[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.

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