POET ROBERT BURNS AND THE CREATION OF THE BELOVED NEW YEAR’S EVE SONG “AULD LANG SYNE” IS THE SUBJECT OF A NEW EXHIBITION AT THE MORGAN LIBRARY & MUSEUM
Each New Year’s Eve, millions raise their voices in a chorus of “Auld Lang Syne,” standing with friends and looking back with nostalgia on days past. But how did a traditional Scots folk song—with lyrics that many people scarcely understand—emerge as one of the world’s most enduring popular songs? It was Robert Burns (1759–1796), the great eighteenth-century Scottish poet, who transformed the old verses into the version we know today. Robert Burns and “Auld Lang Syne” at The Morgan Library & Museum untangles the complex origins of the song that has become, over time, a globally shared expression of friendship and longing. On view from December 9, 2011 at noon, through February 5, 2012, the exhibition features rare printed editions, a manuscript of the song in the poet’s own hand, and selections from the Morgan’s important collection of Burns letters—the largest in the world.