Source: Researched and translated by Lehua Kalima - In Hawaiian poetry, the sweetheart is personified as the ʻiʻiwi bird. Julia Kapiʻolani, the shy and retiring widow of Chief Bennett Nāmākēha, was one of the most beautiful women of her time and married High Chief David Kalākaua, Dec. 1863, who was elected king in 1874.
Sean Na'auao - Ka Ipo Lei Manu
A devout Christian with high morals, her motto was "Kulia I Ka Nuʻu (Strive for the Highest)". Beloved by her people, distinguished by her charitable deeds, two missions close to her heart stood out: (1) she always raised money for the leper settlement in Kalaupapa to improve their living conditions, and (2) perpetuation of the Hawaiian Race.
She wanted to establish a hospital for underprivileged Hawaiian women to have the best care for mothers and babies.
Attending Queen Victoria's Jubilee celebration, 1887, in London, Kapiʻolani made many visits to hospitals and foundling homes and returned to Hawaiʻi with much enthusiam and exciting plans for her hospital. She raised $8000 and her most cherished dream was realized when Kapiʻolani Maternity Home opened June 14, 1890, on the site of the former home of Princess Kekaulike.
Queen Kapiʻolani composed this song for her husband after he left Hawaiʻi for the mainland aboard the Charleston, Nov, 1890.
Under great political stress, his doctors thought a change of climate would benefit his failing health. He arrived in San Francisco, Dec 4, and took up residence at the Palace Hotel.
He toured southern California and returned to San Francisco the middle of January for medical attention.
January 20, 1891, the King died at the Palace Hotel. His last words were "Tell my people I tried".
He never heard this haunting love song. ©1935, Miller Music Inc