“A Man's a Man for A' That”


"Is there for honest poverty That hangs his head and a' that... For a' that and a' that, Our toils obscure and a' that, The rank is but the guinea stamp, The man's the gowd for a' that." Praising equality, with a final prediction that all will be brothers


Reported to be based on "The Bard's Song" in "The Jolly Beggars," and written in 1795, making it one of the last of Burns's "big" pieces. On the other hand, Ord has a song ("For A' That and A' That," p. 196) which looks like a model and which he calls an "old bothy song." And there is still another song "For a' that an' a' that" credited to Burns in the _Scots Musical Museum_ (#290). Clearly the history of the song is complicated. - RBW

Same tune

  • A Tidy Suit for A' That (Broadside Bodleian Firth B.26(289))
  • George the Fourth is Coming Down (by John Mayne; see Christoper Sinclair-Stevenson, _Blood Royal: The Illustrious House of Hanover_, Doubleday, 1980, p. 180)

Cross references


  1. Silber-FSWB, p. 297, "A Man's A Man For A' That" (1 text)
  3. BI, FSWB297A


Alternate titles: “For A' That And A' That”; “Is There for Honest Poverty”
Author: Robert Burns
Earliest date: 1800 (Currie)