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Is There, For Honest Poverty

A Song
by Robert Burns

Robert Burns - Scottish Poet

Robert Burns was a Freemason all of his adult life. At the time of his death he was Senior Warden of Lodge St Andrew, Dumfries. There is a clearly identifiable Masonic content in much of his work. The most famous example being this song, which is better known as "A Man's a Man for a' That". It was sung by folk singer Sheena Wellington at the official opening of the new Scottish Parliament, Edinburgh in 1999.

I
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,
Our toils obscure, and a' that;
The rank is but the guinea-stamp,
The man's the gowd for a' that!

II
What tho' on hamely fare we dine,
Wear hoddin grey, and a' that;
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,
Is king o' men for a' that!

III
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;
For a' that, and a' that,
His riband, star, and a' that,
The man of independent mind
He looks and laughs at a' that!

IV
A prince can mak' a belted knight,
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,
The pith o' sense, and pride o' worth,
Are higher ranks than a' that.

V
Then let us pray that come it may---
As come it will for a' that---
That sense and worth, o'er a' the earth,
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 world o'er,
Shall brothers be for a' that!


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