Friday, December 31, 2010

Scot's honour

A note on the song many drunken voices shall no doubt be singing as the clock ticks over midnight tonight...words which have always been assumed to have come from the pen of my grandfather's favourite poet, Robert Burns (1759-1796).
Burns contributed the song to James Thomson's Scots Musical Museum, writing to Thomson in 1793 that it was in fact 'the old song of olden times, and which has never been in print, nor even in manuscript, until I took it down from an old man's singing'.
However... experts believe there's evidence of Robbie Burns himself within those words and that he may have been exhibiting his own playful humour in the telling, particularly after he wrote this note accompanying the poem to his patron, Mrs Frances Dunlop, in 1788:
'Light be the turf on the breast of the Heaven-inspired poet who composed this glorious fragment. There is more fire of native genius in it than in half a dozen Modern English Bacchanalians.'

Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And never brought to min'?
Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And auld lang syne?

For auld lang syne, my dear.
For auld lang syne,
We'll take a cup o' kindness yet,
For auld lang syne.

And a cup of kindness to you this new year's eve, thanks for reading.

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