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"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.

Is There for Honest PovertyEdit

L'homme à la houe (The Man with the Hoe)

L'homme a la houe (The Man with the Hoe), by Jean-Francois Millet (1814-1875), circa 1860-1862. Courtesy Wikimedia Commons.

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 tho' on hamely fare we dine,
         Wear hoddin-gray, 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, 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 riband, star, an' a' that,
                The man o' independent mind,
                        He looks and 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,
         Guid faith he mauna 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
         May bear the gree, an' a' that.
                For a' that, an' a' that,
                        It's coming yet, for a' that,
                That man to man, the warld o'er,
                        Shall brothers be for a' that.


RecognitionEdit

Renowned 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-language "Trotz alledem und alledem" (sung by Hannes Wader as "Trotz alledem").

The words "pride o' worth" appear on the crest of the Scottish Qualifications Authority.

See also Edit

External links Edit

Audio / video


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