(Scotch, long since). In the olden time, in days gone by.
“There was muckle fighting about the place lang-syne.” —
The song called Auld Lang Syne, usually attributed to Robert Burns, was not composed by him, for he says expressly in a letter to Thomson, “It is the old song of the olden times, which has never been in print ... I took it down from an old man's singing.” In another letter he says, “Light be the turf on the heaven-inspired poet who composed this glorious fragment.” Nothing whatever is known of the author of the words; the composer is wholly unknown.
Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894
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