[Photo: Studio portrait of (from left): Grace Kahoalii (cousin of Queen Emma), Lucy K. Peabody (center), and Lizzie Kia Nahaolelua. SP 77485.]
Hanohano Kapulani i ka ulu hala
Today’s featured mele, composed for E.D Henriques by Lucy Peabody, expresses the deep love a parent feels for their child. Miss Peabody is best known for serving as a lady-in-waiting for Queen Emma and for her role in resurrecting the ʻAhahui Kaʻahumanu in 1906.
(Mele translation by Mary Kawena Pukui)
Hanohano Kapulani i ka ulu hala … Majestic Kapulani, standing in the hala grove
I ka hale ʻanini peʻa lau niu … The house with awnings of thatched coconut matting
ʻO ka pā kolonahe a ke Kēhau … The Kēhau breeze gently blows
Kō ana ke ʻala aʻo ka hīnano … Bearing hither the fragrance of hala blossoms
E mapu ke ʻala i kuʻu poli … The fragrance lingers on my bosom
E moani i ka wai kuʻi a kekela … The wind-borne perfume from the water of Kekela
Ia wai kaulana kau i ka laʻi … That famed pool standing in the calm
A e ʻona ʻia nei e ka malihini … Water that always delights the visitors
ʻO ke ani peʻahi a ka lau niu … The coconut leaves beckon and sway
I ke aka lawe mālie a ka ʻEka … In the gentle wafting of the ʻEka breeze
Ka makani kolonahe pā ahiahi … The refreshing breeze that blows in the evening
Hone ana i ke kai malino a Ehu … Whistling softly to the calm sea of Ehu
Aia i ka maka lā o ka ʻōpua … Up there are the horizon clouds
ʻO ka lihilihi wai ānuenue … Edged with the colors of the rainbow
Ke nihi aʻela i Hāliʻilua … They move now to spread forth
Noenoe i ka ua o Alanapo … Dusk in the upland of Alanapo
Ola i ke kini ka uka o Kona … Thus helping the people in the upland of Kona
I ka ua loku i ka lau lāʻau … With the rain that pours on the leaves
Haʻina ʻia mai ana ka puana … This is the end of my chant of praise,
ʻO Kalanikiʻekiʻe kuʻu lei ia … For Kalanikiʻekiʻe, my beloved child.
[Call number: MS SC Roberts 4.2, Pg. 34]
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.