A question of authorship


"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

Item description: 

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."