Today is Robbie Burns Day

Today (January 25) is Robbie Burns Day. 25 January 2016 marks 257 years to the day since Scotland’s national poet was born. His polemics against the exploitation, injustice and oppression of his time enraged the establishment and won him enduring love from the peoples of all lands.

The statue of Robert Burns in Halifax’s Victoria Park Square is the centre of innumerable political rallies., as this one in October 2006 against the apartheid wall in Occupied Palestine | Photo Photo copyright 2006, Howard Harawitz, All rights reserved.

The statue of Robert Burns in Halifax’s Victoria Park Square is the centre of innumerable political rallies., as this one in October 2006 | Photo copyright 2006, Howard Harawitz, All rights reserved.

One of his best poems, also the basis of the great German revolutionary song of 1848, Trotz Alledem:

Is There For Honest Poverty / A Man’s A Man For A’ That (1795)

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, and 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 coof 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 abon his might,
Gude faith, he maunna 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 coming yet for a’ that,
That Man to Man, the world o’er,

Shall brothers be for a’ that.
Translation
Is there for honest poverty
That hangs 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
The rank is but the guinea’s stamp
The man’s the gowd(gold) for a’ that
What though on hamely(homely) fare we dine
Wear hoddin grey(course wollen cloth), an’ a’ that
Gie(give) 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, though e’er sae poor
Is king o’ men for a’ that
Ye see yon birkie(fellow) ca’d a lord
Wha struts an’ stares an’ a’ that
Tho’ hundreds worship at his word
He’s but a coof(fool) for a’ that
For a’ that, an’ a’ that
The man o’ independent mind
He looks an’ laughs at a’ that
A prince can mak'(make) a belted knight
A marquise, duke, an’ a’ that
But an honest man’s aboon( above) his might
Gude(good) faith, he maunna( must not) fa’ that
For a’ that an’ a’ that
Their dignities an’ a’ that
The pith o’ sense an’ pride o’ worth
Are higher rank that 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( have priority) an’ a’ that
For a’ that an’ a’ that
It’s coming yet for a’ that
That man to man, the world o’er
Shall brithers( brothers) be for a’ that

Preview YouTube video Is There For Honest Poverty (For A’ That) – Andy M. Stewart

Is There For Honest Poverty (For A’ That) – Andy M. Stewart

 FURTHER READING ON THIS WEBSITE: 

Robbie Burns, Grand Falls, Mackenzie and Gaza

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