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Auld Lang Syne and other Songs


A Sampler of Poems by Robert Burns

(January, 2014)

Robert Burns

Poet Robert Burns
His birthday, January 25,
is celebrated in Scotland
like a national holiday.

Robert Burns (1759-1796) known as Scotland's Bard, was a prolific poet, songwriter, folklorist, social reformer, and well-known womanizer. He was born into a world of great inequality that was about to explode with revolutionary ideas. He was a bright child but had to work hard on his father's farm in Alloway while he was a mere child. Even so, his father recognized that he was special and sent him to school. He wrote his first poem at age 14 and continued writing even while studying how to grow flax and run a farm. After the publication of his first volume of poetry in 1786 he suddenly became famous. In fact he became a superstar in his time and was highly sought after as a speaker and eulogizer for the wealthiest families in Scotland and England. He used his influence to further the cause of Scottish autonomy and to help the poor tenant farmers who were abused by their wealthy landlords. Like other superstars, he died young at 37, but he left a huge legacy in literature as well as in the many children he is known to have fathered. According to Wikipedia "after his death he became a great source of inspiration to the founders of both liberalism and socialism, and a cultural icon in Scotland and among the Scottish Diaspora around the world."

Burns was concerned about the waining of Scottish culture so he traveled through Scotland collecting old tunes, poems, stories, and riddles, often revising them to make them more publishable. Because of his efforts and those inspired by his example, Scotland can claim a historical culture of its own separate from English culture. This provides a great source of pride to Scotsmen and has spawned nationalist feelings in Scotland. His egalitarian writing was also an inspiration to Russians who were looking for way to give voice to their struggle for equality before the Revolution.

His birthday, January 25th, is celebrated as a National Holiday in Scotland with Burns Dinners. These gatherings are also enjoyed by Scotland's descendants around the world. These dinners are not only a night to eat Haggis and listen to bagpipes, but are a special occasion for each attendee to share a poem or song by Robert Burns to keep his memory alive.


Auld Lang Syne (Old Times Past)

by Robert Burns

Old Scottish traditional

Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
and never brought to mind?
Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And days o' auld lang syne

CHORUS:
For auld lang syne, my dear,
for auld lang syne,
we’ll tak a cup o’ kindness yet,
for auld lang syne.

And surely ye’ll be your pint-stoup!
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 pou’d the gowans fine;
But we’ve wander’d mony a weary fit,
sin’ auld lang syne.

CHORUS

We twa hae paidl’d in the burn,
frae morning 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 gies a hand o’ thine!
And we’ll tak a right gude-willie-waught,
for auld lang syne.

CHORUS

English translation:

Should old acquaintance be forgotten,
and never brought to mind?
Should old acquaintance be forgotten,
and the days of old times past?

CHORUS:
For old times past, my dear,
for old times past,
we'll take a cup of kindness yet,
for old times past.

And surely you’ll buy your pint cup!
And surely I’ll buy mine!
And we'll take a cup of kindness yet,
for old times past.

CHORUS

We two have run about the slopes,
and picked the daisies fine;
But we’ve wandered many a weary foot,
since old times past.

CHORUS

We two have paddled in the stream,
from dawn ’til dinner-time;
But seas between us broad have roared
since old times past.

CHORUS

And here’s my hand my trusty friend!
And give us a hand of yours!
And we’ll take a big good-will drink,
for old times past.

CHORUS

A Red, Red Rose

By Robert Burns. This song can be sung to the tune of "Aluld Lang Syne."

Old Scottish traditional

O my Luve's like a red, red rose,
That's newly sprung in June:
O my Luve's like the melodie,
That's sweetly play'd in tune.

As fair art thou, my bonie lass,
So deep in luve am I;
And I will luve thee still, my dear,
Till a' the seas gang dry.

Till a' the seas gang dry, my dear,
And the rocks melt wi' the sun;
And I will luve thee still, my dear,
While the sands o' life shall run.

And fare-thee-weel, my only Luve!
And fare-thee-weel, a while!
And I will come again, my Luve,
Tho' 'twere ten thousand mile!

English translation:

Oh my Love is like a red, red rose,
That's newly sprung in June:
O my Love is like the melody,
That's sweetly played in tune.

As much as you are fair, my girl,
(That's how) deep in love am I;
And I will love you still, my dear,
Till all the seas run dry.

