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C.D. Warner, et al., comp.  The Library of the World’s Best Literature.
An Anthology in Thirty Volumes.  1917.
 
A Man’s a Man for A’ Tha
By Robert Burns (1759–1796)
 
IS there for honest poverty
  That hangs 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,        5
  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 gray, and a’ that?        10
Gi’e 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,        15
  Is king o’ men for a’ that.
 
Ye see yon birkie, 1 ca’d a lord,
  Wha struts, and stares, and a’ that:
Though hundreds worship at his word,
  He’s but a coof 2 for a’ that:        20
For a’ that, and a’ that,
  His riband, star, and a’ that—
The man of independent mind,
  He looks and laughs at a’ that.
 
A prince can mak’ a belted knight,        25
  A marquis, duke, and a’ that,
But an honest man’s aboon his might—
  Guid faith, he mauna fa’ that!
For a’ that, and a’ that,
  Their dignities, and a’ that,        30
The pith o’ sense and pride o’ worth
  Are higher ranks 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,        35
  May bear the gree, and a’ that.
For a’ that, and a’ that,
  It’s comin’ yet, for a’ that,—
That man to man, the warld o’er,
  Shall brothers be for a’ that!        40
 
Note 1. Spirited fellow. [back]
Note 2. Fool. [back]
 
 
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