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Robert Burns

Robert Burns was introduced to Scottish folk songs, legends and proverbs by his mother.

Apart from poetry he wrote beautiful and tender songs. Some of the most famous include "Auld Lang Syne", "Ye Banks and Braes of Bonnie Doon" and "My Love's Like a Red, Red, Rose".

His first book of poems was published in 1788.

A lot of his poetry was about the feelings of ordinary poor people, one of his most famous being the well known humourous poem "Tam O'Shanter".

When he moved to Dumfries in 1788, he married Jean Armour and rented a farm for a short while but the farm was not as successful as he hoped. He then took a small government job and moved into Dumfries Town. Today you can follow Burns trail around and through Dumfries.

His love of the Dumfriesshire mountains, valleys and lochs encouraged Burns to continue his works of fine poetry. Robert Burns was a frequent guest of Moffat folk and the coachhouses where Burns stopped can still be seen and to this day Scots and English, celebrate Burns Day.

The best known and most often sung of all songs, reminds us that Burns is as much the poet of friendship as of love. This song is now generally sung at the end of a convivial evening and at New Year the world over.

It has become the traditional song among English-speaking peoples for bidding farewell to the old year and hailing the new. Burns was able to present the theme of passing time through a context of remembered friendship. The song combines a note of present conviviality with a poignant sense of the loss of earlier companionship brought by time and distance.

Such a note is just right for New Year's Eve, when the mind hovers between retrospect and anticipation and we think equally of days gone forever and days to come.

Auld lang syne

Should auld acquaintance be forgot
And never brought to mind?
Should auld acquaintance be forgot
And days o' lang syne?

Chorus
For auld lang syne, my Dear
For auld lang syne
We'll tak a cup o kindness yet
For auld lang syne

And surely ye'11 be your pint-stowp
And surely I'll be mine
And we'll tak a cup o' kindness yet
For auld lang syne
For auld lang etc

We twa hae run about the braes
And pu'd the gowans fine
But we've wandered mony a weary foot
Sin auld lang syne
For auld lang etc

We twa hae paidlet i' the burn
Frae morning sun sill dine
But seas between us braid hae roar'd
Sin auld lang syne
For auld lang etc

And there's a hand, my trusty feire
And gie's a hand o' thine
And we'll tak a right gude-willie waught
For auld lang syne
For auld lang etc

Translation of Auld lang syne

Should old friends be forgotten
and never remembered
Should old friends be forgotten
and the days they shared together

Chorus
For days now in the past, my dear
For days now in the past
We'll drink a toast of kind remembrance
For days now in the past

You can pay for your pint tankard
and I will pay for mine
We'll drink a toast of kind remembrance
For days now in the past

We two have run about the hillsides
and pulled wild daisies
but now we are far apart in distance
From those days now in the past

We two have paddled in the stream
from morning untill noon
but oceans now lie between us
since those days now in the past

So take my hand, my trusty friend
and give me your hand
and we will take a hearty drink together
In memory of those days now in the past