OWLS post from 2 years ago.

Dan Fogelberg gave us the most moving reinterpretation of Auld Lang Syne. It is based on an actual event. After Fogelberg’s untimely end, the woman he met came forward and self-identified.

In 1788 Robert Burns penned what would become his most famous work, Auld Lang Syne. The title may be literally translated in contemporary American English as “old long since” or loosely to “days gone by.” Burns himself indicated that he did not write the song but merely expanded upon an old song he heard from an old man. This is entirely possible as similar poems have been found from as early as the 1600s.

I have added contemporary English translations for some of the more cryptic Scottish terms. The final line of the chorus has morphed from “For auld lang syne” to “For the sake of auld lang syne”. The melody is also from an old Scottish folk song. I do not know if it is the original or something the poem was later set to. Just imagine the thickest Scottish brogue while being sung!

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

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

And surely ye’ll be your pint-stoup! (Surely you’ll buy a pint cup!)
And surely I’ll be mine! (And surely I’ll buy mine!)
And we’ll tak’ a cup o’kindness yet,
For auld lang syne.

We twa hae run about the braes, (We two have run about the hillsides)
And pou’d the gowans fine; (And picked the daisies fine.)
But we’ve wander’d mony a weary fit, (But we’ve wandered many a weary foot.)
Since auld lang syne.

We twa hae paidl’d in the burn, (We two have paddled in the stream,)
Frae morning sun till dine; (From dawn ’till dinner:)
But seas between us braid hae roar’d (But seas between us broad have roared)
Sin’ auld lang syne.

And there’s a hand, my trusty fiere! (And there’s my hand, my trusty friend!)
And gie’s a hand o’ thine! (And give me a hand of thine!)
And we’ll tak a right gude-willie waught, (And we’ll take a right good-will draught,)
For auld lang syne.

Credit for the lyrics go to RobertBurns.org.

Two friends who frolicked and played in the highlands of Scotland went their separate ways across the world. They meet again and drink a toast for old time’s sake. This simple story has become the most important commemoration of time’s passing and looking forward to the new year.

Few know anything but the first verse and the chorus. (Reminds me a bit of the US National Anthem in that way.) Many subtle differences in wording between performances can be found, even within Scottish dialect performers. Versions exist in most languages on Earth. It is sung at many other significant events such as marriages and graduations. It was even sung at the concluding ceremonies of Boy Scout jamborees. But ushering out the old and heralding in the New Year is it’s greatest currency.

This performance of “classic” Auld Lang Syne is magnificent! The video catches the spirit perfectly. It can bring me to tears.

Memory fades. The arrow of time continues on its immutable journey. Some day we will be gone and eventually forgotten along with all of our experiences of joy and sorrow and pain and pleasure. So let us raise a toast to the memories we have, our hopes for the future, and the lives we are living right now. For someday, auld lang syne will be indeed be forgot when we are no longer here to remember them.