Sometime today you will sing or hum “Should all acquaintance be forgot and never thought upon,”(original phrasing), and you will no doubt drink a “cup of kindness” (or dram of whisky) as a toast to long-standing friendships. (Or you may just lean against the wall and try to lip-sync this traditional New Year’s Eve song.)
Did you know that this song is based upon a Robert Burns’ poem written in 1788 and sung to the tune of a then-popular Scottish folk song? The words “auld lang syne,” when literally translated from the old Scottish language, mean “old long since.” The equivalent today is “once upon a time.” When sung, it gives us the sense of belonging and bids us take our past friendships into the future.
The opening lyrics and chorus he wrote follow. The Charles Laurier Daufour photograph illustrates the poem/song with aplomb, and a lot of help from “b”:
Should Old Acquaintance be forgot,
and never thought upon;
The flames of Love extinguished,
and fully past and gone:
Is thy sweet Heart now grown so cold,
that loving Breast of thine;
That thou canst never once reflect
On auld lang syne.
For auld lang syne, my jo,
for auld lang syne,
we’ll tak a cup o’ kindness yet,
for auld lang syne.
The song has a long history with numerous additions and changes and translations, so if you are into comparative lyrics and history this link is for you.
Happy 2014 from all of us a Transcendental Dram