Verse > Anthologies > T. H. Ward, ed. > The English Poets > Vol. III. Addison to Blake
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Thomas Humphry Ward, ed.  The English Poets.  1880–1918.
Vol. III. The Eighteenth Century: Addison to Blake
 
A Man ’s a Man for a’ That
By Robert Burns (1759–1796)
 
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,        5
      Our toils obscure, and a’ that;
    The rank is but the guinea stamp;
      The man ’s the gowd for a’ that.
 
What tho’ on hamely fare we dine,
  Wear hoddin-grey, 1 and a’ that;        10
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, tho’ e’er sae poor,        15
      Is King o’ men for a’ that.
 
Ye see yon birkie, 2 ca’d a lord,
  Wha struts, and stares, and a’ that;
Tho’ hundreds worship at his word,
  He ’s but a coof 3 for a’ that:        20
    For a’ that, an 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,
  Gude faith, he mauna fa’ 4 that!
    For a’ that, and a’ that,
      Their dignities and a’ that,        30
    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,        35
  May bear the gree, 5 and a’ that;
    For a’ that, and a’ that,
      It ’s coming yet, for a’ that;
    That man to man, the world o’er,
      Shall brothers be for a’ that.        40
 
Note 1. coarse woollen cloth. [back]
Note 2. conceited fellow. [back]
Note 3. blockhead. [back]
Note 4. manage. [back]
Note 5. pre-eminence. [back]
 
 
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