Unwritten Literature of Hawaii

Unwritten Literature of Hawaii

Nathaniel B. Emerson

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Editore: Forgotten Books
Formato: PDF
Testo in en
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Dimensioni: 20,23 MB
  • EAN: 9780243763528

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Now, the hula stood for very much to the ancient Hawaiian; it was to him in place of our concert-hall and lecture-room, our Opera and theater, and thus became one of his chief means of social enjoy ment. Besides this, it kept the communal imagination in living touch with the nation's legendary past. The hula had songs proper to itself, but it found a mine of inexhaustible wealth in the epics and wonder-myths that celebrated the doings of the volcano goddess Pele and her compeers. Thus in the cantillations of the old-time hula we find a ready-made anthology that includes every species of composition in the whole range of Hawaiian poetry. This epica of Pele was chiefly a more or less detached series Of poems forming a story addressed not to the closet-reader, but to the eye and ear and heart of the assembled chiefs and people; and it was sung. The Hawaiian song, its note of joy par excellence, was the oli; but it must be noted that in every species of Hawaiian poetry, mele — whether epic or eulogy or prayer, sounding through them all we shall find the lyric note. The most telling record of a people's intimate life is the record which it unconsciously makes in its songs. This record which the Hawaiian people have left of themselves is full and specific. When, therefore, we ask what emotions stirred the heart Of the Old-time Hawaiian as he approached the great themes Of life and death, of ambition and jealousy, of sexual passion, of romantic love, of conjugal love, and parental love, what his attitude toward nature and the dread forces of earthquake and storm, and the mysteries of spirit and the hereafter, we shall find our answer in the songs and prayers and recitations of the hula.
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