suggested to me the probability that it was meant for the Princess Victoria Kamamalu.

As I interpret the story, the lover seems at first to be in a condition of unstable equilibrium, but finally concludes to cleave to the flowers of the soil, the lehua and the ilima (verse 15), the palai and the maile (verse 17), the meaning of which is clear.

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The Hawaiian word mele included all forms of poetical composition. The fact that the mele, in whatever form, was intended for cantillation, or some sort of rhythmical utterance addressed to the ear, has given to this word in modern times a special meaning that covers the idea of song or of singing, thus making it overlap ambiguously into the territory that more properly belongs to the word oli. The oli was in strict sense the lyric utterance of the Hawaiians.

In its most familiar form the Hawaiians—many of whom possessed the gift of improvisation in a remarkable degree—used the oli not only for the songful expression of joy and affection, but as the vehicle of humorous or sarcastic narrative in the entertainment of their comrades. The traveler, as he trudged along under his swaying burden, or as he rested by the wayside, would solace himself and his companions with a pensive improvisation in the form of an oli. Or, sitting about the camp-fire of an evening, without the consolation of the social pipe or bowl, the people of the olden time would keep warm the fire of good-fellowship and cheer by the sing-song chanting of the oli, in which the extemporaneous bard recounted the events of the day and won the laughter and applause of his audience by witty, ofttimes exaggerated, allusions to many a humorous incident that had marked the journey. If a traveler, not knowing the language of the country, noticed his Hawaiian guide and baggage-carriers indulging in mirth while listening to an oli by one of their number, he would probably be right in suspecting himself to be the innocent butt of their merriment.

The lover poured into the ears of his mistress his gentle fancies: the mother stilled her child with some bizarre allegory as she rocked it in her arms; the bard favored by royalty—the poet laureate—amused the idle moments of his chief with some witty improvisation; the alii himself, gifted with the poetic fire, would air his humor or his didactic comments in rhythmic shape—all in the form of the oli.

The dividing line, then, between the oli and those other weightier forms of the mele, the inoa, the kanikau (threnody), the pule, and that unnamed variety of mele in which the poet dealt with historic or mythologic subjects, is to be found almost wholly in the mood of the singer. In truth, the Hawaiians not unfrequently applied the term pule to compositions which we moderns find it hard to bring within our definitions of prayer. For to our understanding the Hawaiian pule often contains neither petition, nor entreaty, nor aspiration, as we measure such things.

Page 255

The oli from, its very name (oli-oli, joyful) conveys the notion of gladness, and therefore of song. It does not often run to such length as the more formal varieties of the mele; it is more likely to be pitched to the key of lyric and unconventional delight, and, as it seems to the writer, more often than other forms attains a gratifying unity by reason of closer adherence to some central thought or mood; albeit, when not so labeled, one might well be at a loss whether in any given case he should term the composition mele or oli.

It may not be entirely without significance that the first and second examples here given come from Kauai, the island which most vividly has retained a memory of the southern lands that were the homes of the people until they came as emigrants to Hawaii.

The story on which this song is founded relates that the comely Pamaho’a was so fond of her husband during his life that at his death she was unwilling to part with his bones. Having cleaned and wrapped them in a bundle, she carried them with her wherever she went. In the indiscretion begotten of her ill-balanced state of mind she committed the mortal offense of entering the royal residence while thus encumbered, where was Kaahumanu, favorite wife of Kamehameha I. The king detailed two constables (ilamuku) to remove the woman and put her to death. When they had reached a safe distance, moved with pity, the men said: “Our orders were to slay; but what hinders you to escape?” The woman took the hint and fled hot-foot.


Ka wai opua-makani o Wailua, 506

I hulihia e ke kai;

Awahia ka lau hau,

Ai pála-ka-há, ka ai o Maká’u-kiu.


He kiu ka pua kukui,

He elele hooholo na ke Koolau; 507

Ke kipaku mai la i ka wa’a— 508

“E holo oe!”

Holo newa ka lau maia me ka pua hau,


I pili aloha me ka mokila ula i ka wai;

Maalo pulelo i ka wai o Malu-aka.

He aka kaua makani kaili-hoa;

Kaili ino ka lau Malua-kele,

Lalau, hopu hewa i ka hoa kanáka; 509

Page 256 15

Koe a kau me ka manao iloko.

Ke apo wale la no i ke one,

I ka uwe wale iho no i Mo’o-mo’o-iki, 510 e!

He ike moolelo na ke kuhi wale,

Aole ma ka waha mai o kánaka,


Hewa, pono ai la hoi au, e ka hoa;

Nou ka ke aloha,

I lua-ai-ele 511 ai i o, i anei;

Ua kuewa i ke ala me ka wai-maka.

Aohe wa, ua uku i kou hale—


Hewa au, e!

Footnote 506: (return) The scene is laid in the region about the Wailua, a river on Kauai. This stream, tossed with waves driven up from the sea, represents figuratively the disturbance of the woman’s mind at the coming of the officers.

Footnote 507: (return) Koolau. The name of a wind; stands for the messengers of the king, whose instructions were to expel (kipaku, verse 7) and then to slay.

Footnote 508: (return) Wa’a. Literally canoe; stands for the woman herself.

Footnote 509: (return) Hoa kanáka. Human companion; is an allusion to the bundle of her husband’s bones which she carries with her, but which are torn away and lost in the flood.

Footnote 510: (return) Mo’o-mo’o-iki. A land at Wailua, Kauai.

Footnote 511: (return) Lua-ai-ele. To carry about with one a sorrow.



The wind-beaten stream of Wailua

Is tossed into waves from the sea;

Salt-drenched are the leaves of the hau,

The stalks of the taro all rotted—


’Twas the crop of Maka’u-kiu,

The flowers of kukui are a telltale,

A messenger sped by the gale

To warn the canoe to depart.

Pray you depart!


Hot-foot, she’s off with her pack—

A bundle red-stained with the mud—

And ghost-swift she breasts Malu-aka.

Quest follows like smoke—lost is her companion;

Fierce the wind plucks at the leaves,


Grabs—by mistake—her burden, the man.

Despairing, she falls to the earth,

And, hugging the hillock of sand,

Sobs out her soul on the beach Mo-mo-iki.

A tale this wrung from my heart,


Not told by the tongue of man.

Wrong! yet right, was I, my friend;

My love after all was for you,

While I lived a vagabond life there and here,

Sowing my vagrom tears in all roads—


Prompt my payment of debt to your house—

Yes, truly, I’m wrong!

Page 257


If one were asked what, to the English-speaking mind, constitutes the most representative romantico-mystical aspiration that has been embodied in song and story, doubtless he would be compelled to answer the legend and myth of the Holy Grail. To the Hawaiian mind the aspiration and conception that most nearly approximates to this is that embodied in the words placed at the head of this chapter, The Water of Kane. One finds suggestions and hints of this conception in many passages of Hawaiian song and story, sometimes a phosphorescent flash, answering to the dip of the poet’s blade, sometimes crystallized into a set form; but nowhere else than in the following mele have I found this jewel deliberately wrought into shape, faceted, and fixed in a distinct form of speech.

This mele comes from Kauai, the island which more than any other of the Hawaiian group retains a tight hold on the mystical and imaginative features that mark the mythology of Polynesia; the island also which less than any other of the group was dazzled by the glamour of royalty and enslaved by the theory of the divine birth of kings.

He Mele no Kane

He ú-i, he ninau:

He ú-i aku ana au ia oe,

Aia i-héa ka wai a Kane?

Ala i ka hikina a ka La,


Puka i Hae-hae; 512

Aia i-laila ka Wai a Kane.

E ú-i aku ana au ia oe,

Aia i-hea ka Wai a Kane?

Aia i Kau-lana-ka-la, 513


I ka pae opua i ke kai, 514

Ea mai ana ma Nihoa, 515

Page 258

Ma ka mole mai o Lehua;

Aia i-laila ka Wai a Kane.

E ú-i aku ana au ia oe,


Aia i-hea ka Wai a Kane?

Aia i ke kua-hiwi, i ke kua-lono,

I ke awáwa, i ke kaha-wai;

Aia i-laila ka Wai a Kane.

E ú-i aku ana au ia oe,


Aia i-hea ka Wai a Kane?

Aia i-kai, i ka moana,

I ke Kua-lau, i ke anuenue,

I ka punohu, 516 i ka ua-koko, 517

I ka alewa-lewa;


Aia i-laila ka Wai a Kane.

E ú-i aku ana au ia oe,

Aia i-hea ka Wai a Kane?

Aia i-luna ka Wai a Kane,

I ke ouli, i ke ao eleele,


I ke ao pano-pano,

I ke ao popolo-hua mea a Kane la, e!

Aia i-laila ka Wai a Kane.

E ú-i aku ana au ia oe,

Aia i-hea ka Wai a Kane?


Aia i-lalo, i ka honua, i ka Wai hu,

I ka wai kau a Kane me Kanaloa— 518

He wai-puna, he wai e inu,

He wai e mana, he wai e ola.

E ola no, e-a!

Footnote 512: (return) Hae-hae. Heaven’s eastern gate; the portal in the solid walls that supported the heavenly dome, through which the sun entered in the morning.

Footnote 513: (return) Kau-lana-ka-la. When the setting sun, perhaps by an optical illusion drawn out into a boatlike form, appeared to be floating on the surface of the ocean, the Hawaiians named the phenomenon Kau-lana-ka-la—the floating of the sun. Their fondness for personification showed itself in the final conversion of this phrase into something like a proper name, which they applied to the locality of the phenomenon.

Footnote 514: (return) Pae opua i ke kai. Another instance of name-giving, applied to the bright clouds that seem to rest on the horizon, especially to the west.

Footnote 515: (return) Nihoa (Bird island). This small rock to the northwest of Kauai, though far below the horizon, is here spoken of as if it were in sight.

Footnote 516: (return) Punohu A red luminous cloud, or a halo, regarded as an omen portending some sacred and important event.

Footnote 517: (return) Ua-koko. Literally bloody rain, a term applied to a rainbow when lying near the ground, or to a freshet-stream swollen with the red muddy water from the wash of the hillsides. These were important omens, claimed as marking the birth of tabu chiefs.

