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A lover's lament, 1667

Ramsay's "Auld Lang Syne", 1724

Ramsay's version, reprinted with music, 1787

A Caledonian country dance, 1760s

William Shield's Rosina, 1783?

The tune of "Auld Lang Syne", 1792

First publication of the Burns verses, 1796

An old song of olden times, 1793

Words and melody, together at last, 1799

A question of authorship, 1817

A 19th century revision, 1856–1860

Kipling's wartime version, 1900

Learn the whole song

More online exhibitions


Exhibitions | Online | Auld Lang Syne: The Story of a Song

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A question of authorship

Listen to/download music:
George Thomson republished "Auld Lang Syne" in this 1817 edition with a new arrangement by the Czech composer Leopold Kozeluch (1747–1818), the "Mr. K." cited at the foot of the piano score. While in the earlier edition Thomson had cited "an old manuscript" as the source of his text, here he was more forthcoming: he quoted the letter in which Burns claimed to have taken down the words "from an old man's singing." Thomson added his opinion about the authorship of the song: "It seems not improbable . . . that he said this merely in a playful humour; for the Editor cannot help thinking that the Song affords evidence of our Bard himself being the author."

"Should Auld Acquaintance Be Forgot"
A Select Collection of Original Scottish Airs for the Voice
London: Printed & sold by T[homas] Preston; sold also by G[eorge] Thomson, the editor & proprietor, Edinburgh, 1817
Purchased in 1974.

Piano: Renate Rohlfing

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The programs of The Morgan Library & Museum are made possible with public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, and by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.

Background images: Photography by Todd Eberle unless otherwise noted. © 2006 Todd Eberle.