[Photo: Liliʻuokalani in automobile; Hawaiʻi. SP 50662.]

ʻO Kamakaʻeha, ʻo Liliʻu, ʻo Loloku

Kamakaʻeha (the sore eyes), Liliʻu (the smarting), and Loloku (the pouring tears) were names given to Queen Liliʻuokalani. Kīnaʻu, daughter of Kamehameha I, was once troubled with sore eyes, and her physician kept her in a dark room until she became well again. Two royal children were named for this event. The son of Piʻikoi was named Kahalepouli, or “darkhouse”, for the dark room Kīnaʻu was confined in. With Kinoiki, the sister of Queen Kapiʻolani, he later became the father of David Kawānanakoa, Edward Keliʻiahonui, and Jonah Kūhiō Kalanianaʻole. Liliʻu was named for the pain, the smarting, and the tearfulness of the eyes of Kīnaʻu. Liliʻu was the daughter of Kapaʻakea and Keohokālole.”

In celebration of her birthday, we feature a mele inoa composed for the last ruling monarch of the Kingdom of Hawaiʻi.

(Excerpt and mele translation by Mary Kawena Pukui)

ʻO Kamakaʻeha, ʻo Liliʻu, ʻo Loloku … ʻO Kamakaʻeha, Liliʻu, Loloku

ʻO walania i ke kiʻi ʻōnohi … Named for the smarting in the eyeballs

ʻO ka ʻōnohi o Kalani Nu … The eyeballs of the high chiefess

ʻO ke kāhiwa uli o ka ʻōnohi lani … For the dark pupils of the Heavenly One’s eyeballs

ʻO ka ʻōnohi e kokoni aku ai i ka ʻeha … The eyeballs that throbbed with pain

E loku ai ka maka i ka pūkai … That eyes that filled with salty tears

ʻO ka maka, ʻo ka ʻōnohi o Kauʻialani … The eyes, the eyeballs of Kauʻialani

ʻO ka ʻalawa maka i ka haku ʻōnohi o Lono … The movement of the eyeballs of Lono

Haku iki ʻōnohi paʻa o Namahanaikalani … The little image in the solid eyeballs of Namahanaikalani

ʻO ka maka ia i hea ʻia, i kapa ʻia ai … Those were the eyes for whom you were named

He inoa ē a-. … This is your name chant.

ʻO nā maka o Kalaninui kaikuaʻana … Named are you for the eyes of the high chiefess, the older sister

ʻO nā maka o Kū, o Kūnuiākea, o Kūwahine … For the eyes of Kū, of Kūnuiakea, of Kūwahine

Kukū ke ʻehu kai ʻehu ʻino o nā moku … The sea sprays arise, the storm sprays around the island

Nalo ia ʻehu ka ʻino o Kahikinui … Lost is Kahikinui in the sprays raised by the storm

Haele ʻinoʻino mai ana Kaunā … The storm which rages at Kaunā

Nā wahine ʻino o Moaʻekū … The storm-women in the Moaʻekū wind

Lumaʻi ka ihu o Kanaloa i lalo … Push Kanaloa’s nose downward

Nonō ka ihu o Kanaloa i ke kai … Till Kanaloa snores in the sea

ʻO ka puka ihu o Kanaloa hāliua … The nostrils of Kanaloa turns

Hāliu aku hāliu mai nā moku … Turns that way and this way toward the islands

Hoʻokuʻi nā hono i mākaha … The group of islands seen together

Waiho ihola i ka loko … As though encircling a pond

He loko Lāhainā ē, He loko puaia ia na ka makani … A pond is Lāhainā blown gently by the wind

E holo puaia ana i ka mālie … The wind that wafts in the calm

Kānewanewa ke ao o ka lani … The clouds drift about in the sky

He kaikaina makani no ka Maʻaʻa … Borne by the younger sister of the Maʻaʻa breeze

He makani Maʻaʻa ʻai kō ʻula … The Maʻaʻa is a wind in which the red sugar is eaten

He kō pona hala … A sugar cane with well-formed sections

He ʻō ʻai no kō waʻa … To be eaten on your canoe

He ʻō ʻai na māua e hoʻi ai a kau i Hauola … As food for us as we return to shore at Hauola

Mai ola ia ka moe … One’s dream is almost a living thing

E moe nō e-. … So dream on.

Hoʻomoe a nui ka wai i ke pili … Let the water flow on among the pili grass

Pili paʻa ai ke pili me ka lā … Let the pili remain ever a friend of the sun

He lā hehi pua mauʻu ia no Laukona … A sun that seems to tread on the grass blossom of Laukona

He mauʻu moka ulu no ka ʻauwai … The moka grass that grows along the ditch

He muliwai i ka wai e kahe nei … That bears along the water from a river

E iho ana e hoʻomalu lāʻau … It runs down to the shelter of the trees

Muliwai i loko o ka ʻulu o Lāhainā … And is as a stream among the breadfruit trees of Lāhainā

ʻŪ ʻia a ke kanaka nui ka waukē … There grows wild the great man, the waukē tree

He waukē, ka lāʻau e luhi ai … The waukē, a tree worthy of the labor of men

Luhi ke kanaka lā ē … For men must toil

Kei ka luhi hewa o ke kanaka i ke aloha … In vain does a man toil for love

ʻO ke aloha koi ana mea i puni ai … Love is the thing he believes in

Pōpō uahi ka wai kilikili hau … The dew forms a silvery film of water

He kilikili hau waimaka no ka limu … The little dewdrops that are like the moss’s tears

Ua pepehu, ua noʻunoʻu wale ka maka i ka wai … The eyelids swell, they enlarge with the moisture

Kuʻu kāne hoa wai o Waipuhia ē … O my man, my mate of the water of Waipuhia

I Waipuhia ka wai he waimaka no ka pua … At Waipuhia is found the water, like teardrops of the flowers

No ke kāmakahala, no ka ʻāhihi lehua … Of the kāmakahala and lehua blossoms

Ua ʻula wale, ua lei wale nā wahine a ʻohu … Red are they and worn to bedeck the women

Mō kāʻawe ka pua i ke alanui … The lei bundles are opened up on the trail

Alanui ʻula i ka ua a ka Waʻahila … Reddened is the trail in the Waʻahila rain.

[Call Number: MS SC Roberts 3.8 , Pg. 189-190]

Mele are an invaluable primary resource for Hawaiian scholarship and cultural connection. The Welo Hou: Building Connections to the Roberts Mele Collection project, funded in part by the Institute for Museum and Library Services, will improve the digitization, indexing, and accessibility of a unique and treasured collection of mele dating from pre-Western contact to the early 1900s. This pilot project will serve as a model for improved access to and increased engagement with the Bishop Museum Library & Archives’ other mele collections.

Welo Hou, or to unfurl once again, aims to provide more opportunities for researchers of all levels of Hawaiian language and cultural fluency to access the Roberts Collection with ease, and honors the connections between Hawaiian voices of the past and our community of the present.

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