Verse > Anthologies > The World’s Best Poetry > Vol. VI. Fancy: Sentiment
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Bliss Carman, et al., eds.  The World’s Best Poetry.
Volume VI. Fancy.  1904.
 
Poems of Sentiment: VI. Labor and Rest
For a’ That and a’ That
Robert Burns (1759–1796)
 
IS there for honest poverty
  Wha 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 toils 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
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,        15
  Is king o’ men for a’ that.
 
Ye see yon birkie ca’d a lord,
  Wha struts, and stares, and a’ that,—
Though hundreds worship at his word,
  He ’s but a coof 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 king can mak a belted knight,        25
  A marquis, duke, and a’ that;
But an honest man ’s aboon his might,—
  Guid faith, he maunna 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 coming yet, for a’ that,—
When man to man, the warld o’er,
  Shall brothers be for a’ that!        40
 
 
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