“AULD LANG SYNE”

December 31, 2023
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And we’ll tak[e] a cup o’ kindness yet, for auld lang syne.

Attributed to Robert Burns.

Big Picture: “Auld Lang Syne” means “old long since” (roughly “the good old times”) in Scots. The words are attributed to Scottish poet Robert Burns; however, he once wrote he simply “took it down from an old man’s singing.” In 1799, three years after Burns’ death, the current melody and words were published together for the first time and became a tradition in Scottish New Year celebrations. In 1929, a Canadian bandleader brought the tradition to the United States, playing the song over radio (and, later, TV) broadcasts at his NYC New Year’s Eve performances.

Scots version

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

(Chorus)
For auld lang syne, my jo,
For auld lang syne,
We’ll tak a cup o’ kindness yet,
For auld lang syne.

And surely ye’ll be your pint-stowp!
And surely I’ll be mine!
And we’ll tak a cup o’ kindness yet,
For auld lang syne.

We twa hae run about the braes
And pu’d the gowans fine;
But we’ve wander’d mony a weary foot
Sin auld lang syne.

We twa hae paidl’d i’ the burn,
Frae mornin’ sun till 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 willy waught,
For auld lang syne.

English version

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

(Chorus)
For auld lang syne, my dear,
For auld lang syne,
We’ll take a cup of kindness yet,
For 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 me a hand o’ thine!
And we’ll take a right good-will draught,
For auld lang syne.

Read More: History of ‘Auld Lang Syne’ — that New Year’s song (NBC New York)

Auld Lang Syne (Brittanica)

Auld Acquaintance for the New Year: Burns’s Auld Lang Syne (Library of Congress)

The Real Reason People Sing ‘Auld Lang Syne’ on New Year’s Eve (TIME)

by Leah Grainery, based in Texas

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