Uncommon Knowledge

Uncommon Knowledge: What is “Auld Lang Syne”?

December 27, 2013

Etched Champagne Flutes | UncommonGoodsThe words of the familiar New Year’s song “Auld Lang Syne” are actually an old Scottish poem. The poet Robert Burns submitted the words to the Scots Musical Museum in 1788, claiming it was a traditional verse and that he simply “took it down from an old man.” Historical evidence suggests, however, that while the first verse is adapted from a 1711 poem, the rest of the words were likely Burns’ own composition. The words “auld lang syne” literally mean “old long since.” It’s the equivalent of saying “long, long ago” or “days gone by,” and is even used in place of “once upon a time” in some Scottish stories.

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