Tuesday, February 26, 2008

A Man's A Man for A' That

Highly recommended
A Man's A Man for A' That by Scotland's national poet, Robert Burns (1759 - 1796), sung with great rock elan by Paolo Nutini in this video. Is there any more inspiring song?

And pray, let us ne'er forget that we're all Jock Tamson's Bairns.

Here are the lyrics in plain English (and Scots as well)

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 hamely fare we dine,
Wear 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,"
Wha 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' independent mind,
He looks an' laughs at a' that.

A prince can mak a belted knight,
A marquis, 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 and Worth o'er 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 o'er
Shall brithers be for a' that.

"His greatest poem is not a farewell to the lasses, the drinks, the immortals or the politics, but a rousing welcome to what is best in each of us. When the night is over and we make our way home, when the morning is clear and the sky busy with birds and their songs, we will know our place in the world by the size of our faith in fellowship. This conviction makes Burns the world's greatest and most loveable poet."

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