Friday poem: 'Auld Lang Syne'

30 December 2016

By Robert Burns

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

   For auld lang syne, my dear,
   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 pou’d the gowans fine;
But we’ve wander’d mony a weary fit,
   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 fere!
   And gie’s a hand o’ thine!
And we’ll tak a right gude-willie waught,
   For auld lang syne.

   For auld lang syne, my dear,
   For auld lang syne.
   We’ll tak a cup o’ kindness yet,
   For auld lang syne.

 

From A Poem for Every Night of the Year, a gorgeous collection of 366 poems compiled by Allie Esiri. 


In terms of its lyrics, there seems to be no reason why the popular setting of Robert Burns’s poem ‘Auld Lang Syne’ should not be sung on any night of the year, but some time soon after its publication the song became associated with Hogmanay, the Scottish term for the final day of the year, and it has remained so ever since.

The title of the poem is a Lallans, or Lowland Scots phrase meaning ‘old long since’ or ‘days gone by’, and the poem is a straightforward celebration of how much of a pleasure it is to share a friendly drink and pass the time with good company while remembering these ‘days gone by’.

Happy new year from Picador Poetry! 

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