Footnote 518: (return) Wai kau a Kane me Kanaloa. Once when Kane and Kanaloa were journeying together Kanaloa complained of thirst. Kane thrust his staff into the pali near at hand, and out flowed a stream of pure water that has continued to the present day. The place is at Keanae, Maui.


The Water of Kane

A query, a question,

I put to you:

Where is the water of Kane?

At the Eastern Gate


Where the Sun comes in at Hae-hae;

There is the water of Kane.

A question I ask of you:

Where is the water of Kane?

Out there with the floating Sun,

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Where cloud-forms rest on Ocean’s breast,

Uplifting their forms at Nihoa,

This side the base of Lehua;

There is the water of Kane.

One question I put to you:


Where is the water of Kane?

Yonder on mountain peak,

On the ridges steep,

In the valleys deep,

Where the rivers sweep;


There is the water of Kane.

This question I ask of you:

Where, pray, is the water of Kane?

Yonder, at sea, on the ocean,

In the driving rain,


In the heavenly bow,

In the piled-up mist-wraith,

In the blood-red rainfall,

In the ghost-pale cloud-form;

There is the water of Kane.


One question I put to you:

Where, where is the water of Kane?

Up on high is the water of Kane,

In the heavenly blue,

In the black piled cloud,


In the black-black cloud,

In the black-mottled sacred cloud of the gods;

There is the water of Kane.

One question I ask of you:

Where flows the water of Kane?


Deep in the ground, in the gushing spring,

In the ducts of Kane and Loa,

A well-spring of water, to quaff,

A water of magic power—

The water of life!


Life! O give us this life!

Page 260


In this preliminary excursion into the wilderness of Hawaiian literature we have covered but a small part of the field; we have reached no definite boundaries; followed no stream to its fountain head; gained no high point of vantage, from which to survey the whole. It was indeed outside the purpose of this book to make a delimitation of the whole field of Hawaiian literature and to mark out its relations to the formulated thoughts of the world.

Certain provisional conclusions, however, are clearly indicated: that this unwritten speech-literature is but a peninsula, a semidetached, outlying division of the Polynesian, with which it has much in common, the whole running back through the same lines of ancestry to the people of Asia. There still lurk in the subliminal consciousness of the race, as it were, vague memories of things that long ago passed from sight and knowledge. Such, for instance, was the mo’o; a word that to the Hawaiian meant a nondescript reptile, which his imagination vaguely pictured, sometimes as a dragonlike monster belching fire like a chimera of mythology, or swimming the ocean like a sea-serpent, or multiplied into a manifold pestilential swarm infesting the wilderness, conceived of as gifted with superhuman powers and always as the malignant foe of mankind, Now the only Hawaiian representatives of the reptilian class were two species of harmless lizards, so that it is not conceivable that the Hawaiian notion of a mo’o was derived from objects present in his island home. The word mo’o may have been a coinage of the Hawaiian speechcenter, but the thing it stood for must have been an actual existence, like the python and cobra of India, or the pterodactyl of a past geologic period. May we not think of it as an ancestral memory, an impress, of Asiatic sights and experiences?

In this connection, it will not, perhaps, lead us too far afield, to remark that in the Hawaiian speech we find the chisel-marks of Hindu and of Aryan scoring deep-graven. For instance, the Hawaiian, word pali, cliff or precipice, is the very word that Young-husband—following, no doubt, the native speech of the region, the Pamirs—applies to the mountain-walls that buttress off Tibet and the central plateaus of Asia from northern India. Again the Hawaiian word mele, which we have used so often in these chapters as to make it seem almost like a household word, corresponds in form, in sound, and in meaning to the Greek. [Greek: melos: Page 261 ta melê], lyric poetry (Liddell and Scott). Again, take the Hawaiian word i’a, fish—Maori, ika; Malay, ikan; Java, iwa; Bouton, ikani (Edward Tregear: The Maori-Polynesian Comparative Dictionary). Do not these words form a chain that links the Hawaiian form to the [Greek: ichthus] of classic Greece? The subject is fascinating, but it would soon lead us astray. These examples must suffice.

If we can not give a full account of the tangled woodland of Hawaiian literature, it is something to be able to report on its fruits and the manner of men and beasts that dwelt therein. Are its fruits good for food, or does the land we have explored bring forth only poisonous reptiles and the deadly upas? Is it a land in which the very principles of art and of human nature are turned upside down? Its language the babble of Bander-log?

This excursion into the jungle of Hawaiian literature should at least impress us with the oneness of humanity; that its roots and springs of action, and ours, draw their sustenance from one and the same primeval mold; that, however far back one may travel, he will never come to a point where he can say this is “common or unclean;” so that he may without defilement “kill and eat” of what the jungle provides. The wonder is that they in Hawaii of the centuries past, shut off by vast spaces of sea and land from our world, yet accomplished so much.

Test the ancient Hawaiians by our own weights and measures. The result will not be to their discredit. In practical science, in domestic arts, in religion, in morals, in the raw material of literature, even in the finished article—though unwritten—the showing would not be such as to give the superior race cause for self-gratulation.

Another lesson—a corollary to the above—is the debt of recognition we owe to the virtues and essential qualities of untutored human nature itself. Imagine a portion of our own race cut off from the thought-currents of the great world and stranded on the island-specks of the great ocean, as the Polynesians have been for a period of centuries that would count back to the times of William the Conqueror or Charlemagne, with only such outfit of the world’s goods as might survive a 3,000-mile voyage in frail canoes, reenforced by such flotsam of the world’s metallic stores as the tides of ocean might chance to bring them—and, with such limited capital to start with in life, what, should we judge, would have been the outcome of the experiment in religion, in morals, in art, in mechanics, in civilization, or in the production of materials for literature, as compared with what the white man found in Hawaii at its discovery in the last quarter of the eighteenth century?

It were well to come to the study of primitive and savage people, of nature-folk, with a mind purged of the thanks-to-the-goodness-and-the-grace spirit.

Page 262

It will not do for us to brush aside contemptuously the notions held by the Hawaiians in religion, cosmogony, and mythology as mere heathen superstitions. If they were heathen, there was nothing else for them to be. But even the heathen can claim the right to be judged by their deeds, not by their creeds. Measured by this standard, the average heathen would not make a bad showing in comparison with the average denizen of Christian lands. As to beliefs, how much more defensible were the superstitions of our own race two or three centuries ago, or of to-day, than those of the Hawaiians? How much less absurd and illogical were our notions of cosmogony, of natural history; how much less beneficent, humane, lovable the theology of the pagan Hawaiians than of our Christian ancestors a few centuries ago if looked at from an ethical or practical point of view. At the worst, the Hawaiian sacrificed the enemy he took in battle on the altar of his gods; the Christian put to death with exquisite torture those who disagreed with him in points of doctrine. And when it comes to morals, have not the heathen time and again demonstrated their ability to give lessons in self-restraint to their Christian invaders?

It is a matter of no small importance in the rating of a people to take account of their disposition toward nature. If there has been a failure to appreciate truly the mental attitude of the “savage,” and especially of the Polynesian savage, the Hawaiian, toward the book of truth that was open to him in nature, it is always in order to correct it. That such a mistake has been made needs no further proof than the perusal of the following passage in a book entitled “History of the Sandwich Islands:”

To the heathen the book of nature is a sealed book. Where the word of God is not, the works of God fail either to excite admiration or to impart instruction. The Sandwich Islands present some of the sublimest scenery on earth, but to an ignorant native—to the great mass of the people in entire heathenism—it has no meaning. As one crested billow after another of the heaving ocean rolls in and dashes upon the unyielding rocks of an iron-bound coast, which seems to say, “Hitherto shalt thou come and no farther,” the low-minded heathen is merely thinking of the shellfish on the shore. As he looks up to the everlasting mountains, girt with clouds and capped with snow, he betrays no emotion. As he climbs a towering cliff, looks down a yawning precipice, or abroad upon a forest of deep ravines, immense rocks, and spiral mountains thrown together in the utmost wildness and confusion by the might of God’s volcanoes, he is only thinking of some roots in the wilderness that may be good for food.

There is hardly a poem in this volume that does not show the utter falsity of this view. The writer of the words quoted above, now in his grave for more than sixty years, was a man for whose purity and moral character one must entertain the highest esteem. He enjoyed the very best opportunity to study the minds of the “heathen” about him, to discern their Page 263 thoughts, to learn at first hand their emotions toward the natural world, whether of admiration, awe, reverence, or whether their attitude was that of blank indifference and absorption in selfish things. But he utterly failed to penetrate the mystery, the “truth and poetry,” of the Hawaiian mind and heart. Was it because he was tied to a false theology and a false theory of human nature? We are not called upon to answer this question. Let others say what was wrong in his standpoint. The object of this book is not controversial; but when a palpable injustice has been done, and is persisted in by people of the purest motives, as to the thoughts, emotions, and mental operations of the “savage,” and as to the finer workings within that constitute the furniture and sanctuary of heart and soul, it is imperative to correct so grave a mistake; and we may be sure that he whose words have just been quoted, were he living to-day, would acknowledge his error.

Though it is not the purpose of these pages to set forth in order a treatise on the human nature of the “savage,” or to make unneeded apology for the primitive and uncultured races of mankind in general, or for the Hawaiian in particular, yet it is no small satisfaction to be able to set in array evidence from the life and thoughts of the savages themselves that shall at least have a modifying influence upon our views on these points.

The poetry of ancient Hawaii evinces a deep and genuine love of nature, and a minute, affectionate, and untiring observation of her moods, which it would be hard to find surpassed in any literature. Her poets never tired of depicting nature; sometimes, indeed, their art seems heaven-born. The mystery, beauty, and magnificence of the island world appealed profoundly to their souls; in them the ancient Hawaiian found the image of man the embodiment of Deity; and their myriad moods and phases were for him an inexhaustible spring of joy, refreshment, and delight.


The study of Hawaiian pronunciation is mainly a study of vowel sounds and of accent. Each written vowel represents at least two related sounds.

