QUEEN LILIʻUOKALANI (1838-1917)

Nani Na Pua Koʻolau (1860)

[Beautiful are the Flowers of the Koʻolau]

Arranged By Robert Cazimero

“Nani Na Pua Koʻolau” is a fine example of Liliʻuokalani’s writing skills, where romantic love, love of nature, and love of the land are happily and metaphorically entwined in almost every line. In her original writing of this song, she used variant pronunciations: in wale, wili, and wiliau, words normally spelled with a “w,” she used a “v”. This song is one of her first published compositions, created while still a young princess. (Moon Kauakahi)

Nani nā pua Koʻolau

I memele i ka uka

Ka uka o Kuihanalei

I lei mau no ke aloha

ʻAuhea wale ana ʻoe

E ka pua o ka lokelani

ʻO ka ʻoi aku nō ʻoe

Ma mua o ka nae ʻala.

 

Mahalo au ʻo ka nani

Nā lehua o Līhau

He ʻala kūpaoa

Anuanu o ka nahele

I wili ʻia me ka maile

Lau liʻi o Koʻiahi

ʻAuhea lā ia pua

ʻAkipohe o Halealoha.

 

Ua ola nō kāua

I ka wai huna a ka manu

He ʻala pua pīkake

Huli au a hoʻomaʻū

ʻAuhea wale ana ʻoe

E ka pua o ka wiliau

Hoʻi mai nō kāua

E pili me ke aloha.

*Compiled by Michael-Thomas Foumai. Digitally published for the Hawaiʻi Symphony Sheraton Starlight Series on June 4-6 2021.

Beautiful are the flowers of the Koʻolau

That shine yellow in the uplands

The uplands of Kuihanalei

Made into an everlasting lei for one’s love

Where are you, are you listening

O flower, the lokelani rose

You are finer

Than the most fragrant scents.

 

I admire the beauty

The lehua blossoms of Līhau

Oh, so sweet

And cold there in the forest

Entwined with maile 

The small-leafed maile of Koʻiahi

Where is that flower

So full and round from Halealoha.

 

You and I thrive

On the secret nectar of the bird

There is a fragrance of jasmine

I turn to find cool refreshment

Where are you, hear me

O blossom of the wiliau

Let us return to each other

And be close in love.