Wednesday, December 31, 2008


Scotland's national poet Robert Burns relied on traditional Scottish folk songs to compose Auld Lang Syne. Loosely translated, the ballad's name means "days gone by," and is best understood in a wispy, melancholic sense.

Scottish Poet Robert Burns
1759 - 1796

The tune is sung in Scotland to celebrate
Hogmanay, a festival characterized by the giving of new year's day gifts and lighting numerous fires of various intensities.

Burning Viking Longship
At Edingurgh's Hogmanay
- December, 2004

My understanding is that the old Scottish Kirk frowned on such celebrations.

Burns originally composed Auld Lang Syne in English with a light Scottish accent. His verse can be rendered in modern English thus:

Auld Lang Syne
Should old acquaintance be forgot,
and never brought to mind?
Should old acquaintance be forgot,
and old times since?

For auld lang syne, my dear,
for auld lang syne,
we'll take a cup of kindness yet,
for days of auld lang syne.

And surely you’ll buy your pint cup!
And surely I’ll buy mine!
And we'll take a cup o’ kindness yet,
for auld lang syne.


We two have run about the slopes,
and picked the daisies fine;
But we’ve wandered many a weary foot,
since auld lang syne.


We two have paddled in the stream,
from morning sun till dine;
But seas between us broad have roared
since auld lang syne.


And there’s a hand my trusty friend!
And give us a hand o’ thine!
And we’ll take a right good-will draught,
for auld lang syne.


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