You'll need this for New Year's Eve : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

Robert Burns: AULD LANG SYNE

A song of friendship and salutation recognised across the English-speaking world, the Burns song we know and love to sing on Burns's Night and at New Year was by no means the first of its kind. Burns claimed to have transcribed it `from an old man's singing', but a similar `Auld Lang Syne' tune was actually printed circa 1700 and is therefore certain to be much older. The Burns version was adapted by Thomson (probably with Burns's acquiescence) but Johnson had already reprinted Allan Ramsay's `Auld Lang Syne' (a different tune set to a love song rather than a song of parting) in Vol I of SMM in 1787. The timeless Burns gem still treasured to this day had to wait for publication until after the Bard's death and appeared in Vol V of SMM in 1796.

`Light be the turf on the breast of the heaven-inspired Poet who composed this glorious Fragment' wrote Burns to Mrs Dunlop on 7th December 1788. In a note to George Thomson (1793) he describes it as `the old song of the olden times, and which has never been in print, nor even in manuscript, until I took it down from an old man's singing.'


For auld syne, my dear, [old long ago]

For auld lang syne,

We'll tak a cup o' kindness yet,

For auld lang syne.

Should auld acquaintance be forgot,

And never brought to min'?

Should auld acquaintance be forgot,

And days o' lang syne?

We twa hae run about the braes, [hillsides]

And pou'd the gowans fine; [pulled/daisies]

But we've wander'd mony a weary foot,

Sin auld lang syne.

We twa hae paidl't i' the burn, [waded/stream]

Frae morning sun till dine, [noon/dinner-time]

But seas between us braid hae roar'd [broad]

Sin auld lang syne.

And there's a hand, my trusty fiere,

And gie's a hand o' thine,

And we'll tak a right guid willie-waught, [goodwill drink]

For auld lang syne.

And surely ye'll be your pint-stowp, [pay for]

And surely I'll be mine;

And we'll tak a cup o' kindness yet

For auld lang syne.

The song has special meaning for me because I met a descendant of Robert Burns (a Scottish solicitor) vacationing in New Orleans one Christmas/New Year's, and a talented writer himself.

-- Old Git (, November 06, 1999


Auld lang syne is actually from the dialect called Old Scot. It means Old long since.

-- Earl (, November 06, 1999.

I've always wondered what "Old Angzine" meant!

-- (clueless@about.traditions), November 06, 1999.

Thanks OG. Never thought I'd get to "hear" the original version. Gonna copy it and keep it. Years and YEARS ago, I could play the tune on the guitar. I played it once for the kids on the last night of outdoor school (I was a counselor) and there wasn't a dry eye in the place. Truly haunting melody, esp. played on a 12-string....

May we be able to "tak a cup o' kindness" this New Years' Eve, and may God watch over us all...

-- Dennis (, November 06, 1999.

Old Git!

I love Robert Burns and have read his works extensively. Thank you for spreading the word. I well up every time I hear this tune. You have made me want to rush to my books and enjoy. I don't have a drop of Scottish blood in me but I love Scotland, her history, her geography, her people and her music and poetry.

Thanks for a welcome respite from all the depressing stuff!

-- citygirl (, November 06, 1999.

Got haggis?

-- Gordon (, November 06, 1999.


Thanks! I'll have to dust off the family tartan and buy a chanty! I think I can hear the pipes calling...

-- Deb M. (, November 06, 1999.


You seem to know when the mood demands something wonderful!!'

Thank you

-- karla (, November 06, 1999.

karla: Do you like to mudwrestle?

-- King of Spain (madrid@aol.cum), November 06, 1999.


All, all of a piece throughout:

Thy chase had a beast in view; [to Diana]

Thy wars brought nothing about; [to Mars]

Thy lovers were all untrue, [to Venus]

'Tis well an old age is out,

And time to begin a new

John Dryden, The Secular Masque, 1700..

Complete text at http: //

Let's hope this ditty does NOT turn out to be an appropriate eulogy for this society.

-- Tom Carey (, November 06, 1999.

Old Git, I have some Scottish blood along with a melding of English, Irish and French. That's why I'm always at war with myself. ;)

For the new year, I'll imaginatively sing this ditty:

Oh bury me not on the lone prairie,

Where the spiders prowl on the bumblebee;

My bones will rest in the loamy soil,

Where the worms and grubs on my flesh will toil;

My spirit's gone to the heavenly rest,

But my earthly corpse will be compost blessed.


-- Randolph (, November 06, 1999.

something better for new years , 12 ga. shot gun and a six pack happy FRIKING NEW YEAR..


-- mongo (, November 06, 1999.

Old Git,

Thanks for that wee bit of information about such a great traditional piece of music. You always come up with such good earthy postings. It was nice to see the words spelled out like that. Cleared up some confusion about just what I was hearing and singing before. It's funny how we can sing songs or repeat sayings that we misunderstood.

Did you hear the one about the kindergarten teacher who asked the kids to draw a picture of something they heard in a Christmas song? She looked at one from little Bobby. It showed a big fat man, round as a ball, next to Mary and child. The teacher asked who that man was and Bobby said "It's Round John Virgin". So, it helps when we finally get it staight, yes?

-- Gordon (, November 06, 1999.

These are the REAL words to the song? [What's the stuff we've all been singing all these years?] Like Gordon's example, I guess most of us "learned" this song when we were 4 or 5 and never gave the REAL words much thought. Reminds me of the alphabet song that kids learned on Sesame know the one...A B C D E F G...H I J K...animal pee.

-- Anita (, November 07, 1999.

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