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Auld Lang Syne--What Does It Mean?

We've heard it all of our lives, and tomorrow night we'll sing it again. But what is that 'auld lang syne?' anyway? Does the phrase chosen by Robert Burns for his great poem, derived from an ancient song of Scotland, have any deeper meaning? One translation is 'the old long time.' According to author Maurice Nicoll, this refers to a fundamental memory that is part of all of us, that goes all the way back to the beginning of time. Reference is made to the place of this memory in the cryptic phrase 'long home' in Ecclesiastes 12:5:

Also when they shall be afraid of that which is high, and fears shall be in the way, and the almond tree shall flourish, and the grasshopper shall be a burden, and desire shall fail: because man goeth to his long home, and the mourners go about the streets...

Jack DarkHand has sent around a translation of the full text of this magnificent song, which has always seemed to me to call forth this deep and essential memory.

Happy new year everybody. God bless, and take it from me: the best is yet to come.

--Whitley Strieber

Auld Lang Syne (Full Text) Should auld acquaintance be forgot,And never brought to mind?Should auld acquaintance be forgot,And days of auld lang syne? And days of auld lang syne, my dear,And days of auld lang syne.Should auld acquaintance be forgot,And days of auld lang syne?

Should old acquaintances be forgotten, And never thought of? Should old acquaintances be forgotten, and the days of the ancient times (literally, "old long since")?

We twa hae run aboot the braesAnd pu'd the gowans fine.We've wandered mony a weary foot,Sin' auld lang syne. Sin' auld lang syne, my dear,Sin' auld lang syne,We've wandered mony a weary foot,Sin' auld ang syne.

The two of us have run through the country lanes, And have picked the fine daisies; But we've wandered many weary steps Since the ancient times.

We twa hae sported i' the burn,From morning sun till dine,But seas between us braid hae roaredSin' auld lang syne. Sin' auld lang syne, my dear,Sin' auld lang syne.But seas between us braid hae roaredSin' auld lang syne.

The two of us have played in the field From morning sun until dusk But roaring oceans have split us apart Since the ancient times.

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. For auld lang syne. For auld lang syne. We'll tak a cup o' kindness yet,For auld lang syne.

You'll have your pint glass, And I'll have mine, And we'll drink to friendship, In honor of the ancient times.

And ther's a hand, my trusty friend,And gie's a hand o' thine;We' ll take a right gude willy waught,For Auld Lang Syne. For auld lang syne, my dear,For auld lang syne,We' ll take a right gude willy waught,For auld lang syne.

Here's my hand, trusty friend, And give me your hand. Let's take a good long drink In honor of the ancient times.

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