A (ah) has the Italian sound found in father, as in ha-le or in La-ka; also a short sound like that of a in liable, as in ke-a-ke-a, to contradict, or in a-ha, an assembly.

E (a) has the sound of long a in fate, or of e in prey, without the i-glide that follows, as in the first syllable of Pé-le, or of mé-a, a thing; also the short sound of e in net, as in é-ha, hurt, or in péa, a sail.

I (ee) has the long sound of i in pique, or in police, as in i-li, skin, or in hí-la-hí-la, shame; also the short sound of i in hill, as in lí-hi, border, and in í-ki, small.

O (oh) has the long sound of o in note or in old, without the u-glide, as in ló-a, long, or as in the first syllable of Ló-no; also a short sound, which approximates to that sometimes erroneously given to the vowel in coat, as in pó-po, rotten, or as in ló-ko, a lake.

U (oo) has the long sound of u in rule, as in hú-la, to dance; and a short sound approximating to that of u in full, as in mú-ku, cut off.

Every Hawaiian syllable ends in a vowel. No attempt has been made to indicate these differences of vowel sound. The only diacritical marks here employed are the acute accent for stressed syllables and the apostrophe between two vowels to indicate the glottic closure or interruption of sound (improperly sometimes called a guttural) that prevents the two from coalescing.

In the seven diphthongs ae, ai, ao, au, ei, ia, and ua a delicate ear will not fail to detect a coalescence of at least two sounds, thus proving them not to be mere digraphs.

In animated description or pathetic narrative, or in the effort to convey the idea of length, or height, or depth, or immensity, the Hawaiian had a way of prolonging the vowel sounds of a word, as if by so doing he could intimate the amplitude of his thought.

The letter w (way) represents two sounds, corresponding to our w and our v. At the beginning of a word it has the sound of w (way), retaining this even when the word has become compounded. This is illustrated in Wái-a-lú-a (geographical name), and wá-ha mouth. In the middle of a word, or after the first syllable, it almost always has the sound of v (vay), as in hé-wa (wrong), and in E-wá (geographical name). In há-wa-wá (awkward), the compound word ha-wái (water-pipe), and several others the w takes the way sound.

The great majority of Hawaiian words are accented on the penult, and in simple words of four or more syllables there is, as a rule, an accent on the fourth and on the sixth syllables, counting back from the final syllable, as in lá-na-kí-la (victorious) and as in hó-o-kó-lo-kó-lo (to try at law).

Aha, (á-ha)—a braided cord of sinet; an assembly; a prayer or religious service (note a, p. 20).

Ahaaina (á-ha-ái-na)—a feast.

Ai (ai, as in aisle)—vegetable food; to eat; an event in a game or contest (p. 93).

Ai-á-lo (to eat in the presence of)—the persons privileged to eat at an alii’s table.

Aiha’a (ai-ha’a):—a strained, bombastic, guttural tone of voice in reciting a mele, in contrast to the style termed ko’i-honua (pp. 89, 90).

Ailolo (ai-ló-lo=to eat brains)—a critical, ceremonial sacrifice, the conditions of which must be met before a novitiate can be admitted as a practitioner of the hula as well as of other skilled professions (pp. 15, 31, 34).

Aina (aí-na)—the land; a meal (of food).

Alii (a-li’i)—a chief; a person of rank; a king.

Aloha (a-ló-ha)—goodwill; affection; love; a word of salutation.

Ami (á-mi)—to bend; a bodily motion used in the hula (note, p. 202).

Anuenue (a-nú-e-nú-e)—a rainbow; a waterfall in Hilo (p. 61, verse 13).

Ao (á-o)—dawn; daytime; the world; a cloud (p. 196, verse 7).

Aumakua (aú-ma-kú-a)—an ancestral god (p. 23).

Awa (á-va)—bitter; sour; the soporific root of the Piper methysticum (p. 130).

Ekaha (e-káha)—the nidus fern, by the Hawaiians sometimes called ka hoe a Mawi, Mawi’s paddle, from the shape of its leaves (p. 19).

Haena (Ha-é-na)—a village on the windward coast of Kauai, the home of Lohiau, for whom Pele conceived a passion in her dreams (p. 186).

Hala (há-la)—a sin; a variety of the “screw-pine” (Pandanus odoratissimus, Hillebrand). Its drupe was used in decoration, its leaves were braided into mats, hats, bags, etc.

Halapepe (há-la-pé-pe)—a tree used in decorating the kuahu (Dracæna aurea, Hillebrand) (p. 24).

Halau (ha-láu—made of leaves)—a canoe-shed; a hall consecrated to the hula; a sort of school of manual arts or the art of combat (p. 14).

Hale (há-le)—a house.

Hanai-kuahu (ha-nái-ku-á-hu—altarfeeder)—the daily renewal of the offerings laid on the kuahu; the officer who performed this work (p. 29).

Hanohano (há-no-há-no)—having dignity and wealth.

Hau (how)—a tree whose light, tough wood, strong fibrous bark, and mucilaginous flowers have many uses (Hibiscus tiliaceus).

Haumea (Hau-mé-a)—a mythological character, the same as Papa (note c, p. 126).

Heiau (hei-aú)—a temple.

Hiiaka, (Hi’i-á-ka)—the youngest sister of Pele (p. 186).

Hilo (Hí-lo)—to twist as in making string; the first day in the month when the new moon appears; a town and district in Hawaii (pp. 60, 61).

Holoku (hó-lo-kú)—a loose gown resembling a “Mother Hubbard,” much worn by the women of Hawaii.

Hoonoa (ho’o-nó-a)—to remove a tabu; to make ceremonially free (p. 126).

Hooulu (ho’o-ú-lu)—to cause to grow; to inspire. (Verse 3, Pule Kuahu, p. 20, and verse 1, Pule Kuahu, p. 21.)

Hoopaa (ho’o-pá’a)—the members of a hula company who, as instrumentalists, remained stationary, not moving in the dance (p. 28).

Huikala (hú-i-ká-la)—to cleanse ceremonially; to pardon (p. 15).

Hula, (hú-la), or int. húlahúla—to dance, to make sport, to the accompaniment of music and song.

I’a (i’a)—fish; a general term for animal food or whatever relish serves for the time in its place.

Ieie (í-e-í-e)—a tall woody climber found in the wild woods, much used in decoration (Freycinetia arnotti, p. 19).

Ilamuka (í-la-mú-ku)—a constable.

Ilima (i-lí-ma)—a woody shrub (Sida fallax, Hillebrand) whose chrome-yellow flowers were much used in making wreaths (p. 56).

Ilio (i-lí-o)—a dog; a variety of hula (p. 223).

Imu (í-mu), sometimes umu (ú-mu)—a native oven, made by lining a hole in the ground and arching it over with stones (verse 3, Oli Paú, p. 51).

Inoa (i-nó-a)—a name. (See Mele inoa.)

Ipo (í-po)—a lover; a sweetheart.

Ipoipo (í-po-í-po), hoipo (ho-í-po)’, or hoipoipo (ho-í-po-í-po)—to make love; to play the lover; sexual dalliance.

Ipu (í-pu)—a general name for the Cucurbitaceæ, and the dishes made from them, as well as dishes of coconut shell, wood, and stone; the drumlike musical instrument made from joining two calabashes (p. 73).

Iwa (í-wa, pr. í-va)—the number nine; a large black sea-bird, probably a gull (p. 76).

Kahiki (Ka-hí-ki)—Tahiti; any foreign country (p. 17).

Kahiko (ka-hí-ko)—ancient; to array; to adorn.

Kahuna (ka-hú-na)—a priest; a skilled craftsman. Every sort of kahuna was at bottom and in some regard a priest, his special department being indicated by a qualifying word, as kahuna anaana, sorcerer, kahuna kalai wa’a, canoe-maker.

Kai (pr. kye)—the ocean; salty. I-kai, to the ocean; ma-kai, at the ocean.

Kakaolelo (ka-ká-o-lé-lo)—one skilled in language; a rhetorician; a councilor (p. 98).

Kamapua’a (Ká-ma-pu-a’a)—literally the hog-child; the mythological swine-god, whose story is connected with that of Pele (p. 231).

Kanaka, (ka-ná-ka)—a man; a commoner as opposed to the alii. Kanaka (ká-na-ka), men in general; the human race. (Notice the different accents.)

Kanaenae (ká-nae-naé)—a propitiatory sacrifice; an intercession; a part of a prayer (pp. 16, 20).

Kanaloa (Ká-na-ló-a)—one of the four major gods, represented as of a dark complexion, and of a malignant disposition (p. 24).

Kane (Ká-ne)—male; a husband; one of the four major gods, represented as being a tall blond and of a benevolent disposition (p. 24).

Kapa (ká-pa)—the paper-cloth of the Polynesians, made from the fibrous bark of many plants by pounding with wooden beaters while kept moist.

Kapo (Ká-po)—a goddess and patron of the hula, sister of the poison-god, Kalai-pahoa, and said to be mother of Laka (pp. 25, 45).

Kapu (ká-pu).—a tabu; a religious prohibition (pp. 30, 57).

Kau (Kú-u)—“the milk;” a district on the island of Hawaii.

Kawele (ka-wé-le)—a manner of cantillating in a distinct and natural tone of voice; about the same as ko’i-honua (p. 58).

Kihei (ki-héi)—a robe of kapa worn after the fashion of the Roman toga.

Kii (ki’i)—to fetch, to go after a thing; an image, a picture, a marionette; a variety of the hula (p. 91).

Kilauea (Ki-lau-é-a)—the great active volcano of Hawaii.

Kini (kí-ni)—the number 40,000; a countless number. Kini Akua, a host of active, often mischievous, “little” folk in human form that peopled the deep woods. They resembled our elves and brownies, and were esteemed as having godlike powers (p. 21, note; p. 24).

Kilu (kí-lu)—a dish made by cutting off obliquely the top of a coconut or small gourd, which was used as a sort of top in the game and dance called kilu. (Hula kilu, p. 235.)

Ko—sugar-cane; performed, accomplished. With the causative prefix ho’o, as in ho’oko (ho’o-kó), to accomplish, to carry to success (p. 30 ).

