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Songs of Loyalty

Cover Image: Masthead of Ke Aloha Aina published on October 3, 1896.

Aloha Nūhou Monday!

Hawaiian language newspapers are filled with poetic compositions. But whether they be songs of grief, of praise, or of loyalty, if you cannot make out the words, the intent of the composer is lost.

The mele below for Queen Liliʻuokalani composed by the Ladies of the Hawaiian Patriotic League is not legible when looking at the online Hawaiian language newspapers. We digitized the same page from the original. It was barely legible because of the tight binding of the book. Tight binding is problematic, making it necessary for us to unbind those volumes to get clear images of the pages.

Image: “Lei o ka Lanakila.” Ke Aloha Aina, October 3, 1896, p. 7.


  1. Hold back,
    The birth sands of the ancestors,
    As the foundation and taproot,
    For the offspring and descendants.

Cho.   Onward O People,
           Make your hearts as one,
           That Hawaiʻi be forever distinguished,
           With the Lei of Victory.

2. Steadfast be,
Independence of the land,
And Liliʻu will return,
To the Crown of Hawaiʻi.

3. Praise for the Power of the Trinity,
In Its assistance,
May It forever lend support,
To the Hawaiian Nation.

Composed by the
Ladies of the Hawaiian Patriotic

(Aloha Aina, 10/3/1896, p. 7)

1There are at least three other versions of this mele published in the Hawaiian language newspapers! The first time is in Ka Leo o ka Lahui on April 14, 1893, under the title, “Lanakila Hou Hawaii,” and attributed to Miss Keakalauokalani. The second time was in Hawaii Holomua on April 18, 1893, under the title “Ka Hae o ka Lanakila,” and attributed to Keakalauolono. It is also found in Ka Makaainana on October 19, 1896, under the title “Ka Lei o ka Lanakila,” and again attributed as Na na Wahine o ka Ahahui Aloha Aina [Composed by the Ladies of the Hawaiian Patriotic League].

Image: The Committee of the Women’s Patriotic League of Honolulu who took the women’s anti-annexation petition to J. H. Blount. The committee was composed of: Mrs. James Campbell [Kuihelani], Mrs. J. A. Cummins [Kahalewai], Mrs. Joseph Nawahi [Aima], Mrs. Moses Mahelona [Lala], Mrs. Charles Stillman [Mary], and Miss Hattie Hiram. This photo is from “Ka Buke Moolelo o Hon. Joseph K. Nawahi,” written and edited by J. G. M. Sheldon. Honolulu: Bulletin Publishing Co., Ltd. 1908. Bishop Museum Archives. SP 216988

Image sharing on social media is welcome. For all other uses please contact

This post is part of He Aupuni Palapala: Preserving and Digitizing the Hawaiian Language Newspapers, a partnership between Bishop Museum and Awaiaulu with assistance from Kamehameha Schools. Mahalo nui loa to Hawaii Tourism Authority for their support. Learn more about this project here.

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