Old Long Syne – who’s heard it?

I loved today’s ‘Poem of the Day‘ in the Herald (see below)  – thanks Lesley Duncan!

I love Burns – particularly so after my recent visit to the new Burns Museum which, in among the instant amusement items such as the Burns juke box – choose your favourite song and a new one after five seconds, has some fantastic exhibits, particularly the letters, songs and poems in Burns’ own hand.  But today’s poem, which gives us a precursor to Burns’ most famous song, reminds us that all artistic genius comes from somewhere.

Here’s Lesley Duncan’s introduction, then the poem.

No, this is not a Morningside version of Burns’s global favourite but a precursor, by Sir Robert Ayton (1569-1638), a poet at the court of James VI and I.  Unlike Burns’s lines, which deal with friendship rather than love, this is an intensely personal plea and pledge, particularly the third verse.


Should old Acquaintance be forgot,

And never thought upon,

The Flames of Love extinguished,
And freely past and gone?
Is thy kind Heart now grown so coldIn that
Loving Breast of thine,
That thou canst never once reflect
On Old-long-syne?
Where are thy Protestations,
Thy Vows and Oaths, my Dear,
Thou made to me, and I to thee,
In Register yet clear?
Is Faith and Truth so violate
To the Immortal Gods Divine,
That thou canst never once reflect
On Old-long-syne?
If e’er I have a House, my Dear,
That truly is call’d mine,
And can afford but Country Cheer,
Or ought that’s good therein;
Tho’ thou were Rebel to the King,
And beat with Wind and Rain,
Assure thy self of Welcome Love,
For Old-long-syne.
Oh.. and a happy New Year to all our readers!

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