In an early case of stolen intellectual property, Robert Burns "wrote" Auld Lang Syne after "hearing the song performed by an old man." Seventy-seven years prior to Burns' publication, James Watson made a go of some very similar lyrics:
"Should old acquaintance be forgot and never thought upon?
The flames of love extinguished and fully past and gone.
In thy sweet heart now grown so cold, that loving breast of thine,
That thou canst never once reflect on old long (sic) syne?"
Obviously Watson was having some romantic problems. Burns' version is more platonic. He is reminiscing about friends who have long been parted and share a drink when reunited.
When you are belting out this song on New Year's Eve and the lyrics don't seem to be making much sense (and it isn't due to taking too many "cups of kindness"), just remember the first two lines of the song are a question, not a statement.
"Should auld acquaintance be forgot
And never brought to mind?"
The auld lang syne business? It just means days of long ago.
To all my pals near and far, I borrow from Burns', "Here's a hand my trusty friend and give us a hand of yours." Happy New Year!