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The Poets

December 31, 2009

Old Long Since


Auld Lang Syne is a Scottish dialect poem written by Robert Burns, one of Scotland's finest poets. The literal transliteration of the title (auld lang syne) is "old long since" (which roughly means "days gone by").

The poem was inspired by an old folk song, and possibly influenced by a ballad written by James Watson in 1711. Upon its completion in 1788, Burns submitted it to the Scots Musical Museum with heavy emphasis on its oral and antiquated origin.

The poem, which begins with the question as to whether or not old time should be forgotten, has become a celebratory song in most English speaking countries. In America, for example, it is sung as a New Year comes into existence, and the ‘Old Year’ recedes.


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Auld Lang Syne

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

For auld lang syne, my dear,
For auld lang syne,
We'll take a cup o' kindness yet
For auld lang syne

We twa hae run aboot the braes
And pou'd the gowans fine;
we've wander'd mony a weary foot
Sin' auld lang syne

We two hae paidled i' the burn,
Frae mornin' sun till dine;
But seas between us braid hae roar'd
Sin' auld lang syne

And here's a hand, my trusty friend,
And gie's a hand o' thine;
We'll take a cup o' kindness yet
For auld lang syne

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

For auld lang syne, my dear,
For auld lang syne,
We'll take a cup o' kindness yet
For auld lang syne


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Since the publication of Burns’ poem and the selection of music that was to attend it, many versions of the song have since come into being (notwithstanding, the common theme has remained the same). Below is a version- a pretty version- of that old Scottish folk song passed down to us here as we exit a decade, and enter a new one.

Have a happy and safe New Year.



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