Sunday, December 31, 2017

Auld Lang Syne

For this holiday song, I found a Latin translation of the song, "Auld Lang Syne." You can find the traditional lyrics at the Hymns and Carols of Christmas website, along with the version containing additional stanzas added by the Scottish poet Robert Burns in 1788. There's also a very handy explanation in modern English of what the Scottish words mean! In addition, you can consult the Wikipedia article about this song, which includes the Old Long Syne version by James Watson from 1711, in English, presumably unknown to Burns.

I found this Latin translation of "Auld Lang Syne" at the page of Harry Maynard's Latin carols, but it is not clear if Maynard is the translator himself. Does anyone have any further information about who did this Latin translation?
*Keith Massey's wonderful video cites J. C. Robertson as the translator.

You will notice that the chorus here combines elements of the traditional chorus with motifs from the final verse which otherwise has been omitted.

Num amicorum veterum
decet oblivisci?
Annorum heu fugacium
et temporis acti?


Actum, sodales, ob tempus
praeteritum tempus,
priusquam discesserimus,
manus iungamus.

Flores olim decerpsimus
ludentes in pratis,
sed aspera peragravimus
diebus ex illis.


Et agebamus vacuos
dies ad rivulum;
sed dividit iam diu nos
aequor undosum.


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