Blog Archives

A Short Analysis of Robert Burns’s ‘Auld Lang Syne’

‘Auld Lang Syne’ – which loosely translates into modern English as ‘old long since’ – is one of Robert Burns’s most famous poems, which is remarkable since Robert Burns almost certainly didn’t write it. What are the origins of this, one of the most famous songs in the world? In this post, we’re going in search of the meaning of ‘Auld Lang Syne’, as well as offering some words of analysis of its lyrics.

Auld Lang Syne

Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And never brought to mind?
Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And auld 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. Read the rest of this entry


A Short Analysis of Robert Burns’s ‘Halloween’

Written in 1785 and published the following year, ‘Halloween’ is not Robert Burns’s best-known poem, but it is one of his longest. Focusing on the traditions and activities associated with Halloween in eighteenth-century Scotland, ‘Halloween’ is best read aloud – but failing that, here’s the text of the full poem (all 252 lines of it!).

Yes! let the rich deride, the proud disdain,
The simple pleasure of the lowly train;
To me more dear, congenial to my heart,
One native charm, than all the gloss of art.
 – Goldsmith

Upon that night, when fairies light
On Cassilis Downans dance,
Or owre the lays, in splendid blaze,
On sprightly coursers prance;
Or for Colean the rout is ta’en,
Beneath the moon’s pale beams;
There, up the Cove, to stray an’ rove,
Amang the rocks and streams
To sport that night; Read the rest of this entry

Five Fascinating Facts about Robert Burns

The life and work of Robert Burns (1759-1796) in five pieces of trivia

1. Robert Burns referred to himself as ‘Spunkie’. In a letter of 1793, Burns took ‘Spunkie’ as his ‘signature’ and ‘symbol’ – and a surprising fact is that he never referred to himself as either Rabbie or Robbie Burns, even though he is often called ‘Robbie Burns’ or ‘Rabbie Burns’ by others. He did, however, call himself a whole range of things in his correspondence, from Rab and Rob to Robert and – our personal favourite – ‘Rantin’ Rovin’ Robin’. Read the rest of this entry