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“Auld Lang Syne” is a Scottish poem written by Robert Burns in 1788 and set to the tune of a traditional folk song . It is well known in many English-speaking countries and is often sung to celebrate the start of the new year at the stroke of midnight on New Year’s Day.
The song’s (Scots) title may be translated into English literally as “old long since”, or more idiomatically, “long long ago” or “days gone by”. The phrase “Auld Lang Syne” is also used in similar poems by Robert Ayton , Allan Ramsay (1686-1757), and James Watson (1711) as well as older folk songs predating Burns. In his retelling of fairy tales in the Scots language, Matthew Fitt uses the phrase “In the days of auld lang syne” as the equivalent of “Once upon a time.” In Scots syne is pronounced like the English word sign.
“Scarborough Fair” is a traditional ballad of Great Britain and more precisely Yorkshire. The song relates the tale of a young man who instructs the listener to tell his former love to perform for him a series of impossible tasks, such as making him a shirt without a seam and then washing it in a dry well, adding that if she completes these tasks he will take her back. Often the song is sung as a duet, with the woman then giving her lover a series of equally impossible tasks, promising to give him his seamless shirt once he has finished.
“Lavender’s Blue,” is an English folk song and nursery rhyme dating back to the seventeenth century.
- Lavender’s blue, dilly dilly, lavender’s green,
- When I am king, dilly, dilly, you shall be queen.
- Who told you so, dilly, dilly, who told you so?
- ‘Twas my own heart, dilly, dilly, that told me so.
- Call up your men, dilly, dilly, set them to work
- Some to the plough, dilly, dilly, some to the fork,
- Some to make hay, dilly, dilly, some to cut corn,
- While you and I, dilly, dilly, keep ourselves warm.
- Lavender’s green, dilly, dilly, Lavender’s blue,
- If you love me, dilly, dilly, I will love you.
- Let the birds sing, dilly, dilly, And the lambs play;
- We shall be safe, dilly, dilly, out of harm’s way.
- I love to dance, dilly, dilly, I love to sing;
- When I am queen, dilly, dilly, You’ll be my king.
- Who told me so, dilly, dilly, Who told me so?
- I told myself, dilly, dilly, I told me so.