Thursday, December 31, 2015

Just in Time for New Year's: a Latin Language Version of Auld Lang Syne!

Here's the music video of my latest Latin song, Auld Lang Syne.

I use Prof. J.C. Robertson's translation. I saw some confusion on the Internet about who exactly was the translator. I finally tracked down the earliest appearance of this translation. It was published on p. 691 of the June, 1926 issue of The Classical Journal, in an article entitled "Hints for Teachers."

I was somewhat amused to see that in 1926 the article implies that we Latin teachers need to be singing songs, flying kites, and bending over backwards to keep the attention of the youth in our classrooms.

The translation of Auld Lang Syne is attributed there to Profession J.C. Robertson, Victoria College, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

It's a somewhat loose translation. Interestingly, Prof. Robertson leaves out mention of "cup of kindness" altogether, pulling instead a line from a later verse about holding hands. Perhaps he did not think it was appropriate to have his students singing about drinking.

Here is his translation, followed by the traditional English rendering.

Num amīcōrum veterum
decet oblīviscī?
Annōrum heu fugācium
et temporis actī?    

Actum, sodālēs, ob tempus
praeteritum tempus,   
priusquam discesserimus,   
complectimur manūs.

Flōrēs ōlim dēcerpsimus
lūdentēs in prātīs,
sed aspera peragrāvimus

diēbus ex illīs.

Should old acquaintance be forgot,
and never brought to mind?
Should old acquaintance be forgot 
and Auld Lang Syne?

For Auld Lang Syne, my dear,
for Auld Lang Syne.
We'll take a cup of kindness yet
for Auld Lang Syne.

We two have run about the slopes
 and picked the daisies fine.
But we've wondered many a weary foot
 since Auld Lang Syne.

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