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C.D. Warner, et al., comp. The Library of the World’s Best Literature.
An Anthology in Thirty Volumes. 1917.

Song of Reproof

By Tahitian Literature

At the Beginning of the Wars Between Teva and Purionu, in 1768, a Year Before the Coming of Cook

Translation of John LaFarge

A STANDARD is raised at Tooarai,

Like the crash of thunder

And flashes of lightning.

The rays of the midday sun

Surround the standard of the king,

The king of the thousand skies.

Honor the standard

Of the king of the thousand skies!

A standard is raised at Matahihae,

In the presence of Vehiatua.

The rebels Teieie and Tetumanua,

They broke the king’s standard,

And Oropaa is troubled.

If your crime had but ended there!

The whole land is laid prostrate.

Thou art guilty, O Vehiatua,

Of the standard of thy king,

Broken by the people of Taiarapu,

By whom we are all destroyed.

Thou bringest the greatest of armies

To the laying of stones

Of the temple of Mahaiatea….

Thou hast sinned, O Purahi,

Thou hast broken the standard of the king.

Taiarapu has caused

The destruction of us all.

The approach of the front rank

Has loosened the decoration.

One murderous hand is stretched,

And another murderous hand:

Two armies in and two out.

If you had but listened

To the command of Amo

Calling to the Oropaa—

“Let us take our army

By canoe and by land!

We have only to fear

Matitaupe and the dry reef of the Purionu.

“There we will die the death

Of Pairi Temaharu and Pahupua.”

The coming of the great army of Taiarapu

Has swept Papara away,

And drawn its mountains with it.

Thou hast sinned, Purahi,

Thou and Taiarapu.

Thou hast broken the standard of the king,

And hast caused the destruction of us all.