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Celtic-End Singer HTML Practice Thread (195* d) RE: HTML Practice Thread 06 Aug 99


(Robert Burns)
Is there for honest Poverty
That hings 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,
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, tho' e'er sae poor,
Is king o' men for a' that!

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 ribband, star and a' that;
The man of 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 rank 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 world o'er,
Shall brothers be for a' that

hings = hangs
a' that = all that
hoddin grey = course home-made woollen cloth
birkie = fellow
coof = fool, ninny
aboon =above
mauna = must not

Like all true nationalists, Burns was also an internationalist.

The first four lines of the first verse, the sense of which is often misunderstood, may be thus interpreted: "Is there anyone who hangs his head in shame at his poverty? If there is such a poor creature, we pass him by as a coward slave."

With reference to the seventh line of the first verse, a similar though occurs in Wycherley's "Plain-Dealer", which Burns may have seen: "I weigh the man, not his title; 'tis not the king's stamp can make the metal better or heavier. Your lord is a leaden shilling, which you bend every way, and which debases the stamp he bears."

As far as the fourth line of the fourth verse is concerned, "'Fa", as a noun, means lot or share; as a verb, to get or obtain. Burns here uses the word in a violent sense- "He must not attempt or pretend to have that as a thing in his power."

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