Ko’i (kó’i)—an ax, an adz; originally a stone implement. (See mele beginning Ko’i maka nui, p. 228.)

Ko’i honua (ko’i ho-nú-a)—a compound of the causative ko, i, to utter, and honua, the earth; to recite or cantillate in a quiet distinct tone, in distinction from the stilted bombastic manner termed ai-ha’a (p. 58).

Kokua-kumu, (ko-kú-a-kú-mu)—the assistant or deputy who took charge of the halau in the absence of the kumu-hula, (p. 29).

Kolea (ko-lé-a)—the plover; the name of a hula (p. 219).

Kolohe (ko-ló-he)—mischievous; restless; lawless (note d, p. 194).

Kona, (Kóna)—a southerly wind or storm; a district on the leeward side of many of the islands.

Koolau (Ko’o-láu)—leaf-compeller; the windward side of an island; the name of a wind. (A Koolau wau, ike i ka ua, verse 1, p. 59.)

Ku—to stand; to rise up; to fit; a division of land; one of the four major gods who had many functions, such as Ku-pulupulu, Ku-mokuhalii, Ku-kaili-moku, etc. (Mele, Ku e, nana e! p. 223.)

Kuahu (ku-á-hu)—an altar; a rustic stand constructed in the halau in honor of the hula gods (p. 15).

Kuhai-moana (Ku-hái-mo-á-na)—a shark-god (pp. 76, 77).

Ku’i (ku’i)—to smite; to beat; the name of a hula (p. 250).

Kukui (ku-kú-i)—a tree (Aleurites moluccana) from the nuts of which were made torches; a torch. (Mahana lua na kukui a Lanikaula, p. 130, note c.)

Kumu-hula (kú-mu húla)—a teacher and leader of the hula.

Kupee (ku-pe’e)—a bracelet; an anklet (Mele Kupe’e, p. 49.)

Kupua (ku-pú-a)—a superhuman being; a wonder-worker; a wizard.

Ku-pulupulu (Kú-pú-lu-pú-lú)—Ku the hairy; one of the forms of god Ku, propitiated by canoe-makers and hula folk (p. 24).

Laa (Lá’a)—consecrated; holy; devoted.

Laa-mai-Kahiki—A prince who flourished some six or seven centuries ago and voyaged to Kahiki and back. He was an ardent patron of the hula (p. 103).

Lama (lá-ma)—a torch; a beautiful tree (Maba sandwicensis, Hillebrand) having fine-grained whitish wood that was much used for sacred purposes (p. 23).

Lanai (la-nái)—a shed or veranda; an open part of a house covered only by a roof.

Lanai (La-na’i)—the small island lying southwest of Maui.

Lani (lá-ni)—the sky; the heaven or the heavens; a prince or king; heaven-born (pp. 81, 52).

Lehua, (le-hú-a)—a forest tree (Metrosideros polymorpha) whose beautiful scarlet or salmon-colored flowers were much used in decoration (Pule Hoo-noa, p. 126).

Lei (lei: both vowels are sounded, the i slightly)—a wreath of flowers, of leaves, feathers, beads, or shells (p. 56).

Liloa (Li-ló-a)—an ancient king of Hawaii, the father of Umi (p. 131).

Lohiau (Ló-hi-áu)—the prince of Haena, with whom Pele became enamored in her dreams (p. 186).

Lolo (ló-lo)—the brain (p. 34).

Lono (Ló-no)—one of the four major gods of Hawaii (p. 24).

Luau (lu-aú)—greens made by cooking young taro leaves; in modern times a term applied to a Hawaiian feast.

Mahele (ma-hé-le)—to divide; a division of a mele; a canto; a part of a song-service (p. 58).

Mahiole (má-hi-ó-le)—a helmet or war-cap, a style of hair-cutting in imitation of the same (p. 91).

Mahuna (ma-hú-na)—a small particle; a fine scale; a variety of delicate kapa; the desquamation of the skin resulting from habitual awa-drinking.

Makalii (Má-ka-li’i)—small eyes; small, fine; the Pleiades (p. 216 and note on p. 218).

Malo (má-lo)—a loin-cloth worn especially by men. (Verses 3, 4, 5, 6 of mele on p. 36).

Mano (ma-nó)—a shark; a variety of hula (p. 221).

Mauna (máu-na)—a mountain. A word possibly of Spanish origin.

Mele (mé-le)—a poem; a song; to chant; to sing.

Mele inoa—a name-song; a eulogy (pp. 27, 37).

Mele kahea (ka-héa = to call)—a password by which one gained admission to the halau (pp. 38, 41).

Moo (mó’o)—a reptile; a dragon; a mythologic monster (p. 260).

Muumuu (mu’u-mu’u)—an under garment worn by women; a shift; a chemise; a person maimed of hand or foot; the name of a hula (p. 212).

Naulu (náu-lu)—name of the seabreeze at Waimea, Kauai. Ua naulu = a heavy local rain (pp. 110, 112).

Noa (nó-a)—ceremonially free; unrestrained by tabu (p. 126).

Noni (no-ni)—a dye-plant (Morinda citrifolia) whose fruit was sometimes eaten.

Nuuanu (Nu’u-á-nu) a valley back of Honolulu that leads to the “Pali.”

Ohe (ó-he)—bamboo; a flute; a variety of the hula (pp. 135, 145).

Ohelo (o-hé-lo)—an edible berry that grows at high altitudes; to reach out; to stretch; a variety of the hula (p. 233).

Ohia (o-hi’a)—a name in some places applied to the lehua (q. v.), more generally the name of a fruit tree, the “mountain apple” (Eugenia malaccensis).

Olapa (o-lá-pa)—those members of a hula company who moved in the dance, as distinguished from the hoopaa, q. v., who sat and cantillated or played on some instrument (p. 28).

Oli (ó-li)—a song; a lyric; to sing or chant (p. 254).


Olohe (o-ló-he)—an expert in the hula; one who has passed the ailolo test and has also had much experience (p. 32).

Oo (o-ó)—a spade; an agricultural implement, patterned after the whale spade (p. 85); a blackbird, one of those that furnished the golden-yellow feathers for the ahuula, or feather cloak.

Paepae (pae-páe)—a prop; a support; the assistant to the po’o-pua’a (p. 29).

Pahu (pá-hu)—a box; a drum; a landmark; to thrust, said of a spear (pp. 103, 138).

Pale (pá-le)—a division; a canto of a mele; a division of the song service in a hula performance (pp. 58, 89).

Pali (pá-li)—a precipice; a mountain wall cut up with steep ravines. (Mele on pp. 51-53, verses 4, 5, 8, 16, 17, 27, 49.)

Papa (pá-pa)—a board; the plane of the earth’s surface; a mythological character, the wife of Wakea.

Pa-u (pa-ú)—a skirt; a garment worn by women reaching from the waist to about the knees (p. 50). The dress of the hula performer (p. 49), Oli Pa-ú (p. 51).

Pele (Pé-le)—the goddess of the volcano and of volcanoes generally, who held court at the crater of Kilauea, on Hawaii; a variety of the hula (p. 186).

Pikai (pi-kái)—to asperse with seawater mixed, perhaps, with turmeric, etc., as in ceremonial cleansing (p. 31).

Poo-puaa (po’o-pu-a’a)—Boar’s head; the one selected by the pupils in a school of the hula to be their agent and mouthpiece (p. 29).

Pua’a (pu-a’a)—a pig; the name of a hula (p. 228).

Puka (pú-ka)—a hole, a doorway, to pass through.

Pule (pú-le)—a prayer; an incantation; to pray.

Pulou (pu-lo’u)—to muffle; to cover the head and face (p. 31).

Puniu (pu-ní-u)—a coconut shell; a small drum made from the coconut shell (p. 141); a derisive epithet for the human headpiece.

Ti, or ki—a plant (Dracæna terminalis) that has large smooth green leaves used for wrapping food and in decoration. Its fleshy root becomes syrupy when cooked (p. 44).

Uka (ú-ka)—landward or mountainward.

Uku-lele (ú-ku-lé-le)—a flea; a sort of guitar introduced by the Portuguese.

Uniki (u-ní-ki)—the début or the first public performance of a hula actor. (Verse 21 of mele on p. 17.)

Waa (wá’a)—a canoe.

Wahine (wa-hí-ne)—a female; a woman; a wife.


Waialeale (Wai-á-le-á-le)—billowy water; the central mountain on the island of Kauai (p. 106).


[NOTE.—All Hawaiian words, as such (except catch words), are italicized.]

