Scottish Country Dancing Dictionary

A Man's A Man For A' That

Scottish Poem By Robert Burns

A Man's A Man For A' That is a poem written by the Scottish poet Robert Burns

This 1795 poem, also known as "Is There For Honest Poverty", is famous for its expression of egalitarian ideas of society, which may be seen as expressing the ideas of liberalism that arose in the 18th century.

Scottish folksinger Sheena Wellington sang the song at the opening of the Scottish Parliament in May, 1999. The song was also sung at the funeral of Donald Dewar, the inaugural First Minister of Scotland. It is also known in translations into other European languages, for example the German "Trotz alledem und alledem" by Ferdinand Freiligrath right after the Revolution of 1848 (sung by Hannes Wader as "Trotz alledem").


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A Man's A Man For A' That

A Man's A Man For A' That By Robert Burns

Is there for honest Poverty
That hings his head, an' a' that;
The coward slave-we pass him by,
We dare be poor for a' that!
For a' that, an' a' that.
Our toils obscure an' a' that,
The rank is but the guinea's stamp,
The Man's the gowd for a' that.

What though on hamely fare we dine,
Wear hodden grey, an' a that;
Gie fools their silks, and knaves their wine;
A Man's a Man for a' that:
For a' that, and a' that,
Their tinsel show, an' a' that;
The honest man, tho' e'er sae poor,
Is king o' men for a' that.

Ye see yon birkie, ca'd a lord,
Wha struts, an' stares, an' a' that;
Tho' hundreds worship at his word,
He's but a coof for a' that:
For a' that, an' a' that,
His ribband, star, an' a' that:
The man o' independent mind
He looks an' laughs at a' that.

A prince can mak a belted knight,
A marquis, duke, an' a' that;
But an honest man's abon his might,
Gude faith, he maunna fa' that!
For a' that, an' a' that,
Their dignities an' a' that;
The pith o' sense, an' pride o' worth,
Are higher rank than a' that.

Then let us pray that come it may,
(As come it will for a' that,)
That Sense and Worth, o'er a' the earth,
Shall bear the gree, an' a' that.
For a' that, an' a' that,
It's coming yet for a' that,
That Man to Man, the world o'er,
Shall brothers be for a' that.


Robert Burns Portrait Painting Image
Robert Burns
"Portrait Of Burns" Alexander Nasmyth (1758–1840), c. 1787


The Online Scots Dictionary Translate Scots To English.
Published in https://en.wikisource.org/wiki/A_Man%27s_a_Man_for_A%27_That
Image Copyright Alexander Nasmyth [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons.

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