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HOLIDAY

Auld Lang what? The lyrics and the background

(Posted Dec. 27, 2014)


From European orchestra leader Andre Rieu is THIS VIDEO VERSION, with bagpiper solo


Another video from Andre Rieu, with orchestra and full complement of bagpipes, is HERE



We sing it, we hum it, we lip sync it, pretending to know the lyrics.

It's Auld Lang Syne, the Scottish classic traditionally sung at the stroke of midnight marking the new year.


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 take a cup o' kindness yet, 

For auld lang syne.


OK, most of us know that much. 

Few of us know all of the lyrics, first published in 1787, much less the background.


We learn from www.carols.org.uk that in addition to New Year's Eve "it is also sung on Burns Night, Jan. 25, to celebrate the life of the author and famous poet Robert Burns (1759 - 1796). 

"The words Auld Lang Syne literally translates from old Scottish dialect meaning Old Long Ago. The meaning of Auld is Old and the meaning of Lang Syne is Long Since. The lyrics We'll take a cup o' kindness yet refers to the tradition of raising a glass, or a cup o' kindness meaning with good will, friendship and kind regard and in remembrance of noble deeds. The custom of drinking a health at a special gathering to the prosperity  or good health of another dates back into antiquity. The old Christmas term  Wassail derives from Old Norse phrase ves heill meaning be healthy."


The people at www.scotland.org tell us this:

In sentimental American movies, Robert Burns' Auld Lang Syne is sung by crowds at the big New Year finale ... in Bangkok and Beijing it is so ubiquitous as a song of togetherness and sad farewells, they presume it must be an old Thai or Chinese folk song ... while in France it is the song which eases the pain of parting with the hope that we will all see each other again Oui, nous nous reverrons, mes frères, ce n'est qu'un au revoir. 

Auld Lang Syne is one of Scotland's gifts to the world, recalling the love and kindness of days gone by, but in the communion of taking our neighbours' hands, it also gives us a sense of belonging and fellowship to take into the future.

It is one of the many folk songs from the great Lowland Scots tradition collected and fashioned by the pen of one of the world's greatest songwriters. Burns devoted the last years of his life to the song tradition, and often a mere fragment from some old ballad was transformed by his alchemy into a memorable love song or Scots poem. 

With Auld Lang Syne, though, the brilliance was already there; this is the Bard's first mention of it in a letter to Mrs. Dunlop in 1788:

... Light be the turf on the breast of the heaven inspired Poet who composed this glorious fragment.

One of the most interesting facts is that the Auld Lang Syne tune which is sung from Times Square to Tokyo, and has conquered the world, is not the one Robert Burns put the original words to. The older tune though is still sung by traditional singers. It has a more douce, gentle, nostalgic feel to it than the popular tune a mood evoked by the subtle use of the traditional air sung by Mairi Campbell in the first Sex and the City movie. 

However, whichever tune it is sung to, and wherever in the world it is sung, Auld Lang Syne retains the great emotional resonance of the original traditional song of the Scottish people of those days in the distant past. 

Let's leave the last word to Burns himself:

"... is not the Scots phrase Auld Lang Syne exceedingly expressive -- there is an old song and tune which has often thrilled thro' my soul."


LYRICS AND TRANSLATION


The original


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 jo,

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.


Chorus


We twa hae run about the braes

And pu'd the gowans fine;

But we've wander'd mony a weary foot

Sin auld lang syne.


Chorus


We twa hae paidl'd i' the burn,

Frae mornin' sun till dine;

But seas between us braid hae roar'd

Sin auld lang syne.


Chorus


And there's a hand, my trusty fiere!

And gie's a hand o' thine!

And we'll tak a right guid willy waught,

For auld lang syne.


Chorus


For the language challenged, here's a translation:


Should old acquaintance be forgot,

And never brought to mind?

Should old acquaintance be forgot,

And long, long ago.


Chorus


And for long, long ago, my dear

For long, long ago,

We'll take a cup of kindness yet,

For long, long ago


And surely you'll buy your pint-jug!

And surely I'll buy mine!

And we'll take a cup of kindness yet,

For long, long ago.


Chorus


We two have run about the hills

And pulled the daisies fine;

But we've wandered many's the weary foot

Since long, long ago.


Chorus


We two have paddled in the stream,

From morning sun till dine;

But seas between us broad have roared

Since long, long ago.


Chorus


And there's a hand, my trusty friend!

And give us a hand of yours!

And we'll take a deep draught of good-will

For long, long ago.


Chorus



All you ever needed to know about Robert Burns:

http://www.scotland.org/whats-on/burns-night/



Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus ...



Eight-year-old Virginia O'Hanlon wrote a letter to the editor of New York's Sun, and the quick response was printed as an unsigned editorial Sept. 21, 1897. The work of veteran newsman Francis Pharcellus Church has since become history's most reprinted newspaper editorial, appearing in part or whole in dozens of languages in books, movies, and other editorials, and on posters and stamps.


-:-


"DEAR EDITOR: I am 8 years old. 

"Some of my little friends say there is no Santa Claus. 

"Papa says, 'If you see it in THE SUN it's so.' 

"Please tell me the truth; is there a Santa Claus?


"VIRGINIA O'HANLON.

"115 WEST NINETY-FIFTH STREET."



The editorial:


VIRGINIA, your little friends are wrong. They have been affected by the skepticism of a skeptical age. They do not believe except they see. They think that nothing can be which is not comprehensible by their little minds. All minds, Virginia, whether they be men's or children's, are little. In this great universe of ours man is a mere insect, an ant, in his intellect, as compared with the boundless world about him, as measured by the intelligence capable of grasping the whole of truth and knowledge.


Yes, VIRGINIA, there is a Santa Claus. He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist, and you know that they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy. Alas! how dreary would be the world if there were no Santa Claus. It would be as dreary as if there were no VIRGINIAS. There would be no childlike faith then, no poetry, no romance to make tolerable this existence. We should have no enjoyment, except in sense and sight. The eternal light with which childhood fills the world would be extinguished.


Not believe in Santa Claus! You might as well not believe in fairies! You might get your papa to hire men to watch in all the chimneys on Christmas Eve to catch Santa Claus, but even if they did not see Santa Claus coming down, what would that prove? Nobody sees Santa Claus, but that is no sign that there is no Santa Claus. The most real things in the world are those that neither children nor men can see. Did you ever see fairies dancing on the lawn? Of course not, but that's no proof that they are not there. Nobody can conceive or imagine all the wonders there are unseen and unseeable in the world.


You may tear apart the baby's rattle and see what makes the noise inside, but there is a veil covering the unseen world which not the strongest man, nor even the united strength of all the strongest men that ever lived, could tear apart. Only faith, fancy, poetry, love, romance, can push aside that curtain and view and picture the supernal beauty and glory beyond. Is it all real? Ah, VIRGINIA, in all this world there is nothing else real and abiding. 


No Santa Claus! Thank God! he lives, and he lives forever. A thousand years from now, VIRGINIA, nay, ten times ten thousand years from now, he will continue to make glad the heart of childhood.