Volume I, song 025, page 26 - 'Auld Lang Syne' - Scanned...
Volume I, song 025, page 26 - 'Auld Lang Syne' - Scanned from the 1853 edition of the 'Scots Musical Museum', James Johnson and Robert Burns (Edinburgh and London: W. Blackwood & Sons, 1853)
Verse 1: 'Should auld acquaintance be forgot, Tho' they return with scars. These are the noble hero's lot, Obtain'd in glorious wars: Welcome, my Varo, to my breast, Thy arms about me twine, And make me once again as blest, As I was lang syne.' 'Lang syne' is Scots for long ago or days of old.
The 'Scots Musical Museum' is the most important of the numerous eighteenth- and nineteenth-century collections of Scottish song. When the engraver James Johnson started work on the second volume of his collection in 1787, he enlisted Robert Burns as contributor and editor. Burns enthusiastically collected songs from various sources, often expanding or revising them, whilst including much of his own work. The resulting combination of innovation and antiquarianism gives the work a feel of living tradition.
This particular melody first appeared in Henry Playford's, 'A Collection of Original Scotch Tunes (Full of the Highland Humours), for the Violin', published in 1700, under the title 'For Old long Gine my Joe'. Throughout the eighteenth century it continued to be included in most Scottish song collections, often with alterations to the lyrics and melody. According to John Glen (1900), this version has been taken directly from Neil Stewart's 'Scots Songs', published in 1772. As to the song itself, the words shown here were written by the Scottish-born poet Allan Ramsay (1686-1758). For the more familiar lyrics and tune of 'Auld Lang Syne', associated with Burns, see song 413.