Verse > Anthologies > Ralph Waldo Emerson, ed. > Parnassus: An Anthology of Poetry
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Ralph Waldo Emerson, comp. (1803–1882).  Parnassus: An Anthology of Poetry.  1880.
 
Honest Poverty
By 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 stamp,
      The man’s the gowd for a’ that.
 
What though on hamely fare we dine,
  Wear hodden 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.
 
You 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 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 coming yet for a’ that.
    When man to man, the warld o’er,
      Shall brothers be for a’ that.        40
 
 
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