The Hawaiian Romance Of Laieikawai eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 474 pages of information about The Hawaiian Romance Of Laieikawai.

  “Haste, hide a little in refreshing sleep, dismiss fatigue. 
   They sleep by day in the silence where noise is forbidden. 
   If they sleep two and two, double is their sleep;
   Enjoyable is the fare of the large-handed man. 
   In parrying the spear the chief is vigorous;
     the breaking of points is sweet. 
   Delightful is the season of fish, the season of food;
     when one is filled with fish, when one is filled with food. 
   Thou art satisfied with food, O thou common man,
   To be satisfied with land is for the chief.”

Compare the account of the Fiji chief in Williams and Calvert, I, 33-42.]

[Footnote 9:  Stair, p. 220; Gracia, p. 59; Alexander, History, chap.  IV; Malo, p. 210.  The name used for the priesthood of Hawaii, kahuna, is the same as that applied in the Marquesas, according to Gracia (p. 60), to the order of chanters.]

[Footnote 10:  Gracia, p. 46; Mariner, II, 87, 101, 125; Gill, Myths and Songs, pp. 20, 21; Moerenhout, I, 474-482.]

[Footnote 11:  Malo, p. 69.]

[Footnote 12:  Ellis (III, 36) describes the art of medicine in Polynesia, and Erdland (p. 77) says that on the Marshall Islands knowledge of the stars and weather signs is handed down to a favorite child and can raise rank by attaching a man to the service of a chief.

Compare Mariner, II, 90; Moerenhout, I, 409; Williams and Calvert, I, 111.]

III.  THE ART OF COMPOSITION

1.  ARISTOCRATIC NATURE OF POLYNESIAN ART

The arts of song and oratory, though practiced by all classes,[1] were considered worthy to be perfected among the chiefs themselves and those who sought their patronage.  Of a chief the Polynesian says, “He speaks well."[2] Hawaiian stories tell of heroes famous in the hoopapa, or art of debating; in the hula, or art of dance and song; of chiefs who learned the lore of the heavens and the earth from some supernatural master in order to employ their skill competitively.  The oihana haku-mele, or “business of song making,” was hence an aristocratic art.  The able composer, man or woman, even if of low rank, was sure of patronage as the haku mele, “sorter of songs,” for some chief; and his name was attached to the song he composed.  A single poet working alone might produce the panegyric; but for the longer and more important songs of occasion a group got together, the theme was proposed and either submitted to a single composer or required line by line from each member of the group.  In this way each line as it was composed was offered for criticism lest any ominous allusion creep in to mar the whole by bringing disaster upon the person celebrated, and as it was perfected it was committed to memory by the entire group, thus insuring it against loss.  Protective criticism, therefore, and exact transmission were secured by group composition.[3]

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The Hawaiian Romance Of Laieikawai from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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