Auld Lang Syne Song Meaning

Even if the name of this song seems unfamiliar to you (which is unlikely), you have probably heard it more than once. In many countries of the world – especially English-speaking – there is a tradition that originated in Scotland to perform this old ballad on New Year’s Eve.

Moreover, Auld Lang Syne is often sung at all sorts of gatherings and meetings when it’s time to part.

History and Meaning of Auld Lang Syne

The authorship of the composition is often attributed to the classic of Scottish literature, the poet Robert Burns, but excerpts from his correspondence convince us that he did not come up with the idea to compose this work.

In 1788 he sent a copy of the ballad to Mrs. Agnes Dunlop, with the following remark:

May the earth rest in peace to the heaven-inspired poet who composed this glorious passage! He has more flames of innate genius than half a dozen contemporary English revelers.

A few years later, Burns sent Auld Lang Syne to James Johnson, who was compiling The Scottish Musical Museum’s collection of Scottish songs. Robert’s explanation said:

The next song, an old song, from ancient times; it was never printed, and it did not occur even in manuscripts, until I heard it from an old man.

Researchers claim that Auld Lang Syne was written a century and a half before Burns’ version was born. The famous poet partially restored the ballad from separate fragments and, probably, supplemented it with several verses.

Also, one cannot help but recall James Watson’s poem “Old Long Syne” (1711). The creation of the great Scot has obvious similarities with him. Apparently, the source of inspiration for the authors was the same. You can also recall a number of other medieval works with the phrase “auld lang syne”, which can be translated as “good old time”.

James Johnson delayed the publication of the collection for a long time, so the world learned about the poem by Robert Burns only after the death of the poet.

The tradition of singing a song on New Year’s Eve originated in Scotland. Later, this custom spread to other English-speaking countries, which was greatly facilitated by the famous musician Guy Lombardo. His ensemble, the Royal Canadians, performed the song at holiday concerts for several decades, which were broadcast on leading radio stations and television channels. The orchestra began to play the composition with the strike of the clock, which became its trademark.

Subsequently, the song was performed by many famous singers and musical groups, including The Beach Boys, Boney M, Jimi Hendrix and Elvis Presley.

Interesting Facts

  • The Auld Lang Syne manuscript is in the collection of the Lilly Library at Indiana University.
  • Variants of the song in various languages ​​are popular in many countries around the world, including India, Bangladesh, Thailand, South Korea, Japan, Denmark, and the Netherlands.
  • The song is traditionally sung by the chorus on the final day of the Boy Scout meetings.

Auld Lang Syne lyrics

should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And never brought to mind?
should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And 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 ye’ll be your pint stowp!
And surely I’ll be mine!
And we’ll take a cup o’ kindness yet,
For auld lang syne.

We twa hae run about the braes,
And pou’d the gowan fine;
But we’ve wander’d mony a weary fitt,
Sin’ auld lang syne.

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.

And there’s a hand, my trusty fiere!
And gie’s a hand o’ thine!
And we’ll tak a right gude-willie-waught,
For auld lang syne.

Translated by Auld Lang Syne S.I. Marshak “Old Friendship”

Forget old love
And not be sad about her?
Forget old love
And the friendship of the old days?

For old friendship
To the dregs!
For the happiness of the old days!
We’ll drink with you, old man,
For the happiness of the past.

Prepare more cups
And pour it to the top.
We drink to old love
For the friendship of former days.

We trampled together with you
Grass of native fields,
But not one steep climb
We took from a young age.

We swam many times
With you across the stream
But the sea separated us
Comrade of youth…

And here we are with you again.
Your hand is in mine.
I drink to old love
For the friendship of former days!

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