AALA KUPUKUPU: mele kupe’e 49

A EULOGY for the princess: song for the hula ku’i Molokai 209

A HAMAKUA AU: mele for the hula kaekeeke 122

A HILO au, e: mele for the hula pa’i-umauma 203

AIA I Wai-pi’o Paka’alana: old mele set to music VIII 162

AI-HA’A, a style of recitation 58

AILOLO OFFERING, at graduation from the school of the halau 32

eating of 34

inspection of 33

A KAUAI, a ke olewa iluna: mele for the hula Pele 189

A KE KUAHIWI: a kanaenae to Laka 16

A KOA’E-KEA: mele for the hula ala’a-papa 67

A KOOLAU WAU: mele for the hula ala’a-papa 59

A LALO maua o Waipi’o: mele for the hula íliíli 120

ALAS, alas, maimed are my hands! lament of Mana-mana-ia-kaluea 212

ALAS, I am seized by the shark: song for the hula manó 222

ALAS, there’s no stay to the smoke! song for the hula Pele 195

ALOHA na hale o makou: mele komo, welcome to the halau 39

ALOHA wale oe: song with music IX 164


at ailolo inspection: Laka sits in her shady grove 34

at ailolo service: O goddess Laka! 34

in prose speech: E ola ia’u, i ka malihini 46

Invoke we now the four thousand 22

Thou art Laka 42

to Kane and Kapo: Now Kane, approach 45

to Laka: Here am I, O Laka from the mountains 20

to Laka: This my wish 43

to Laka: This spoil and rape of the wildwood 19

ALTAR, visible abode of the deity 15

A MACKEREL SKY, time for foul weather: song for the hula ala’a-papa 70

AMI, not a motion of lewd intent 210

AMUSEMENTS in Hawaii communal 13

ANKLET SONG: Fragrant the grasses 49

AOLE AU E HELE ka li’u-la o Maná: mele for the hula pa-ipu 79

AOLE E MAO ka ohu: mele for the hula Pele 195

AOLE I MANAO IA: mele for the hula úli-ulí 108

A PILI, a pili: mele for the hula hoonaná 244

A PIT LIES (far) to the East: song for the hula pa-ipu 86

A PLOVER at the full of the sea: song for the hula kolea 220

A PUA ka wiliwili: a bit of folk-lore (note) 221

A PUNA AU: mele for the hula pahu 104

A SEARCH for a sweetheart: song for the hula ulili 247

ASPERSION in ceremonial purification 15

ASSONANCE by word-repetition 227

A STORM from the sea: song for the hula pa-ipu 78

AT HILO I rendezvoused with the lehua: song for the hula pa’i-umauma 203

ATTITUDE of the Hawaiian toward—

nature 262

song 159

the gods 225

AT WAILUA stands the main house-post: song for the hula Pele 192

AUHEA wale oe, e ka Makani Inu-wai? mele for the hula úli-ulí 110

AUWE, auwe, mo’ ku’u lima! lament of Mana-mana-ia-kaluea 212

AUWE, pau au i ka manó nui, e! mele for the hula manó 221

A ÚWEUWÉ ke ko’e a ke kae: mele oli in the game of kilu 240

AWA DEBAUCH of Kane 131

AWILIWILI i ka hale o ka lauwili, e: a proverbial saying (note) 53

AX OF BROADEST EDGE I’m hight: song for the hula pua’a 230

BAMBOO RATTLE, the puili 144

BEDECK now the board for the feast: song-prayer for the hula Pele 200

BEGOTTEN were the gods of graded rank: song of cosmology (note) 196

BEHOLD KAUNÁ, that sprite of windy Ka-ú: song for the hula Pele 193

BIG WITH CHILD is the princess Ku: song for the hula pa-ipu 81

BIT OF FOLK-LORE: A pua ka wiliwili (note) 221

When flowers the wiliwili (note) 221

BLACK CRABS are climbing: song for the hula mu’umu’u 214

BLOOM OF LEHUA on altar piled: prayer to remove tabu at intermission 127

BLOW, BLOW, thou wind of Hilo! old sea song (note) 65

BURST OF SMOKE from the pit: song for the hula pa-ipu 89



CALL TO THE MAN to come in: song of welcome to the halau 41




CLOTHING OR COVERING, illustrated by gesture 178

COCONUT DRUM, puniu 141

COME NOW, MANONO: song for the hula pa’i-umauma 204

COME UP to the wildwood, come: song for the hula ohe 136

COMRADE MINE in the robe-stripping gusts of Lalau: song for the hula kilu 241


COSTUME of the hula dancer 49

COURT OF THE ALII the recruiting ground for hula performers 27

CULTS of the hula folk—were there two? 47

DANCE, a premeditated affair in Hawaii 13

DAVID MALO, hulas mentioned by 107

DEATH, represented by gesture 178

DÉBUT of a hula performer 35

DÉBUT-SONG of a hula performer: Ka nalu nui, a ku ka nalu mai Kona 35

DECORATIONS of the kuahu—the choice limited 19

DISMISSING PRAYER at intermission: Doomed sacrifice I 129

DISPENSATION granted to pupils before graduation from the halau 33

DIVISIONS of mele recitation in the hula 58

DOOMED SACRIFICE I: dismissing prayer at intermission 129

DRESSING SONG of hula girls: Ku ka punohu ula 55


description of 140

introduced by La’a-mai-Kahiki 141

DRUM HULA, the 103

E ALA, e Kahiki-ku: mele for the hula Pele 196

E HEA i ke kanáka e komo maloko (mele komo): welcome to the halau 41

E HOOPONO ka hele: mele apropos of Nihi-aumoe 94

E HOOULU ana i Kini o ke Akua: altar-prayer 21

EIA KE KUKO, ka li’a: altar-prayer, to Laka 43

EI’AU, e Laka mai uka: altar-prayer 20

E IHO ana oluna: oracular utterance of Kapihe 99

E KAUKAU i hale manu, e: mele for the hula ki’i 99

E LAKA, E! mele kuahu at aiolo service 34

E LE’E KAUKAU: mele for the hula ki’i 98

ELEELE KAUKAU: mele for the hula ki’i 97


his description of the “hura ka-raau116

his remarks about the “hura araapapa71

ELOCUTION and rhythmic accent in Hawaiian song 158

E MANONO la, ea: mele for the hula pa’i-umauma 204

ENGULFED in heaven’s abyss: song for the hula kilu 243

E OE MAUNA i ka ohu: mele for the hula Pele 194

E OLA IA’U, i ka malihini: altar-prayer, in prose speech 46

E PI’ I ka nahele: mele for the hula ohe 135

E PI ka-wai ka nahele: mele for the hula niau-kani 133

EPITHALAMIUM, mele for the hula ki’i: O Wanahili ka po loa ia Manu’a 100

E ULU, e ulu: altar-prayer to the Kini Akua 46

EWA’S LAGOON is red with dirt: song for the hula pa-ipu 84

E WEWEHI, ke, ke! mele for the hula ki’i 94

FABLE, Hawaiian love of 111


FAME TRUMPETS your conquests each day: song for the hula ku’i 253

FEET AND LEGS in gesture 181

FISH-TREE, Maka-léi (note) 17

FLOWERS acceptable for decoration 19


FOLK-LORE, application of the term 114

FOREIGN INFLUENCE on Hawaiian music 138, 163

FRAGRANT THE GRASSES of high Kane-hoa: anklet song 49

FROM KAHIKI came the woman, Pele: song for the hula Pele 188


song for the hula ala’a-papa 64

with music VII 157


GAME OF NA-Ú (note) 118



illustrating an obstacle 177

illustrating movement 178

influenced by convention 180

inviting to come in 179

mimetic 178

representing a plain 178

representing clothing or covering 178

representing death 178

representing union or similarity 178

taught by the kumu-hula 176

with feet and legs 181

GIRD ON THE PA-Ú: tiring song 54


GLOWING is Kahiki, oh! song for the hula pa-ipu 75


of health, Mauli-ola (note) 198

of mirage, Lima-loa (note) 79

GODS, attitude of the Hawaiian toward the 225

GODS of the hula 23

GOURD DRUM, ipu-hula 142

GOURD-RATTLE, úli-ulí 144

GRADUATION from the halau

ailolo sacrament 32, 34

ceremonies of 31

tabu-lifting prayer: Oh wildwood bouquet, oh Laka 32

HAKI pu o ka nahelehele: altar-prayer to Laka 18

HAKU’I ka uahi o ka lua: mele for the hula pa-ipu 88


a school for the hula 30

ceremonies of graduation from 31

decorum required in 30

description of 14

its worship contrasted with that of the heiau 15

passwords to 38

purification of its site 14

rules of conduct while it is abuilding 15

worship in 42

HALAU HANALEI i ka nini a ka ua: an oli 155

HALE-MA’UMA’U (note) 229

HALL for the hula. See Halau.

HANALEI is a hall for the dance in the pouring rain: a song 155

HANAU ke apapa nu’u: song of cosmology (note) 196

HAUNT of white tropic bird: song for the hula ala’a-papa 67

HAWAIIAN HARP, the ukeké 147

HAWAIIAN love of fable 111


HAWAIIAN MUSIC displaced by foreign 138



elocution and rhythmic accent 158

characteristics 170

melody; rhythm 171

tone-intervals 158

HAWAIIAN SPEECH, music affected by peculiarities of 139

HAWAII PONOI (national hymn) with music XIV 172

HAWAII’S VERY OWN: translation of national hymn 175

HE ALA kai olohia: mele for the hula ku’i Molokai 207

HEAVEN MAGIC fetch a Hilo pour: song for the hula ala’a-papa 66

HE INOA no ka Lani: mele for the hula ku’i Molokai 208

HE INOA no Kamehameha: song set to music VIII 162

HE LUA i ka hikina: mele for the hula pa-ipu 85

HERE AM I, O Laka from the mountains: altar-prayer to Laka 20

HE UA LA, he ua: mele for the hula kolani 216

HE Ú-I, he ninau: mele for Kane 257


her bathing place 190

in a kilu contest with Pele-ula 240

See Gods of the hula.

HIKI MAI, hiki mai ka La, e! mele for the hula puili 114

HI’U-O-LANI, kii ka ua o Hilo: mele for the hula ala’a-papa 65


HOE PUNA i ka wa’a pololo a ka ino: mele for the hula ala’a-papa 70

HOINAINAU mea ipo: mele for the hula ala’a-papa 71

HOLE WAIMEA i ka ihe a ka makani: mele for the hula ala’a-papa 68

HO! MOUNTAIN of vapor puffs: song for the hula Pele 194


HOOPA’A, a division of the hula performers 28, 57

HOOPONO OE, he aina kai Waialua i ka hau: mele for hula ala’a-papa 60

HOW PLEASED is the girl maimed of hand and foot: song of Hiiaka 212

HOW PLEASING, when borne by the tide: song for the hula ku’i 252

HUAHUA’I: song with music X: He aloha wau ia oe 166


degeneration of 14

intermission of 126

support and organization 26


a religious service 11, 57

company—organization of 29

dancer’s costume 49

democratic side of 26

remarks on, by Rev. W. Ellis 71






its novel performance on Kauai 118

responsive chanting in 116




















HULA PALÁNI, THE (note) 202


HULA PERFORMANCE, influenced by instrument of accompaniment 113


classes 28, 57

début 35

physique 57




calabash hulas 102

David Malo’s list of 107

first hula 8

gods of 23

of varying dignity and rank 57

See also Hula and names of various hulas.

