Robert Burns (25 January 1759 – 21 July 1796) was a Scottish poet and lyricist. He has been known as the national poet of Scotland but his fame is worldwide. He is the best known of the poets who have written in the Scots language, although much of his writing is also in English and a "light" Scots dialect, accessible to an audience beyond Scotland. He also wrote in standard English, and in these his political or civil commentary is often at its most blunt.
He is credited with writing Auld Lang Syne. But did Robert Burns actually write Auld Lang Syne?
Robert Burns forwarded a copy of the original song to the Scots Musical Museum with the remark, "The following song, an old song, of the olden times, and which has never been in print, nor even in manuscript until I took it down from an old man". At the time it was fashionable to claim someone else's work. It was "traditional"; therefore, one should take Burns' statement with mild skepticism. Some of the lyrics were indeed "collected" rather than composed by the poet; the ballad "Old Long Syne" printed in 1711 by James Watson shows considerable similarity in the first verse and the chorus to Burns' later poem. It is a fair supposition to attribute the rest of the poem to Burns himself.
There is some doubt as to whether the melody used today is the same one Burns originally intended, but it is widely used both in Scotland and in the rest of the world.
Singing the song on Hogmanay or New Year's Eve very quickly became a Scots custom that soon spread to other parts of the British Isles. As Scots (and other Britons) emigrated around the world, they took the song with them. Courtesy of Wikipedia
I like to imagine my Scottish ancestors gathering for Hogmanay and singing this tune as they raised a pint to the coming New Year and remembered friends of days gone by.
The video below presents the song with a decidedly more Scottish flavor. Enjoy!
Happy New Year!