Till all the seas run dry, my dear,
And the rocks melt with the sun;
I will love thee still, my dear,
While the sands of life will run.

And farewell, my only Love!
And farewell, for a while!
And I will come (back) again, my Love,
(Even) Though it were ten thousand miles!


What Can A Young Lassie Do Wi' An Auld Man

By Robert Burns.

Old Scottish traditional

What can a young lassie, what shall a young lassie,
What can a young lassie do wi' an auld man?
Bad luck on the penny that tempted my minnie
To sell her puir Jenny for siller an' lan'.
Bad luck on the penny that tempted my minnie
To sell her puir Jenny for siller an' lan'!

He's always compleenin' frae mornin' to e'enin',
He hoasts and he hirples the weary day lang;
He's doylt and he's dozin, his blude it is frozen, -
O, dreary's the night wi' a crazy auld man!
He's doylt and he's dozin, his blude it is frozen,
O, dreary's the night wi' a crazy auld man.

He hums and he hankers, he frets and he cankers,
I never can please him do a' that I can;
He's peevish an' jealous o' a' the young fellows, -
O, dool on the day I met wi' an auld man!
He's peevish an' jealous o' a' the young fellows,
O, dool on the day I met wi' an auld man.

My auld auntie Katie upon me taks pity,
I'll do my endeavour to follow her plan;
I'll cross him an' wrack him, until I heartbreak him
And then his auld brass will buy me a new pan,
I'll cross him an' wrack him, until I heartbreak him,
And then his auld brass will buy me a new pan.

English translation:

What can a young woman, what shall a young woman,
What can a young woman do with an old man?
Bad luck on the penny that tempted my mommy
To sell her poor Jenny for silver and land.
Bad luck on the penny that tempted my mommy
To sell her poor Jenny for silver and land!

He's always complaining from morning to evening,
He hacks and he burps the weary day long;
He's dense and he's dozin', his blood it is frozen, -
O, dreary's the night with a crazy old man!
He's dense and he's dozin', his blood it is frozen,
O, dreary's the night with a crazy old man.

He hums and he whines, he worries and irritates,
I never can please him, do all that I can;
He's peevish and jealous of all the young fellows, -
O, sorrow (to me) on the day I met with an old man!
He's peevish and jealous of all the young fellows,
O, sorrow (to me) on the day I met with an old man.

My old auntie Katie upon me takes pity,
I'll do my endeavour to follow her plan;
I'll cross him and rack him, until I heartbreak him
And then his old brass (money) will buy me a new pan (life),
I'll cross him an' rack him, until I heartbreak him,
And then his old brass will buy me a new pan.


The Laddie's Dear Sel'

By Robert Burns.

Old Scottish traditional

There's a youth in this city, it were a great pity
That he from our lassies should wander awa';
For he's bonie and braw, weel-favor'd witha',
An' his hair has a natural buckle an' a'.

His coat is the hue o' his bonnet sae blue,
His fecket is white as the new-driven snaw;
His hose they are blae, and his shoon like the slae,
And his clear siller buckles, they dazzle us a'.

For beauty and fortune the laddie's been courtin;
Weel-featur'd, weel-tocher'd, weel-mounted an' braw;
But chiefly the siller that gars him gang till her,
The penny's the jewel that beautifies a'.

There's Meg wi' the mailen that fain wad a haen him,
And Susie, wha's daddie was laird o' the Ha';
There's lang-tocher'd Nancy maist fetters his fancy,
-But the laddie's dear sel', he loes dearest of a'.

English translation:

There's a youth in this city, it were a great pity
That he from our women should wander away;
For he's handsome and strong, well-favored withall;
And his hair is naturally curlyl and all.

His coat is the color of his hat so blue,
His vest is white as the new-driven snow;
His pants they are black, and his shoes like the slate,
And his clear silver buckles, they dazzle us all.

For beauty and fortune the young man's been courting;
Well-featured, well-groomed, well-mounted and strong;
But chiefly the silver that allows him to woo her,
The money's the jewel that beautifies all.

There was Meg with the farm that really should have had him,
And Susie, who's daddy was Lord of the Hall;
There's long-haired Nancy, (who) most captured his fancy,
-But the young man's dear self, he loves dearest of all!

References:

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