For a' That and a' That

Original Text: 
The Glasgow Magazine (August 1795).
2      That hings his head, an' a' that?
3The coward slave, we pass him by,
4      We dare be poor for a' that!
5           For a' that, an' a' that,
6                Our toils obscure, an' a' that;
7           The rank is but the guinea's stamp;
9What tho' on hamely fare we dine,
11Gie fools their silks, and knaves their wine,
12      A man's a man for a' that.
13           For a' that, an' a' that,
14                Their tinsel show an' a' that;
15           The honest man, tho' e'er sae poor,
16                Is king o' men for a' that.
18      Wha struts, an' stares, an' a' that;
19Tho' hundreds worship at his word,
21           For a' that, an' a' that,
22                His riband, star, an' a' that,
23           The man o' independent mind,
24                He looks and laughs at a' that.
25A prince can mak a belted knight,
26      A marquis, duke, an' a' that;
29           For a' that, an' a' that,
30                Their dignities, an' a' that,
31           The pith o' sense, an' pride o' worth,
32                Are higher rank than a' that.
33Then let us pray that come it may,
34      As come it will for a' that,
35That sense and worth, o'er a' the earth,
37           For a' that, an' a' that,
38                It's coming yet, for a' that,
39           That man to man, the warld o'er,
40                Shall brothers be for a' that.


1] Sent to George Thomson, who was making a song collection, with the note, "I do not give you the foregoing song for your book, but merely by way of vive la bagatelle; for the piece is not really poetry." Back to Line
8] gowd: gold. Back to Line
10] hodden-gray: coarse grey cloth. Back to Line
17] birkie: young fellow. Back to Line
20] coof: fool. Back to Line
27] aboon: above. Back to Line
28] mauna a': cannot lay claim to. Back to Line
36] gree: prize, literally favour (French gré). Back to Line
Publication Start Year: 
RPO poem Editors: 
G. G. Falle
RPO Edition: 
3RP 2.321.