"Aloha ʻOe" (Farewell to Thee) is Liliʻuokalani's most famous song and a common cultural Leitmotif for Hawaii. The story of the origin of the song has several variations. They all have in common that the song was inspired by a notable farewell embrace given by Colonel James Harbottle Boyd during a horseback trip taken by Princess Liliʻuokalani in 1877 or 1878 to the Boyd ranch in Maunawili on the windward side of Oʻahu, and that the members of the party hummed the tune on the way back to Honolulu. Different versions tell of alternate recipients of the embrace — either Liliʻuokalani's sister Princess Likelike Cleghorn or a young lady at the ranch. According to the most familiar version of the story:
This tender farewell set Liliʻuokalani to thinking, and she began humming to herself on the homeward trip. Overhearing, Charles Wilson observed, "That sounds like The Lone Rock by the Sea," a comment with which Liliʻuokalani is said to have agreed. When the party paused to rest in an orange grove on the Honolulu side of the Pali, the others joined in the hummings, and the song was completed later at Washington Place.
The Hawaiʻi State Archives preserves a hand-written manuscript by Liliʻuokalani, dated 1878, with the score of the song, the lyrics, Liliʻuokalani's English translation, and her note evidently added later: "Composed at Maunawili 1878. Played by the Royal Hawaiian Band in San Francisco August 1883 and became very popular." A 1913 score can be seen at the Levy Sheet Music Collection.
|Haʻaheo ka ua i nā pali||Proudly swept the rain by the cliffs|
|Ke nihi aʻela i ka nahele||As it glided through the trees|
|E hahai (uhai) ana paha i ka liko||Still following ever the bud|
|Pua ʻāhihi lehua o uka||The ʻāhihi lehua of the vale|
|Aloha ʻoe, aloha ʻoe||Farewell to thee, farewell to thee|
|E ke onaona noho i ka lipo||The charming one who dwells in the shaded bowers|
|One fond embrace,||One fond embrace,|
|A hoʻi aʻe au||'Ere I depart|
|Until we meet again||Until we meet again|
|ʻO ka haliʻa aloha i hiki mai||Sweet memories come back to me|
|Ke hone aʻe nei i||Bringing fresh remembrances|
|Kuʻu manawa||Of the past|
|ʻO ʻoe nō kaʻu ipo aloha||Dearest one, yes, you are mine own|
|A loko e hana nei||From you, true love shall never depart|
|Maopopo kuʻu ʻike i ka nani||I have seen and watched your loveliness|
|Nā pua rose o Maunawili||The sweet rose of Maunawili|
|I laila hiaʻia nā manu||And 'tis there the birds of love dwell|
|Mikiʻala i ka nani o ka lipo||And sip the honey from your lips|
The song "The Lone Rock by the Sea" recalled by Charles Wilson was "The Rock Beside the Sea" published by Charles Crozat Converse in 1857, which itself derives from a Croatian folk song, "Sidi Mara Na Kamen Studencu" (Girl On The Rock).
Musicologist Sigmund Spaeth noted that the first two measures of the melody of the chorus (which are arpeggiated IV-I chords) resemble the chorus of George Frederick Root's 1854 song "There's Music In The Air", but measures 3 and 4 differ from it. The same melodic motif begins the chorus of the popular 1954 song "Open Up Your Heart (And Let the Sunshine In)".
In popular culture
The song is also featured in the 2002 Disney film Lilo & Stitch where it is sung briefly by the character Nani. It is used again in Leroy and Stitch to shut down the Leroy clones, sung by Lilo, Stitch, and Reuben.
- The Queen's Songbook, by Her Majesty Queen Liliʻuokalani, Hui Hanai, Honolulu, 1999, pp. 38-39
- Aloha Oe
- Kelsey, Theodore. 1927. "The Queen's Poem — 'Aloha ʻOe,' by Liliuokalani," Paradise of the Pacific 40: 4. Cited in The Queen's Songbook, by Her Majesty Queen Liliʻuokalani. Hui Hanai, Honolulu, 1999. Dorothy Kahananui Gillett, text and music notation; Barbara Barnard Smith, Editor. Also, see Aloha Oe
- Aloha Oe. (Farewell To Thee). [English and Hawaiian]
- A Hawaiian flower (Metrosideros tremuloides)
- The Rock Beside the Sea. A Romanza.
- The Originals: Aloha Oe
- Sedi mara na kamen studencu
- The Story of a Musical Life, pp. 254-255
- "Aloha 'Oe". The Disney Wiki. Retrieved 17 February 2014.