Monday, January 25, 2010

Happy Birthday Robert Burns

"Is There for Honest Poverty", commonly known as "A Man's a Man for A' That", is a Scots song by Robert Burns, famous for its expression of egalitarian ideas of society, which may be seen as anticipating the ideas of liberalism that arose in the 18th century, and those of socialism which arose in the 19th century. The poem also encompasses many freemasonic ideals and symbols.

A Man's a Man for All that
(Robert Burns)

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

As published in Currie's 1800 edition of Burns' works
Other editions are slightly more or less "Scottish" (e.g.
reading "brothers" for "brithers" in last line.
Sometimes titled "For A' That and A' That"
composed January 1795
Based on "The Bard's Song" in "The Jolly Beggars" RW

bear the gree: Take first place, be foremost
birkie: person
coof: fool, idle/worthless fellow
fa': fault
gowd: gold
hamely: homely, humble
hoddin grey: coarse wool
mauna: must not

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