Is there for Honest Poverty


It’s said that if something happens at ‘Let it Blaw’ on two successive occasions it becomes a tradition. This appears to be the case with ” A Man’s a Man for a’ that.”  There’s no doubt that over the Club’s long history, this song has been sung a hundred times or more at our suppers but, with the arrival of Club President Eddie McCue came a few new ideas.

One that has stood the test of time, is the singing of this song after the meal, and prior to the Toast to the Immortal Memory of Burns. It’s seen almost as an ice-breaker, a coming together in good order before the main Toast. However, not only did Eddie introduce this idea, but he gave it what he viewed as its correct name “Is there for Honest Poverty.”

So, every year, led by the following Gentlemen, the Company has launched into “A Man’s a Man” immediately before the Immortal Memory. The words are printed hereafter to help all other poor souls, tasked in the future with starting off the night with barely a dram drunk !

1979, 1980, 1981, 1982, 1983, 1984, 1991, 1992, 1994, 1995
1996, 1998, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010
See additional occasions below where Jimmie sang as part of a trio
1985,  1986,  1987,  1988,  1989 
1999,  2000,  2001
2002,  2003,  2004
2011,  2012,  2013,  2014,  2015,  2016
2017,  2018,  2019,  2020,  2022
 Is there for honesty 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 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 marquise, duke, an’ a’ that;
But an honest man’s aboon 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 comin yet for a’ that
That man to man, the world o’er,
Shall brithers be for a’ that.