Auld Lang Syne

by Rabbie Burns, 1759 – 1796

Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And never brought tae mind?
Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
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.

And surely you’ll be your pint stoup,
And surely I’ll be mine,
And we’ll tak a cup o’ kindness yet
For auld lang syne!


We twa hae ran aboot the braes,
And pou’d the gowans fine,
But we’ve wander’d monie a weary fit
Sin’ auld lang syne.

We twa hae paidl’d in the burn
Frae morning sun til dine,
But seas between us braid hae roar’d
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
For auld lang syne!


[audio:|titles=10AuldLangSyne] by Mairi Campbell & Dave Francis

Background History

Auld Lang Syne was discovered and re-worked by Robert Burns and set to the tune of a traditional folk song. Traces of the song in various forms can be traced back to the 16th century. Auld Lang Syne was used in a similar poem by Robert Ayton, 1570-1638. It is generally agreed that it is a traditional folk song which has had several versions over the centuries.

In a letter from Burns to Mrs Agnes Dunlop, 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” He also sent a copy of the original song to the Scots Musical Museum with the remark, “The following song, an 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”.

It is generally agreed that Burns added some of his own lyrics whilst others belonged to the original version. As Scots emigrated around the world, the song went with them as part of their heritage and no doubt to be sung in remembrance to the land they had left behind. It is quite fascinating to realise that not only has this song been with us for almost 500 years, but that it is sung world-wide as we collectively say our goodbyes to the year we are leaving behind us and to celebrate the beginning of each new year.


For further information on Auld Lang Syne:-

This audio is part of the collection Internet Archive

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One Comment

  1. Lochgelly

    December 31, 2011 at 7:38 pm

    Thanks for posting.

    Happy New Year!


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