HULA SONGS—their source 58



“HURA KA RAAU,” description of, by Rev. William Ellis 116

I ALOHA i ke ko a ka wai: mele for the hula ku’i 251

I AM SMITTEN with spear of Kane: song for the hula pa-hua 184

IDYL, typical Hawaiian 217


a fluctuating utterance in song 158

its vowel repetition 159

I KAMA’AMA’A la i ka pualei: mele pule for the hula Pele 199

IKE IA KAUKINI: mele to Kaukini (note) 51

IKE IA KAUNÁ-WAHINE, Makani Ka-u: mele for the hula Pele 193

ILIÍLI, castanets 147

ILL OMEN, words of, in mele inoa 37

IN PUNA WAS I: song for the hula pahu 105


IN THE UPLANDS, the darting flame-bird of La’a: password to the halau 41

INVITATION to come in, by gesture 179

INVOKE WE NOW the Four Thousand: altar-prayer 22

IN WAIPI’O stands Paka’alana: name-song of Kamehameha 163

IPU HULA, gourd drum 58, 142

treatment of, in hula pa-ipu and in hula ala’a-papa 73

I SPURN THE THOUGHT with disdain: song for the hula úli-ulí 109

IT HAS COME, it has come: song for the hula puili 114

IT WAS IN HAMAKUA: song for the hula kaekeeke 123

I WILL NOT CHASE the mirage of Maná: song for the hula pa-ipu, 80

KAEKEEKE, musical bamboo pipe, 143

KAHEA i ka mele, 58

KAHIKI-NUI, auwahi ka makani: mele for the hula kaekeeke, 124

KAHIKI-NUI, land of wind-driven smoke: song for the hula kaekeeke, 125

KAHIPA, na waiu olewa: mele for the hula pa’i-umauma, 205

KAHULI AKU, kahuli mai: mele apropos of the tree-shell, 121

KAKUA PA-Ú, ahu na kiképa: tiring song, 51

KALAKALAIHI, kaha ka La ma ke kua o Lehua: mele for the hula kilu, 238

KALAKAUA, a great name: song for the hula ka-laau, 117

KALALAU, pali eku i ka makani: mele for the hula ki’i, 101

KA-LIU-WA’A (note), 230

KAMA-PUA’A, his relations with—

Kapo, 25

Pele, 231

KA MAWAE: song and music XI, 167

KAMEHAMEHA II, song composed by, 69

KA-MOHO-ALII (note), 229

KANAENAE TO LAKA: A ke kuahiwi, i ke kualono, 16

KANALOA. See Gods of the hula.

KANALOA TINTS HEAVEN with a blush: song for the hula kilu, 242

KA NALU NUI, a ku ka nalu mai Kona: name-song to Naihe, 35

KANE, HIKI A’E, he maláma ia luna: altar-prayer to Kane and Kapo, 44

KANE is DRUNKEN with awa: song for interlude, 130


KANE. See Gods of the hula.


parentage and relations to the hula,47

relations with Kama-pua’a, 25

See Gods of the hula.

KAUAI, characteristics of its hula, 119

KAUHUA KU, ka Lani, iloli ka moku: mele for the hula pa-ipu, 80

KAU KA HA-É-A, kau o ka hana wa ele: mele for the hula ala’a-papa, 69

KA UKA HOLO-KIA ahi-manu o La’a: password to the halau, 41

KAULANA mai nei Pua Lanakila: mele for the hula ku’i, 252

KAULA WEARS the ocean as a wreath: wreath-song, 56

KAULA WREATHES her brow with the ocean: song of Mana-mana-ia-kaluea, 213

KAU LILUA i ke anu Wai-aleale: mele for the hula pahu, 105

KAUÓ PU KA IWA kala-pahe’e: mele for the hula pa-ipu, 76

KA WAI opua-makani o Wailua: an oli, 255

KAWELO, a sorcerer who turned shark (note), 79

KEAAU is a long strip of wild wood: song for the hula ala’a-papa, 62

KEAAU SHELTERS, Waiakea lies in the calm: song for the hula ala’a-papa, 61

KE AMO la ke ko’i ke Akua la i uka: mele for the hula Pele, 190


a name of many personalities (note), 74

the red blush of dawn: old song (note), 74

KE LEI MAI la o Kaula i ke kai, e-e!

mele of Mana-mana-ia-kaluea, 212

wreath-song, 56

KE POHÁ NEI; u’ína la: mele for the hula o-niu248

KI’I-KI’I 91

KI’I NA KA IPO: mele for the hula ulili 246


KILU, a game and a hula 235

KILU-CONTEST of Hiiaka with Pele-ula 240

KING, CAPT. JAMES, on the music and dancing of the Hawaiians 149



KO’I-HONUA, a style of recitation 58, 89

KO’I MAKA NUI: mele oli for the hula pua’a 228

KOLEA KAI PIHA: mele for the hula kolea 219

KONA KAI OPUA, i kala i ka la’i: mele for the hula ka-laau 117

KUAHU-SERVICE, not a rigid liturgy 21

KUAHU, THE 15, 32

KU AKU LA KEAAÚ, lele ka makani mawaho: mele for the hula pa-ipu 77

KUA LOLOA Keaáu i ka nahele: mele for the hula ala’a-papa62


KU E, NANÁ E! mele for the hula ilio 223

KU I WAILUA ka pou hale: mele for the hula Pale 191

KU KA MAKAIA a ka huaka’i moe ípo: dismissing prayer at intermission 129

KU KA PUNOHU ula i ka moana: girl’s dressing song 55


KUMU-HULA, a position open to all 15

KUMUKAHI, myth (note) 197

KUNIHI KA MAUNA i ka la’i, e: mele kahea, password to the halau 40

KU OE KO’U WAHI ohelo nei la, auwe, auwe! mele for the hula ohelo 233

KU PILIKI’I Hanalei lehua, la: mele for the hula kielei 210

KU-PULUPULU. See Gods of the hula.

KU. See Gods of the hula.

KU’U HOA MAI ka makani kuehu kapa o Kalalau: mele for the hula kilu 240


his connection with the hula pahu 103

introduces the drum, or pahu hula 141

LAAU, a xylophone 144


a block of wood her special symbol 20, 23

adulatory prayer to 18

a friend of the Pele family 24

aumakua of the hula 23

compared with the gods of classic Greece 24

emanation origin 48

epithets and appellations of 24

invoked as god of wildwood growths 24

special god of the hula 24

versus Kapo 47

wreathing her emblem 34

LAKA SITS in her shady grove: altar-prayer 34


Alas, alas, maimed are my hands! 212

Auwe, auwe, mo’ ku’u lima! 212

LAU LEHUA punoni ula ke kai o Kona: mele for the hula pa-ipu 75

LEAF OF LEHUA and noni-tint, the Kona sea: song for the hula pa-ipu 76

LE’A WALE hoi ka wahine lima-lima ole, wawae ole: mele of Hiiaka 212

LEHUA ILUNA: tabu-lifting prayer at intermission 126

LELE MAHU’I-LANI a luna: a tiring song 56

LET’S WORSHIP NOW the bird-cage: song for the hula ki’i 99

LIFT MAHU’I-LANI on high: tiring song 56

LIKE NO A LIKE: song with music XII 168

LIMA-LOA, god of mirage (note) 79


LITURGY OF KUAHU not rigid 21

LI’ULI’U ALOHA ia’u mele kahea: password to the halau 39

LONG, LONG have I tarried with love: password to the halau 39

LONO, cult of 18

See Gods of the hula.

