Mark Gresham | 30 DEC 2022
The Scottish song “Auld Lang Syne” is traditionally sung to bid farewell to the old year and ring in the new one at midnight on New Year’s Eve.
Robert Burns wrote the original Scots-language poem in 1788. Burns died in 1796, and it was anonymously set to a traditional Scottish tune three years later. The poem has remained associated with that tune ever since.
The title translates literally into standard English as “old long since” or, more meaningfully, “days gone by” or “old times.” Consequently, “for auld lang syne” means “for old times’ sake.”
Although Burns wrote five verses, what’s most familiar in American popular culture is just the first verse and the chorus:
And never brought to mind?
Should old acquaintance be forgot,
And old lang syne?
For auld lang syne, my dear,
For auld lang syne,
We’ll take a cup of kindness yet,
For auld lang syne.
We offer here a four-verse arrangement by Desmond Earley, sung by the Choral Scholars of University College Dublin. Admittedly our shortest Earpiece to date, but we feel this “Auld Lang Syne” truly deserves to stand on its own as a toast to days gone by and the coming new year. ■
■ Choral Scholars of University College Dublin: ucdchoralscholars.ie