The characters from It's a Wonderful Life get ready to sing "Auld Lang Syne."
As you well know, I get curious about life's little mysteries and find myself on mini-journeys to explore them. Today's is the phrase and song "Auld Lang Syne", sung not just at New Years Eve but also at funerals and farewell gatherings (thank you wikipedia).
I remember finding this song way in the back of a old children's Christmas carol book that my sister and I "improved" with crayon. I remember thinking - when I was old enough to read - that the phrase couldn't be English, didn't sound like any Christmas song I'd ever heard of and wondered what the fuss was all about when they sang it at the end of It's a Wonderful Life.
First of all, according to the wonderful Oxford Dictionaries, "auld lang syne" is an 18th century Scottish phrase meaning "times long past" or "for old time's sake." So... vernacular Scotch-English. Definitely nothing to do with Christmas, as was my original instinct all those years ago, crayon in hand. (Sorry, Mom!)
What thrills me about songs like this is its endurance through the ages. According to Wikipedia, it was a poem by Robert Burns in 1788, set to a traditional folk tune... which makes me think the tune, and perhaps the sentiment is hundreds of years older than we think. And yet, old as it is, we return to it and sing it without fail year after year in the presence of our loved ones.
Like the old Christmas carols that rose from Nativity plays (Coventry Carol), Gregorian chants (O Come O Come Emmanuel), or side-track legends (Good King Wenceslas), there is something undefinable but potent about these songs' ability to endure and inspire... that the past and the future are both not nearly as far away as we think them to be, and that with all the lessons we've learned and the hopes we've gathered, good things can happen.
New Years, so soon after Christmas, is soaked in Christmastide hope (and it's particularly true when you consider how Christmas doesn't official end until Epiphany, the 6th of January). Knowing the gift God has bestowed, we can go into the new year and leave the old behind with joy.
Here are the lyrics to this timeless song:
Should old acquaintance be forgot, And never brought to mind? Should old acquaintance be forgot, And auld lang syne? [days gone by/long time since]
Chorus: For auld lang syne, my dear, For auld lang syne, We’ll take a cup of kindness yet For auld lang syne!
And surely you’ll buy your pint-cup, And surely I’ll by mine! And we’ll take a cup of kindness yet, For auld lang syne.
We two have run about the slopes And picked the daisies fine; But we’ve wandered many a weary foot, Since auld lang syne.
We two have paddled in the stream From morning sun till dine; But seas between us broad have roared Since auld lang syne.
And there’s a hand, my trusty friend! And give us a hand o’ thine! And we’ll take a right good-will draught For auld lang syne!
May 2012 be full of discoveries and writing whimsies!
to a blog by three people who write, for anyone else who wants to write. It's a cruel world for creators, and here we promise support, whimsy, and curiosity that will hopefully keep your pen moving and keyboard tapping!
To read more about why Daedalus Notes exists, click here.