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   So What's

                                                            Auld Lang Syne                           

A very interesting question ! Particularly interesting when you consider that most people throughout the civilised world recognise these three simple words, yet few may actually know what "Auld Lang Syne" is all about. Of course, many will instantly associate the words with "Scotland" or perhaps "New Year"  Some consider it to be an international expression of friendship, fellowship and hope. Others perceive it to be a simple song, presented at the conclusion of a social gathering, remembering the past and re-affirming the importance of our future, and those important to us.

Of course "Auld Lang Syne"...these three simple words from the old Scots dialect....is ALL of these things! 

Auld Lang Syne - A Caricature !

Here we are presented with perhaps the most famous song, anywhere in the world (excluding perhaps "My Way", "Blue Suede Shoes", and "Hey Jude" - hmmm !) and yet still only a handful know the words. We gather together at various social occasions, from New Year, to annual "conferences", and at the end of the night..we form a circle..the music starts..we sing the first line.. "Should Auld Acquaintance Be Forgot and...rum tee tum dah dee..lah .lah..lah.lah lah..lah..lah lah."for the sake of Auld Lang Syne"

" The next verse then often proceeds " And here's a hmmm. hmmm. mmmm. mmmm etc ..etc". until the entire company sing out loud and proud that famous line..ALL TOGETHER NOW..(Holding Hands of course) ....
 "For Auld Lang Syyyyyyyyyne" !!!!!  

To be serious however, I must point out to those of you reading this article who do not really know about "Auld Lang Syne", that you are not alone. Even here in Scotland, many could not accurately sing the words for the shortened version of the poem attributed to Robert Burns. Even those who can get through, get many of the words wrong.

 Auld Lang Syne - The Truth

The populous belief is that Rabbie Burns wrote "Auld Lang Syne" and this has been the subject of much debate. In short, it is apparent that Burns "restored" the piece based on fragments of an old ballad dating from before Burns time. In fact, it is concluded that Burns probably only added a few verses of to the song. The most compelling evidence is demonstrated in a letter from Burns to Mrs Agnes Dunlop in which he comments..

"Light be the turf on breast of the heaven-inspired poet who composed this glorious fragment! There is more of the fire of native genius in it than in half a dozen of modern English Bacchanalians"  

Attached was Burns version of "Auld Lang Syne"

In this statement, Robert Burns was confirming that someone else had written this marvellous piece, albeit that the original words had been lost in the mists of time. His reference to "Light be the turf" means..the turf lying upon the writers grave. The "glorious fragment" confirms that Burns had taken the only known verses and added to them. His praise of the unknown writers talent demonstrates Burns great admiration for the words ." ..the fire of native genius."  

On this basis, it has been concluded that Rabbie certainly wrote at least two verses, which have been attributed to his style. (Verses 3 and 4) The other verses and the famous chorus are believed to have dated from the middle of the 16th century, if not before.  

Verse Three 
We twa hae run about the braes  
And pou'd the gowans fine,
But we've wander'd monie a weary fit 
Sin auld Lang Syne  

Verse Four 
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 

Translation
(we two have run about the hills) 
(and pulled the daisies fine)
(but we've wandered many a weary foot) (since old long ago)


(we two have paddled in the stream)  
(from morning sun (noon) until dinner-time ( but seas between us broad have roared)
(since old long ago)

The most famous chorus in the World is so easy to remember:-

For auld lang  syne, my dear
For auld Langsyne,
We'll tak a cup o kindness yet,    
For auld lang syne!

(For old long ago, my dear)
( For old long ago)    
(We will take a cup of kindness yet)
(For old long ago)
This simple five-verse poem is for me, best summed up in one single verse, which is usually sung in the famous shortened version of the piece. Whether Burns himself wrote these lines cannot be proven. Either way, imagine these words being spoken by one solid friend to another.. and forget the song! Whoever wrote these simple lines surely expressed what many of us, all too often fail to say to those most important to us:- 

And there's a hand my trusty fiere,
And gie's a hand o thine 
And we'll tak a right guid-willie waught,
For auld lang sine

(And there is a hand my trust friend)   
(And give me a hand of yours)
(And we will take of a good drink/toast)
 (For old long ago)

The "famous" rendition of "Auld Lang Syne"

For the entire poetical piece, as reconstructed by Burns click "Auld Lang Syne" However, should you wish the abridged and highly popular version sung throughout the world..it is as follows. If you would like to print off this version to make available to those attending a function where it will be sung..click "The Popular Version of Auld Lang Syne"  

 Verse One

Should old acquaintances be forgot,
And never brought to mind?
Should auld acquaintance be forgot, 
And auld lang syne?

Chorus

For auld lang  syne, my dear
For auld Lang syne,
We'll tak a cup o kindness yet,
For auld lang syne!

Verse Two

And there's a hand my trusty fiere,
And gie's a hand o thine
And we'll tak a right guid-willie waught,
For auld lang sine

Chorus  (repeat)  

For auld lang  syne, my dear
For auld Lang syne, 
We'll
tak a cup o kindness yet,
For auld lang syne!



(Should old acquaintances be forgotten)
(and never remembered)
(Should old acquaintance be forgotten)
(For old long ago)

Chorus

(For old long ago, my dear)
( For old long ago)
(We will take a cup of kindness yet)
(For old long ago)



(And there is a hand my trust friend)
(And give me a hand of yours)
(And we will take of a good drink/toast)
(For old long ago)



(For old long ago, my dear)
( For old long ago)
(We will take a cup of kindness yet)
(For old long ago)
2008 The Robert Burns World Federation