LOOK FORTH, GOD KU, look forth: song for the hula ilio 225

LOOK NOW, WAIALUA, land clothed with ocean-mist: song for the hula ala’a-papa 60

LOOK TO YOUR WAYS in upland Puna: song apropos of Nihi-aumoe 94

LO, PELE’S THE GOD of my choice: song prayer for the hula Pele 199

LO, THE RAIN, the rain: song for the hula kolani 217

LOVE FAIN COMPELS to greet thee: song, “Cold breast,” with music IX 165

LOVE IS AT PLAY in the grove: song for the hula ala’a-papa 71

LOVE TOUSLED WAIMEA with shafts of the wind: song for the hula ala’a-papa 69

LYRIC OR OLI: The wind-beaten stream of Wailua 256


MAHELE OR PALE, divisions of a song 58

MAI KAHIKI ka wahine, o Pele: mele for the hula Pele 187




MAKA-LÉI, a mythical fish-tree (note) 1717

MAKALI’I, the Pleiades (note) 17

MALUA, fetch water of love: song for the hula puili 115

MALUA, ki’i wai ke aloha: mele for the hula puili 114

MAO WALE i ka lani: mele for the hula kilu 243


MASKS NOT USED in the halau 179

MAULI-OLA, god of health (note) 198


apropos of—

Kahuli, the tree-shell: Kahuli aku, kahuli mai 121

Keawe: O Keawe ula-i-ka-lani (note) 74

Nihi-aumoe: E hoopono ka hele i ka uha o Puna 94

at début of hula performer: Ka nalu nui, a ku ka nalu mai Kona 35

for interlude: Ua ona o Kane i ka awa 130

for Kane: He ú-i, he nináu 257

for the—

hula ala’a-papa

A Koa’e-kea, i Pueo-hulu-nui 67

A Koolau wau, ike i ka ua 59

Hi’u-o-lani, ki’i ka ua o Hilo 65

Hoe Puna i ka wa’a polólo 70

Ho-ina-inau mea ipo i ka nahele 71

Hole Waimea i ka ihe a ka makani 68

Hoopono oe, he aina kai Waialua i ka hau 60

Kau ka ha-é-a, kau o ka hana wa ele 69

Kua loloa Keaau i ka nahele 62

Noluna ka Hale-kai, no ka ma’a-lewa 63

Pakú Kea-au, lulu Wai-akea60

hula hoonaná: A pili, a pili 244

hula íliíli: A lalo maua o Waipi’o 120

hula ilio: Ku e, naná e! 223

hula kaekeeke

A Hamakua au 122

Kahiki-nui, auwahi ka makani 124

hula ka-laau

Kona kai opua i kala i ka la’i 117

O Kalakaua, he inoa 117

hula kielei Ku piliki’i Hanalei-lehua, la 210

hula ki’i

E kaukau i hale manu, e! 99

E le’e kaukau 98

Eleele kaukau 97

E Wewehi, ke, ke! 94

Kalalau, pali eku i ka makani 101

Pikáka e, ka luna ke, ke! 96

hula kilu

Kálakálaíhi, kaha ka La ma ke kua o Lehua 238

Ku’u hoa mai ka makani kuehu-kapa o Kalalau 240

Mao wale i ka lani 243

Pua ehu kamaléna ka uka o Kapa’a 237

Ula Kala’e-loa i ka lepo a ka makani 239

Ula ka lani ia Kanaloa 241

hula kolani: He wa la, he ua 216

hula kolea: Kolea kai piha 219

hula ku’i

I aloha i ke ko a ka wai 251

Kaulana mai nei Pua Lanakila 252

hula ku’i Molokai

He ala kai olohia 207

He inoa no ka Lani 208

hula manó: Auwe! pau au i ka manó nui, e! 221

hula mu’umu’u: Pi’i ana a-ama 213

hula niau-kani: E pi’i ka wai ka nahele 133

hula ohe: E pi’ i ka nahele 135

hula ohelo: Ku oe ko’u wahi ohelo nei la, auwe, auwe! 233

hula o-niu: Ke pohá nei, u’ína la! 248

hula pahu

A Puna au, i Kuki’i au, i Ha’eha’e 104

Kau lilua i ke anu Wai-aleale 105

O Hilo oe, muliwai a ka ua i ka lani 104

hula pa-hua: Pa au i ka ihe a Kane 183

hula pa-ipu

Aole au e hele ka li’u-la o Maná 79

Haku’i ka uahi o ka lua 88

He lua i lea hikina 85

Kauhua Ku, ka Lani, iloli ka moku 80

Kauo pu ka iwa kala-pahe’e 76

Ku aku la Kea-aú, lele ka makani mawaho 77

Lau lehua punoni ula ke kai o Kona 75

O Ewa, aina kai ula i ka lepo 84

Ooe no paha ia, e ka lau o ke aloha 82

Wela Kahiki, e! 73

hula pa’i-umauma

A Hilo au, e, hoolulu ka lehua 203

E Manono la, ea 204

Kahipa, na waiu olewa 205

hula Pele

A Kauai, a ke olewa iluna 189

Aole e mao ka ohu 195

E ala, e Kahiki-ku 196

E oe mauna i ka ohu 194

I kama’ama’a la i ka pua-lei 199

Ike ia Kauná-wahine, Makani Ka-ú 193

Ke amo la ke Akua la i-uka 190

Ku i Wailua ka pou hale 191

Mai Kahiki ka Wahine, o Pele 187

Nou paha e, ka inoa 200

O Pele la ko’u akua 198

hula puili

Hiki mai, hiki mai ka La, e! 114

Malua, ki’i wai ke aloha 114

hula ulili: Ki’i na ka ipo 246

hula úli-ulí

Aole i mana’o ia 108

Auhea wale oe, e ka Makani Inu-wai? 110


composition and criticism of 27

must contain no words of ill omen 37

their authors called “the king’s wash-tubs” 116

to Naihe: Ka nalu nui, a ku ka nalu mai Kona 35

in the hula, starting of 58

kahea, password to the halau

Ka uka holo-kia ahi-manu o La’a 41

Kunihi ka mauna i ka la’i, e 40

Li’u-li’u aloha ia’u 39

komo, welcome to the halau

Aloha na hale o makou i makamaka ole 39

E hea i ke kanaka e komo maloko 41

kuahu, altar-prayer—

E, Laka, e! 34

Noho ana Laka i ka ulu wehiwehi 33

kupe’e, anklet song: Aala kupukupu ka uka o Kanehoa 49

of Hiiaka: Le’a wale hoi ka wahine limalima ole, wawae ole 212

of Mana-mana-ia-kaluea: Ke lei mai la o Kaula i ke kai e-e! 212


for the hula pua’a: Ko’i maka nui 228

in the game of kilu: A uweuwe ke ko’e a ke kae 240

set to music—

XI: A e ho’i ke aloha i ka mawae 167

VIII: Aia i Waipi’o Paka’alana 162

IX: Aloha wale oe 164

VII: Halau Hanalei i ka nini a ka úa 156

XIV: Hawaii ponoi 172

X: He aloha wau ia oe 166

XIII: O ka ponaha iho a ke ao 169

XII: Ua líke no a líke 168

to Kaukini: Ike ia Kaukini, he lawaia manu (note) 51

MELODY of Hawaiian song 170

METHINKS IT IS YOU, leaf plucked from Love’s tree: song for hula pa-ipu 83


MISTAKEN VIEWS about the Hawaiians 262

MISTY AND DIM, a bush in the wilds of Kapa’a: song for hula kilu 237

MOTION, illustrated by gesture 178


influence on a hula performance 113

the kaekeeke 122

the pu-la-í 147

the ukeké 149


I: range of the nose-flute 146

II: from the nose-flute 146

III: the ukeké as played by Keaonaloa 149

IV: song from the hula pa’i-umauma 153

V: song from the hula pa-ipu 153

VI: song from the hula Pele 154

VII: oli and mele from the hula ala’a-papa 156

VIII: He inoa no Kamehameha 162

IX: song, Poli anuanu: Aloha wale oe 164

X: song, Hua-hua’i 166

XI: song, Ka Mawae 167

XII: song, Líke no a Líke 168

XIII: song, Pili-aoao 169

XIV: Hawaiian National Hymn, Hawaii Ponoi 172

MUSIC AND POETRY, Hawaiian—their relation 161


cadence 140

phrasing 140

rhythm 160

under foreign influences 163

vocal execution 139


MYTHICAL SHARK, Papi’o (note) 206

NAME-SONG OF KAMEHAMEHA: In Waipio stands Pa ka’alana 163

of Naihe: The huge roller, roller that surges from Kona 36


translation 175

with music XIV 172

NA-Ú, a game (note) 118

NIAU-KANI, a musical instrument 132

NIHEU, mythological character (note) 194


NOHO ANA LAKA i ka ulu wehiwehi: altar-prayer 33

NOLUNA ka hale kai, e ka ma’alewa

mele for the hula ala’a-papa 63

mele with music VII 155

NOSE-FLUTE 135, 145

music from, II 146

remarks on, by Jennie Elsner 146

NOU PAHA E, ka inoa: mele for the hula Pele 200

Now FOR THE DANCE, dance in accord: song for the hula ki’i 98

NOW, KANE, APPROACH, illumine the altar: altar-prayer to Kane and Kapo 45

NOW WRIGGLES THE WORM to its goal: song in the game of kilu 240

OBSTACLE, AN, illustrated by gesture 177

O EWA, aina kai ula i ka lepo: mele for the hula pa-ipu 84

O GODDESS LAKA! altar-prayer 34

OHE HANO-IHU, the nose-flute 135, 145, 146

O HILO OE, Hilo, muliwai a ka wa i ka lani: mele for the hula pahu 104

OH WEWEHI, la, la! song for the hula ki’i 95


tabu-removing prayer at graduation 32

tabu-removing prayer at intermission 128

O KALAKAUA, he inoa: mele for the hula ka-laau 117

O KA PONAHA iho a ke ao: song with music XIII 169

O KEAWE-ULA-I-KA-LANI: old mele apropos of Keawe (note) 74

O LAKA OE: altar-prayer to Laka 42

OLAPA, a division of hula performers 28, 57


Blow, blow, thou wind of Hilo! (note) 65

Pa mai, pa mai (note) 65

OLD SONG: Keawe, the red blush of dawn (note) 74

OLELO HUNÁ, secret talk 97


dividing line between 254

from the hula ala’a-papa, music VII 156

OLI LEI: Ke lei mai la o Kaula i ke kai, e! 56

OLI PA-Ú: Kakua pa-ú, ahu na kikepa 51

OLI, THE 254-256

illustration of: Ka wai opua-makani o Wailua 255

OLI, with music VII: Halau Hanalei i ka nini a ka ua 155

OLOPANA, a famous king (note) 74

O MY LOVE goes out to thee: song with music X 167


OOE NO PAHA IA, e ka lau o ke aloha: mele for the hula pa-ipu 82

O PELE la ko’u akua: mele for the hula Pele 198

ORACULAR UTTERANCE of Kapihe: E iho ana oluna 99

ORGANIZATION of a hula company 29

ORTHOGRAPHY of the Hawaiian language—influence of Rev. W. Ellis (note) 72

OUTSPREADS NOW THE DAWN: song with music XIII 170

O WANAHILI ka po loa ia Manu’a: mele for the hula ki’i 100

PA AU I KA ihe a Kane: mele for the hula pa-hua 183

PAHU, the drum 140

PAKÚ KEAAU, lulu Waiakea: mele for the hula pa-hua 60

PA MAI, pa mai: old sea song (note) 65

PAPI’O, mythical shark (note) 206


at the present time 152

in ancient times 150, 152


In the uplands, the darting flame-bird of La’a 41

Long, long have I tarried with love 39

Steep stands the mountain in calm 40

PA-U HALAKÁ, THE (note) 124

PA-Ú SONG: Gird on the pa-ú, garment tucked in one side 54

PA-Ú, the hula skirt 49

PECULIARITIES of Hawaiian speech, music affected by 139


relations of, with Kama-pua’a 231

story of 186

