[home]                     [song index]                         [about miriam]


(learned during the 1960s; poem by Robert Burns, tune Lady Macintosh's Reel (1759))

(music to go here)

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, 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 grey, and a' that;
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, is king o' men for a' that.

Ye see yon birkie, ca'ed 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 ribband, star, and a' that;
    The man o' independent mind, he looks and laughs at a' that.

A prince can mak' a belted knight, a marquis, duke, and a' that;
But an honest man's aboon his might; gude 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!

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 warld o'er, shall brithers be for a' that!

(from miriam berg's folksong collection)