Tau fakaniua/en

Mei he Wikipedia

A tau faka-niua is a song in the Niua style (Niuafoʻou). A song without rhyme or rhythm, rather a recital, like the pater noster. But one such a song, recorded by William Mariner 2 centuries ago, still evokes emotions nowadays. The text contains periphrasing (saying the opposite of what is meant). A literal translation:

We remained talking about the Vavaʻu Tuʻaliku when said to us the women:

Let us go for a walk to the Liku that we may see the sunset,
we will listen to the whistling of the birds and the crying of the pigeons,
we will pick fragrant flowers at the precipice at Matoto,
we will stay and we share the provisions from Liku-beach.

We will bathe in the sea and then we will rinse in the Bush-root and annoint ourselves with scented oil,
we will string the flowers and we will plait the sī from our pickings at Matoto.
While we are standing at the precipice at Bird-cave,
we will look down breathlessly in the distance to the sea below.
As our minds are reflecting the wind whistles and blows towards us
from the ironwood trees standing inland on the plains.
My elevated mind will see the waves below trying in vain to tear away the firm rocks.
It is a bad [=good] thing our state here compared to the state of those in town.
It is already evening, let us go to town; listen! a choir resounds to here,
are they teaching a dance to be performed tonight at the square of Taʻanea?
Let us go to there.

Let us not [=deeply] think about our state of affairs at the time when war had not yet torn our land.
Helas, it is a terrible thing, the war.
See how the land is overgrown with weeds and many men have died badly.
The lords are unsettled, they do not go out alone in moonlight often anymore to see their mistresses.
Let us not think about it for the reason that war is on our land.
From the land of Fiji the war has been brought to our land, Tonga,
and now we have grown to act like them, the Fijians.
Let us not think about it [be happy], maybe tomorrow we are dead.

Let us dress ourselves with the red sī and tie a girdle of tapa of ngatu around our waist,
let us put up our crown of strung gardenia flowers and our ''huni'' neckgarland to show off our suncoloured skin.
Listen to the appluase of the people [they praise us].
The dance is already over, and they are distributing the food of our celebrations;
let us go to town tomorrow.
The young men are not [=very] eager towards us begging for our flower wreaths,
and then they say in their flattery:
"It is a not [=very] beautiful thing, our women coming from Liku,
their skin is not [=very] good brown shining,
their smell is equal to the precipice to Mataloka and Vaipūua.
We should go to the Liku too, let us go ourselves tomorrow."

A poetical translation by a literary friend of John Martin and William Mariner.

Thus spoke the daughters of the Isle,-
	O! let us ramble to Liku,
And watch the broad sun's farewell smile,
	And hear the birds their song's renew,
And listen whilst the moaning dove,
	Wails sadly in her native bowers,
And o'er Matoto's summit rove,
	And gather heaps of golden flowers.

There shall our ʻOne fruits be shared,
	There shall we lave by ocean's shore,
There is the Aka's bath prepared,
	And there sweet ointment's fragrant store;
There shall we wreath in many a hue
	Matoto's flowers, - there plait the sī;
There, standing high at steep Manu,
	Gaze breathless on the distant sea.

Lost in a thousand reveries,
	A soothing calm pervades the mind,
As from the lofty toa-trees
	Comes murmuring past the inland wind;
Or deeper thoughts perchance awake,
	As gazing on the tide below
We see its surges idly break
	Against the rock's majestic brow.

Ah! happier far such hours as these
	Than ought we find in life's dull throng!
And, hark! upon the evening breeze
	Floats faintly the pō ula song;
And now to fair Taʻanea's lawn,
	The torch-light dance's merriment,
Has all the young and happy drawn,
	And thither shall our course he bent.

How will that cheerful festival,
	And graceful dancers' circling band,
The well-remembered times recall,
	Ere war had frowned upon our land!
Alas the change! Behold rank weeds,
	Unheeded, cover many a field,
And many a noble spirit bleeds,
	And heroes die who scorn to yield.

No more our youths and maidens meet
	By moonlight, as they used of yore,
For, hark! the sons of Fiji beat
	Their war-drums upon Tonga's shore:-
So let it be; -away with thought!
	To catch our moments as they fly,
Is wisdom that the foe has taught;
	Be gay tomorrow we may die!

Yes, let us wear the kula gay,
	And round our waists the ngatu twine,
And chaplets wreath of siale,
	And huni necklaces that shine
In milky whiteness on our skins,
	Sun-tinted with a golden brown,
And now, behold the feast begins,
	And jocund shouts the music drown.

Tomorrow we return;- tonight
	We give our hearts to happiness;
And gentle words and glances bright
	Are ours, as crowding round us press
Our eager lovers, begging sore,
	With many a honeyed word and sigh,
For nosegays from our flowery store,
	Whilst thus the merry flatterers cry:-

"Think you our maidens from Liku
	Are fairer than all maids beside?
Think you their necks of auburn hue
	The paleness of the huni chide?
Think you that fragrance breathes around them,
	Sweet as the fragrance of Vaipuū-?
Oh! surely some new charm has bound them,
	We too must visit their Liku!"