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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

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

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Ramsay's "Auld Lang Syne"

Yet another song beginning Should auld acquaintance be forgot appeared in print before Burns adopted the familiar line. Poet Allan Ramsay, whose passion for Scottish folk tradition inspired Burns, published this version in 1724. While the tone approaches the bittersweet nostalgia we now associate with "Auld Lang Syne," it is not surprising that Burns's graceful rendering outlasted Ramsay's stilted lines: Methinks around us on each bough a thousand Cupids play, whilst thro' the groves I walk with you, each object makes me gay.

Allan Ramsay (1686–1758)
"Auld Lang Syne"
The Hive: A Collection of the Most Celebrated Songs
London: Printed for J[ohn] Walthoe, Jr., 1724
James Fuld Music Collection, 2008

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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.