A Man's A Man for A' That
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Barry Taylor

Burns sent this to George Thompson of Edinburgh in 1795. It is also known as Is There Honest Poverty and For A' That and A' That. According to The Robert Burns Songbook the tune was based on Lady Macintosh's Reel, from Bremner's "Reels" (1759). Burns had used the tune earlier for Tho' Women's Minds. Prior to that Burns had used it for the melody for the song I am a Bard of no regard.

The song was sung the day of the reopening of the Scottish Parliament.

For a full list of Burns tunes at this site, search for Robert Burns in the search engine.

Is there for honest poverty
That hangs 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 toil's obscure and 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 hoddin grey, an' a' that
Gie fools their silks, and 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, though 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 and a' that
The man o' independent mind
He looks an' laughs at a' that

A prince can mak' a belted knight
A marquise, 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 that 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 brithers be for a' that
Related Links
Information From The Robert Burns Songbook, Vol. I
See Bibliography for full information.