A Man's a Man for A' That.

A man's a man for a' that - By Robert Burns
Not translated - good poems should only be translated by good poets, if at all.

Is there for honest poverty
that hings his head, an a' that?
The coward slave we pass him by -
We dare be poor for a' that!
For a' that an a' that ,
Our toils obscure an a' that,
The rank is but the guinea's stamp,
The man's the gowd for a' that.

What though on hoddin grey, an a' that?
Gie fools their silks, and knaves their wine -
A man's a man for a' that
For a' that an a' that.
Their tinsel show, an a' that,
The honest man, tho e'er sae poor,
is king o men for a' that.

Ye see yon birkie ca'd 'a lord,'
What struts an stares an a' that?
Tho hundreds worship at his word,
He's but a cuif for a' that.
For a' that an a' that,
His ribband , star, an a that,
The man o independant mind,
He looks an laughs at a' that.

A prince can mak a belted knight,
A maquis, duke an a' that!
But an honest man's aboon his might -
Guid faith, he mauna fa' that!
For a' that, an a' that,
Their dignities, an a' that,
the pith o sense an 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 an worth oer a' the earth,
Shall bear the gree an a' that.
For a' that an a' that,
It's comin yet for a' that,
That man to man the world oer,
Shall brithers be for a' that.

Some of the words in English.

  • an a' that = and all that.
  • hings = hangs.
  • guinea = 21 shillings UK. £1.05p
    pre decimal money;
    equates to one pound 5p,
    a dollar and a bit
    not as good as gold.
  • guinea's stamp = totally bought and paid for, not your own man.
  • gowd = gold.
  • hamely = homely.
  • hoddin = coarse cloth.
  • gie = give.
  • tho e'er sae = though ever so
  • o = of.
  • ye = you.
  • birkie = conceited fellow,
    clever dick.
  • ca'd = called, known as.
  • tho = although.
  • cuif = fool, divot.
  • ribband = ribbon, decoration.
  • mak = make.
  • aboon = above, beyond
  • guid = good.
  • mauna fa' = must not succumb,
    must not fail.
  • oer a' = over all.
  • gree = rank, degree.
  • comin = coming.
  • brithers = brothers.

Back to the word: Brithers.