Auld Lang Syne and its history

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In the United States, Britain, and elsewhere, the stroke of midnight on New Year’s Eve going into New Year’s Day sparks joyous, full-voiced renditions of “Auld Lang Syne,” but how much do the people singing it know about the song? For example, this writer thought that it was “Old Lang Syne” for years.

In fact, the words are taken from a poem by Robert Burns, written by the Scottish poet in 1788, and set to the tune of a traditional folk song. The title translates from the old Scots language to English as “old long since,” or more idiomatically, “long, long ago.”

The lyrics are often recited incorrectly after hours of partying which might involve some alcohol consumption, but here they are for accuracy:

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-stoup!
and surely I’ll be mine!
And we’ll tak’ a cup o’ kindness yet,
for auld lang syne.

CHORUS

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.

CHORUS

We twa hae paidl’d in the burn,
frae morning sun till dine;

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