Wee Scoops

Measure for Measure

“A Man’s A Man for A’ That”… and A’ That

Today we went to Alloway to fill in a gap in the children’s cultural knowledge. We have been before but so long ago that they had forgotten. It’s the birthplace of Robert Burns and the setting for one of his most famous poems, “Tam O’Shanter”. The tale of Tam O’Shanter is a blog post for another day.


But it so happened that in the gift shop that I stumbled upon a quote from another of his famous poems that is on my current theme of equality and diversity: “A Man’s A Man for A’ That”.

The poem is famous for many reasons, not least that it was sung at the opening of the Scottish Parliament. It was also recited by my son at a Scottish Poetry Night a couple of years ago. The boy is a legend.

The poem is about various rich and poor folk. The people with airs and graces are mocked and the honest working/serving man is raised up. At the end of the poem he concludes:

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.

The poet urges all men to pray for what he hopes is the inevitable, that common sense will win out in the end and that there will be a brotherhood of man.

Here’s a version of the poem I like:


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7 thoughts on ““A Man’s A Man for A’ That”… and A’ That

  1. My favourite line from that one is

    “The rank is but the guinea stamp
    The man’s the gowd for a’ that”

  2. jean bush on said:

    Wow, the young man in that video is GOOD!

  3. That is such a beautiful poem and the young man singing is fantastic!

  4. When my Auntie Jo had her first novel published (1959) she called it “Shall Brothers Be”
    The Govan boy she had married was a big Rabbie fan.
    I love both poems you mentioned.
    I once did the haggis poem at a Burns Supper. I could not do it now.
    Thank you for this. I`m off for a wee Burns wallow the noo.

    PS Are there any ladies who don`t love wee Paolo? 😉

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