Guest poem sent in by Mark Penney
(Poem #1585) Auld Lang Syne
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. For auld, &c. 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. For auld, &c. 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. For auld, &c. 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, &c.
(to a traditional Scottish tune) I was looking through the archives, and was surprised not to find this. In honor of the season, you too can sing the third verse while everyone else at the party stares at you like the geek that you are! Yes, it's by the poet Robert Burns (well sort of, maybe--see below), best known for the one about the mouse. There is a good selection of his other work in the archives. Authorship and text are both problematic. As to authorship, Burns claimed to his publisher that he was transcribing an old traditional Scottish song. However, no documentation of this older song has ever been found. (There are, however, older but much-different songs that contain a few of the lines above, which were probably known to Burns.) At minimum, we're fairly certain that Burns wrote the two stanzas that begin "We twa", since he later acknowledged having written both of them. Some but not all authorities think he wrote most of the rest as well. As to text, theres no agreement whatever on the order of the stanzas (I've found three different versions with three different orderings). Moreover, Burns submitted several manuscripts to his publisher with slight variations in the words; older versions had "jo" in place of "dear" in the chorus, for example. The tune we know is a very old Scottish tune, which far predates Burns. Seventy percent or so of the Scottish dialect in this poem is easy to figure out if you simply recite in a very thick accent and listen to what you're saying (it's phonetic, mostly). About half the rest can be found in a decent dictionary. As for the remainder: a pint-stowp is a tankard, a gowan is a daisy, "fit" here means "foot", and a gude-willie waught (lit., "good-will-y draft") is a friendly beer. Final remark: I love the fact that everyone sings it with at least a few apparently incorrect words. --Mark