PERILOUS, STEEP, is the climb to Hanalei woods: song for the hula kielei 211

PHRASING in music 140

PHYSIQUE of hula performers 57

PI’I ANA A-ÁMA: mele for the hula mu’umu’u 213

PIKÁKA, E, ka luna, ke, ke: mele for the hula ki’i 96

PILLARS of heaven’s dome, Kukulu o Kahiki (note) 17


PLAIN, A, illustrated by gesture 178

PLEIADES, THE, Makali’i (note) 17

POETRY of ancient Hawaii 161, 263

POINT TO A DARK ONE: song for the hula ki’i 97

POLI ANUANU, song with music IX: Aloha wale oe 164

PRAYER OF ADULATION to Laka: In the forests, on the ridges 18

PRAYER OF DISMISSAL at intermission: Ku ka makaia a ka huaka’i moe ipo 129

PRECIOUS THE GIFT of heart’s-ease: song for the hula ku’i Molokai 208

PROVERBIAL SAYING: Unstable the house 53

PU-Á, a whistle 146

PUA EHU KAMALENA ka uka o Kapa’a: mele for the hula kilu 237


PUILI, a bamboo rattle 144

PU-LA-Í, a musical instrument 147


at graduation exercises: Pupu we’uwe’u e, Laka e! 31

at intermission: Lehua i-luna 126

to Laka: Pupu we’uwe’u e, Laka e! 128


E hooulu ana i Kini o ke Akua 21

Ei’ au, e Laka mai uka 20

in prose speech: E ola ia’u, i ka malihini 46

to Kane and Kapo: Kane hiki a’e, he maláma ia luna 44

to Laka: Eia ke kuko, ka li’a 43

to Laka: Haki pu a ka nahelehele 18

to Laka: O Laka oe 42

to the Kini Akua: E ulu, e ulu, Kini o ke Akua! 46

PUNA PLIES PADDLE night-long in the storm: song for hula ala’a-papa 70

PUNCH-AND-JUDY SHOW and the hula ki’i 91

PU-NIU, coconut drum 141

PUPILS OF THE HALAU—dispensation before graduation 33

PUPU-A-LENALENA, a famous dog 131

PUPU WE’UWE’U E, Laka e! pule hoonoa

at graduation 31

at intermission 128

PURIFICATION of the hula company 15

of the site for the halau 14

RANGE of the nose-flute 146

RECITATION in the hula, style of 58

RED GLOWS KALA’E through the wind-blown dust: song for the hula kilu 239

REED-INSTRUMENT, the niau-kani 147

RELATION of Hawaiian poetry and music 161

RELIGION in Hawaii somber 13

RESPONSIVE CHANTING in the hula ka-laau 116

RETURN, O LOVE, to the refuge: song with music XI 168

RHYTHM in Hawaiian music 160, 171

RULES AND PENALTIES controlling a hula company 29

RULES OF CONDUCT during the building of a halau 15

SHARK-GOD, Kawelo, a sorcerer (note) 79

SHE IS LIMED, she is limed: song for the hula hoonaná 245

SINGING IN ANCIENT TIMES—testimony of Capt. James King 149

SKIRT for the hula, the pa-ú 49

SLANG among the Hawaiians 98

SONG, Hawaiian attitude toward 159

See also Hawaiian song.


apropos of Nihi-aumoe: Look to your ways in upland Puna 94

at the first hula 8

composed by Kamehameha II 69

divisions of 58

epithalamium, for the hula ki’i:

Wanahili bides the whole night with Manu’a 101

for interlude: Kane is drunken with awa 130

for the—

hula ala’a-papa

A mackerel sky, time for foul weather 70

From mountain retreat and root-woven ladder 64

Haunt of white tropic-bird 67

Heaven-magic fetch a Hilo pour 66

Keaau is a long strip of wildwood 62

Keaau shelters, Waiakea lies in the calm 61

Look now, Waialua, land clothed with ocean mist 60

Love is at play in the grove 71

Love tousled Waimea with shafts of the wind 69

Puna plies paddle night-long in the storm 70

’Twas in Koolau I met with the rain 59

hula hoonaná: She is limed, she is limed 245

hula íliíli: We twain were lodged in Waipi’o 120

hula ilio: Look forth, god Ku, look forth! 225

hula kaekeeke: It was in Hamakua 123

Kahiki-nui, land of wind-driven smoke 125

hula ka-laau: Kalakaua, a great name 117

The cloud-piles o’er Kona’s sea 118

hula kielei: Perilous, steep is the climb to Hanalei woods 211

hula ki’i

Let’s worship now the bird-cage 99

Now for the dance 98

Oh Wewehi, la, la! 95

Point to a dark one 97

The mountain walls of Kalalau 102

The roof is a-dry, la, la! 96

hula kilu

Comrade mine in the robe-stripping gusts of Lalau 241

Engulfed in heaven’s abyss 243

Kanaloa tints heaven with a blush 242

Misty and dim, a bush in the wilds of Kapa’a 237

Red glows Kala’e through the wind-blown dust 239

The sun-furrow gleams at the back of Lehua 238

hula kolani: Lo, the rain, the rain! 217

hula kolea: A plover at the full of the sea 220

hula ku’i

Fame trumpets your conquests each day 253

How pleasing, when borne by the tide 252

hula ku’i Molokai

A eulogy for the princess 209

Precious the gift of heart’s ease! 208

hula manó: Alas, I am seized by the shark, great shark! 222

hula mu’umu’u: Black crabs are climbing 214

hula niau-kani: Up to the streams in the wildwood 133

hula ohe: Come up to the wildwood, come 136

hula ohelo: Touched, thou art touched by my gesture 234

hula o-niu: The rustle and hum of spinning top 249

hula pahu

In Puna was I, in Kiki’i, in Ha’e-ha’e 105

performers 103

Thou art Hilo, Hilo, flood-gate of heaven 104

Wai-aleale stands haughty and cold 106

hula pa-hua: I am smitten with spear of Kane 184

hula pa-ipu

A burst of smoke from the pit lifts to the skies 89

A pit lies (far) to the east 86

A storm from the sea strikes Ke-au 78

Big with child is the Princess Ku 81

Ewa’s lagoon is fed with dirt 84

Glowing is Kahiki, oh! 75

I will not chase the mirage of Maná 80

Leaf of lehua and noni-tint 76

Methinks it is you, leaf plucked from love’s tree 83

The iwa flies heavy to nest in the brush 76

hula pa’i-umauma

At Hilo I rendezvoused with the lehua 203

Come now, Manono 204

’Tis Kahipa, with pendulous breasts 206

hula Pele

Alas, there’s no stay to the smoke 195

At Wailua stands the main house-post 192

Bedeck now the board for the feast 200

Behold Kauná, that sprite of windy Ka-ú 193

From Kahiki came the woman, Pele 188

Ho! mountain of vapor puffs! 194

Lo, Pele’s the god of my choice 198

They bear the god’s ax up the mountain 191

To Kauai, lifted in ether 189

With music VI 154

Yours, doubtless, this name 201

hula pua’a: Ax of broadest edge I’m hight 230

hula puili

It has come, it has come 114

Malua, fetch water of love 115

hula ulili: A search for a sweetheart 247

hula úli-ulí

I spurn the thought with disdain 109

Whence art thou, thirsty Wind? 111

from the hula pa’i-umauma—music IV 153

in the game of kilu: Now wriggles the worm to its goal 240

of cosmology—

Begotten were the gods of graded rank (note) 196

Hanau ke apapa nu’u (note) 196

of Hiiaka: How pleased is the girl maimed of hand and foot 212

of Mana-mana-ia-kaluea: Kaúla wreathes her brow with the ocean 213

of the tree-shell: Trill afar, trill a-near 121

of welcome to the halau: What love to our cottage homes! 40

The Water of Kane: This question, this query 258

with music—

VII: Hanalei is a hall for the dance in the pouring rain 155

XIV: Hawaii’s very own 175

VIII: In Waipi’o stands Paka’a-lana 163

IX: Love fain compels to greet thee 165

X: O my love goes out to thee 167

XIII: Outspreads now the dawn 170

XI: Return, O love, to the refuge 168

XII: When the rain drums loud on the leaf 169

SOURCE of hula songs 58

STEEP STANDS THE MOUNTAIN in calm: password to the halau 40

STRESS-ACCENT and rhythmic accent 158


TABU, as a power in controlling a hula company 30

TABU-REMOVING PRAYER at intermission: Oh wildwood bouquet, O Laka! 128

TEMPO in Hawaiian song 160

THE CLOUD-PILES o’er Kona’s sea whet my joy: song for the hula kalaau 118

THE HUGE ROLLER, roller that surges from Kona: name-song to Naihe 36

THE IWA FLIES HEAVY to nest in the brush: song for the hula pa-ipu 76

THE MOUNTAIN WALLS of Kalalau: song for the hula ki’i 102

THE RAINBOW stands red o’er the ocean: tiring song 55

THE ROOF is a-dry, la, la! song for the hula ki’i 96

THE RUSTLE AND HUM of spinning top: song for the hula o-niu 249

THE SUN-FURROW gleams at the back of Lehua: song for the hula kilu 238

THE WIND-BEATEN STREAM of Wailua: an oli or lyric 256

THEY BEAR THE GOD’S AX up the mountain: song for the hula Pele 191

THIS MY WISH, my burning desire: altar-prayer to Laka 43

THIS QUESTION, this query: song, The Water of Kane 258

THIS SPOIL AND RAPE of the wildwood: altar-prayer to Laka 19

THOU ART HILO, Hilo, flood-gate of heaven: song for the hula pahu 104

THOU ART LAKA: altar-prayer to Laka 42

THY BLESSING, O LAKA: altar-prayer in prose speech 47


Lele Mahu’ilani a luna 56

Lift, Mahu’ilani, on high 56

The rainbow stands red o’er the ocean 55

’TIS KAHIPA, with pendulous breasts: song for the hula pa’i-umauma 206

TO KAUAI, lifted in ether: song for the hula Pele 189

TONE-INTERVALS in Hawaiian song 158

TOUCHED, thou art touched by my gesture: song for the hula ohelo 234

TRANSLATION, literalism in, versus fidelity 88

TRILL A-FAR, trill a-near: song of the tree-shell 121

’TWAS IN KOOLAU I met with the rain: song for the hula ala’a-papa 59

UA ONA O KANE i ka awa: mele for interlude 130

UKEKÉ, a Hawaiian harp 147

music of 149

UKU-LELE and taro-patch fiddle, used in the hula ku’i (note) 251

ULA KALA’E-LOA i ka lepo a ka makani: mele for the hula kilu 239

ULA KA LANI ia Kanaloa: mele for the hula kilu 241

ÚLI-ULÍ, a musical instrument 107, 144

UNION OR SIMILARITY, illustrated by gesture 178

VOCAL EXECUTION of Hawaiian music