A Man's A Man For A' That (Is There For Honest Poverty)

Robert Burns, written in 1794

Audio clip

This example of "A Man's A Man for A' That" is performed by Alex Sutherland and His Cronies on their album Auld an' New
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Background notes

Robert Burns, Scotland's bard, is known to have harboured republican feelings and frequently spoke in favour of the French and American Revolutions. He wrote this song in 1794 during  a time when society, and the class-system in particular, was perceived as being unfair and something to be improved upon. 

Is there for honest poverty, 
That hings its heid an' a' that,
The coward slave we pass him by,
We dare be poor for a' that.
For a' that, an' a' that, 
Its toils obscure an' a' that,
The rank is but the guinea stamp, 
The man's the gowd for a' that 

What tho' on hamely fare we dine, 
Wear hodden gray an' a' that?
Gie fools their silk an' knaves their wine, 
A man's a man for a' that.
For a' that, an' 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,
Their 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 aboon 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 comin' yet for a' that,
That man to man, the world o'er,
Shall brithers be for a' that.