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Home > English > Poetry > Robert Burns


Robert Burns

A Man's a Man for A' That

Siobhan Redmond reads the poem:

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The text in full (with explanatory notes)


A Man's a Man for A' That


Is there, for honest Poverty

That hings his head, and a' that;

The coward-slave, we pass him by,

We dare be poor for a' that!

For a' that, and a' that,

Our toils obscure, and a' that,

The rank is but the guinea's stamp,

The Man's the gowd [gowd: gold for a' that. -


What though on hamely fare we dine,

Wear hoddin [hoddin: coarse cloth grey, and 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, and a' that;

The honest man, though e'er sae poor,

Is king o' men for a' that. -


Ye see yon birkie [birkie: a lively fellow, ca'd a lord,

Wha struts, and stares, and a' that,

Though hundreds worship at his word,

He's but a coof [coof: fool for a' that.

For a' that, and a' that,

His ribband, star and a' that,

The man of independent mind,

He looks and laughs at a' that. -


A prince can mak a belted knight,

A marquis, duke, and a' that;

But an honest man's aboon [aboon: about his might,

Gude faith, he mauna [mauna: mustn't fa' that!

For a' that, and a' that,

Their dignities, and a' that,

The pith o' Sense, and 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 [bear the gree: come off best, and a' that.

For a' that, and a' that,

It's coming yet for a' that,

That Man to Man the warld o'er,

Shall brothers be for a' that. -


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