Auld Lang Syne

In keeping with a 10-year tradition, the folk song “Auld Lang Syne” is my final post of the current year on the Dispatches from a Northern Town blog.

“Auld Lang Syne” was written in 1788 by Scots poet Robert Burns (1759-96) who is regarded as the national poet of Scotland. Burns often collected folk songs from across Scotland which he revised and adapted. “Auld Lang Syne” is based on one of these songs.

In 1799, Burns’ poem was set to a traditional tune which has become a New Year’s Eve standard. It is often sung on Hogmanay, the Scots word for the last day of the old year, and it is also recited and sung during celebration of New Year’s Day.

The poem’s Scots language title may be translated into standard English as “old long since” or less literally as “days gone by,” “times long past,” “once upon a time,” or “olden times.” As it is sung in the first line of the chorus, “For auld lang syne” is most often translated as “for the sake of times long past.”

Auld Lang Syne

Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
and never brought to mind?
Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
and auld lang syne?

For auld lang syne, my jo,
for auld lang syne,
we’ll tak’ a cup o’ kindness yet,
for auld lang syne.

And surely ye’ll be your pint-stoup!
and surely I’ll be mine!
And we’ll tak’ a cup o’ kindness yet,
for auld lang syne.

(Chorus)

We twa hae run about the braes,
and pou’d the gowans fine;
But we’ve wander’d mony a weary fit,
sin’ auld lang syne.

(Chorus)

We twa hae paidl’d in the burn,
frae morning sun till dine;
But seas between us braid hae roar’d
sin’ auld lang syne.

(Chorus)

And there’s a hand, my trusty fiere!
and gie’s a hand o’ thine!
And we’ll tak’ a right gude-willie waught,
for auld lang syne.

For auld lang syne, my jo,
for auld lang syne,
we’ll tak’ a cup o’ kindness yet,
for auld lang syne.

Dougie MacLean performs “Auld Lang Syne”

About Jerry Johnson

Curmudgeon. Bird hunter and dog trainer. Retired journalist and college public relations director. Former teacher, coach, mentor. Novelist and short story writer. Husband, father, grandfather.
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