Auld lang syne is an old Scottish phrase meaning “old long-since” or “old long-ago.” It has famously survived in the form of Robert Burns' poem, sung each New Year's Eve to a tune that Burns is said to have transcribed from an old man's singing of it. Burns' version below is built from songs and poems of similar text dating back as far as an anonymous ballad in the Bannatyne Manuscript of 1568.
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 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 fiere! And gies a hand o’ thine! And we’ll tak a right gude-willie-waught, for auld lang syne.
Another version, the first that contains a form of the 'auld lang syne' phrase, is attributed to the courtly poet Sir Robert Ayton (1570-1638):
Should auld acquaintance be forgot, And never thought upon, The flames of love extinguished, And freely past and gone? Is thy kind heart now grown so cold In that loving breast of thine, That thou canst never once reflect On old-long-syne.
With 2010 soon to be “auld lang syne”, Cassandra sends all best wishes to each of her dear followers for the coming new year.